Q & A 

Mobile: 5 minutes with… Rich Cheary

With more and more of our readers accessing our content via mobile, we need to work harder to make sure our sites perform well on smartphones. As Publisher's Toolbox MD Rich Cheary explains, having a responsive website is not enough.

By Rich Cheary

Mobile: 5 minutes with… Rich Cheary

Q: Are editorial teams using their smartphones to the max?

A: Yes. We’ve noticed a rise in the adoption of smartphone usage across a number of newsrooms we work with. We’ve also seen an increase in collaboration among teams of journalists. By implementing a mobile reporting solution that integrates with the editorial or broadcasting workflow, teams are increasing efficiency and transparency around information gathering for stories and distribution of media straight to the newsroom or studio.

Q: What should publishers be doing to improve the mobile user experience?

A: We’ve seen publishers’ online traffic reach as high as 80% on mobile web, along with a parallel increase in mobile app downloads. With these trends in mind, it’s advisable that publishers look into high availability, speed and performance of a user’s mobile experience. High-performing mobile solution architecture assists with the global demand for information anytime, on any device and on any network. We’ve achieved superb results by implementing a progressive web app strategy, where bounce rates have rapidly decreased and page views and unique visits have increased, thus boosting mobile advert revenue.

Publishers or brands that have a physical product can enhance mobile user experiences by introducing AR (augmented reality) or QR scanning facilities to unlock premium editorial content as well as digital experiences that incentivise or motivate engagement with a reward. Due to limited screen real estate, mobile users appreciate optimal recommendation engine capabilities across articles, imagery and especially videos. Mobile user behaviour with respect to consuming media on their devices via infinite scrolling or auto-playing will assist with ensuring they remain focused on their own mobile platform.

Q: How can mobile be used to build brand engagement?

A: A digital publisher or broadcaster can achieve increased mobile brand engagement and awareness by ensuring their brand representation in the respective app stores.

Branded digital communities are more likely to be forged on mobile platforms – especially apps. Successful and sustainable mobile communities are dependent on ease of access, the level of personalisation, UGC (user generated content) capabilities and purpose driven features within the app.

We experienced some success in mobile uptake by incorporating citizen journalism and AR and QR code scanning modules, which allow users to contribute or engage with campaigns or media stories as they unfold.

Q: Where are the main commercial opportunities in mobile?

A: Mobile users consume content in a very different way to desktop or print solutions, so publishers should cater for appropriately structured mobile editorial and media modules that have well positioned display advertising, app sponsorship, sponsored content and AR scan competitions and campaigns.

Mobile sharing statistics are larger than on desktop and so unique media rich consumption experiences worthy of social sharing will result in an increase in traffic.

Any publisher or brand with real world physical properties will benefit from changing the behaviours of their users by rewarding them for scanning imagery and advertorials in their print publications. Digital enhancement of print adverts or editorials gives users a unique digital experience by making print publications come alive digitally.

Q: How do you create compelling AR activations?

A: Augmented reality comes in different formats to achieve different objectives. When it comes to publishing and scanning of print collateral, it’s important to take into consideration the quantity and frequency of modifications an AR campaign can have, in real-time, with respect to specific print runs.

AR technology is dependent on native mobile app services, and a few years away from browser activation. Users are beginning to wake up to the scanning capabilities of their smartphones. Publishers can benefit from having a dedicated AR white-label app, or consider embedding an AR scan module across their own stable of apps.

After a number of pilots and research initiatives, we found that success is dependent on the market’s curiosity levels, incentivisation for reward, as well as the challenge to collect or discover AR triggers.

It’s important not to splatter your publication with QR codes, which can provide a poor digital engagement experience. When a user goes to the effort of scanning a piece of creative, ensure an immersive media experience overlaying the scanned image, accompanied by call-to-action triggers and in-scan history to revisit and re-engage with that AR brand experience.

For publishers, well-executed AR campaigns have the potential to bridge the gap between print, app, web and social channels, while for advertising partners, scanned campaigns could be the silver-bullet varying analytics and ability to retarget those scanners for upcoming promotions or campaigns.

Q: What mobile trends should publishers be keeping an eye on?

A: The focus is once again on how to optimise your brand’s mobile web experiences with appropriate technologies. Having a responsive website is not enough anymore. Due to user behaviours and specialised content experiences on mobile, we advocate for tailor-made navigational experiences that incorporate AMP (accelerated mobile page) and PWA technologies, in line with well-structured continuous stream vs article swipe paradigms in collaboration with well-structured advert tagging.

Discoverability and page ranking can be influenced by incorporating these new mobile web technologies (AMP and PWA), which need not be a costly exercise. PWA as a technology has proven to yield radical improvements and thus increase your advertising revenues, so look out for plugin services that have an enterprise support model and ability to meet any unique content integration points your publication might have.

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About us

“Having become a leader in the digital transformation of traditional media groups, Publisher's Toolbox is making an impact and being positioned as a reputable, reliable and professional global innovator of digital products for the publishing, advertising, brand agency and sports industries.

Our mission is to provide affordable content and community creation tools for businesses of all sizes, allowing them to compete with the world’s most prestigious media groups, brand agencies and sports organisations.

Our suite of digital products has helped traditional publishing, brand and broadcasting agencies to establish sustainable content ecosystems through incentivised community engagement across print, mobile, video and augmented reality.”

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