With the month of November officially in full swing, we’ve seen a number of reports on current and predicted trends in digital media, especially related to ad spend. As the year 2020 draws closer to us, a wide range of new content forms and topics that consumers will want to engage with are emerging.

This week’s media news update highlights some of the trends that publishers and brands are finding to be most popular with audiences, including:

  • The renewed focus on building stronger brand loyalty as a way to create new revenue opportunities
  • The increase in ad spend on connected TV media as a way to reach audiences on streaming platforms
  • Creating consumer engagement strategies that attract but fail to profit off of younger audiences through social media platforms, like TikTok

Refocusing on Brand Loyalty Will Increase Consumer Engagement and Sales Partnerships

In order to succeed as a media company today, publishers need to have an extraordinary brand. And the general consensus in the industry is that a trusted brand is built on quality journalism. With this in mind, many big brands have been smart in capitalizing on the trust they’ve developed over time with their audiences. This has been achieved through high-quality, relevant content offerings. 

Rolling Stone, for example, believes so strongly in the need for quality journalists that the company has grown its editorial staff by 40% since being acquired by Penske Media

Additionally, the brand is capitalizing on the incredible amount of access it has to artists and celebrities. They’re creating monetization opportunities by offering unique products and services to their niche audiences. Take “Musicians on Musicians,” for instance, which gives readers access to intimate conversations between two artists from different genres.

Products and services need to be deemed valuable and meet the needs of consumers in order to gain their trust. Media executives at the Folio: Show agreed that building brand affinity with an audience relies heavily on engaging content that showcase value, such as solving a need or problem. In the case of Rolling Stone, its audience craves insider content that offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of the musicians and celebrities they admire. 

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In addition to consumer engagement, brand power also has a significant impact on sales partnerships when it comes to advertising and renewals. For travel magazine, AFAR, licensing content has become a profitable way to develop strong partnerships and showcase its travel expertise.

For other companies like Meredith Magazines, who owns well-known lifestyle brands such as InStyle, People, and Eating Well, the company’s strategy is to partner with other strong brands, like HGTV’s Joanna and Chip Gaines. Content with those particular celebrities were featured in the Meredith-published magazine, The Magnolia Journal, and sold out in four hours on newsstands when it debuted. As long as quality content is at the heart, brand partnerships have proven to be very successful for many publishers.

Ad Spend for Connected TV Media Increases as Publishers Try to Reach Streaming Audiences

According to a new eMarketer forecast, it’s expected that ad spend on TV streaming platforms will soar this year. Analysts predict that media spend on ads for TV streaming services in the US will be more than doubled by 2023 alone

Roku is the most popular streaming device with about 44% of viewers, followed by Amazon Fire TV (33%), Google Chromecast (16%) and Apple TV (13%), taking into consideration that there is some overlap among users of multiple devices.

In response to this, media and tech companies are launching a slew of new services that aim to reach viewers who bypass cable or satellite TV subscriptions and instead, connect their TVs directly to the internet to stream content. Tech company Sabio recently launched a product called App Science TV. It’s a platform that enables brands to serve highly targeted ad units via TV and mobile formats by tracking app behavior. 

A key challenge going forward for these types of services will be developing more reliable audience metrics and ways to keep viewers engaged

Publishers Use TikTok for Long-Term Audience Engagement

TikTok, a social media video app for creating and sharing short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos, is quickly attracting a growing group of publishers eager to increase their relationships with young audiences. Media corporations such as Vice and Buzzfeed are among those who have already started experimenting with short-form content on the app.  

Vice, which started using the platform earlier this year, is finding that TikTok followers crave exclusive content. As a result, Vice is planning to launch a “Munchies by Vice” account next month, which will feature exclusive content made specifically for the social media platform. 

BuzzFeed, which also started using TikTok earlier this year, hasn’t gone down the route of creating exclusive content for TikTok just yet. A key motivating factor for the brand to join TikTok was to create a Tasty account, as an attempt to ward off copycats.

Despite the popularity of some brands on the app, publishers have generally been reluctant to spend time and money on platforms when there is not a clear path to revenue generation. Currently, there is no mechanism for creators or publishers to directly monetize on TikTok. Many view TikTok as a long-term way to engage and grow their respective audiences until they can figure out how to extend this understanding onto their own platforms. That way, they can engage and keep audiences while generating profit.

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