Media Consumption in 2013: The Risks of Ignoring Mobile

November 18, 2013

By Simon Ogus, Media Relations Specialist

The sight is so common now; it doesn’t even register with us anymore.

You see someone with a few minutes to kill, whether it be waiting for a bus or an appointment, and inevitably the smartphone comes out and the individual is immediately engaged with the apps and web that are so easily accessible.

This is media consumption in 2013 and there is no going back.

With web networks continually getting stronger and Wi-Fi becoming more readily available in public places, the public’s mobile consumption will continue on the meteoric rise that it’s on right now. Consider this graph below from Business Insider detailing the U.S. Consumer Media Consumption Share of Voice:

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

The graph above shows consumption for all forms of major media. Television and print media are steadily declining with their users often simultaneously engaged with some second screen device, especially during valuable commercial time.  Meanwhile, mobile use is steadily rising.

There are many reasons for this trend, but first and foremost is that when you are on the go, mobile has no competitors. It’s convenient, provides immediate gratification, and there isn’t as much opportunity for distraction as there is when you are watching television, reading a newspaper/magazine or even sitting down with your laptop at home or at a coffee shop.

There is considerable data to suggest that these trends will not only continue but continue in a dramatic fashion. Consider these facts in a recent Business Insider report on mobile media consumption.

  • Consumers are spending as much time on mobile as they are in the traditional online category (which includes all activity on desktops and laptops).
  • Mobile was the only media type to grow in total U.S. consumer minutes spent per day from 2010 to 2012.
  • In the course of 2013, tablet shipments have grown 83% while PC shipments dropped 13%.
  • Mobile video is already big, but it’s poised to become even bigger. Consumers are watching at almost unheard of rates. They’re also sticking to their mobile devices for longer periods of time while watching. This gives marketers more time and opportunity to place ads within streaming video content.
  • The 219 million mobile-only users now make up close to 20% of Facebook’s total user base and Pinterest’s U.S. mobile-only user base grew 28% reaching 18.3 million in June 2013.  Facebook in particular has made significant progress monetizing this growing  audience: mobile advertisements now represent 41% of its ad revenue.
  • Search is also becoming increasingly mobile. Tablets and smartphones now account for 26% of all local search traffic.

Business Insider’s reference to the development of mobile websites is particularly significant and shows that this trend is for real. As developers continue to make mobile websites quicker and more efficient, consumer usage of mobile search and mobile brand interaction will continue to grow.

Early versions of mobile websites were less user-friendly, but the newer interfaces are improving so rapidly that it is becoming less and less of an issue.

What does this mean going forward for today’s brands and organizations? It means that any information disseminated through the web needs to be easily accessed and consumed from a tablet or smartphone. Organizations can do this by first creating a fast, mobile-friendly website utilizing responsive design.  This will ensure easier access to your content whether it is read on the desktop, smartphone or tablet.

The second step is serving up content directly of interest to mobile users. Mobile phones are lean-in devices, people do not pick them up without wanting to take an action. Use your Google Analytics to help you determine what content you should present first on your mobile website.  For most brands it is contact information, including a phone number, then links to internal sections of the website including the About Us and newsroom.

Today’s mobile newsrooms and press releases also require mobile-ready formatting.  Images, videos, press releases and PR contacts should be easy to both find and read on each device. Multimedia, a huge component of driving action on mobile and desktops alike, should render quickly on mobile phones, and any delays in rendering the image should be fixed quickly. Lastly, make sure your newswire vendor distributes your news in both standard and mobile-ready formats.

With many companies investing in user-friendly mobile layouts, and consumers’ mobile devices replacing desktops, the organizations that don’t make mobile websites and content priority will start to fall behind the pack.  Mobile is the present and the future and businesses will need to acknowledge and adapt to this reality going forward.


13 Tips To Sharpen Your Communication Skills in 2013

October 18, 2012

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

By Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

There is a distinct buzz in the air during the final quarter of the year.  In the PR community, this growing sound is our nagging reminder to sit down and think about new business, budgets, cuts and strategies for 2013.

We’re no different, so our team looked at our own best practices to empower you with 13 tips to make you a better communicator in 2013.

13. Commit to commenting. Stop being a social media voyeur.  Be active by liking and commenting on posts you read.  The comments can be as interesting as the posts; many people read them and they’re a good way to make connections.

