You are nothing without your audience: the importance of keeping up with consumers and all their devices
In the first of a new series of articles, Rob Beeler, the vice president of content and media for AdMonsters, reminds us of the importance of being where your audience is...
Perhaps only the speed of light rivals people's ability to buy the latest gadget with a screen and use it to connect with the world digitally.
Consumers didn't know they needed phones that could connect to the Internet, but now 51.3% of the total UK mobile audience use a smartphone as their primary device. Apple didn't launch the iPad because users asked for it, but according to new data from our 2012 Consumer Connection System, 12% of GB households now own an iPad or tablet PC, an increase of 469% on 2011. Oh, and the Kindle is journeying across the Atlantic and will likely be a hit.
People love to be plugged in and it’s an exciting time to be in digital. However, for publishers this blinding speed proves a challenge. New devices provide new challenges and opportunities to deliver both content and advertising.
Amazingly, the process of getting an advertisement to appear is for the most part manual. For all our unending technical innovation, the advertising world lags behind.
But the digital advertising world is not sitting still. Both the buy side and the sell side are making strides to keep up with the speed at which consumers adopt new devices. I'll be contributing four articles (including this one) on my thoughts on how digital strategists and operations specialists should approach this new world in anticipation of Screens, the AdMonsters conference on 19 November in London, which unites the digital media leaders responsible for building the revenue engines of the multi-screen web.
Let’s start with publishers:
People will access your content on anything they can – let them. A website designed for a standard desktop display does not look good on the small screen of a phone nor on a 70” HD TV. Your site may look fine in the office with standard Internet connection speeds, but what about at 3GS phone speeds?
As a publisher, you no longer control the environment in which your content is being viewed, so your site design and delivery need to be as portable as possible. Many content management systems (CMSs) are designed for content portability. Very few ad servers are as flexible. Make sure your CMS is helping your ad server deliver the right kind of ads no matter what device the person is using.
Lead the way and set the rules. Many publishers are seeing upwards of 30% of their traffic coming through devices other than desktop computers and yet many publishers do not have operations people focused on mobile – they treat these impressions as if there was no difference. This is a lost opportunity for potential revenue and in my opinion a disservice to your advertising clients. Publishers need people dedicated to figuring out these new devices and helping establish best practices for themselves and for the industry.
One could argue that the revenue isn’t there yet - we hear many publishers aren’t investing in mobile until there is more demand from advertisers. I think this is a failure to recognize the inevitable: the numbers above demonstrate that people aren’t going to wait for your business model - they’re going to do what they want and leave you behind in the process.
The only course for publishers is to embrace the multi-screen web, deliver content (and ads) wherever they can and try to keep up with their audience. You are nothing without your audience, so be there wherever they decide to use you.
Rob Beeler is Vice President of Content and Media for AdMonsters and has worked in Ad Operations for over 15 years. Rob oversees the development of content for AdMonsters events and is Editor in Chief for AdMonsters.com.
The Drum has teamed up with Admonsters to bring the Screens event to London on 19 November. Speakers will include the BBC, Zeebox and Screach among many others.