Tag Archives: magazines

Relevancy is not enough!

Why brands should give consumers what they want, how and when they need it.

The above screen grab is from an appeal that Maura Johnston made yesterday evening on her Twitter account. Whichever site she was clicking on, her frustrating customer journey simply illustrates what some marketers and publishers have failed to grasp: relevancy is key to what people want in media.

Since its origins in publishing, content marketing has become one of the latest buzzwords in marketing. Google has recognised the importance of the relevancy of content in their latest search algorithm updates, as have so many other parts of the PR, marketing and retail industries.

Social media has had a great deal of influence in this growing tendency due to its capacity to allow family and friends to efficiently share the latest products, videos, news and entertainment with their network. The keyword here is efficiency, as time-hungry consumers dislike jumping hurdles when trying to get what they want.

Relevancy in content

There’s no secret to what used to make print publishing so successful, as at the core of all successful publishing products we will find relevancy of content. Publishers (should) know their target market inside out and so the content they produce ought to meet the reader’s expectations.

In the past, all this was relatively simple as it all came together in one channel, the printed magazine or newspaper. However, as we all know too well, the multitude of communication channels has piled much pressure on publishers and marketers to reach their audience by way of different platforms, each with their particular costs, challenges, etiquette and limitations.

Efficiency in the user journey

What marketers and publishers should not forget is that relevant content alone is not enough to satisfy consumers. A simple and straightforward route to access it is key to ensuring the content reaches them and serves its purpose. Otherwise, we are just wasting time and money in creating good content only to have customer journeys that frustrate the target audience, especially when venturing into the digital arena. You might have a very engaging video about your brand or product to excite consumers, but making them download an app to be able to see it is a one-way ticket to a negative customer experience.

This is all the more important in a world that is increasingly mobile. According to Google research, 72% of consumers want mobile-friendly sites (see study here), so if you’re looking to go digital with your content, make sure that it’s tailored to being accessed on mobile devices, especially smartphones and tablets. Although use of apps to showcase content is on the rise, more and more brands and their agencies are realising that a good mobile-friendly website is just as efficient in achieving campaign objectives, hereby sidetracking the many challenges of an app-centred content marketing plan.

This does not mean that every single website should load, by default, in mobile-friendly format when a consumer arrives at it. Some people with large screen smartphones and on tablets are more than happy to access websites in their “full fat” version. What’s important is give the consumer the preference and not dictate it. The consumer knows what (s)he wants. All you should do is be there to provide it how and when they want it.

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A spanner in the works of publishing and content

Setting a new level of high-definition, but at a cost for publishers and content creators.

The new iPad is proving to be another challenge in the constantly evolving world of digital publishing and content marketing.


Following up on yesterday’s post, new iPad owners were critical of the pixelation of the text and the photos contained in some of the editions that have not been optimised for the higher resolution of the market-leading tablet. Vogue were the first to address this by offering an optimised version of their latest issue, bumping up the file size from 280MB to 408MB.

Now for argument’s sake, if we take an increase of 30-50% in file size as the benchmark for all other publishers, it poses a serious problem for the overall effectiveness of the new iPad as a publishing tool, or indeed as a multimedia platform for displaying high-definition content in general.

Casting our gaze over the current panoply of high-definition offerings, we see that consumers can readily access it on their Full HD televisions and computers, as well as apparatus such as Blu-ray players or cable provider DVRs. We’re talking serious hardware, built for the pressures of large file sizes by using hard disc drives and optical cables for the streaming of HD content.

The fact of the matter is that contrary to the ever-improving memory capacity of desktop computers and DVRs, the iPad has had a maximum of 64GB of memory capacity for over 2 years, with many consumers opting for the more cost-effective smaller capacities. Subsequently, users have to constantly decide what apps to delete and install when new content comes along.

Can we consider the new iPad’s ‘resolutionary’ display a consumer gimmick, created more to impress than to be of actual functionality and service to a user? Quite likely! Would a larger memory capacity or USB ports have been a more pragmatic addition to the new iPad? Quite possibly. Will the increased file size needed to display content convince people to take out a subscription or make frequent purchases of hi-res copies of the magazine app? Quite unlikely! The trade-off of sacrificing more memory for the sake of a pin-sharp photo in a magazine just isn’t there.

Like the film, technology and entertainment industry that are growing on the back of signficant improvements in high-definition offering, publishers and content marketers in general will have to wait for a similar jump in iPad hardware specification to be able to take advantage of the screen the iPad has to offer consumers.

So until Apple increases the memory capacity of the iPad in line with the more generous offerings of ultrabooks or even the Macbook Air (which mostly feature flash memories between 128 and 256GB), it will always be a hard-sell for high-definition content to command consumer’s attention (and spend) when it comes to tablet devices.

Then again, there is always the 300dpi resolution of magazines printed on paper… Now there’s an idea for high-definition content!

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The new iPad comes with 46% less memory?!

The ‘resolutionary’ screen is clearly (no pun intended) the main selling point in the new iPad. Contrary to common-sense, I feel this new resolution is a curse to all those early adopters that are already swiping away at their new iPads (after having wiped the drool off the screen).

Today, Mashable highlights the fact that ‘magazines look terrible on the new iPad′s high-resolution display’. The current exception seems to be Vogue, which had already optimised its edition to take full advantage of the retina display in the apple of Apple’s eye. However, this came at a ‘price’, as this edition now occupies 408MB of the iPad’s flash memory, up from the 280MB needed for the other iPad versions.

This means that we are getting the same content as before (albeit at an eye-candy level of clarity), but at the cost of sacrificing an additional 46% of the flash memory of our device. Why then would you buy the new iPad if you are limited to a maximum storage of 64GB? How many optimised applications, games or magazines will you be able to fit in your new tablet? Would Steve Jobs have gone ahead with a new product knowing that it is not the best it can be, by matching a bump up in screen resolution with proportionate amount of adequate memory storage? Is it really fair to assume that each time you double your iPad’s capacity, the real cost of the flash memory costs goes up by £80 each time?

The half-promise of a content El Dorado

These questions have obviously not stopped this new toy from becoming a wildly popular cash-cow for Cupertino’s consumer darlings. Yet in bowing to the pressures of having to lead the tablet market, Apple is selling a product that half fulfils a promise. Consumers have bought a ticket to the El Dorado, but they’ve been made to wait at the outskirts of the city, despite being able to see the bright lights and excitement it has to offer. And they’re having to put up with a lot of heat to be able to be there.

Yes you can already see high-definition content on your new iPad, but you can’t store it for long if you want your next fix of new content. Yes, your new games and applications can be ‘resolutionary’-ready, but you’ll have to get rid of other apps, photos or videos to be able to keep using or playing them. Yes, you can keep your ‘un-optimised’ content, but it will look underwhelming on your fantastic screen.

The curse of the new iPad is its greatest asset. To experience the true benefits of this display, consumers will have to wait until the flash memory on the iPad matches those of ultrabooks or the Macbook Air. This may not be too far down the line, since Toshiba already features high capacities at the top-end of their Solid State Drive product family. Only when we have NAND flash memories upwards of 128GB will the iPad finally fulfill its potential of a post-PC device. By then, though, we will already be talking about the new ‘new iPad’, and I suspect it will take at least another year to get there.

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