Features

Big Data, that corpus of global digital information characterized by velocity, variety, and volume—with contributions from just about every being and machine on the planet—has achieved such a scope and speed of growth that any attempt to quantify it is outdated as soon as it's measured. If, in the last year, Amazon sold 636 items per second on Amazon Prime Day, YouTube saw 300 hours of video uploaded by users every minute, and Google handled 3.5 billion searches per day, then count on 2018 to bring more of the same.
Technology, a growing demand for content across global geographies, and a trend toward voice and video are all having an impact on the translation and globalization space. Demand for translation services is growing and shifting, says Michael Stevens, growth director at Moravia. "One of the biggest trends that has surprised me … is how fast demand has snowballed for localization services over the phone, as well as for video interpretation," he says. That demand has likely been driven by the growth in webinars, online events, and other two-way digital communication methods.
Consider, for a moment, the latest staggering stats. Worldwide, people watch an average of 5 hours and 45 minutes of online video weekly—a 34% increase from 2016, based on the results of Limelight Network's "The State of Online Video 2017" consumer survey. By 2021, a million minutes of video content will cross global IP networks every second, according to Cisco; at that rate, it would take you more than 5 million years to watch all the video crossing the network each month. And within 3 years, IP video traffic will account for 82% of all consumer internet traffic, per Cisco.
Despite the significant uptick in consumer use of mobile technology, there's still a big gap between those marketers who have effectively embraced mobile to provide an engaging user experience and those who have a long way to go. While experts have been predicting a big bump in the use of more sophisticated technology to deliver better mobile experiences through augmented reality (AR), mixed reality, and virtual reality (VR), for instance, those predictions have yet to be fully borne out. Instead, what we saw in 2017 was continued growth in the app marketplaces, the rapid advent of chatbots, and a growing focus on video (specifically live video), to engage audiences.
Wouldn't it be nice if technology development proceeded in an orderly, logical, and predictable manner? Once you finish laughing—or crying—at that sentence, recognize that especially when it comes to content and marketing analytics and the Big Data that underpins their viability, it was entirely unrealistic in 2017. "Technology didn't wait for us to get our data act together," observes Allison Snow, a senior analyst at Forrester.
In an increasingly high-tech world in which artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are rapidly accelerating our understanding of customers and paving innovative pathways to reaching them more intuitively, digital marketers have to ask themselves a logical question: Are the robots coming for my job too? No, not yet. Those tasked with reaching more eyeballs and raising brand awareness online can likely bolster their job security by staying ahead of important trends and carefully watching industry developments.
There may be no tool more important to the daily life of web users, but more overlooked, than the WCM system. Ask the average web surfer what powers the content he or she consumes, and he or she would likely just look at you dumbfounded. But businesses and publishers know how important WCM systems are to getting their messages out to the masses. While WCM systems may be the foundation much of the web is built on, the industry is changing shape all the time.
In the world of digital ads, two names continue to dominate: Google and Facebook. The competition isn't even close, with these online juggernauts now representing 73% of all U.S. digital advertising, a rise from 63% in the second quarter of 2015, per Pivotal's Brian Wieser in a recent note to clients. But a recent report by investment firm Cowen, "Ad Buyer Survey VI," suggests that Facebook may be poised to snatch that crown, due to the growth in video ads and Instagram.
- Posted Jan 22, 2018
How much of your traffic comes from Facebook? Whatever your answer is, it's about to change. Facebook has officially announced changes to its Newsfeed algorithm that will put content from friends ahead of, well, everything else. So, whether you're a media outlet or a marketer, your social media strategy is about to get a big shake-up.
- Posted Jan 12, 2018
For all the talk about data and measurement at the Gilbane Digital Content Conference, it's not always easy to understand what to do with the numbers once you have them. Lynette Chen, MaassMedia senior consultant, tackled what it means to try and measure success at "the edge of innovation" in her session, relying on a Guardian case study.
- Posted Nov 29, 2017
The Gilbane Digital Content Conference kicked off with a deep dive into the customer psyche with back-to-back keynote presentations. One thing is clear: the future is here and it knows what you're thinking and doing.
- Posted Nov 28, 2017
Adaptive content. You probably hear those words a lot, but like a lot of buzzwords, you may still be struggling to understand what they mean. Juhee Garg, Senior Product Manager, Technical Communications Products, Adobe, was on hand to explain to the keynote audience at Gilbane Digital Content Conference.
