The EContent 100 list of companies that matter most in the digital content industry is now in its 15th year. We added new judges and new categories. As a result, there are many new companies on the list. Among other changes this year, we thought it was important to recognize digital marketing technologies in their own category.
December 2015 Issue
Posted Dec 01, 2015
An introduction to the EContent 100 judging team, and the list's categories.
December 2015 Issue
Posted Dec 01, 2015
You may have recently noticed a podcast renaissance of sorts. The success of Serial woke many brands, marketers, journalists, and more up to the power of the podcast. As a result, podcasts are popping up in almost every facet of business with renewed purpose, and targeting new audiences.
By Lin Pophal
Posted Nov 30, 2015
No one has a crystal ball for looking into the future of content. How will people be viewing your content a year or 10 years from now? Will it be on a smartwatch or maybe as a hologram? The hologram example may be taking things a bit too far, but the point is that, as a content creator, you never know how your content will be used in years to come. If you want it to have staying power, you need to think about future-proofing.
A report released last month by Marchex, a mobile advertising analytics company, and Digiday, found 56% of respondents consider mobile advertising measurement and attribution "very challenging" or "challenging" as opposed to scale (39%) or transparency (37%). All marketing verticals-agencies, publishers, and brands-agreed on this notion, showing unanimous concern about the challenges inherent in attribution. There are a few issues at work here, but there is also hope.
By Daniel Casciato
Posted Nov 20, 2015
Ask any e-marketer and they'll likely tell you it is high time deck the web's walls with scores of sales, coupons, promotions, and special offers to entice holiday shoppers. But will the deals you have in mind match what consumers are seeking? What's the best way to get shoppers' attention online? And how do you know when the timing is exactly right to launch a particular campaign or promo? Experts say these are crucial questions to address in the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Nov 18, 2015
In the good old days, web content management (WCM) technology primarily served to deliver content to a website-hence the name. At best, "multichannel" referred to the ability to deliver content to more than one type of website (e.g., an intranet and a public-facing website) or, the ability to repurpose experiences using a simplified template to make it palatable on mobile devices. Multichannel means a lot more now.
Today, any company worth its salt is stepping in front of the lens and clicking the Record button. When it comes to marketing in 2015, video is the undisputed king among consumers. Case in point: More than 70% of marketers say video generates conversions better than any other type of content, per survey data, sponsored by Vidyard, in Demand Metric's August 2014 report, "Video Content Marketing: Identifying Metrics & Measuring Impact." But with increasingly shorter audience attention spans, many content providers are veering away from extended play clips and relying more on short-form videos to build a customer base and push brands, products, and services.
The Content Marketing Institute's (CMI) 2015 reports on B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) content marketing trends reveal some important disconnects among demand, effectiveness, and satisfaction with results. For instance, while 86% of B2B respondents indicate that they are using content marketing, only 38% say that their efforts are effective. While 83% say they have a content marketing strategy, only 35% have a documented strategy.
Proven sales pitches and promotional tactics that register with Baby Boomers and Gen Xers can bomb when directed toward 18-34 year olds. That's because, whether it's due to intrinsic fickleness, innate skepticism, or vexing demographic complexity, Millennials can be downright difficult to market to. But if you can speak their language and attract their eyeballs, you stand a better chance of engaging this increasingly populous and powerful consumer segment.
Software programs masquerading as humans and controlled by criminals are decaying trust in the ecosystem - and these bad bots are getting smarter by the day. It may sound like a mediocre movie plot, but the drama is all too real for advertisers, publishers, agencies and others in the digital advertising marketplace who are falling victim to bot fraud. Now, combatting the multipronged menace has become a priority for many stakeholders.
By Mindy Charski
Posted Oct 21, 2015
Marketers and content providers especially need to keep their fingers on the pulse of the latest mobile trends and technologies, lest they be crushed by the stampeding mass that could suddenly break in a different direction at any time. Because let’s face it: Today, consumers--not content--are king, and they expect to be treated like royalty, with a rich array of apps, articles, promotions, posts, tweets, texts, videos, and other short-attention-span-geared features at their fingertips.
This example, though, is just good marketing. It's not really content marketing. It wasn't until I was on the site, a couple of days later, checking out after I received 10% off my order, that I came across a handy little site widget that caught my attention. I'd just fed the site my payment information and address, and it was now thanking me for my order. And in the sidebar, it was also offering me a list of parks near my house where I could go be outdoorsy.
By Theresa Cramer
Posted Oct 13, 2015
Native ads--ads that reside seamlessly within content, giving the appearance of editorial material--have become increasingly prevalent as consumer adoption of mobile technology has skyrocketed. These ads can take many forms, and marketers are always in search of the next new thing that will enable them to cut through the clutter to deliver an experience that not only will be different, but also will resonate with their audiences and, ultimately, drive sales.