12.  Give before you ask. No matter what service you provide, even the well-intentioned invitation can be seen as a demand for time, effort, and attention. Take this tip from Chris Sacca, advisor to some of the top social media companies, “If you’re insightful and helpful, people will want to be around you.”

11.  Refine your elevator pitch. How? Practice, edit, repeat. If you pitch TV stations you know assignment editors are willing to listen, but you’d better be able to get your point across fast! Call five assignment desks, and chances are, you’ll hone your pitch quickly.

10.  Subscribe to industry newsletters and READ THEM. PR/communications newsletters such as CommPRO.Biz, MediaBistro,  Smart Brief on Social Media and Ragan’s PR Daily offer helpful suggestions for improving your written and verbal communication skills and keep you up on industry trends. You might recognize a misstep you consistently make, such as avoiding an overused word.

9.  Get involved with an industry organization.  Don’t just attend events — join a committee, serve on the board, or simply volunteer your time as you can. Be sure not to limit yourself to PR/IR groups.

8.  Learn more about the offerings of your service providers. OK, this one may be a bit self-serving, but don’t shoot the messenger.  Many PR-related service providers are constantly advancing their catalog of offerings, providing free reporting, or creating complementary products to go along with the services they’re most known for.  Take the meeting and find out what else they offer for you to maximize your relationship.

7.  Have an SEO discussion with your web team, your wire vendors and your content creators. If one conversation isn’t enough, have however many it takes for you to understand search engine optimization (SEO) basics and start using these strategies to improve the visibility of content you produce for the web.

 6.  Take a class or seminar.   Many schools and professional societies offer continuing education classes at a low cost, and some even offer free sessions. Consider classes in photography, advanced web technology or web design.  You can even brush up with a business writing or grammar class.

5.  Attend a journalism conference. The price tag of some PR conferences can be off-putting.  Directly across the aisle our industry peers are putting together great and pertinent programming at a fraction of the cost.  Check out conferences organized by the Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists or one of the journalists-of-color member organizations like NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists.  You’ll learn a lot and make some new contacts while you are at it.

4.  Share your experiences. If you have no time to sit on a board or a committee, offer to speak at one of their programs on a  topic you know matches the interests of their members.  In PR groups, speakers on the topics of social media, measurement, crisis communications, media relations and brand strategy are highly sought after!

 3.  Invite a blogger out for coffee. If you don’t work with bloggers, meet up with an editor, producer or member of the Twitteratti who you value having a relationship with.  Even if they can’t meet face to face, the check-in email is a nice gesture and way to keep a relationship top of mind even if you’ve moved on to cover new areas.

2.  Be an active listener.  Multi-tasking, while great in so many ways, contributes immensely to our eclipsed attention spans. Make an effort to listen more closely.  Practice by playing a prerecorded webinar and not clicking away; or watching or listening to an on-air personality you don’t agree with and resisting the urge to turn away or blurt out.  Just listen.  If you improve your listening skills you might pick up the other half of what most people don’t hear when someone is speaking.

1. Immerse yourself in mobile.  Mobile marketing is the future, but the future is today.  To leverage this market for you and your clients you need to use it. Download news apps and visit the mobile rendered pages of your favorite brands. Then make sure your own messaging is mobile friendly.


Why You Should be Alerting Investors via Mobile

October 3, 2012

News audiences, all of them, are on the go these days: More than half of all US adults own a smartphone or tablet, and more than 60 percent of those read news on their devices at least once a week. As mobile starts to complement – and in some cases, supplant – desktop usage, it’s important to make sure that you’re reaching audiences where they are. And that’s more true when it comes to market-moving news targeted at investors and analysts.

Nigel Malkin, president of Brand2hand Media, recently led a webinar for Business Wire called “Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations.” In this webinar, Nigel discussed the whys and wherefores of reaching investors by mobile. A few highlights from that event:

  • SMS open rates are more than 90% on average, compared to 22% for email
  • Mobile users generally open SMS messages within 4 minutes, compared to 6 hours for email
  • Different markets have different text character limits, and messages must be designed accordingly
  • There’s a definite way to structure your mobile alert messages for top effectiveness

You can listen to the archived webinar here, or view the accompanying slide presentation below.

Afterwards, learn more about how we can help you add mobile alerts to your own investor relations program.