- Posted Nov 28, 2017
Hold the phone, Mr. and Mrs. Marketer, and not so fast, John Q. Publisher: That mobile video content you're preparing to post better be future-proofed beyond just the message and branding. Viewable convenience and an amenable aspect ratio are also key criteria today and likely will be for the foreseeable future—which means that your video better be vertical.
Our judges are an integral part of making the EContent 100 list happen, but they rarely get an opportunity to talk directly to our readers. In order to get an idea of what was on their minds during this year's judging, we asked them one simple question: "What was the breakout trend of the past year from your vantage point in the industry, and how do you see it evolving next year?" These are their answers.
Posted Nov 15, 2017
Webinars are still widely promoted online, but does the format still resonate with end users and, if so, which ones? Can webinars reach, and influence, a B2C audience or are they primarily used for B2B outreach? What emerging technologies are moving into the webinar space? These are questions marketers need to be asking themselves.
- Posted Nov 08, 2017
It's a company's worst nightmare: Disgruntled clients pull back due to dissatisfaction with the company's business practices and do so publicly, with government officials urging them on. But when the company being targeted by clients' ire is the video and search behemoth YouTube—and the business practice is the airing of revenue-generating advertisements for creators of extremist content with dangerous real-world implications—both the impact and the stakes are especially high.
Each year, we receive many more submissions for the EContent 100 list than we can use, and many interesting companies don't make it onto the final list. Here we introduce you to some of the companies that caught our attention during the voting process. We'll be keeping an eye on them during the next year, and you should too.
November/December 2017 Issue, Posted Nov 03, 2017
Meet the 11 professionals who decided which companies would make this year's EContent 100 list.
November/December 2017 Issue, Posted Nov 01, 2017
A description of the categories our judges consider when choosing the EContent 100 list.
November/December 2017 Issue, Posted Nov 01, 2017
In order to survive, everything must evolve. The EContent 100 list of companies that matter most in the digital content industry is no exception. Every year during the voting process, we see how the changing list reflects the way the larger industry is developing. In 2017, a couple of trends emerged. The first, is the importance of artificial intelligence (AI), which is probably obvious to anyone in the content business. The second is the increasing importance of digital asset management (DAM). Next year, DAM will need its own category, but this year, we did our best to honor its contributions to the industry within our existing framework.
November/December 2017 Issue, Posted Nov 01, 2017
Compared to other marketing activities, personalization is unique because it can help you improve both short-term and long-term business goals. For example, it can increase short-term goals such as email open rates and conversion rates, but it can also increase customer loyalty and lifetime value in the long term. Not surprisingly, digital marketers have pursued the holy grail of personalization for many years, but they face many challenges, particularly when trying to scale personalization globally.
Content is always changing shapes, morphing into something new. Long before there was the written word, people gathered to tell stories around campfires. Before there was a printing press, there were handwritten books. Then, of course, came ebooks. Now, our content comes to us through a dizzying array of devices and platforms. Smart creators are using the growing number of delivery options to continue to reshape content into new—and sometimes improved—forms.
Consumers aren't the only ones concerned about fake news these days. The folks who actually report the news are admitting this issue is increasingly troublesome, too. And the industry is fighting back in a number of ways.
- Posted Oct 04, 2017
Today, digital advertisers can use various forms of analytics to determine exactly what readers are looking at—and for how long. Enter the concept of time-based advertising metrics, which is the ability to not only know whether an ad has been viewed, but how long viewers spent engaged with it. This represents value for advertisers—and publishers. After all, chances are that advertisers would be willing to pay more to have their content viewed for a longer period of time by their target audiences. The higher the level of engagement (based on time spent), the more advertisers should be willing to spend.
It seems there's hardly a job a machine can't do. You go to the grocery store, and your cashier has been replaced by a computer. Your travel agent was replaced by Expedia years ago. The car in your driveway was mostly built, not by an assembly line of workers, but by advanced robots. Artificial intelligence (AI) can drive your car and clean your floor. Honestly, what doesn't your smartphone do for you? And if you happen to work in a marketing department, you may be wondering if you're going to come in one morning to find some form of AI sitting at your desk.