DRM means different things to different people. In popular perception, DRM is often associated with controlling access to proprietary content--for instance, preventing music or video file-sharing. To be clear, this article is not about content protection technologies that prevent viewing or using digital assets. Instead, we take an enterprise perspective, and the focus here is on enterprise DRM tools to manage the rights and licensing information associated with digital assets.
There's an unspoken agreement that consumers and companies enter into millions of times a day: Consumers get free products that they value (Facebook and Twitter), and the companies show them semi-personalized and relevant ads to pay for the service. But survey after survey shows that Americans value privacy but feel resigned to not having much when they venture online. Businesses live in fear of a data breach that would undermine the public’s trust in their company and cost them revenue and shareholder value.
If the last 10 years have taught us anything, it's that virtually anybody can be an author, photographer, videographer, voiceover talent, or subject matter expert-thanks to ubiquitous tools like smartphones, blogs, and social media sites that allow everyday people to post and publish text, photos, video, and audio galore. Which begs the question for companies: Why not tap into these public resources more often as a free and valuable source of content for your brands and products?
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Sep 30, 2015
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, "It is a principle of American law that an author of a work may reap the fruits of his or her intellectual creativity for a limited period of time." "Copyright" literally means the right to copy. There are more than 300 years of history and legal cases that developed copyright law in the U.S. It all began in England in the late 15th century, with the introduction of the printing press. In 1710, Parliament passed the Statute of Anne, which "established the principles of authors' ownership of copyright, preventing a monopoly by booksellers," according to the Library of Congress (LC).
About 40% of unique visitors to the website of the digital food brand Epicurious come from mobile devices, and 20% come from tablets. It would have been easy as pie to group these non-desktop users together when the brand overhauled its website last February. Easy, but a very bad recipe. After all, mobile and tablet users are looking at different screen sizes and possibly consuming content differently.
Consumer products like fitness trackers and smart thermostats are among the most easily identifiable "things" of the Internet of Things. But the IoT also has a buttoned-up side. Many enterprises are deploying sensor-packed devices that gather data and can communicate with other devices through the internet. Their benefits can be wide ranging, and they include the potential for improving decision-making capabilities and creating efficiencies through automation. There's a catch, though: These data-rich, connected technologies can pose security risks. Cybercriminals have their eyes on the IoT, too.
By Mindy Charski
Posted Sep 18, 2015
In this age of analytics, marketers are data detectives. A/B testing can help resolve many of their quandaries related to online marketing. But, first, what is A/B testing? It is a process in which you choose the best-performing version of a webpage, by randomly displaying different versions of your site to visitors and assessing the performance of each variant against a desired metric (such as clicks or sign-ups). You can test by tweaking one page element (such as headline, call to action, or image) at a time, or you can test changes to several page elements all at once (the latter is referred to as "multivariate testing"). Thus, when you use A/B testing, you are not flying blind. You're letting data drive your design choices and decisions. Think of A/B testing as "the scientific method meeting online marketing."
As of July 1, Jeff Haden's June 8, 2015, LinkedIn post, "7 Things Employees Wish They Could Tell Their Bosses," had grown to about 481,000 views, more than 1,800 likes, and 307 comments. Haden, a ghostwriter and speaker, is a LinkedIn Influencer. Similar to other Influencers, his posts often go viral. Most of those who are attempting to engage with an audience online, though, struggle to generate even 100 views. What can the masses learn from online influencers, whether they are the capital "I" LinkedIn variety or from a wider array of content outlets?
Several publishers have made headlines over the past few years as they battled Amazon.com for the right to set their own ebook prices. Amazon.com wanted to contractually obligate the companies to set the prices at $9.99 or less. Big-name authors got involved, as did Stephen Colbert-whose publisher, Hachette, was in one of the longest and most contentious contract negotiations with Amazon (which, for its part, tossed its weight around by taking pre-order buttons off of Hachette books, and purposely filling books for Hachette books late). But Hachette and other publishers, like Harper-Collins and Simon & Schuster-as well as the rest of the so-called "Big 5"-eventually won the right to set their own prices. But as the Wall Street Journal points outin "E-Book Sales Fall After New Amazon Contracts," that may be coming back to haunt the companies now, which have seen their ebook revenue fall.
Posted Sep 08, 2015
Two weeks after its 2013 launch date, Electronic Arts, Inc. sold 1.1 million copies of its "SimCity 5" game, with digital downloads representing half of all sales. President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign website increased donation conversions by 49% and, ultimately, raised an additional $500 million. And Amazon famously changed its checkout button 6 years ago, increasing site revenue by $300 million. What's the common denominator in all three success stories and in countless other case studies across the internet? Each conducted A/B tests, which produced phenomenal results. And they're far from the fringe minority: 75% of strategic phase marketers rely on A/B testing to learn about customer behavior, per MarketingSherpa's 2012 "Website Optimization Benchmark Report."