Is Apple’s iOS 6 Update Affecting Your Search Traffic?

October 2, 2012

Last month, just prior to releasing the new iPhone, Apple released iOS 6, the latest version of its operating system for mobile devices – iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. And as SearchEngineLand details, that update may be affecting what you’re seeing in your traffic data.

Safari is Apple’s own web browser, and it’s used by nearly 87% of iOS device users. So if someone is browsing the web on an iPad or iPhone (which 64% of mobile users are) it’s likely they’re using Safari.

The important change here, which SearchEngineLand explains in great detail, is that someone coming to your site via a search using Safari’s built-in Google search box no longer shows up in your traffic logs as search or referral traffic.  They show up as direct traffic, no different from if they had simply typed in your URL.

This appears to be an unanticipated result for everyone involved, and may result in Google making some changes to how searches via mobile are forwarded to the destination site. In the meantime, though, be aware that searches showing up in your NewsTrak Reports and other analytics as “direct traffic” may in fact be searches from iPad and iPhone users.

Combined with last year’s changes that no longer pass search terms through from logged-in Google users, this adds another complication for marketers and PR people trying to maintain an SEO/SEM strategy. It’s a quickly shifting landscape, so make sure you’re aware of all the trends and changes before making adjustments to your own strategy.

 


New Study Reveals Trends in Mobile News Consumption

October 1, 2012
by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire

A joint study by The Economist Group and the Pew Research Center for Excellence in Journalism, released today, explains how tablet and smartphone ownership is changing how people read news. The study, called “The Future of Mobile News: The Explosion in Mobile Audience and a Close Look at What It Means for News,” is rich in detail on topic after topic, including ownership trends, paywall effectiveness, mobile ad effectiveness, article depth, and more.

One table reveals what times tablet users tend to view news during the day, depending on whether they check news once or multiple times. The implication for corporate communicators: Make sure you’re releasing your news at the right time for your target media to see it, act on it and plug it into their own news hole.

Elsewhere, the study outlines the differences in news consumption among tablet user who use mostly apps, mostly their browsers, or a combination of the two:

Again, based on this information, communicators can decide whether it’s in their interest to target web-based online publications, to ensure that their news shows up in mobile news apps, or even whether they should be developing their own apps.

The complete study is full of data and information that will help your company develop its communications, public relations, marketing and mobile strategies. It’s worth a read by all professional communicators, journalists, and anyone connected to the news business.


Upcoming Webinar: Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations

September 18, 2012

Reaching your audiences via mobile devices becomes more and more important all the time, as investors and consumers move away from desktops to smartphones and tablets. In our upcoming webinar, Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations, Nigel Malkin, president of Brand2Hand will discuss the growing trend to deliver breaking investor relations and other news to key stakeholders via mobile devices. Nigel will provide tips on adding SMS registration to your online investor center or online newsroom, an overview of how financial tables render on mobile devices and synchronizing your alerts with your press releases.

Register here for this free webinar, which takes place on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 1:00pm ET. We look forward to having you join us!


Online Newsroom or Investor Center – Your Message Must be Mobile

May 21, 2012
by Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services
Ibrey Woodall

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

I have weekly, often daily, conversations with communicators at Fortune 500 companies. These discussions focus on online newsrooms and investor centers. More and more, I see these top-notch professionals realize that their communications center should be optimized for mobile access.

Whether your message is for investors and analysts or journalists and bloggers, you cannot ignore the fact that your audience is a moving target. And that moving target has a smartphone.

Two years ago, only 18 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owned a smart phone device. Today, it is 44 percent according to Nielsen. If you need more statistics to convince you of the mobile momentum, the Pew Research Center reports that a third (34%) of all desktop/laptop news consumers also use their smartphone to access news.

So the question isn’t whether you need your online newsroom or investor center optimized for mobile devices, it is how quickly you can make it happen. Other points to consider include which platforms your mobile-optimized online newsroom or investor center will support; how investors, analysts, or journalists will find your mobile site; if your mobile site is legible; if you will be able to view mobile site statistics; and whether you need a mobile application or a mobile website.

Luckily, mobile-optimized sites should be clean and uncomplicated since we are talking about a very small screen. Therefore, the mobile-optimized version of your online newsroom or investor center should take no longer than two weeks to launch. All major platforms (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android) should be supported, and when a member of your target audience visits your online newsroom or investor center, their smartphone should automatically redirect to the mobile version for better viewing.

