Association of online publishers Helping media owners build better digital business

AOP Spring Conference 2014

12 Mar 2014
09.00 to 17:30
Etc Venues St Pauls
200 Aldersgate, London

Event Description

Wednesday 12th March 2014 saw the AOP spring conference take place at etc venues st Pauls and was our most successful to date.  Previously known as the B2B conference, the AOP Spring Conference is aimed specifically at specialist and targeted media companies, both B2B and B2C. The key themes of the conference programme were content, commerce and community, and how these are interacting to create opportunities for publishers of quality specialist and targeted content. A huge thank you to our speakers and moderators for their engaging content and insight.  To our sponsors and partners and to our Content Producer Michael Nutley for pulling together such a fantastic programme.
Click on the image below for information on all our conference sponsors

 View all the photos from the event here

Opening the day,EMAP CEO Natasha Christie-Miller’s keynote looked at the enduring importance of the customer realationship in a world where so much is changing.  Christie-Miller discussed her mission to put the customer relationship back at the heart of the business and how the trategy is working as EMAP moves into its third year of growth Nial Ferguson, Managing Director of Future UK and Kit Gould, CEO & Managing Director, IDG UK, took part in the closing "View From The Top" panel.  They joined Haymarket Consumer Media MD David Prasher to discuss the strategic implications for specialist and targeted publishers of the issues raised during the event.

View interviews from the panel below


Moderator Highlights

Our wonderful session moderators have provided their highlights from the day below:

Successful Social Media in targeted markets - Moderated by Phil Clark, Head of Editorial Development, UBM

Phil Clark_UBM
"A wide ranging panel examined how to convert the wider opportunities of social media into specific strategies, approaches and tactics for targeted markets. Broader advice offered included not to see social media as a way to simply broadcast messages to existing and new audiences but to see it as a means to gather insight and improve your core product and customer service. More practically the panel offered specific strategies that social was focused on for their business, from selling subscriptions to gathering feedback or tracking trends in their markets. The panel also shared insights into how they measured the impact of social, from engagement through to putting a price on social recommendations, on successfully commercialising social and also on the growing power of visual and video content on social channels".  

Editorial that Delivers - Moderated by Michael Nutley, Consultant

"The panel agreed that a key issue when thinking about editorial is being able to measure its effectiveness - not in terms of vanity metrics such as page views, but in terms like the engagement it drives with audiences. Knowing this means it’s possible to start putting a value on quality content, so that conversations with the commercial arm of the business are conducted in terms both sides can understand, but also so that decisions can be taken about the kind of content that needs to be developed to suit each particular audience. That in turn makes it easier to motivate journalists to change their approaches, and to learn and deploy new skills in the service of the audience, rather than just because they “reckon” it’s the right thing to do".


Subscriptions as a service - Moderated by Richard Cook, Operations Director, Business Publishing, Centaur Media.

" During this stream we discussed the structure/organisation of sales teams, technology and audience. EMAP has grown their sales team from 3 to 14 in just under 18 months on the back of strong sales and subscriber growth. There is a different skillset required for new business subscription sales and account management and all the companies on the panel had formed separate teams within the wider sales team. New business teams are also incentivised on retention of clients to ensure that they sell the right subscriptions to the right clients. The use of data and clear metrics was also a key point with specialist teams formed to support the analysis of usage and renewals to support the sales process. All the panellists had either deployed or were in the process of deploying product managers to support corporate subscription sales – a new but important development and role within traditional publishers. Some good work had and was being done, by EMap and Incisive in particular, with Scout Analytics around conversion and renewal rates".

Content Marketing - Moderated by Clare Hill, Managing Director, The CMA (commentary by Michael Nutley)

"Successful content marketing is the result of hard thinking about client needs and editorial wants, and of maintaining the quality of content, whether it’s produced as editorial or for a client. As James McAllister, Content Director, UM Studios said: “if you do that, the brand will be happy and you’ll have a great piece of content that you didn’t have to pay for.” In order for publishers to make this work, Jim Ranson, director of advertising sales, Future, advised they build a bridge between editorial and commerical with a business unit that takes expertise from both sides but is independent from both. The other key point made was that content marketing is not just about adding more to world’s content pile, but making it discoverable, and that publishers’ skills in promotion and distribution are just as important as those in content creation".  

Driving Live Events - Moderated by Clare Dewhirst, Group Director of New Product Development, WTG Events

"The discussion focused on when and how to build communities, how to use social media, how to use content marketing, when and how to build partnership relationships. On communities: you need the “brand permission”; your event needs to have established a status within its market to make any community marketing effective. A proactive social media campaign will work better in some sectors than others - but even where you are less likely to succeed in building a large following for your own event, social media is an invaluable listening tool. Graham Jones of Incisive stressed that linking to content pieces, such as white papers, research reports etc, will dramatically increase click throughs on email campaigns and – even if you are giving content away for free – you are still able to use this as invaluable lead generation and data building. Tim Porter, MD, Clarion Defence & Security suggested that, as a rule, you should always give away that little bit more content than you feel comfortable with – it’s never the wrong thing to do". 

Programmatic Trading - Moderated by Matthew O'Neil, Head of Supply and Fullfillment, Unanimis

Matt O\'Neill
"The benefits of programmatic trading, at least in the traditional RTB and Audience Trading sense of it, solve a problem that doesn’t necessarily exist for smaller, specialist publishers like Dennis Publishing and Incisive. The panelists explored how the emergence of Private Marketplaces (PMPs) have begun to offer benefits to publishers with highly targeted audiences, top-shelf CPMS, and effectively no unsold inventory. While remaining cautious about negative effects on their CPMs and yield, all three panelists were broadly positive and optimistic about the future of Programmatic and being able to leverage the efficiencies offered by these technologies.Jamie Labate flagged data, specifically the ability to employ 1st party audience data generated by Dennis’ users, as an exciting new revenue opportunity exposed through programmatic".

Lead generation - Moderated by Steve Kemish, MD, Cyance and member of The IDM Digital Marketing Council

"A lively and informative session on Lead Generation produced some excellent comment, with both the panel and audience contributing to this important subject.
The main areas of discussion centred on: Ensuring solid setup/requirements - It’s clear that the more the publisher understand the advertiser, in terms of what success looks like for them and what a good-looking lead looks like, the better the results will be. Invest the time in understand the differences between advertisers.
Recognising not all leads are the same - The price and complexity of the product or service being advertised can dramatically affect the volume and value of the leads produced. It’s also vital to remember how long a sales cycle some complex sales take, to truly understand success and ROI.
The difference between cost and value selling - Try and look at whether you can help your advertisers focus on the value they receive from the relationship rather than a pure cost basis. Hard to do in practice, but a vital component to help focus on the longer-term value and long tail that good content and audience management can yield.
Different countries, different needs - For international audiences, be aware that a lead in terms of value and speed to conversion may differ dramatically – don’t assume all markets and territories have the same need.
CPL vs CPC - A dangerous minefield but expect more conversation about shared risk model – how can the shift move from lead generation and reward based on just that to a higher reward based on sales result – a topic that deserves its own session!"

The View From The Top - Moderated by Michael Nutley

"This closing panel discussed the difficulty in adopting new technology within the business, and the different approaches. Nial Ferguson, MD, Future UK, talked about hiring in experts  to drive new approaches and areas of business; Kit Gould, CEO & MD, IDG UK, explained how he takes people out of the “engine room” of the business to give them time to become experts themselves; and David Prasher, MD, Haymarket Consumer Media, described a hybrid model. And the panel described the metrics they apply to new business units, from growth and speed to market, to the outcomes they deliver to the market".