Demand for original content has likely never been higher and continues to climb. That's good news for the agencies and freelancers who are positioned to provide quality content; their numbers are growing exponentially. But because creating that content can prove challenging. And despite the large and continually growing number of content providers in the market, separating the wheat from the chaff can also prove challenging. There are many options to consider.
By Lin Pophal
Posted Aug 05, 2015
David Meerman Scott, a well-known marketing strategist, coined the term "newsjacking," which he describes as "the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business." The concept makes sense, and we all know that a great way to gain relevance online is by leveraging hot topics and news items that are beginning to trend-but it's a competitive, and fast-moving, field. How do content marketers stay on top of the relevant trends and news in their industries to ensure they're curating and communicating fresh, engaging content?
By Lin Pophal
Posted Jul 31, 2015
Content personalization is on all content creators' minds. That takes many different forms, but one element of targeting the right audience and delivering the right content to them is as simple as catering to their age group. Each age demographic has a unique psychology and world view that influences the decisions they make-including what content they consume. What attracts one demographic will not necessarily attract them all. So how do you get your content in front of the right audience?
By Dr. Nicola Davies
Posted Jul 29, 2015
In early May, an important milestone was reached that signals a sea change in how consumers prefer to access their favorite content: Among Comcast customers, the number of internet subscribers surpassed cable TV subscribers for the first time. Granted, the majority of that bandwidth is not being used to post to Facebook or shop on Amazon. It's predominantly the pipeline for streaming video. Consider that, globally, IP video traffic will comprise 79% of all consumer internet traffic in 2018, up from 66% in 2013, per Cisco.
Web publishers are getting more creative in finding ways to keep visitors on their sites for longer periods and to retain the people who come from social media sites. Infinite scrolling is a fairly new and increasingly popular way of making website users more "sticky" by providing a passively loaded, never-ending stream of content. Is pagination yesterday's news?
MediaShift's Collab/Space is not the kind of conference where attendees shuffle from room to room to listen to one presenter after another. Founder, publisher, and executive director of MediaShift, Mark Glaser, has created a different kind of event. While there are a couple of keynote speakers, the real meat of the conference comes from (what else?) collaboration.
By Theresa Cramer
Posted Jul 16, 2015
People are different--that's not news to anyone. However, content creators and marketers may be surprised by how these individual differences affect search queries. A recent Blue Nile Research study, "Psychology of the Searcher," observed people as they searched for information online and found some significant differences between what people search for and how sites create content.
Email marketing is still a staple of any digital marketer's repertoire, but the technology has become much more sophisticated-and so have your consumers. In this cluttered environment, understanding how to best target and connect with your audience as well as compel them to action is critical. For those in the know, email marketing is far from being a dying breed, despite the proliferation of other online and mobile options.
It is almost a truism that marketing has become highly technology-intensive. A nearly ubiquitous component of any marketing technology portfolio is email marketing. In fact, there is a high probability your company is already using some form of it, even though you might not be aware of it. A related component is marketing automation. Customers often talk of these in the same breath. In this article, we will look at this distinction in some detail and also summarize what marketers should know when evaluating these technologies.
By Apoorv Durga
- June 2015 Issue
Posted Jul 01, 2015
Web users are showing a willingness to pay for content through subscriptions, but publishers and apps are seeing mixed results with premium tiers, according to a March report from BI Intelligence that explores categories increasingly relying on recurring payments to monetize content. The report finds that while some companies use a purely subscription-based model, such as Netflix, many others employ a "freemium" plan. Under this structure, all users gain basic access to content-which is often supported by ads-but can pay to upgrade the experience, perhaps unlocking certain features or accessing an ad-free version.
If you work in the digital content business there are probably a few terms that are constantly coming up in your world. Among them are "content marketing" and "mobile." But what happens when those terms collide, and you have to start thinking about mobile content marketing? If you haven't already started pondering how to fit this into your content strategy, it's time to start.
If you were measuring by the size of the headline fonts, 2014 looked as if it were an inflection point for venture capital (VC) investment into the digital content industry. According to Preqin, which tracks data on the investment industry, VC funding in the digital content industry reached $683 million in 2014, more than double the $286 million invested in 2013. A series of discussions with VCs already active in the digital content space revealed a real appetite for further digital content opportunities-provided those companies searching for funds bring with them scalability, engaged users, revenue, and quality.
The Apple Watch is here to stay, and depending on how you feel about smartwatches, that may be a good or bad thing. As we learn more about how people are actually using their smartwatches, manufacturers have the opportunity to create devices and operating systems that better address the needs and wants of users. With that in mind, Battery Ventures decided to find out exactly how smartwatches are being used.
