Content Is Still King at the Executive Summit on Digital Media
On Monday Publishing Executive hosted it's second annual Executive Summit on Digital Media, which gathered over 60 publishers to discuss strategies around digital revenue, mobile monetization, and data analytics. The day was a resounding success thanks to the amazing speakers we had in attendance, from Mitch Rouda, president of eMedia at Farm Journal to Brian Madden, VP of audience at Hearst Digital Media, and John Lerner, CEO of Breaking Media -- to name a few.
The big theme that hit home for me at Monday's event is the importance of content. Without great content, said Lerner in our first panel "Deep Dive on Digital Revenue Strategies," all of the technology and tools at publishers' disposal are useless. Luckily for publishers, this is not a new concept but more of an affirmation. The greater challenge, it seems, is figuring out how today's technology -- mobile devices, analytics dashboards, apps -- can best deliver high-quality content to the desired audience.
The day's first panel touched on this dichotomy during a discussion of native advertising. The most important aspect of native ads, said Steven Suthiana, global head of digital media and operations at Fast Company & Inc. Media, is the editorial. "What we know best is writing content. We're the experts on creating high-quality content that speaks to our audience. It's up to us to drive the conversation with the advertisers and see where their brand fits."
At the same time, Suthiana recognized that measuring the results of native ads can be challenging. "There is no specific measurement for native just yet," said Suthiana. While publishers can provide metrics on engagement and time spent on an article, they need to engage advertisers in an ongoing conversation to define what metrics matter most.
Defining metrics, and in particular KPIs, was a key topic of the summit's second panel, "Publishing's Future: Digital AND Data-Driven." While page views have often been cited as the foremost indicator of reader interest, said ALM's chief digital officer Jeffrey S. Litvack, there are better KPIs for reader loyalty and engagement. ALM Media is putting particular emphasis on page scrolling because the amount of an article or page a reader views is a much better indication of engagement than the traditional time spent measurement.