Recently, I analyzed the main journalism tech trends from Google’s DNI Round 3 and I tried to give a broad overview of where Google was putting their money.
Fact-checking, AI/ML, and Content Experience were the main themes discussed there.
But I wasn’t whole in my approach. I (purposely) missed an important detail in this Round 3.
The ‘small’ fact that we were selected as the tech partners in one of the funded projects.
And, of course, I’d love to give you a better understanding of (1) what we’ll be building and (2) why we’ll be doing it.
Introducing: The Brand Lovers Project
It’s no surprise that legacy publishers are facing tough challenges with the digitalization of journalism. Data shows that between 2010 and 2015 there was a 24% decrease in print circulation in Europe, the highest in the World. It’s no surprise either that in 2015 alone there was a 7.5% decrease in print advertising worldwide (1).
It’s not that these print & advertising dollars vanished, they moved. During the same period, 2010–2015, there was a 547% increase in paid digital circulation and an astonishing 51% increase in digital advertising, both worldwide.
However, a new problem arose. Some call it the big digital duopoly and one of the biggest challenges for digital publishers nowadays. You see, in the old days, publishers would (more or less) own the advertising value chain. They would have direct sales teams negotiating deals and executing budgets for their clients. It was the banner era, where people would directly connect with their favorite content websites or portals (remember Lycos?).
Today it’s different. Users now spend more time on social media streams and “news feeds” using them as the main way to consume content (2). It’s the platform era.
And in the platform era, platforms rule. And it’s scaling: Facebook & Google attracted one-fifth of global advertising spending last year, nearly double the figure of five years ago, research shows. An even more impressive number is the following: Google and Facebook together accounted for an astounding 99% of revenue growth from digital advertising in the US last year, according to an analysis of IAB estimates (3).
So, when virtually every new digital ad dollar is going to a search engine and a social network, one must think: how do I monetize?
Lucky for us, Portuguese media group Impresa wanted to focus on paid subscriptions as a solution for this problem. And so Brand Lovers was born: a consortium project between Impresa and GetSocial to evolve the reader journey to loyalty.
Together, we designed this project to find better ways to deliver the right content, to the right user, improving the potential for a paid conversion (subscription).
Once finished, we’ll be able to analyze, at the user level, different content consumption patterns. From a social media standpoint, we’ll better understand how users’ social activity developed the website’s audience.
Along the way, it’s likely that we will find true influencers (those who move the needle and not the ones with the most followers) and that Impresa tries to find ways to work with and engage them.
We’ll also know, through volume and data, what leads people to pay for a subscription. We’ll be able to anticipate and calculate the potential that each specific article, social network, and user have to become a paid member.
In the end, we’ll want to use intelligent mechanisms to scale and automate this work. Get the right content in front of the right people, based on their likelihood to want more of that quality content.
We believe that this could be helpful for publishers alike and that during this project we can do our part in making publishing more sustainable. We want to make sure that content is the product, not the reader.
Thanks for reading! If you want to know more about this project or how GetSocial can help your website thrive, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to help.
(1) World Press Trends Report 2016, WAN-IFRA
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