The New Era of Mobile
A New Level of Audience Segmentation
Audience, then, is the second factor in this equation, and audience data on an individual level can dramatically drive ROI. Sure, publishers have realized the inherent value of their subscriber lists for decades—hence the development of the list-brokerage industry. But mobile, with its always-on, location-enabled components, combined with social media, allows for the potential of individual-level profiling and personalized marketing messaging.
This allows a marketer to screen (or have you screen) your subscriber list, identifying microsegments for whom an offer can be developed and delivered personally.
A common objection to this approach is that such segmentation can very quickly reduce a subscriber list of 100,000 down to numbers in the hundreds or less. No matter, the exponentially higher value of these potential "brand champions"—whose earned trust among peers and relationship with you enables impactful, viral messaging—will not be lost on the savvy data-driven marketer.
Rapleaf, which provides companies with social data about their audiences, helped a consumer package goods company identify 20 socially influential individuals from a list of more than 4 million customers. These folks were targeted, engaged and empowered to deliver a message on behalf of the brand, resulting in a self-propagating campaign that delivered significant ROI.
Certainly these brand champions are worth more than the nominal per-name fee, and perhaps more than the not-so-nominal full-page ad rate that your advertisers are currently paying. The key will be to prove to your advertisers that you're not simply reformatting your content for a mobile audience, but that you can leverage the "fourth screen," as it's called, to drive incremental value. You own the relationship with this audience; don't abuse the privilege, and you will be well-positioned to capitalize on what my colleague Thom Kennon calls "the most private and personalized touchpoint we've ever seen." Through GPS enablement, radio frequency identification (RFID) and social connectivity, it certainly will be, if it isn't already.