How Print Publishers Can Get Their Advertisers Ready For Digital

Perhaps the biggest challenge for publishers in moving beyond the print replica to a responsive reader experience is how to help their advertisers move with them. The advertisers pay the bills, and efforts by publishers attempting to move beyond the replica often stall trying to get their advertisers on board.

The Challenge

It’s been well documented that the utility of the “digital replica” is in rapid decline; users expect a great reading experience on every screen size, and the pinch and zoom experience of the replica isn’t cutting it. There are two big problems from the perspective of most advertisers:

  1. Many traditional print advertisers aren’t able to provide responsive, digitally-compelling advertisements to match the content. While the industry figures out the right combination of interactive, banner, native, video, programmatic, etc. that will result in brand success, advertisers that have traditionally dealt in print are stuck in limbo. Staffing up to tackle the latest fad isn’t something many advertisers have the opportunity to do; most will sit back and watch the early adopters figure out the right formula before they dive in.
  2. Shoehorning print ads into a modern content experience may make advertisers feel like their brand is getting second rate treatment. This varies from brand to brand, but we’ve seen some publishers repurpose full page ads from their print editions only to say “boy, the content looks great, but the now the ads don’t match and we’re worried about how our advertisers will react.”

Bridging the Gap

As the industry figures out how to make the leap, we’ve been working closely with some partner publishers to find a way to ease the transition to digital for traditional print advertisers and agencies. Here’s what we’ve found to work well:

#1 – Multiple Static Assets (that act responsive)

The biggest obstacle for many advertisers is simply that they don’t have the skillset to produce rich digital creative. The single most effective way to help these advertisers has been to ask for multiple static assets which get swapped out at different screen sizes. This gives advertisers a way to show readers a solid result on every device size using their existing staff and processes.

AdPost-static

See (and download) our Responsive Image Swap Turnstyle template here

#2 – Leverage Video

Video is all the rage and is the one thing that seems like a sure bet for advertisers in whatever shell it comes in (native, banners, interstitial, etc). We’ve seen very good results with overlaying video on simple static backgrounds to provide a solid experience on every screen. For publishers leveraging video in their editorial content, pre-roll advertising can be a big win.

AdPost-video

See (and download) our Responsive Image Swap with Video Turnstyle template here

#3 – Publishers as agencies

We’ve seen several publishers provide creative services to build rich advertisements on behalf of advertisers (and make money doing it). Success here heavily depends on an advertiser’s willingness to trust others to produce creative for their brand; minimally, publishers should expect advertisers to demand several review cycles and a signoff process.

#4 – Bundles

In the long term, separate buys for print and digital advertisements is going to be the most profitable venture for publishers and provide the most value for readers and advertisers alike. The problem for publishers who produce a digital replica today is that it’s set the expectation with print advertisers that they’ll “just be included” in the digital version. A great way to start to divorce print from digital in the mind of the advertiser is to offer bundles which include both a print and digital presence. Publishers can begin by giving existing print advertisers a great deal on a bundle that includes both print and digital placements while also making it clear to the advertiser that print and digital will be divorced in the future. This approach also begins to get advertisers to start mentally assigning a value to their digital advertising opportunities from the publisher.

If you have other ideas, we’d love to hear from you!

The Best Way To Increase Your Reader Experience

A common complaint with replica editions is that the reading experience on smaller devices isn’t up to snuff. We created Turnstyle to provide an engaging reader experience on any screen size, and we’ve seen great gains in session times and shared content as a result.

Since responsive editions are a new paradigm for publishers and advertisers, we also offer a hybrid approach that gives readers a choice between the replica print design that they know and love and a rich, responsive article view that is readable and engaging on all devices.

When readers open the Table of Contents for an issue, they have a choice of which edition to read. As our Director of User Experience and Product Management, I wanted to make sure that readers understand the two options and that it was easy to access either one.

 

TOC pic2TOC pic1When we first released Turnstyle, we designed different TOC interfaces for the iPhone and iPad. In our internal usability testing, we found that the iPhone version was easier for readers to use. We’ve now redesigned the iPad TOC, taking inspiration from the phone version to give readers a clearer choice between the Turnstyle and replica editions. Readers can now easily read the content in whichever format is best for them.

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5 Mobile Trends-Don't Get Left Behind

Do you own a smartphone? Are you using mobile technology in your every day life? Do you read books, articles and posts on your smartphone or reading this blog on a smartphone right now? I don't think I would be jumping to conclusions to think the answer to all of these questions is "yes". 

