Features

Every industry is exploring the best use cases of the latest disruptive technology to demand our attention. The media publishing industry is no different. Especially with the ongoing buzz around Facebook and YouTube's data scandal, the topic of blockchain technology and its effectiveness has surfaced. While the benefits of security, efficiency, privacy, and authentication have been harped upon, understanding its full potential poses many questions.
- Posted Jun 18, 2018
Customer communications management—or CCM—is a term that has been making its way into marketing and customer relations circles and conversations lately. But, is it something new, or just a repositioning of the same, classic approach to communication management that marketers have been using for years? Is this a term just used to apply to what is also known as digital marketing, or does it have an analog component as well?
- Posted Jun 11, 2018
The latest Facebook consternation concerns how it's prepared to meet the European Union's strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, now in force, to protect customer data; experts complain that Zuckerberg hasn't explained how his company will meet these requirements. There's a moral to this morass: be honest with your users and act quickly and effectively when a data crisis occurs.
- Posted Jun 04, 2018
While AWD offers several advantages over waterfall and other methodologies, it has its limitations too. Whether you're preparing to take your first iterative plunge or want to improve your familiar AWD processes, it's important to analyze agile's capabilities and limitations and pursue strategies that can produce better results on the web for you and your audience.
- Spring 2018 Issue, Posted May 28, 2018
While advertisers were initially lured to the online digital marketplace by low cost and easy reach, those dreams of efficiency have been significantly dashed as scammers have increasingly entered the marketplace, making it difficult for marketers (and consumers) to discern what's real and what's not. Did that click come from a real consumer or a bot? Are messages being delivered to the right audience? Is information accurate and reliable or fake?
- Spring 2018 Issue, Posted May 21, 2018
The GDPR may raise an awkward issue for the voice tech industry: it requires reminding customers that you're recording, analyzing, and storing their conversations in the first place. As Richard Brown, director at activereach, a provider of internet, networking, voice, and security solutions, points out, "Most customers assume that their email communication with a company may be stored long term, but they don't necessarily think that's the case for a voice conversation."
- Posted May 16, 2018
It goes without saying that reputation matters. The impact is more readily apparent in some areas—healthcare, restaurants—than others, but the issue impacts all of us on some level (if not on a daily basis, then during particularly important times, such as during a job interview or leading up to a date). And reputation is also a sword that cuts both ways. As Warren Buffet famously mused, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it." In the internet age, when news—good and bad—is disseminated at light speed, those 5 minutes have arguably been compressed to 50 seconds.
- Spring 2018 Issue, Posted May 09, 2018
It almost sounds too good to be true: a means of making the mobile web experience easier for customers—wherever they are in the world—while reducing development and maintenance costs for native apps and obviating the marketing spend required to make an app stand out. But in the past 2 years, there's been a groundswell of interest in progressive web apps (PWAs), a combination of technologies that proponents say can do all those things and more.
- Spring 2018 Issue, Posted May 07, 2018
GDPR creates a new set of standardized, strict rules for consumer protection, designed to ensure privacy and data minimization. It's a regulation with reach; just about any global company that collects or processes data for customers based in the EU will be affected. The consequences for non-compliance are not trivial; GDPR stipulates that offending companies can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover, or €20 million (about $24 million), whichever is higher.
- Spring 2018 Issue, Posted May 02, 2018
Chatbots are all the rage. Marketers and customer service professionals can't get enough of them, but chatbots are also popping up somewhere that is, perhaps, less expected. No less a venerable media institution than the BBC is using in-article chatbots to introduce readers to complex topics.
- Posted Apr 30, 2018
A Harvard Business Review case study recently posed a provocative question: when should humans listen to algorithms vs. when should they trust their own experience and intuition? For this case study, the issue related to which of two employees to choose for a promotion. But, given the widespread applications for the use of big data and the power of predictive analytics, the question could be applied to any field or area of business practice—including content marketing.
- Posted Apr 23, 2018
Facebook is in the middle of a PR crisis, for—more or less—simply conducting business as usual. Can they earn back customer trust, and continue to sell advertising based on user data?
- Posted Apr 10, 2018
Facebook has made a number of changes recently to its news feed, driven by issues ranging from Russian intervention in the 2016 elections, the proliferation of "fake news," and consumers' increasing frustration with spam and click bait. In January, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook users would be seeing more posts from friends and family and less from businesses and brands. The exception: business pages that generated discussion among users.
