Growing Media Trends That Will Hook Consumers in 2020

2020 has finally arrived, prompting media professionals everywhere to examine and test new industry trends. So how can one possibly predict which ones will help businesses grow and which ones will not? With so many budding media trends to sift through, be sure to keep this in mind: those that reel in, engage and retain consumers are the ones that will ultimately pay off in the long run. 

The race for consumers’ attention is becoming ever more competitive,” writes an industry expert in an International News Media Alliance article. “It’s increasingly important to be relevant to create a meaningful connection with an audience.”

In other words, audience engagement will be business-critical in 2020. In order to attract and engage consumers to your brand, understand and implement the fast-rising media trends below.

Audience-First Journalism

Over the past few years, consumer trust in media has taken a serious nosedive thanks to all the misinformation and fake news spreading around social media. But with revenue models moving towards subscription and membership-driven programs, trust between brands and audiences must be re-established.

As a result, journalists are beginning to put their audiences at the forefront of the content they produce, and even involve them in the content-production process. One media trend in particular known as engaged journalism — the process of building content with audience members — is picking up steam since it gives brands the opportunity to truly listen to and engage their audience members. 

Solutions journalism has also been inching its way into 2020, which is where journalists go beyond covering a story by suggesting how to resolve the issues at hand. And with 57% of Americans expressing that reading news affects them in a negative way, solutions journalism could prevent audiences from becoming overwhelmed by your content.

Personalizing the User’s Experience

According to NiemanLab, first-party user data will become increasingly significant to media organizations in 2020. Brands will need to rely on the data they can scrape from their own platforms in order to identify audience appetites and trends. 

Linsday Leaf, VP of experiential marketing for POPSUGAR, explains why her brand sees so much audience engagement: “We really listen to our audience — what they react to, what makes them tick and then we serve the trends, topics and experiences we know they crave.”

User data is also becoming more important now than ever before to video-streaming platforms. This data allows OTT platforms to serve up relevant content to their audiences, enhancing the user experience. 

First-party data insights open up a world of opportunity to media organizations, including the ability to target meaningful content to known users, push highly engaged users to your paywall or send special offers to inactive subscribers about to churn. 

Data Transparency

Thanks to the GDPR and CCPA privacy laws, as well as the countless data breaches that have taken place online, your audience members want to know how their data will be used and handled. 

Being open with your audience about how their data is being used will help them feel more comfortable to hand over their personal info. Reassure them even more by telling them exactly what kind of premium experience they’ll get in exchange for their data. 

Investing in Audio Content

In 2019 alone, over half of Americans listened to a podcast, showing massive growth from 2018. Spotify also noted that its listeners have consumed almost 40% more podcasting hours compared to its last quarter. Clearly, audio content is catching on for media organizations. 

Not only is audio equipment an extremely inexpensive investment, but FIASCO podcast host Leon Neyfakh also notes “that podcasting is a distinctly intimate medium, [where] people form a special connection to podcast hosts because they have us in their ears while they’re walking around and living their lives.”

That special connection between podcast host and listener is a solid way to build loyalty towards your brand. 

Interactive Video 

2020 will be the year that video takes on a whole new meaning of the word ‘engaging.’ More specifically, media organizations have started incorporating interactive elements into their videos to fascinate viewers. 

Take Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch film, for instance. The video-streaming platform tested this interactive movie in 2018, where viewers could influence the plot by making decisions for the film’s protagonist. After the film produced a successful response from its audience, Netflix announced that it’ll be “doubling down” on interactive video in the future.

Other media organizations are also testing out video content and ads that consumers are able to shop through. In these cases, eCommerce crosses over with media content to deepen audience engagement through a shoppable, content-viewing experience. 

Staff as Influencers

From Buzzfeed, and Bon Apétite to a variety of podcast hosts, media staff from all walks of life will be upping their efforts to engage audience members directly in 2020. This includes staff members starring in regular videos, attending meet-and-greet events, running live chats and responding to user comments.  

By creating a direct connection between audience and staff, brands are able to transform users into dedicated fans. Your audience is the lifeblood of your organization this means that the most useful media trends in 2020 will consistently engage and monetize consumers.

Gaining your competitive edge for the 2020’s

Right now, media companies everywhere are racing to stay on top of the ever-evolving trends and technologies in the industry. But with the future constantly barrelling towards us, the most effective path to revenue isn’t always straightforward. As a result, many brands aren’t properly equipped to deal with digital challenges on the road ahead.

