Five on Friday: Marketing, Mobile Ad-Blocking and Mobile Ad Spending
Featuring Insead, Marketing Tech News, Forbes and Editor & Publisher
To help you figure out what you need to know to succeed in the subscription world, we’ve got some great tips and insights for you. In this week’s Five on Friday, Insead offers advice on how to thrive in the subscription economy, Forbes shares a marketing technology cheat sheet, Marketing Tech News gives its take on the state of mobile ad-blocking, Editor & Publisher explains seven ways to make digital audiences pay for news, and Tubefilter and Recode offer insights from a mobile video ad spend vs. computer ad spend study.
How to Thrive in the Subscription Economy
While subscriptions have been around for decades, the subscription economy has boomed with companies like Amazon, Salesforce, Netflix, Dropbox, Microsoft and Spotify embracing the concept to deliver products and services to consumers in new ways. Instead explains that the subscription economy has created a new kind of consumer. Instead of one-time financial outlays for entertainment, software or business solutions, individuals and businesses can make recurring monthly or annual payments to get access to the products and services they want.
Insead explains that, as a result, we need to think of the subscription economy being driven by subscribers and members, not by the vendors themselves. Consumers today want more personalized experiences – and service – because products and services of all kinds can be acquired relatively easily, so a dissatisfied subscriber can toggle or bounce between services without a lot of anguish.
To be successful at navigating this shifting paradigm, Insead recommends that companies transform themselves in four key areas:
- Subscriber identity: A simple subscriber record with contact and payment information is not enough. Companies need to track purchases, payment history, refund history, renewal value, promotions, local pricing and more.
- Subscriber journey: Thoughtful onboarding is necessary to create a satisfying subscriber journey from the initial invitation to installation or use, new features, upgrades and renewals.
- Subscriber culture: Subscription companies should be conscious of creating a consistent brand and culture across the entire subscriber experience. Every piece of the subscription puzzle – including partners and third-party vendors – should put the subscriber’s needs first, and be able and willing to adapt to a subscriber’s changing needs.
- New metrics: The subscription economy requires a different set of metrics which track things like subscriber growth and change, customer lifetime value, engagement, payments, retention, etc.
Five Emerging Marketing Advancements You Need to Understand
As the digital age has changed, so has marketing, and it can be difficult to keep up with all of the options and technologies available today. To make it a little less painful, Ted Dhanik has written ‘A Marketing Technology Cheat Sheet for Business Owners.’ Here are five emerging marketing advancements we need to understand:
- Influencer marketing. Put simply, brands partner with influencers – and now micro-influencers who have smaller audiences – whether they are athletes, celebrities or YouTube stars to tout their products or services. To potential subscribers, this feels like a more personal approach. Real people using real stuff and sharing their experiences.
- Native advertising. Have you ever read a magazine and seen the tiny print at the type – Special Advertising Section? This concept is exploding online, but posts or articles are shown as Sponsored oftentimes. This is where a publisher takes a piece of promotional content and inserts it into the regular flow of news or other content. FTC guidelines require that native ads are labeled as such, but if the guidelines are followed, this can be a very effective tool for reaching potential customers.
- Smart TV. Do you have a TV that connects to the internet so you can watch Netflix, Amazon Prime or download apps? Then you have a smart TV. Marketers can now use smart TVs as a digital marketing channel the same way they would a smartphone.
- Internet of Things (IoT). So many of our appliances and devices these days have internet capabilities, including refrigerators, thermostats and security systems, many of which are accessible through a dashboard on your smartphone. These, too, offer a possible marketing channel as the technology evolves.
- Virtual Reality (VR). We aren’t quite ready for virtual reality, but some consumers are, and there are subscription services like Viveport that are catering to those consumers. As VR becomes more mainstream, this presents another channel for tech savvy marketers to tap into.
Mobile Ad-Blocking Usage is Lagging in the U.S.
Raise your hand if you are tired of display ads on your computer? Tablet? Smartphone? Pretty much everyone has been annoyed by a pop-up, banner or other display ad. In a recent article, Marketing Tech News explains why users in the U.S. lag behind other parts of the world in terms of mobile ad-blocker usage. We’ll hit the highlights:
- Only 22 percent of current U.S. ad-blocker users have ad-blocking software on their phones.
- Consumers are blocking ads because they suffer from ad overload. Marketing Tech News reports that 54 percent of U.S. ad-blocker users state that too many ads are annoying or irrelevant, 48 percent say there are just too many ads online, and 47 percent say they think ads take up too much screen space.
- Mobile ad-blocking is less common in the U.S. because 52 percent of device owners don’t know that ad blocking on a mobile device is possible.
- To increase mobile ad-blocking awareness in the U.S., developers have an opportunity to create effective ad blocking products that load quickly and minimize battery drain.
Seven Ways to Attract More Digital Subscribers
We won’t rehash the last 20 years of the newspaper industry, where news went from a print medium to a print, digital and multimedia enterprise. In fact, Tim Gallagher does that quite well for Editor & Publisher in his article, ‘Business of News: 7 Ways to Make Your Digital Audience Pay for News.’ In the article, Gallagher talks about a study by the Media Insight Project that reiterates what we are all starting to believe – that people will pay for quality content.
Gallagher recommends that newsrooms use the study to convert more digital readers into subscribers, and he offers these seven ways to do that:
- Cover your major local stories well, so that you become an invaluable ‘go to’ resource for the community.
- Understand who is paying for your product and who isn’t. Only until you gather the right data and analyze it can you develop a solid plan for converting readers into buyers.
- Meet the needs of younger subscribers. Find ways to engage them and provide them with community news in a way that appeals to them, so they better understand what you bring to the table.
- Customers start paying for news at important milestones in their lives. Gallagher suggests partnering with large employers in your area to offer free subscriptions to new employees.
- Review your price tag. Survey respondents said they felt the cost of news was inexpensive, so you might test different price points to see if your subscribers would be willing to pay more.
- Provide a wealth of quality content. News consumers don’t want cheaply aggregated content thrown together. They want quality journalism and lots of it. Don’t skimp on the reporting.
- Consider coupons. Customers love coupons, and newspapers have been known for providing them in the past. Look at any Sunday newspaper. Some people buy them just for the coupons. Think about what local coupons you could offer and work with your advertisers to offer them. If subscribers are saving more than they are spending, a subscription is an easy sell.
Mobile Video Ad Spend Will Surpass Computer Ad Spend for Next Year
Citing a study quoted in Recode, Tubefilter says that global mobile video ad spend will grow 49 percent to about $18 billion next year, $3 billion more than is expected to be spent on computer video ad spend. In 2019, mobile video ad spend will be about $22.5 billion, while computer video ad spend will be about $16.2 billion. These forecasts were produced by Zenith, a media measurement company. Recode says that, in 2018, people will spend an average of 36 minutes daily watching online video on phones and tablets, versus 18.5 minutes on non-mobile devices.
That wraps up Five on Friday for this week. Ie’d love to hear your feedback, and ideas for future stories. Know of a product, service, technology, technique or news tidbit we should know about? Email me at email@example.com, and I’ll check it out. Until then, have a great weekend!