By Theresa Cramer
Posted Jun 17, 2015
What happens when five powerful publishers band together to form a programmatic ad network, allowing advertisers to buy advertising space on The Economist, CNN International, The Guardian, Reuters, and Financial Times? The short answer is Pangaea. A longer answer, or at least longer-term one, is that no one is quite sure yet.
By Angie Dixon
Posted Jun 08, 2015
After a period of relentless hype, clarity is emerging on use cases for Big Data, and the toolsets are also showing signs of maturity. Digital media publishers may have been slow to join the Big Data party, but it is not too late. This article provides a quick overview of the Big Data tools for publishers, and the focus here is not on internal business intelligence use cases, but on the content-creation side of the business.
Journalists have long relied on numbers to support narratives. Some in the field have even been doing deep dives into the data to find the stories buried inside-that's not new. But fresh interest, new data sources, and cheaper tools are mainstreaming what was once an advanced and specialized area of the newsroom. Today, even more reporters are translating columns and rows of information into compelling text and impactful visuals.
For many companies, "social video" is an enigmatic content format. However, Tania Yuki, founder and CEO of the social media marketing and analytics company Shareablee, believes brands simply need to look at social video as "designed to be consumed within ephemeral environments-easy to consume, fast to the point, involving some spectacle that makes it worth stopping what you're doing, and enjoying a brief immersive video experience." This definition separates social video from more evergreen formats, such as films or interviews.
By Bree Brouwer
- May 2015 Issue
Posted May 27, 2015
A recent poll found that smartphone users are increasingly using shopping applications. In 2013, overall app usage grew by 115%, but the rate of growth slowed in 2014 to 76%. However, the opposite was true for shopping and lifestyle apps. Usage grew by 77% in 2013 and jumped in 2014 with a 174% increase, according to data from Flurry. With in-store beacons becoming more prevalent and engaging shoppers in new ways, this mobile growth trend seems set to continue in 2015.
By Guy A. Burdick
Posted May 25, 2015
Data, data, data-it's everywhere. Everything, including your watch, your grocery store, and even your car, can collect it from you. But what do companies do with all this data they collect--and, more importantly, how can they make the best and most efficient use of it? That's where cognitive computing comes in. It uses a variety of techniques--such as image and speech recognition and machine-learning algorithms--to sense, predict, and even think.
By Mike Thompson
Posted May 18, 2015
There is perhaps nothing more exciting--and challenging--to the world of digital content creators than the idea of wearable devices, and Noble Ackerson is at the forefront of this burgeoning field. "I was fortunate to be brought in at the ground floor of Google's Glass Explorer program. And as one of the first explorers, I had the pleasure of interfacing with the Glass team quite a bit," he says. "The technical and user experience insights gained from being a so-called Glass Pioneer, coupled with a decade of technical and business experience, made my leap to wearables a natural one."
Numbers rarely tell the story, but sometimes, they can go a long way. Such is the case with the growth of YouTube as a branding platform, targeted advertising medium, and vehicle to reach consumers, especially younger ones. It's no longer just the home of cute cat videos and footage of an 8-year-old's first soccer goal; YouTube is a huge force in social media. Popular YouTube stars--known as influencers or creators--are every bit as popular and influential as Jennifer Lawrence and Jon Stewart. With the younger crowd, they hold a considerable amount of sway.
Having helped Digiday launch its Content Studio, Deanna Zammit knows better than anyone what it takes to create a successful native advertising department. After starting her career in journalism--complete with a stint at Adweek--and a turn at freelancing, Zammit happened to see a post on Facebook that announced Digiday was looking to find someone to head up its new Content Studio and said, "I can do that!"
The tools available to us are pushing new limits. Here at EContent, we turned to our inboxes, our coverage, and our contributors to find out what those trendsetting products are in 2015. We hope that you find these tools as interesting and as potentially helpful as we do!
May 2015 Issue
Posted May 04, 2015
Content Marketing Institute's 2015 "Small Business Marketing Trends-North America" study, sponsored by Copyblogger Media's Rainmaker platform, focuses on how small business marketers are changing their marketing practices. It also points to some potential opportunities for these small businesses and others to better leverage the value that content marketing can provide. Chief among the keys to content marketing success is having a strategy.
By Lin Pophal
- April 2015 Issue
Posted Apr 27, 2015
Content is at the heart of every business. We spend a lot of time talking about content strategy, but very little talking about the reality of creating and managing it. When you have content being created by different people, at multiple locations chaos can ensue. Throw freelancers into the mix, and the picture gets even more confusing. A solid strategy must be in place for tracking assignments, billings, draft work, hours, and final product.
By Eliana Osborn
Posted Apr 24, 2015