I am here to tell you the shocking new…mobile technology is not going away! I know, I know, it's shocking. But what might actually be shocking is that about 40% of Americans are almost exclusively using their mobile phone for everything from social interactions, reading articles and emails to utilizing many apps. Even further, there will be more than 2 billion smartphones in the world by the end of 2014.

Now, the question remains; what mobile trends do you need to be on top of to not be left behind? 

1. Mobile and the physical world will merge into one: It's a whole new world out there when it comes to using mobile technology to get people to make buying decisions in the physical world. 

2. Mobile moments are key: You need to leverage your app or content to engage your consumers in their exact moment of need. You need to get them the right services or content at the right time!

3. If you don't have a mobile advertising strategy you are missing the boat- You need to partner with a digital media platform that can help you offer better and more targeted mobile experiences. 

4. If mobile is not a focal point in your business, you are going to get left behind- mobile and smartphones are taking over your business, not just your mobile business and you need to have an app and a great mobile experience.

5. You must figure out the right mix of messaging for the social-mobile combo – This is more of an art than a science, don't be afraid to fail! 

I believe with these 5 easy tips you can get you and your team prepared for the new and ever growing mobile world. GTxcel can help with everything from the overall media platform, creating apps, creating responsive design to being able to monetize your ads.

GTxcel Adds Two New Directors to Team

BERKLEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GTxcel (http://www.GTxcel.com)a leader in digital publishing solutions, announced today that Brian Flynn and Erica Pelosi have been named Senior Director of Client Services and Director of Marketing, respectively. Flynn and Pelosi are excited to join the GTxcel team as they continue to grow in the industry.

“Top 100 Company that Matters Most in the Digital Content Industry.”

With these new roles both Flynn and Pelosi will help lead publisher acquisition and retention programs and GTxcel’s leadership position in the marketplace. Flynn will be reporting to CEO, Peter Stilson who is thrilled to have Flynn on the team! “We are thrilled to have Brian Flynn join GTxcel,” say Stilson. “His knowledge and passion for delivering superior customer service will help us continue to implement not only the most cutting edge software but also in keeping our customers fully satisfied while taking full advantage of what we have to offer.”

Erica Pelosi will be reporting to Matthew McGinty in helping the Marketing department at GTxcel. “We’re excited to have Erica on the team,” says McGinty. “Having been a top performer on both Sales and Marketing teams, Erica will bring the right balance and focus to our Lead Generation efforts. Her innovative approach will allow us to continue to lead and evolve as the SaaS leader in Digital Publishing.”

About GTxcel

GTxcel (http://www.gtxcel.com) is a leader of high quality digital, mobile and content management solutions. Our service takes content and creates a digital and dynamic interactive experience for readers that can be viewed on any desktop/laptop, tablet or web-enabled smartphone. The GTxcel technology centers around a Unified Publishing Platform (UPP) where content is created once and published on multiple platforms. GTxcel also offers consultative services that include monetization strategies and marketing services.

A privately held company, GTxcel is headquartered in Berkeley, California with corporate offices in the Boston area. In 2012, GTxcel was named by eContent Magazine as a “Top 100 Company that Matters Most in the Digital Content Industry.” In 2013, GTxcel became a Xerox® Business Innovation Partner. Learn more at http://www.gtxcel.com/Request-Information/.

Contacts

GTxcel
Erica Pelosi, 508-804-3000
Director of Marketing
epelosi@gtxcel.com

What the iPhone 6 means for digital magazines

Apple is set to announce the the latest iteration of the world’s most popular device this fall and the screen size is set to grow again as it did with the iPhone 5. It seems imminent that we’ll see at least the 4.7” screen launch this fall and, supply chain willing, a 5.5” version shortly thereafter. This is part of a growing trend toward larger phone screens that are slowing global tablet sales according to Gartner.

This isn’t great news for publishers that have built their digital strategy solely around larger tablet screens. As we’ve mentioned before, we think it’s a big mistake for brands to limit their strategy to any one screensize or device. The lines between phones and tablets are only getting blurrier and users are adopting new devices of almost all sizes.

All of this continues to highlight that the most important thing for publishers is to make your content available everywhere because that’s where their users are – everywhere. That means owned channels like brand apps and websites, but also aggregators like Flipboard and 3rd party content channels like LinkedIn. The great news is that there is more content being consumed than ever before. The bad news is that the number of screen sizes and channels publishers need to think about is expanding exponentially.

At GTxcel, we’re going to be focusing our roadmap on making sure publishers can get their content in front of readers no matter where they are efficiently and with monetization strategies in place to leverage each channel. We’re making some major changes to our product lineup soon to give readers a great reading experience on all screens, giving publishers a high level of design control all without overwhelming staff. If you are a publisher that’s been painstakingly placing each pixel to get that perfect result on a single screen size & platform, give us a call, we’d love to work with you.