- Posted Apr 09, 2018
Presenting EContent's annual Trendsetting Products list. Each year, we turn to our inboxes, our coverage, and our contributors to find out what products are helping content creators of all kinds stay on top of their game.
Spring 2018 Issue, Posted Apr 02, 2018
It's probably not surprising that WordPress powers nearly one-third of websites and captures over 60% of the content management system (CMS) market globally, according to W3Techs. But you may be surprised to learn that, at the time of this writing, over 2,300 websites run on WordPress were infected by malware, based on data provided by PublicWWW, a source code search engine.
- Posted Mar 12, 2018
Some print publishers see a helping hand arising from an unlikely source: Augmented Reality (AR.) Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), which plucks the reader out of their environment and takes them elsewhere courtesy of a headset, AR is designed to enhance the environment in which the reader finds herself by overlaying digital information onto the real world, via a phone screen or AR-enabled headsets.
- Posted Mar 05, 2018
If you ask Elon Musk, artificial intelligence (AI) should be feared. "I don't think most people understand just how quickly machine intelligence is advancing," Musk said on stage at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit: The Age of Innovation. He also sponsors open AI, "a non-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence." Despite Musk's misgivings, AI is infiltrating just about every corner of our lives and the digital content industry.
Another year is gone, and both B2C and B2B marketers still continue to be increasingly focused on content marketing. Despite new technology that may take the content production world by storm, movement has been somewhat slow among the masses of marketers in terms of really leveraging things such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, despite the predictions of experts in last year's Sourcebook that content would become far more interactive and sophisticated as tools such as IBM's Watson came into play.
Consider that, today, more than 70% of Americans use social media—up from only 5% tallied in 2005, according to the Pew Research Center. A handful of key players in the space continue to rule. Social Media Examiner's "2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report" revealed that the top platforms used by marketers are Facebook (94%), Twitter (68%), LinkedIn (56%), Instagram (54%), YouTube (45%), Pinterest (30%), and Snapchat (7%). So what's in stor for 2018?
Big Data, that corpus of global digital information characterized by velocity, variety, and volume—with contributions from just about every being and machine on the planet—has achieved such a scope and speed of growth that any attempt to quantify it is outdated as soon as it's measured. If, in the last year, Amazon sold 636 items per second on Amazon Prime Day, YouTube saw 300 hours of video uploaded by users every minute, and Google handled 3.5 billion searches per day, then count on 2018 to bring more of the same.
Technology, a growing demand for content across global geographies, and a trend toward voice and video are all having an impact on the translation and globalization space. Demand for translation services is growing and shifting, says Michael Stevens, growth director at Moravia. "One of the biggest trends that has surprised me … is how fast demand has snowballed for localization services over the phone, as well as for video interpretation," he says. That demand has likely been driven by the growth in webinars, online events, and other two-way digital communication methods.
Consider, for a moment, the latest staggering stats. Worldwide, people watch an average of 5 hours and 45 minutes of online video weekly—a 34% increase from 2016, based on the results of Limelight Network's "The State of Online Video 2017" consumer survey. By 2021, a million minutes of video content will cross global IP networks every second, according to Cisco; at that rate, it would take you more than 5 million years to watch all the video crossing the network each month. And within 3 years, IP video traffic will account for 82% of all consumer internet traffic, per Cisco.
Despite the significant uptick in consumer use of mobile technology, there's still a big gap between those marketers who have effectively embraced mobile to provide an engaging user experience and those who have a long way to go. While experts have been predicting a big bump in the use of more sophisticated technology to deliver better mobile experiences through augmented reality (AR), mixed reality, and virtual reality (VR), for instance, those predictions have yet to be fully borne out. Instead, what we saw in 2017 was continued growth in the app marketplaces, the rapid advent of chatbots, and a growing focus on video (specifically live video), to engage audiences.
Wouldn't it be nice if technology development proceeded in an orderly, logical, and predictable manner? Once you finish laughing—or crying—at that sentence, recognize that especially when it comes to content and marketing analytics and the Big Data that underpins their viability, it was entirely unrealistic in 2017. "Technology didn't wait for us to get our data act together," observes Allison Snow, a senior analyst at Forrester.
