Mobile Revenue for Community Publishers


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Amy Gahran's presentation on mobile revenue options for community news publishers: Block by Block Community News Summit, Chicago, 9/14/12.

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  • I know you all want to make more money today, but let’s think strategically.\n\nLooking far ahead...\n
  • Your online audience for next year, and in coming years, has got to come from somewhere. \n\nOtherwise your audience will look like this.\n\n(Look familiar to anyone in the newspaper business?)\n
  • Notice: They’re all under 30, and all on their smartphones.\n\nWho here does demographic research for their audience? \n- % under 30?\n\nIf you make your offerings mobile friendly, that % may increase fast.\n
  • These numbers just out this week from Pew Internet\n\nNew stats just out this week from Pew\n\n2/3 US adults under 30 own smartphones\n- nearly 60 of ages 30-49\n\nAnd they are on them all the time.\n\nAre you?\n
  • You need a mobile-friendly website no matter what, even if you don’t directly monetize it in any way. \n\nRemember newspapers that resisted seriously going online? What happened to their audience, and their subscriber base -- and then thir ad base?\n\nYou need to go mobile simply to stay accessible and competitive.\n
  • Really, I’ll wait.\n\nEven better, look it up on someone else’s smartphone\n\nWhose site loads a mobile-optimized version?\n\nWhere are the ads or other revenue drivers in that layout?\n
  • I was struggling with this presentation because for community news sites, I don’t think the local mobile ad revenue picture looks good.\n\nAt least not for the next few years. Not for community and most niche news site.\n\nThe mobile ad market really isn’t set up with community news sites in mind.\n\nYou need to go mobile fast anyway, but you won’t make much money on it for a little while.\n
  • I know you’re all looking for revenue.\n\nBut there’s a long road ahead toward directly monetizing mobile, and it ain’t made out of yellow bricks.\n\nStill if you set out on this road, you will find rewards.\n
  • So let’s go off to see the wizard... Or at least check out her powerpoint slides.\n
  • May 2012 at AllThingsD conference, Mary Meeker explained the huge opportunities she sees in mobile advertising. \n\nPeople spend a lot of time on their phones. So far, advertisers spend little money to reach them there.\n
  • This is good news for advertisers; bad news for publishers.\n\nBasically, advertisers only need to spend 75 cents on mobile ads to have the same reach as a desktop ad for $3.50\n- I think the categories refer to advertiser types.\n\nHow can a community publisher be expected to earn a living on that???\n
  • But a lot of other very smart people are skeptical about big claims of potential mobile ad market size, and the revenues that may come from it.\n
  • Don’t panic, there is some good news ahead.\n
  • Chill. Take a deep breath. Think of puppies, unicorns, rainbows, Hello Kitty....\n
  • This is Mary Meeker’s version of puppies and rainbows.\n\nBottom line (almost literally): In 1-3 years US advertisers will start spending more money on mobile advertising than they do on display ads for websites meant to be viewed on a computer.\n\nTrouble is, much of that won’t come from ads displayed next to content such as local news,on news websites. Because your audience is important, but from the standpoint of the mobile ad market it’s just too small.\n
  • April 2012 BIA/Kelsey research: Search ads -- like ads that appear with Google search results -- will comprise much of the expected growth in local mobile search.\n
  • That’s great for Google; probably not so great for your local news site.\n\nSearch advertising is not YOUR revenue stream. \n\nBut if your site is an appealing destination of local mobile searches, you can pick up a slice of this pie.\n\n\n
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  • That said, there are some basic things you can do to do mobile right and at least make some money from it.\n\nThe Windsorite -- they have a nice-looking mobile-optimized website\n\nNOT trying to pick on them, they do a lot of things right for mobile.\n\\n\nBut.....\n
  • Only ad on their mobile homepage:\n- Bottom\n- Tile format for web display\n- hard to read on small screen.\n\nAnd, if you click it...\n
  • This is what happens when you click on that mobile ad. Seriously.\n\nThis is why you need to work with local advertisers, and guide them on mobile. Make sure they’re set up to handle the traffic.\n
  • I have an idea. It may be bright. Or it may be twisted. Or both. \n\nI’d really like to hear what you have to say about it. I hope it may be useful for you.\n
  • Set your advertisers up to be ready to convert traffic from mobile ads into actions that build their business.\n\nEducate and guide them. That’s a real need local advertisers have -- and real value you can offer them\n
  • Here’s what I mean by a good mobile landing page:\n\ in NYC. \n\nBuilt with platform, which is a flavor of the MobiFriendly platform. Easy to use. \n\nThey have a white label program, so you can resell it. There’s an up-front fee and monthly fee per sites (probably around $15/month/site)\n
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  • In contrast, this is a local business that does a lot of advertising that could use some serious mobile help.\n\nFound through Yelp, but didn’t list hours.\n\nNeither did Google Place page.\n
  • Their website is not at all mobile friendly. And they don’t list their hours on the home page. \n\nIt’s under the “info” menu.\n\nThis is typical.\n
  • What CMS do people use? Wordpress makes all this easy\n
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  • Decent example of a local mobile banner ad. \n\nMakes the point, even on a small screen.\n\nBummer it doesn’t link to a mobile friendly site. But it’s a start.\n
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  • Opt-in text alerts: VERY important.\n\nBut don’t let ad network run this service for you. Their ads & resulting text alerts suck.\n\nThis one: Insider Bay Area (DFM) powered by Verve Wireless\n
  • I honestly don’t know. Let’s discuss that.\n\nMobiFriendly: Up-front cost to become a reseller: Probably a few hundred dollars, but not sure. Negotiate with them on this.\n\ncost per client: $30/month min/site (depending on site complexity). Cost/site/month decreases the more sites you have.\n\nBUT: You can throw in mobile ad creation for free (at least for 1-2 banners). AND you can bill extra based on actual conversion metric performance of mobile site.\n\n\n
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  • Mandatory LOL catz, per Lisa Williams\n
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  • Mobile Revenue for Community Publishers