Mobile Usage in Academics

College students are at an all time high with mobile device usage, always needing to be connected.  This can mean anything from updating their Facebook status to sending out a Tweet about something funny they just saw. But for many, the mobile scene is moving into the world of education.

At the University of Central Florida, there was a campus wide survey conducted October, 2013 by EDUCAUSEreview to find out just how important the mobile world is for students. There was a focus on who exactly owned a smartphone and how they were using it.

It was found that just over 91% of students owned a mobile device ranging from iPhones, Androids, or iPod Touches. This is a huge number compared to 37% who owned a tablet. Although this market is growing, smartphones still dominate the playing field.

Out of the 91% of students that owned a smartphone, around 58% of them were using the device for academic purposes. With more than 60,000 students attending the University, this is a staggering number of academics being completed on a smartphone.

So how can you get your school into this huge, and growing, market? Why not look into GTxcel’sTM newest product ClassApp?

This app product is a versatile one that works great on all mobile devices from smartphones to tablets. It’s great for students and teachers, helping to save money and working to reduce your carbon footprint, a growing worry of our time. 

 

ClassApp

 

ClassApp takes your PDF’s and brings them into the digital world, keeping students and teachers connected and up-to-date!

 

ClassApp is a quick and easy way for teachers to keep in touch with students and keep them informed with all the latest course news. Students can get all the information they need at the tip of their finger from course syllabi to presentations and reports. For an in-depth look at it check it out on our website!

 

The Future of Multichannel Websites

In the ever-changing digital world that we live in, there is always room for improvement. But the question remains of how we can move into this world in a seamless and efficient way? Consider responsive design.

Responsive design in a nutshell is the ability for HTML to move flawlessly from one device to the next. The benefits of this are huge, including:

  • Convenience of one website (vs. full site and mobile site)
  • Increased hits on Google searches
  • Correct resolution, pixels and sizing across all screens

Mobile devices are being used at an all-time high with 31% of mobile Internet users using a smartphone as their primary device. Companies used to create two different websites for mobile and desktop computers. This has the potential to hurt SEO (search engine optimization), but with responsive design, having one unified website helps companies stay relevant in search engines.

User-friendly websites are one of the most important things in bringing customers back to you, instead of your competition. If a user isn’t able to find the content they are searching for, there’s a 61% chance they’ll leave to find a more convenient site according to recent stats posted on Smart Insights. But, a customer is 67% more likely to buy your product or service if they had a good (mobile optimized) experience.  

Website flows perfectly from one screen to the next, adjusting for vertical and horizontal layout. See the website at MyNewOrleans.com!

 

Responsive Website for MyNewOrleans.com

 

The seamless flow that comes from working with responsive design makes for an enjoyable experience for users across platforms. Ease of social sharing brings more readers to your site.

GTxcel’s Rivista Content Management System can bring your company up to speed in the digital world. Create a site that works on all screens with easy readability and sizing.

Rivista™ powers Palm Springs Life to help readers enjoy at home or on the go!

 

Responsive Website for PalmSpringsLife.com

 

GTxcel can help you to manage & monetize your website to its full potential. This support comes in a variety of ways:

  • Manage content online through RivistaTM CMS
  • Display articles, pictures, and videos across platforms
  • Monetize through ad serving, sponsored content, event listings, directories, and paywall (in beta)

You can view more samples of Rivista sites here

PwC: The Digital Future is Bright for Magazines

Now in its 15th year, the 2014-2018 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, Global entertainment and media outlook, has been released.  

Consumer magazines are expected to top $24.6 billion in revenue this year despite losses from print. Total revenue will hover at this level through 2018. Much anticipated growth in digital paints a bright future for magazines.

According to the report, digital ad revenue is expected to grow 22.4% this year to $3.9 billion and will reach $7.6 billion by 2018, nearly doubling in a few years' time. Print ad revenue will decline from $12.8 billion in 2014 to $9.3 billion in 2018.

Digital circulation is projected to grow 42% in 2014 to reach $743 million. As noted by Ad Age, this is a tremendous 148% leap from the 2009 recession. Print circulation revenue will continue to fall 5% to $7.1 billion and down to $6.2 billion by 2018.

At GTxcel we dearly recognize this trend and have staffed a Monetization Strategies team to help publishers make money on digital. This includes everything from the creation of media kits and ad sales training to outsourced creative, editorial, sales, and marketing services.