A quarter-century ago, when SEO was in its infancy, it was as easy as slathering on a heavy layer of keywords and tossing in abundant backlinks to rise in the rankings on search engine results pages. But by 2018, that rudimentary approach will be a distant memory, with Google, Bing, and other search engines' sophisticated algorithms in a state of constant refinement. Those organizations will seek to outwit unscrupulous players determined to manipulate results at the cost of user experience. Meeting the challenge of effective SEO may take on even more importance in the year to come, considering the renewed pressure on search engine providers to help users weed out fake news and other low-quality content.
Succeeding in content translation puts you in a position to create compelling experiences among consumers across the globe. However, it is sometimes misunderstood and diluted within globalizing organizations, which leads some content creators and owners to misuse it and make it less effective than it should be. Here are six steps to help you on your journey.
- July/August 2017 Issue, Posted Aug 21, 2017
News publishers must wrestle with the same conundrum that organizers of resistance movements such as the Women's March and the March for Science face: how to harness that heightened post-election energy and engagement for the long haul. The challenge is to smooth and manage the Trump Bump into a Trump Trajectory.
Media outlets that have been seeking a fairer deal from Facebook for years may soon be getting their wish. That's because the social media giant recently confirmed that publisher paywalls are coming soon to its Instant Articles platform. But be careful what you wish for, say the experts, as questions still linger about how this paid subscription model would work, why it's taken so long, and who really stands to benefit.
- Posted Aug 02, 2017
The Every Body Walk website is loaded with videos and stories meant to inspire people to use their own two feet more often, courtesy of Kaiser Permanente. And Blendtec's series of viral Will It Blend YouTube videos is still grinding away with gusto. Indeed, stealthy branding in the form of value-added content that's relevant to a specific market segment or target audience is in vogue. And it's more than capable of paying dividends for businesses that do it right.
- July/August 2017 Issue, Posted Jul 31, 2017
While there are plenty of dire-sounding discussions taking place these days around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning—and their potential to disrupt the world as we know it—this isn't technology of the future. It's already gaining traction across multiple industries and professions, including with content creators. New technologies are promising to upend the traditional ways in which content is conceived, produced, and disseminated. Examples already exist. 20th Century Fox used IBM Watson to create a trailer for Morgan.
- July/August 2017 Issue, Posted Jul 10, 2017
On the web series Royal Crush, sophisticated teens fall in love with each other on cruise ships that bring them to some of the world's most majestic destinations and have playful onboard attractions such as a rock climbing wall, a spa, and a teen lounge. It's perfectly delightful entertainment, but that's not all. It's also a grand marketing effort from Royal Caribbean International. Royal Caribbean is one of many brands that have embraced episodic content, which refers to a single narrative developed over multiple segments. It's an elaborate content marketing play that employs the power of compelling stories to build stronger brand connections with viewers.
- July/August 2017 Issue, Posted Jul 05, 2017
Marketers are often dubious about the accuracy of advertising metrics when they put their trust in a major digital ad platform like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter. They want to be sure, of course, that they're being billed for the right clicks, ad impressions are correctly tallied, and calculation methods are verified by third parties.
- Posted Jun 21, 2017
Providing great customer experiences requires blending information, design, and operations. In addition to being a purchaser, a customer is a collection of emotions, activities, and attitudes that come into play around purchasing decisions. In practice, this means the content-related parts of a business—websites, promotions, and physical stores—need to be integrated with the commerce parts—product catalogs, transactions, logistics, and fulfillment.
It's been said that we all have a novel in us, but these days, it seems as if we all have a podcast in us. Of course, we don't all have a good podcast in us—and fewer of us can launch an entire network. But Rebecca Lavoie has done just that, from her basement and with the help of her husband—and writing partner—Kevin P. Flynn. Along with two more co-hosts, the pair launched Crime Writers On Serial, a podcast to talk about a podcast (now Crime Writers On…).
- May/June 2017 Issue, Posted Jun 07, 2017
2016 was the year immersive content went big time. NBC broadcast the Olympics in 360-degree video. Pokémon GO got millions of smartphone owners out of the house. Virtual reality (VR) made the cover of TIME. And major players rolled out headline-grabbing VR devices, including Samsung's Gear VR, Oculus' Rift, HTC's VIVE, and Google's Daydream View. The era of affordable and viable VR for the masses had arrived.
- May/June 2017 Issue, Posted Jun 05, 2017
In a digital marketing environment, experiences are becoming increasingly personalized. Consumer actions and interactions are constantly monitored, and the information gleaned from these interactions can be used to deliver content in different ways across multiple channels through various marketing automation and content tools. Using granular customer data, marketers can deliver micro-experiences to consumers.