In an increasingly high-tech world in which artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are rapidly accelerating our understanding of customers and paving innovative pathways to reaching them more intuitively, digital marketers have to ask themselves a logical question: Are the robots coming for my job too? No, not yet. Those tasked with reaching more eyeballs and raising brand awareness online can likely bolster their job security by staying ahead of important trends and carefully watching industry developments.
There may be no tool more important to the daily life of web users, but more overlooked, than the WCM system. Ask the average web surfer what powers the content he or she consumes, and he or she would likely just look at you dumbfounded. But businesses and publishers know how important WCM systems are to getting their messages out to the masses. While WCM systems may be the foundation much of the web is built on, the industry is changing shape all the time.
In the world of digital ads, two names continue to dominate: Google and Facebook. The competition isn't even close, with these online juggernauts now representing 73% of all U.S. digital advertising, a rise from 63% in the second quarter of 2015, per Pivotal's Brian Wieser in a recent note to clients. But a recent report by investment firm Cowen, "Ad Buyer Survey VI," suggests that Facebook may be poised to snatch that crown, due to the growth in video ads and Instagram.
- Posted Jan 22, 2018
How much of your traffic comes from Facebook? Whatever your answer is, it's about to change. Facebook has officially announced changes to its Newsfeed algorithm that will put content from friends ahead of, well, everything else. So, whether you're a media outlet or a marketer, your social media strategy is about to get a big shake-up.
- Posted Jan 12, 2018
For all the talk about data and measurement at the Gilbane Digital Content Conference, it's not always easy to understand what to do with the numbers once you have them. Lynette Chen, MaassMedia senior consultant, tackled what it means to try and measure success at "the edge of innovation" in her session, relying on a Guardian case study.
- Posted Nov 29, 2017
The Gilbane Digital Content Conference kicked off with a deep dive into the customer psyche with back-to-back keynote presentations. One thing is clear: the future is here and it knows what you're thinking and doing.
- Posted Nov 28, 2017
Adaptive content. You probably hear those words a lot, but like a lot of buzzwords, you may still be struggling to understand what they mean. Juhee Garg, Senior Product Manager, Technical Communications Products, Adobe, was on hand to explain to the keynote audience at Gilbane Digital Content Conference.
- Posted Nov 28, 2017
Hold the phone, Mr. and Mrs. Marketer, and not so fast, John Q. Publisher: That mobile video content you're preparing to post better be future-proofed beyond just the message and branding. Viewable convenience and an amenable aspect ratio are also key criteria today and likely will be for the foreseeable future—which means that your video better be vertical.
Our judges are an integral part of making the EContent 100 list happen, but they rarely get an opportunity to talk directly to our readers. In order to get an idea of what was on their minds during this year's judging, we asked them one simple question: "What was the breakout trend of the past year from your vantage point in the industry, and how do you see it evolving next year?" These are their answers.
Posted Nov 15, 2017
Webinars are still widely promoted online, but does the format still resonate with end users and, if so, which ones? Can webinars reach, and influence, a B2C audience or are they primarily used for B2B outreach? What emerging technologies are moving into the webinar space? These are questions marketers need to be asking themselves.
- Posted Nov 08, 2017
It's a company's worst nightmare: Disgruntled clients pull back due to dissatisfaction with the company's business practices and do so publicly, with government officials urging them on. But when the company being targeted by clients' ire is the video and search behemoth YouTube—and the business practice is the airing of revenue-generating advertisements for creators of extremist content with dangerous real-world implications—both the impact and the stakes are especially high.
Each year, we receive many more submissions for the EContent 100 list than we can use, and many interesting companies don't make it onto the final list. Here we introduce you to some of the companies that caught our attention during the voting process. We'll be keeping an eye on them during the next year, and you should too.
November/December 2017 Issue, Posted Nov 03, 2017
Meet the 11 professionals who decided which companies would make this year's EContent 100 list.
November/December 2017 Issue, Posted Nov 01, 2017
A description of the categories our judges consider when choosing the EContent 100 list.
November/December 2017 Issue, Posted Nov 01, 2017
In order to survive, everything must evolve. The EContent 100 list of companies that matter most in the digital content industry is no exception. Every year during the voting process, we see how the changing list reflects the way the larger industry is developing. In 2017, a couple of trends emerged. The first, is the importance of artificial intelligence (AI), which is probably obvious to anyone in the content business. The second is the increasing importance of digital asset management (DAM). Next year, DAM will need its own category, but this year, we did our best to honor its contributions to the industry within our existing framework.
