Article from iframagazine.com
Andy Phelan on new sources of advertising
Regarding new sources of advertising, I think this breaks down into a number of areas.
Some revenue opportunities will be new, like the ‘bounceback’ message that anyone who sends us an sms receives, which we can sell on to advertisers. This can be highly targeted – each incoming SMS carries a code which tells us what the sender is contacting us about. For instance, it’s fair to assume that if a sender is entering a competition to win tickets to a rock music show, they are likely to be interested in other, similar events elsewhere. We can sell that audience to an advertiser.
I think mobile platforms / technology offer us opportunities – GPS is becoming a standard feature on mobile phones and will allow us to track registered users and send them highly targeted ad content when they are near certain businesses – special offers, discounts etc.
The iPhone seems to be changing the landscape, and the fact that Apple allows access to third-party programmers is very interesting. I was chatting to an exhibitor at the Expo who told me he had downloaded a spirit-level application (which utilises the internal accelerometer) to his iPhone so he could erect his stand.
I think my company should tie up with the service provider, ‘kiosk’ the iphone through a reader offer and take a commission, pre-set our (newly optimised for mobile) website as the homepage, and then get creative with advertising – offer a DIY store / building supplies outlet the right to sponsor the spirit-level download our developers would create, which carries the advertiser’s branding, run the download offer in print and online etc etc… there are endless opportunities that the iphone offers.
If our websites were based on the social networking model – i.e. our users sign up to our online community - and we were able to gather data on interests and purchasing history, we could offer a personalised marketing / advertising solution. Imagine the power of this tied to GPS mobile technology.
I also think that as the mass market fragments and high-volume reach becomes ever-harder to achieve via a single channel, highly targeted advertising will become ever more important.
This is where the social networking model is so important – our members will organise themselves into special interest groups, ‘self-segmenting’ if you like.
Imagine a scenario where a member of our site sets up an ‘I love running’ group, which attracts a couple of thousand members. We know who those members are and we can allow sportswear / specialist running stores / sports medicine clinics etc to reach them very easily.
We could go on to organise live events, extending our brand and offering sponsorship opportunities to relevant partners.
I think paid search will offer us opportunities – John Tabor from Seacoast Media Group in the USA presented in Rome about his initiative of becoming a Google Adword reseller and offering a tailored internet marketing solution to local businesses, a service no-one else was offering in his area. That’s something we are very keen to explore.
Also, the ‘long tail’ theory of the web allows us to trade with many more advertisers – for example, my company has only ever traded with a small percentage of the total number of businesses in our area because it has not been profitable to spend time targeting the low-yield areas.
Now, with self-service online and hyper-local content, we can in theory trade profitably with even the smallest business. Hyper-local websites with a mix of staff- and user-generated content which allow users to access an artwork database and self-set their advert, choosing a position and paying online… all possible with the right technology.
We will definitely be running further variants of the Mod My Motor / Nigel Green Recruit idea – as you know, the central premise is that we create a project / promotion that will generate compelling content and then sell it to advertisers, who know the project will generate news coverage within the title.
All these concepts are based on local / regional media houses being at the centre of their communities, a position we traditionally held throughout the print era. We have a little work to do to reclaim that position in the digital age but with the right investment in technology and the right attitude, there is no reason why we cannot.
In the digital age we are only constrained by our imaginations. We can very quickly, cheaply and easily create video content – so why don’t we offer this service to advertisers? Viral campaigns can be highly effective, but they rely on really good creative ideas – our creative staff should be able to produce relevant concepts, and if they can’t perhaps we need to employ different people!
I think there is also life left in print, particularly if we use digital presses with cheap, short-run capability and we employ more highy-skilled, commercially aware, flexible journalists.
With that in mind, we are looking at another idea from Seacoast, who put out a daily freesheet in their prime tourism area across the summer. In the model we are looking at, I think one journalist will be able to produce a daily 8-page publication from start to finish, generating all of the content and producing all of the pages. By keeping costs to a minimum, we will be able to introduce a low rate card that attracts small businesses who have not advertised with us in the past.
I’m sure revenues from the ‘one-size fits all’ approach of the old print model will continue to decline, but if we harness technology and encourage creativity, there’s no reason why we can’t prosper in the future.
Page first published: 01.12.2008
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