Simple design is the key to a good user experience when it comes to mobile sites. Shy away from use of graphics that carry a large file size, and keep the code clean. As with any other site, you should have access to analytics so that you will know the number of page views and unique users garnered by your mobile online newsroom or investor center.

Although there are very good reasons to create a mobile application, Business Wire offers the mobile-optimized version. It’s faster and less expensive to provide to communicators with deadline concerns and budget limitations. It’s also searchable via Google so target audiences have a greater chance of finding company news, information and other content types including press kits, stock quotes, and contacts. And, as we’ve seen, web browsers will continue to gain speed, while an individual platform may not necessarily have an indefinite lifespan.

If you have questions concerning NewsHQ Mobile online newsrooms or InvestorHQ Mobile investor centers, contact your local Business Wire representative.


Top 5 Reasons You Need to Be Delivering News to Stakeholders Via Mobile Alerts

January 24, 2012

With the rapid proliferation of web-enabled mobile devices, your target audience is no longer tethered to their desktop computers.  Keeping users informed of significant news events via their mobile devices is an essential part of proactive online communication and the newest best practice in investor relations.

As of June 2011, consumers now spend more time consuming content on their mobile devices than on desktop computers.  Are you delivering your content in the most mobile device-compatible format? If you’re delivering content to mobile devices via email, the answer is a resounding NO.

The advantages of news alerts via SMS vs. email

  • Immediacy: An email is, on average, opened about six hours after it’s sent.  By comparison, multiple studies indicate a text message is read within four minutes of receipt.
  • Near-perfect open rates: Most email campaigns see open rates averaging less than 20%, which indicates the vast majority of emails are never even read. By contrast, you can expect an open rate in excess of 95% for text messages. In terms of timeliness and effectiveness, there is really no comparison.
  • User Experience – On mobile devices, SMS works, but HTML emails ‘break’:  HTML is the most common and preferred email format on desktop computers (as opposed to plain text).  However, on many of the most common mobile devices your best case scenario is your HTML emails are too small to read on a mobile device and your worst case scenario is they look like a garbled mess.  Thus, many among your target audience have already learned not to bother opening email-based newsletter or news alert communications on their mobile devices.  Conversely, SMS was designed for mobile devices so its reliability is near perfect on mobile devices.
  • Direct Access to Rich Mobile-Formatted Content: When an SMS contains a mobile hyperlink or URL to additional content on a mobile-formatted website, users have learned they can simply click the link and be taken directly to a mobile-formatted website where they can expect full, rich mobile device-friendly content.

The Bottom Line:

  • You have a better chance of reaching your target audience of their mobile device than their desktop because that’s where they are consuming more content
  • You have a considerably better chance your target audience will pay attention to your message if you deliver it to them via an SMS alert that links to a mobile friendly version of your news

Top 5 Reasons You Should be Offering News Alerts via SMS

Read the rest of this entry »


Moving to Mobile: Tips for PR Pros on Creating a Winning Mobile App

December 20, 2011
– by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/NY
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

If you think mobile apps are solely for fun and games, think again.

A recent study conducted by Flurry showed that consumers are spending more time on their mobile applications than on the Internet. The tablet revolution is changing the way in which journalists tell stories, as well as how they prefer to be pitched.

However, PR pros do not have to sit back and wait for their clients to generate media coverage. Smart businesses can ‘go mobile’ by creating their own apps to connect with customers and build their brand.

Here at Business Wire, we launched our very own mobile app so that our news content can be easily accessed from any location.

Leaders in the industry insist that PR professionals must not only learn about mobile app development, but also take advantage of the opportunities it offers to increase brand loyalty.

However, not every application hits a high note, and many have failed in the past. So what is the formula to create a successful mobile app?

Recently the International Association of Business Communicators/NY Chapter hosted a panel covering the ways in which brands can utilize mobile strategy to strengthen their PR, communications and marketing efforts.