November/December 2017 Issue, Posted Nov 01, 2017
Compared to other marketing activities, personalization is unique because it can help you improve both short-term and long-term business goals. For example, it can increase short-term goals such as email open rates and conversion rates, but it can also increase customer loyalty and lifetime value in the long term. Not surprisingly, digital marketers have pursued the holy grail of personalization for many years, but they face many challenges, particularly when trying to scale personalization globally.
Content is always changing shapes, morphing into something new. Long before there was the written word, people gathered to tell stories around campfires. Before there was a printing press, there were handwritten books. Then, of course, came ebooks. Now, our content comes to us through a dizzying array of devices and platforms. Smart creators are using the growing number of delivery options to continue to reshape content into new—and sometimes improved—forms.
Consumers aren't the only ones concerned about fake news these days. The folks who actually report the news are admitting this issue is increasingly troublesome, too. And the industry is fighting back in a number of ways.
- Posted Oct 04, 2017
Today, digital advertisers can use various forms of analytics to determine exactly what readers are looking at—and for how long. Enter the concept of time-based advertising metrics, which is the ability to not only know whether an ad has been viewed, but how long viewers spent engaged with it. This represents value for advertisers—and publishers. After all, chances are that advertisers would be willing to pay more to have their content viewed for a longer period of time by their target audiences. The higher the level of engagement (based on time spent), the more advertisers should be willing to spend.
It seems there's hardly a job a machine can't do. You go to the grocery store, and your cashier has been replaced by a computer. Your travel agent was replaced by Expedia years ago. The car in your driveway was mostly built, not by an assembly line of workers, but by advanced robots. Artificial intelligence (AI) can drive your car and clean your floor. Honestly, what doesn't your smartphone do for you? And if you happen to work in a marketing department, you may be wondering if you're going to come in one morning to find some form of AI sitting at your desk.
A quarter-century ago, when SEO was in its infancy, it was as easy as slathering on a heavy layer of keywords and tossing in abundant backlinks to rise in the rankings on search engine results pages. But by 2018, that rudimentary approach will be a distant memory, with Google, Bing, and other search engines' sophisticated algorithms in a state of constant refinement. Those organizations will seek to outwit unscrupulous players determined to manipulate results at the cost of user experience. Meeting the challenge of effective SEO may take on even more importance in the year to come, considering the renewed pressure on search engine providers to help users weed out fake news and other low-quality content.
Succeeding in content translation puts you in a position to create compelling experiences among consumers across the globe. However, it is sometimes misunderstood and diluted within globalizing organizations, which leads some content creators and owners to misuse it and make it less effective than it should be. Here are six steps to help you on your journey.
- July/August 2017 Issue, Posted Aug 21, 2017
News publishers must wrestle with the same conundrum that organizers of resistance movements such as the Women's March and the March for Science face: how to harness that heightened post-election energy and engagement for the long haul. The challenge is to smooth and manage the Trump Bump into a Trump Trajectory.
Media outlets that have been seeking a fairer deal from Facebook for years may soon be getting their wish. That's because the social media giant recently confirmed that publisher paywalls are coming soon to its Instant Articles platform. But be careful what you wish for, say the experts, as questions still linger about how this paid subscription model would work, why it's taken so long, and who really stands to benefit.
- Posted Aug 02, 2017
The Every Body Walk website is loaded with videos and stories meant to inspire people to use their own two feet more often, courtesy of Kaiser Permanente. And Blendtec's series of viral Will It Blend YouTube videos is still grinding away with gusto. Indeed, stealthy branding in the form of value-added content that's relevant to a specific market segment or target audience is in vogue. And it's more than capable of paying dividends for businesses that do it right.
- July/August 2017 Issue, Posted Jul 31, 2017
While there are plenty of dire-sounding discussions taking place these days around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning—and their potential to disrupt the world as we know it—this isn't technology of the future. It's already gaining traction across multiple industries and professions, including with content creators. New technologies are promising to upend the traditional ways in which content is conceived, produced, and disseminated. Examples already exist. 20th Century Fox used IBM Watson to create a trailer for Morgan.
- July/August 2017 Issue, Posted Jul 10, 2017
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