They call it the "multi-revenue model", but it's nothing less than a new strategy, reacting to the overwhelming power of Google and Facebook. Not only will Buzzfeed integrate programmatic advertising and pivot away from the "native/branded only" approach they pursued in the past, but they will diversify their income streams in "9 boxes". And advertising is only three of the boxes - which is a sign for other media companies, too. Of course, this approach is not for everyone and cannot serve as a blueprint for any media company, but it is interesting to see how they try to leverage their tech/data/media approach in different fields, and how advertising might not be the one major pillar that future media will be built on (and i have to advertise my post concerning the importance of tech in media once again).
Dec 14, 2017
Some interesting stats from Messenger in 2017. Besides these non-comprehensible numbers like 1.7 billion emojis being shared every day, what strikes me most are the group stats. 2.5 million groups are created every day, with an average size of 10 participants. These are private micro-networks, where every message is develivered to every participant, the "feed" is organized by time instead of an algorithm, and the content remains in a confined space. If you wonder where these very private posts by your friends on Facebook have gone, it's there.
About You is one of the most interesting digital innovations that came out of a big, established corporation in Germany in recent years. I raved about it (in German: here) by the time they published a few insights into their strategy, and speculated that an infrastructure like this would have the potential to become a platform that could be used for third parties, too. The day has come and About You has launched their "cloud" offering. I am still convinced that this may be nothing less than a cornerstone of Otto Group's future.
I keep insisting on the observation that nearly every step of the media/news value chain can be optimized with technology, and that in the media business, tech will be the single most impactful source of competitive advantage. Here's one example from the very beginning of the value chain - the detection of news/breaking news. In the past, news agencies and ambitious news organizations always wanted to be first - the first on site, the first to break a story. These times are gone, it's almost always a citizen smartphone that's first. Here's how Reuter reacts, using software to real-time analyze Twitter to be the first news agency following the citizen smartphones (I am not sure how much AI is involved - every piece of software today is AI or at least a bot). It's intriguing anyway.
I like the Fjord Trend report because it does not focus on single products or technologies, but it tries to put several developments into a bigger context, not only in digital, but societal and political environments, too. It's less number crunching and more a try to understand and interpret what is going on. Full PDF here: https://trends.fjordnet.com/Trends2018Report.pdf
We learned to look at China and take Alibaba and Tencent seriously, but most of us don't look beyond the two. Then Bytedance acquired Musical.ly, and everyone wondered who they are... well, they are an exciting new player who also owns a very interesting app called Toutiao. Much like Facebook, or Upday, Apple News and others it puts together a news feed for customers by aggregating content, and the selection is not done by editors, but by advanced algorithms - for example, it automatically tags videos based on object and image recognition to learn about individual preferences. Newsfeeds are built on each user's individual behaviour - currently, they have 120 million daily active users with (attention:) an average time spent of 74 minutes (!!) in the app. If they manage to use their insights from China for other markets, and they declared that's an objective, Toutiao might be a candidate for one of the first really successful digital exports to the US and Europe.
Analytics company Parse.ly has been monitoring the traffic sources for their clients for years and has constantly published the relationof "the big three" - direct traffic, Google traffic and Facebook traffic across their client network. For years, Facebook was gaining share. The new numbers are in and Facebook, including Instant articles, is down significantly. They attribute this to the success of Google AMP, but I guess Facebook's concentration on native video, in-feed, is another reason. For publishers, 2018 may be the year to decide whether they believe in in-feed monetization by Facebook through video, or strengthen their owned and operated platforms. Not an easy one, as acquisition of traffic and monetization don't get easier.
Very interesting piece about brands focusing on direct-to-consumer business and, at least in the physical space, scale down their exposure in mass-market-retail, following an announcement by Nike - saying that from 30,000 retail partners today, it would concentrate its efforts on forty (!) of them. E-commerce may be one major reason for the end of the big retailers (standalone and in malls) in our cities, but another is that all of them did not only disconnect the manufacturer from the customers (with ever increasing pressure on margins), but most of them did not bother to build meaningful relationships to customers themselves.