How Lad Bible is trying to crack the lock screen

The Lad Bible has its sights set on the locked screens of mobile devices this year, devising a way to serve people personalised notifications in the hope of standing out in what can be a crowded space.

The publisher believes mobile notifications are their own medium, separate from other content channels and as such is making a move to surface targeted articles to people's locked screens. To do this, it has tasked digital marketing platform OtherLevels to manage its mobile app that will see it provide the technology, metrics and notification solutions to understand user behaviours, frequency of app usage, and loyalty to the Lad Bible team.

Mimi Turner, marketing director at The Lad Bible group, told The Drum the lock-screen is becoming a “very exciting piece of real estate” for the publisher to talk to readers in a new way, adding that push notifications can be powerful if they are timely and relevant.

It’s why the publisher is using intelligent messaging to push content to viewers in this way. Intelligent messaging is a new product from OtherLevels which leverages machine learning and data to gather information on a customer and determine the best way to speak to that customer and on which platform. Since it operates on a personalised level, it maximises the likelihood that the viewer is going to interact with the brand. The technique encompasses email, SMS, rich inbox, interstitials and push notifications across desktop and mobile. Operating across all channels allows the platform to work out the optimal messaging channel and type for each user.

“We’ve all had the experience where we have got rid of apps because the notifications were spammy, interruptive and unwelcome,” said Turner.

“That is a terrible strategy. At The Lad Bible we are taking a learning approach to how we talk to our users on the lock screen and how we express ourselves in that environment. We’ve taken a ‘less is more’ approach and had some really exciting results."

“What we have found is that the app gives our audience a more immersive option, a daily destination where they browse a lot of content, personalise their experience, cache content offline, watch longer-form content and get notified about breaking news events.”

Last October, the publisher hired its group director of content Ian Moore from Vice Media. Turner told The Drum Moore has brought a video “story-telling power” from Vice, but affirms the content style of Lad Bible is very different from the youth media company, which is geared to telling “edgy tales of 21st century subculture”.

“[Vice] is a window on the quirks of the world. That’s not really what we do.” Turner added, “The Lad Bible is mainstream and inclusive. We’ll tell stories from our audience’s real lives and stories they want to tell their friends about. Some of them will be very funny, like how long it takes to kill a Nokia phone, and some of them will be very serious.”

In terms of the Lad Bible moving to more serious content, Turner says the publisher’s audience expect tolerance and inclusivity on race, gender and sexuality, “so they would find it weird if we did not write stories on this”.