Association of online publishers Helping media owners build better digital business

"It's no longer enough to produce great content that attracts an engaged audience"

At AOP's social media/communities-focussed forum on 28 April, we explored the editorial benefits and new dimensions social media is delivering to digital publishing. We also tackled empowering communities to shape your product, as well as developing revenue streams from social media: find out more about the event and access speaker presentations.

Ahead of the event, we spoke to
Paul Hood
Paul Hood, Head of Digital, Mirror Group Newspapers, on engagement metrics, and developing revenue streams from social media.

What kind of metrics are you using for a site like to measure user engagement, and how are these being received by clients?

Rather than simply measuring basic 'publisher-centric' engagement metrics (such as how many fans we have on Twitter & Facebook etc), we're doing a lot of work with progressive advertisers to measure the interaction of our brand fans with their advertising & marketing messages.

This is an important paradigm shift. It's no longer enough to produce great content that attracts an engaged audience - we work closely with progressive advertising agencies to deliver 'advertiser-centric' engagement too.

It means working closely with advertisers to help them understand the messages and presentation that will resonate best with our audience.

The engagement metrics vary by campaign and advertiser, but generally include measures of 'recommendation' or 'like' counts, measures of actions (lead gen or purchases), and measures of social sharing.

This approach has been extremely well received by advertisers, and we've run some tremendously successful campaigns on 3am for brands like La Redoute, Kellogg’s, Toyota and Samsung.

How are publishers are developing revenue streams from social media?

Firstly, by getting better at observing what happens to the content we produce when it 'goes social'.

Outcomes are often unpredictable, so publishers must strive to avoid the temptation to pre-empt them (and therefore the associated failure of any rigid revenue model based on errant assumptions).

In our experience, it's only occasionally that the revenue opportunities from social media are direct and obvious. More often than not they are more subtle. To eek them out requires us to observe, listen and engaging with key influencers - that's the first step.

When we have the true attention of the target audience; that's when revenue opportunities become more apparent.

For us, the main starting point for revenue streams lies in data - that's the starting point for the majority of revenue opportunities from social media.

What do you think the 'next stage' of social media integration will look like for publishers?

Convenience is going to be key. As the volume of content on the web continues to explode, the publishers who make their content most easily accessible will have the advantage.

As aggregation and mashup technologies develop, publishers will need to keep on top of the ways these affect content consumption patterns.

The good news is that as these technologies advance, people are consuming more content, not less. If we keep a keen eye on technology changes and embrace them, then quality content will prevail.

Paul will feature at Empowered audiences – adding value to your business, taking place on Wednesday 28 April, from 14.00 to 17:30 at IPC Media - find out more about the event.

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