- May/June 2017 Issue, Posted May 29, 2017
Here's a worrisome thought for marketers that can keep you up at night: Gen Z—a key demographic born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s—comprises 27% of the global population, commands $44 billion in purchasing power, and represents the first true generation of digital natives. But your efforts to reach them via digital ads could fail miserably, new research suggests.
- Posted May 19, 2017
Virtual reality is becoming … well … reality, thanks to a host of new tools and people willing to test the limits of what the technology is capable of—and what the audience expects. Nowhere is that more true than at USA TODAY's VRtually There, a weekly news show done entirely in virtual reality (VR). David Hamlin is part of the team that makes the show possible.
- May/June 2017 Issue, Posted May 17, 2017
Video is an increasingly important part of content strategies. Whether you're the editor of a news site or a content marketer, your audience wants video—and there is no place like Streaming Media East to learn about the business and technology of video. But after a day's worth of sessions, I came away with three tips that any publisher can apply to their content.
- Posted May 16, 2017
In an increasingly competitive and fragmented age for electronic content providers, publishers might want to consider seeking revenue solutions less in the real world than in the virtual world. Rolling out virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) content is a good start—but especially for those digital content players that lack the resources to provide such immersive digital consumables today, hosting and creating short-form VR and AR ads may prove to be a more winning strategy in the near future.
- May/June 2017 Issue, Posted May 08, 2017
We present EContent's annual Trendsetting Products list. Each year, we turn to our inboxes, our coverage, and our contributors to find out what products are helping content creators of all kinds stay on top of their game. I hope you find these products as interesting and as potentially helpful as we do!
May/June 2017 Issue, Posted May 01, 2017
In many ways, much of the work of an influencer campaign falls on the shoulders of the influencer—the one actually creating the content—but that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done on the brand's end. Here are five steps to make sure your influencer marketing is a success.
- March/April 2017 Issue, Posted Apr 17, 2017
Over the past couple of years, the state of print and digital distribution has felt very similar to a busy cloverleaf highway intersection, with eight lanes speeding in every direction. There were print magazines and newspapers that moved to digital distribution only. Others maintained a print presence, but reduced their frequency in favor of an amped-up digital presence. Roaring into action from the opposite direction were digital publications introducing, or reintroducing, print. The options are endless.
Identity theft and credit card fraud make the headlines for their damage and deception, but there's another putrid kind of fraud that, according to Hewlett Packard Enterprise's "The Business of Hacking," requires less risk and effort and has a higher payout potential: ad fraud. The chicanery is rampant throughout the digital advertising ecosystem and has many different varieties. And while it's true that many players in the supply chain have incentives to ignore the problem, there's a growing momentum to stop ad fraud's costly creep.
- March/April 2017 Issue, Posted Apr 03, 2017
Digital publishers eager to reach more eyeballs often turn to external distribution platforms to disseminate content to the masses. But new research reveals that this strategy may not be paying off as effectively as digital content providers have banked on.
- Posted Mar 22, 2017
It's not easy taking information across borders. That's particularly ironic in a digital environment where the ability for information to cross borders is relatively seamless. For media companies, simply being in the digital environment where content can technically be accessed globally does not mean they are global media companies.
- March/April 2017 Issue, Posted Mar 13, 2017
Publishers gave a lot of blood, sweat, and tears getting their content up-to-speed on mobile over the past few years. Now, things are getting audible with speakers such as Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo and Google Home, featuring Google Assistant. And, according to experts, publishers have to adjust. To do otherwise is to risk being drowned out by the sound waves of competitors and overlooked by consumers eager for immediate gratification audio.
- March/April 2017 Issue, Posted Mar 06, 2017
In an increasingly challenging climate for electronic publishers, content providers, and digital marketers—where the gray clouds of ad blocking, content competition, short-attention-span consumerism, and monetization pressure loom over the horizon—social media is the silver lining.
- Posted Feb 27, 2017
From a meow to a roar: That's a simplistic, but spot-on, way to describe the evolution of online video, a realm previously ruled by cute and curious cat videos. But it's now populated by countless contemporary iterations of playable visual content—including those of the short-form, live-streamed, silent, branded, vertical, and viral variety.
- Posted Feb 20, 2017
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