Content discoverability and content distribution were two topics that emerged in almost every session at the 2017 Digital Publishing Innovation Summit (DigiPub) in New York City. It’s clear why. Finding a way to get content to your audience or an audience to your content are step one for any publisher. As new technologies in digital publishing continue to emerge, strategies will differ across the board. Yet, attendees from companies of all sizes agreed that successful decision-making and planning is contingent on real-time data, project visibility and accurate business metrics.
Here are the top three takeaways:
Balancing owned and operated vs. organic content
Companies like iHeart media and Thomson Reuters detailed the transition to social – and the effect it has on their content. Both agreed that Facebook undoubtedly leads the pack in content distribution. Both iHeart and Thomson Reuters love the distribution Facebook provides via shares, likes and comments, but they are concerned about two key points: 1) the lack of traffic from Facebook to their websites and 2) their target audience’s inability to differentiate native content. Facebook is making it increasingly difficult to differentiate what content is owned and operated versus what is organic to the site – so an article that is originally from Thomson Reuters may look like organic Facebook content.
Power of A/B testing
Leaders in digital publishing agreed that in today’s landscape, A/B testing is essential, giving publishers a chance to test two different versions of the same content to predict target audience engagement. For example, Bit.ly always does two versions of its videos. It’s approach to A/B testing is relatively simplistic – staff will make minor changes like the hands that appear or the narrator’s voice. Since publishers often target various audiences with their content, subtle changes in the testing stage are critical to attaining best outcomes.
Data driven decisions
Almost every speaker, whether it was the head of content for Book of the Month Club or the CEO of Greatist.com, discussed data reliability. How can we ensure the data we bring in is representative of our target audience? The answer is we must have accurate data. For example, traditional publishing companies like The Boston Globe or The Washington Post have been traversing into digital for many years, so they count on reliable engagement data to keep up with digital first companies like Buzzfeed or She Knows Media.
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