Last week, Martin wrote about how necessary content could make it simpler for B2B media firms to carve out a significant piece of the digital landscape for themselves.
The problem for a lot of content businesses, particularly consumer-facing ones, is that despite the merits of what they produce, it’s not essential for their readers.
Many people outside the commodities markets may not be aware of Argus Media. It is a 46 year-old business which provides data and content – principally – to the oil and gas markets. It grew fairly steadily until 2000, and then its growth increased exponentially. It now has turnover of over £100m, and operations around the world.
It seems barely possible, but it’s less than a decade since Amazon boss Jeff Bezos ordered his lieutenants to build the world’s first mass-market e-reader. The original Kindle was introduced to the public in 2007 and with it came the fear that its development marked the beginning of the end for printed books.
In the nine years since its launch, Kindle has been through eight generations, an LCD version has launched, along with various adaptors and applications that allow Amazon’s content to run on the slew of other platforms and technologies than have also come to market in this time.
Yet despite the digital explosion that has taken place, despite the consumer’s readiness to ditch old technology for new (honestly, when was the last time you read a printed newspaper?), and despite 2007’s fear for the future of the book, the situation we currently find ourselves in isn’t the one book-lovers feared.
The long-term viability of digital publications that rely on scaling audience has been called into question in the last few months. Digital advertising has continued to grow, but increasingly the idea of a business model focused on generating a massive readership or viewership is becoming outmoded by the fluctuating demands of advertisers.
There’s also a prevailing feeling in the media industry that there’s too much content chasing too little advertising cash. This doesn’t necessarily mean that cutting back on both content and audience size will be beneficial, just that a new way looking at the quality of content and its ‘appropriateness’ to the audience is taking hold.
With this new approach come a requirement for new skills, and increasingly digital media businesses are looking to hire heads of Audience Development to their senior management teams.
Each week I receive roughly 150 marketing emails. The majority get deleted without any consideration of the content, but last week two emails caught my eye and caused me to investigate further. Why? Believe it or not, they stood out from the rest because they used emojis in the subject line.
For the uninitiated, emojis are little graphics that are commonly used in text messages but are increasingly moving into other forms of communication. The two that caught my attention were an image of a car to start the subject line of an email about car finance and, similarly, a party image in a service upgrade message from one of my tech providers.
Well, so far, you might think, so boring; but there is a point to all this: according to a recent survey Brits are 63% more likely to open an email with an emoji accompanying the subject line.