The panel featured:

  • David Weiner, Digital Media Manager, PepsiCo
  • Lou Tosto, SVP Digital & Mobile Sales, CNBC.com
  • Sarah Meron, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications, American Express Company
  • Adam Carey, Client Services Director, Imano
  • Nicole Kuritsky, Senior Manager Emerging and Social Media, Rodale

The group of mobile marketing experts had a wealth of beneficial tips to offer regarding best mobile practices. Here are some key take-aways:

The customer is key: The panelists agreed that positive user reviews are highly influential when it comes to the success of your app. Make sure that your design allows for both a seamless and engaging user experience. Also, keep in mind that including polls and surveys within your app can be a valuable tool to help you learn about your audience.

Ask yourself, “Do I need an app?”:  Sarah Meron of American Express notes that brands must consider whether their application creates a new experience for the user, different from that which is available on the original website. Will your iPad app offer value that the customer cannot find on any other platform? David Weiner of PepsiCo commented that brands should first place emphasis on becoming mobile-friendly before beginning the app development process. You might be convinced that your app is the first of its kind, but take a thorough look at the various stores to make sure an app similar to yours does not already exist, suggests Nicole Kuritsky of Rodale.

If you build it, they might not come: Building an app does not necessarily guarantee that customers will automatically rush to download it; thorough marketing and PR efforts are still as critical as ever. Make sure all systems are go before the app is live, and remember to include a link to the app store in whatever marketing materials you release to promote the new development. Adam Carey of Imano also suggests including a casual game within the app to spark the interest of potential customers. But be careful before you try to create the application yourself; development is a complicated undertaking. Partnerships with mobile consulting firms are the “name of the game,” and you “will fail if you try it yourself,” according to Sarah Meron of America Express.

 For more information on the IABC New York Chapter , visit www.nyiabc.com. You can also get the latest mobile/wireless news by registering at www.businesswire.com.


Brave, Rude World: Intrusive Technologies Beg Etiquette Questions for PR Folks trying to Mind their Mobile Manners

June 28, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President of New Media

Is it ever OK to politely suggest someone not text in your presence?  What about tweeting during meetings and  conferences?

These and other frequently asked questions regarding the brave–some would say rude–world of mobile technologies were explored at a recent Business Wire webinar, Minding your Mobile Manners:  Etiquette Tips for the Digital Age.  The event featured author and etiquette expert Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute.

Cellphone etiquette dominated the discussion with polite pleas for direction on what is/isn’t acceptable in today’s constantly connected universe. Post cited a Feb. 2011 Intel survey which found that 75% of those polled say mobile manners are worse than just a year ago.  Our attending group of professional communicators are obviously not alone in their need for guidance.

Mobile Manners in Austin, Texas:  Seen at the Whip-InABOVE:  Mobile Manners in Austin, Texas: Seen at the Whip-In

Some may think the answers to the questions above are obvious but as Anna Post pointed out, “It depends.  Each situation is different and it entirely depends on the context.”

Asking someone to not text in your presence–and how to frame such a request–depends entirely on the relationship between the people involved.  If in a professional situation a simple, “Monika, I really need your full attention here” might be appropriate.   Some companies have implemented a policy of having people drop their  iPhones and Blackberries at the door as they enter a conference room.  “If your attention is really not that important at the meeting, perhaps you shouldn’t attend,” she noted.

And Twitter at conferences and meetings?

Post recommends that when live tweeting a small event like a local PRSA meeting, you should informally advise the organizer or speaker to avoid hurt feelings and the appearance you don’t care about the presentation.

As for large conferences like SXSW, or the National NIRI or PRSA gatherings, ubiquitous technologies are pervasive and even expected.  Many speakers appreciate the visibility afforded when the audience shares their talking points in online communities, resulting in more book sales, speaking gigs, or qualified business leads for the speaker.   No need to stop tweeting or even to advise the speaker in this situation.

Email etiquette was another hot topic.   Post recommends always using a salutation with the person’s name, rather than diving straight into the message.  Avoid emoticons and text-message speak at all times in any type of business communications, she advises.  It appears juvenile.

As communications professionals, we’re especially obliged to know how to get our messages across even as the tools and techniques for doing so change as fast as the weather.  Good mobile manners–like good grammar and spelling–increase the likelihood of successfully communicating.

If you missed our webinar, feel free to catch the replay on the Business Wire events page.    Also, we hope you’ll take our one-question PR Peeps Poll on minding your mobile manners: What’s your biggest digital pet peeve?

Please and thank you.


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