The GTxcel Unified Publishing Platform (UPP) – websites, digital editions, and apps – is designed to be monetized through subscriber management (single copy and subscription sales, member only login), display advertising (targeted ad serving), or through rich media enhancements and native advertising.

As a creative example, check out Top of the Town on the Palm Springs Life website. Readers can text “pslife” to 90947 to receive promotional offers from local businesses in Palm Springs. The team at Palm Springs Life has created an interactive directory of businesses on their website that features video, Google Maps, quick facts, and reviews. See Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill. Advertisers receive promotions through social media, in the magazine (print/digital/app), and on the website. Participating businesses receive point of sale branding materials.

The connected device is increasing readership and engagement across the board. As adoption of digital and mobile media increases, we’re excited to help publishers and brands grow readership and become wildly profitable in new and innovative ways. We’ll get you where your readers are.

 

User Experience Trends

Last week, Mary Meeker released her widely-read annual Internet trends report. Here are a few points that stood out to me from a UX perspective.

Readers’ Choice

The report clearly underscores the increasing importance of providing a great user experience on any device. For video content, users want to watch video on their own terms, not based on the dictates of broadcast schedules. The same applies to other forms of content; users increasingly expect a great reading experience on whatever device they happen to be using.

Ongoing adoption of smart TVs and set top boxes provides a reminder that the variety of screen sizes keeps growing. Publishers that want to play on new devices need to adopt flexible publishing strategies that separate content from presentation.

Anticipating the User

One of the trends for the future is the convergence of big data and the user experience. The increasing availability of sensing technologies and smart pattern recognition is going to enable powerful new experiences that delight users. For a simple example, the Nest thermostat knows when you come home and automatically adjusts the temperature to your preferred setting. This trend is known as anticipatory computing, and it will further raise the bar for what end users expect from digital experiences.

 

Software vs. SaaS

Software vs. SaaS… that is the key question that C-level executives are faced with everyday. Our customers are not alone with that same question when choosing how to publish their content digitally. We hear this question everyday from traditional publishers, Fortune 5000 companies, colleges and universities, training professionals and associations.  They are all deciding if they should make a large capital and operating investment in software tools like Adobe DPS – or – should they use a “create once, publish everywhere” SaaS platform?

 

Software vs. SaaS

 

The argument against SaaS that we most often hear is “control.” Said another way: “Our Editors want to control what, when, where and how they publish content.” Deep down, is that really what an Editor wants? Do they really want to spend their time laying out content for Android and iOS devices of all different shapes and sizes? – OR – Do they want to create the best possible content with the best possible reader experience that monetizes?

Here are a few bullets to consider:

  • Phones still 3x more popular for content consumption than tablets (source) – Apps designed only for large tablets (like most Adobe DPS apps) miss the majority of the market.
  • Small tablets & large phones blurring lines – The tablet/phone problem is going to get worse as larger phones and smaller tablets enter the market. It’s more important to have your content available everywhere than it is to have all the bells and whistles on large tablets.
  • Future Friendly Content is the most important thing for every company – Content needs to work well not only on all screen sizes for owned channels, it needs to be able to be transported to aggregators, social networks, save for later apps, etc. Semantic markup is the future, bundling design and content (like Adobe DPS/InDesign) are the past. “You don’t get to decide which platform or device your customers use to access your content: they do.” – Karen McGrane
  • Users don’t care about the bells and whistles – Animations and other interactivity rarely actually add any value to the content. The few stories that are actually aided by great interactivity like Snow Fall took the team at the New York Times six-months to develop. Readability everywhere should be the focus.
  • Print workflows for digital content are a square peg in a round hole – Nobody has the staff to lay out content for each and every screen size. GTxcel’s SaaS product known as “Turnstyle” uses responsive design to produce magazine-like layouts for each screen size without any additional work from publishers. Instead of spending time focusing on layout, publishers can focus on new advertising and content strategies.

In this brave new digital world, content is king and budgets are tight. That’s where we have built our specialization: Helping over 3,000 companies who publish content, (many of those whose primary business is not “publishing”), build engaging, discoverable and monetizable reader experiences at scale. We give these companies the necessary control, but more importantly, the necessary ROI. GTxcel’s cloud-based Unified Publishing Platform (UPP) embraces the idea that publishing content is only successful if the reach and ROI of that content is maximized. Tools like Adobe DPS are strong software options. Like with any software, the company publishing the content is left with staffing and operationalizing the use of that software. GTxcel takes the inverse approach. We operationalize the use of an industry-leading digital publishing platform across all devices (Desktop, Mobile, Tablet & Apps) so the publisher of that content can focus on what they do best; publish great content!