No one really knows for sure what the best practices in the media industry will look like in five, 10 or 15 years. What we do know, however, is that you are very capable of putting your best foot forward in setting yourself up for ongoing success.

So would you believe us if we told you that a few simple steps could protect your business?

Well, you’d better buckle up — we’re about to walk you through everything you need to do to futureproof your business. Prepare to gain an edge over your competitors.

1. Invest in New Sources of Revenue

For most media organizations, social media is no longer a reliable source of revenue. While social media proved to be a great source of revenue and digital traffic several years ago, constantly changing algorithms and brand-daming toxicity has since diminished the relationship between media and social platforms.

The best lesson we can take away from the history between media and big tech companies is that media organizations need to stop relying on third-parties to generate revenue from consumers. Instead, it’s important to continuously be testing and analyzing direct ways to earn revenue. Long-term stability will require a direct relationship with your audience, and the more ways you

“There is going to be a new crop of players… that accelerate because they understand how to connect content, commerce, and conversation,” the CEO of Barstool Sports tells the Digital Content Next association. “Companies that do that are going to be in a good spot.”

Sustainable revenue models are now shifting away from ad revenue and towards consumer revenue models, where brands have complete access to their digital community and profits. Gain a competitive edge and set your brand up for success by monetising your audience directly.

2. Optimize Your Platform for Engagement

Whether you’re a news publisher or operate a video-streaming platform, building loyalty among your audience members translates into long-term success. That said, social engagement is a powerful building block of trust and loyalty in a digital community.

So instead of trying (and failing) to grow loyal followers via social media, incorporate engagement tools right into the fabric of your brand’s platform. Intertwine tools like live conversations, real-time blogging, ratings and reviews as well as live chats with your content to get people seriously interested in what you offer.

Add additional layers of interaction to your platform by engaging with your audience directly, through digital Q&As, personalized emails and recommended content lists. By having popular journalists or TV personalities chat with your audience, you can generate excitement in your community and prove that your content is worth the subscription fee.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to be a stranger to your audience. Interacting with them shows that they mean more to you than money. And that, folks, is how to generate long-term trust, no matter what kind of curveball the future may throw at you.

3. Set Up Preventative Moderation Measures

Nevermind the future, the present is already volatile.

There are trolls, bots, spammers and misinformation wreaking havoc throughout the internet. So if you can’t protect your brand in the face of existing threats, how can you possibly be prepared to deal with these growing issues in the future?

In both the present and future, moderation across your user-generated content is a must for any brand hoping to draw in active subscribers and retain them.

For a moment, picture sports fans debating over a penalty during a live stream of a game. A real-time chat, where individuals exchange passionate thoughts, is a perfect opportunity for building community engagement around this event. However, a troll can easily ruin the experience by taunting, mocking and harassing your loyal users. This is why it’s essential to put some kind of moderation in place to protect your community.

Explore the different types of moderation here.

4. Implement the Perfect Conversion Strategy

According to a new report by What’s New In Publishing, consumer subscription fatigue is becoming a reality for many publishers and streaming platforms alike. Creating an effective conversion strategy matters now more than ever with so much competition fighting over consumer dollars.

So once you have your paywall and engagement tools in place, it’s time for you to connect all of the moving pieces together. Plant those seeds of engagement to grow your audience. Then ensure your engagement and paywall solutions are working together so that your active, subscription-ready users can be sent a paywall message.

Finding the right strategy for your business may take a bit of trial and error. But testing out different ways to engage, target and monetize your audience members is a surefire way to boost revenue in the long run.

5. Put Your Audience First

In the digital age, your audience is everything. Which is why you should pull every possible piece of information you can about your audience members from your first-party data, and use those insights to your advantage.

Take the time to identify who your most loyal audience members are, and how to best cater to them. For instance, OTT platforms may want to consider personalizing the content-streaming experience, with recommended or related videos.

Your content strategy should be geared towards what subscribers find important and relatable. So: figure out who you’re serving, what content and experience they value, and invest heavily in that.

Condé Nast has also developed a short exercise for publishers that can help your team shift its editorial strategy towards a more audience-oriented approach.

“Anything that distracts a publisher from focusing on their most loyal audiences, is a losing strategy,” reads a report by the Tow Center of Digital Journalism.

Wise words for media organizations everywhere.

Exit mobile version