‘Is Social Media just Media? The Future of Paid, Earned and Content’ – MRY’s Matt Britton, Lisa Weinstein from Starcom Mediavest and Mike Shields from The Wall Street Journal had an interesting panel discussion that addressed everything from Facebook going public to Apple TV coming out of the shadows. There were some starkly overpowering themes that every stakeholder needs to consider with respect to paid, earned and content.
1. Relevance and the Need for Precision
With so many choices out there, the consumer wants only what is relevant. Paid or earned there is no room for anything that is not structured for the target audience and delivered exactly how the consumers want it.
2. Quality and its Rise in the Eyes of the Consumer
With capabilities for creating high quality content within easy reach of every company be it small or big, the consumer wants nothing less than beautiful imagery and seamless text that is a visual treat. This needs to be taken into consideration especially in newsrooms punching out content quickly placing more importance on time of delivery rather than quality of content.
3. Quantity and the Easy Rejection of it
If your brand is looking at forcing down content down the consumers throat, not only is that going to be ignored by them but worse, the brand as a whole will suffer immediately rather than get affected gradually. Be it paid or otherwise, curating and balancing your content is key.
4. Capitalism and the Stress of the Stock Market
With bigger social platforms going public the stress on revenue has exponentially increased. Further as ‘business is business’, monetizing offerings has become the norm of the day and this will see the rise of paid content more and more in platforms like Facebook and Twitter to name the obvious.
5. The Influencers and their throne
Today being an influencer is a highly well paying and powerful chair to sit on. If you want to organically send your message to your target audience, you will find the influencers within that group if you are smart. If you want your paid content to bring in wholesome value you would do the same. An intriguing thought from Matt Britton was, “Being an influencer is more lucrative than being a doctor or lawyer, these days.” and that could very well be completely true.
6. Crowdsourcing and that Crowded Sphere
The structure of agencies and independent firms revolve around the capabilities of the market to produce powerful content. When the marketplace place expands to include everyone through crowdsourcing websites the production of content and its operations changes drastically. Pictures are available to buy with a click, so are other components. This leaves a lasting impression on paid and earned content. Choosing and investing in resources needs to evaluated.
7. Print Then and Print Now
People still clamor to pick up a copy of Vogue irrespective of the fact that 60% of it is paid content. They probably want to read the magazine because of this content. This solidifies the importance of well crafted, well targeted paid content. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are comparable to print. How brands leverage this is up for debate but the fact that it is leveragable is not.
8. Dark Social and its Light
Dark social networks like Yik Yak are fast gaining momentum with younger consumer segments and this means that measurement may become more difficult. However, these platforms are developing into larger potential areas and content for them will evolve as the platforms grow. It is nothing to be intimidated about but rather something to keep an eye on.
9. TV and TV
Will television become obsolete is an interesting question given the rise of paid content platforms like Netflix. The cable networks will have to diversify and catch up quickly if they don’t want to be disrupted by this phenomenon. Apple with its abundant resources are still tinkering with a potential revolutionary TV device. It may not be an urgent pressing change, however it is an eventuality and as Lisa Weinstein put it, ‘It just may take a generation for it to happen, but it will.’
10. One Device and One Ecosystem
Consolidation takes place when growth takes place. The fastest growing quarter is technology today and it indicates that sooner or later multiple devices and second screens may become a thing of the past and one device for every consumer in one ecosystem will be the norm. The smart brands and firms will gear up for this if they still want to remain commercially viable as far as revenue from content is concerned.
Meghavaty Suresh is graduate student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University studying New Media Management with focus on digital strategy and analytics. She is from Mumbai, India and is a movie watcher, cupcake eater, and gives out free smiles everyday.