    1. Making Mobile MoneyOptions (& Reality Check) for Community News Publishers
    2. Amy @agahran
    4. Looking WAY ahead...
    5. Dude, where’s my audience?
    6. Meet your near-future audience
    7. If you want to keephaving a digital audience, you MUST get mobile-friendly! (small screen)
    8. Go check your site on a smartphone now.
    9. Expecting biglocal mobile ad $ today =
    10. Mobile ads: the $20B Mirage "$20B is a big number, and it got me thinking. How can it be thatthe industrys richest and most sophisticated players are unable to grab such a big pile of money? They have brains and computers, they’re aware of the situation. Is there a deeper problem? "We get closer to the heart of the matter when we look at acommon thought pattern, an age-old and dangerously misleading algorithm:The [new thing] is like the [old thing] only [smaller | bigger] - Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Notes, June 2012
    11. Local search is going mobile
    12. Apps: Not best for community news• Extra cost, extra project to manage.• Users must discover, download, remember to run your app.• Almost certainly only serves network ads: not compelling to users, low payout.• If you still want an app anyway: Verve Publisher apps look good & work.
    13. Mobile web strengths• Mobile search visibility: HUGE for local! As of May 2011: 20% of Google searches are local, 40% on mobile!• Good local mobile ads + good mobile site = happy local mobile users = happy advertisers.• Complements text alerts w/ story links (better than ad links.)
    14. Local mobile ads: almost, but not quite...
    15. Onlyhomepagemobile ad:bottom ofpage, hard to read.
    16. Near-term biz opp:Sell mobile landing pages,not just mobile display ads
    17. Conversion points frommobile landing page or ad• Click to call • Direct purchase• List signup (e-mail, • Site registration text alerts) • App download• Event RSVP • Coupon/deal• Appointment or • Other? reservation• Quiz/survey (for prequalification, other)
    18. Once a client’s mobile site is up, you can make money on it (hosting, traffic, updates) evenwhen they advertise elsewhere. *Because they will. Roll with it.
    19. Sell service & guidancefor a mobile presence! ...not just ad space
    20. 1. Make your news site mobile-friendly• What’s your CMS? Wordpress makes going mobile easy & cheap w/ themes, plugins.• Use device detection on server to route mobile traffic.• Best approach: Responsive design (when you’re redesigning your site).
    21. 2. Include mobile banner slots • 2 on every page: Top (banner) & bottom (banner or tile) • Standard MMA sizes: 300x50, 320 x 50, 300 x 200. • Ad server? You don’t necessarily need one. Depends on whether you’re running network ads, metrics you’re tracking.
    22. 3. Become a white label reseller of mobile landing pages• has a LOT of templates & tools for various business types, plus form builder. Min monthly spend/site: $30 (Setup cost: ?)• Easy to use, cheaper: $10/month/site. (Setup cost: ?)• OR charge a setup fee to help clients build their own mobile site (it they want to own it)• If you’re nonprofit: mobile $20/ year, no templates, so guide clients to set up their own site. Google GoMo free 1st year only (about
    23. 4. Offer to build mobile banner ads• Big obstacle for most local small businesses: effective mobile banner ad creative.• Google display ad builder: Drag-and-drop banner creative tool, for Adwords users.• Or just create ads in InDesign or Photoshop.• Free? Maybe do 1-2 for free, charge more for extra?• Premium service? Advertisers change ad copy in an hour or day?
    24. 5. Fill unused ad slots with network ads• Ad server probably needed for this.• Xad & offer best local mobile banner geotargeting. NOT Doubleclick! (geotargeting only at country level!)• Pay? From sites comparable to community news publishers, $50-$250/month
    25. 6. Offer opt-in text news alerts• Consumers love these, but HATE ads in them.• SMS provider to check out: (DON’T let ad networks power your SMS!)• Drive traffic to your mobile-friendly story pages.• Where visitors will see compelling, relevant local mobile display ads (yours, not network’s).• And then click through, or call advertisers.
    26. Opt-in text alerts• Consumers HATE ads in news text alerts.• SMS provider to check out:• Drive traffic to your mobile-friendly story pages.• Where visitors will see compelling, relevant local mobile display ads (yours, not network’s).• And then click through, or call advertisers.
    27. You can do WAY better than this!
    28. How to price/sell this?
    29. Bottom line• You need to go mobile anyway, fast!• So do your advertisers, with their own sites• You can provide value by selling services to help them navigate this transition• You can make some $ off mobile display ads• You’ll be well positioned for the mobile ad market when it booms• ...If it booms.