Archive for ‘Niche audiences’

September 29, 2010

Two million users? Not enough…

Xmarks Xmarks had lots of users but little engagement.  Apparently it forgot to figure out what the users needed or wanted.

From WebNewser:

“For the popular bookmark syncing service Xmarks, 2 million users was apparently not popular enough. Co-founder and CTO Todd Agulnick announced on the company blog Tuesday that, despite growing by 3,000 users each day, the startup was floundering and would shut down its service in 90 days….

Unfortunately, users who tried the system were looking for answers to questions rather than topical lists of sites.”

November 11, 2009

Pop-up videos make government engaging

Today I watched over seven minutes – from beginning to end – of The Texas Tribune’s Nov. 9 news video coverage of Kay Bailey Hutchison‘s gubernatorial campaign stump speech.

The video, one of The Tribune’s “Stump Interrupted” series, uses pop-up bubbles and illustrations to add context and value to a normally boring but important story.  The pop-ups are entertaining without being silly.

Picture 1

 

When KBH is saying, “Our taxes have gone up too much in the last ten years,” the pop-up points out that “But…since 2003, Texas still had the 14th lowest per capita tax increase in the country.”

 

KBH: “I think that we are seeing too much power in one person, the power of appointment.”

Pop-ups:  A large hand illustrating someone being appointed glides in from the left, followed by the fact that “Governor [Rick] Perry has made about 5,530 appointments since first taking office.”

On the site, people can also see the sources The Tribune used for the pop-ups.

Picture 2

 

The metrics angle:  Counting how many times a video was viewed doesn’t give any info on whether the viewer was engaged.  The more relevant measure is how much of the video was viewed, and whether the video was viewed from beginning to end.

I would also look at video metrics by topic, and set goals accordingly.  I would imagine (no, really?) that the number of complete views of a Dallas Cowboys video is usually much higher than that of anything having to do with politics, even in Texas.

The Texas Tribune got California-born-and-bred me to watch a KBH video from beginning to end.  I’m now more interested in both Texas politics and in how The Tribune covers it. Imagine how engaged a Texas resident who has a stake in this would be.

Picture 5 Actually, The Tribune doesn’t have to completely guess at this.  In
addition to commenting and e-mailing the story, people can rate a story
as a “must read.”

 

I’m really intrigued about what The Tribune will do next.  It’s a nonprofit news org that, according to WebNewser, didn’t cover the Fort Hood shootings because it’s “dedicated to covering ‘the politics and policy of Texas state government.'”

I love this focus on identifying a niche audience and topic, and sticking to serving the needs of that audience.  WebNewser reported that editor Matt Stiles said that the Fort Hood story just “wasn’t our story.  Should we have jut been one more news organization rushing to Fort Hood?  I don’t think so.”

The Tribune’s a great example of a truly audience-focused news organization with unique and compelling content that provides value.  Despite being staffed by “newspaper refugees,” it’s refreshingly not content-focused.  It doesn’t build the content first and then hope the audience will come.

 

October 30, 2009

140 characters of engagement

I’ve just gotten back from the 140 Characters Conference in LA where the message, loud and clear and 10 minutes per speaker at a time, was that it’s the quality of your followers that matters, not the quantity.

More reinforcement:  Twitter’s new list function is already prompting “mass unfollowings” (thanks to Mary McKinnon/@bestwebstrategy for this link).

Picture 5 The first #140conf in New York in June was all about the unique communities that Twitter inspired.  The dominant sponsor was Hootsuite, personified by a large owl walking around hugging people.  Ann Curry duked it out with Rick Sanchez.  Wyclef Jean showed up, late of course, but illustrating the importance of authencity.  Attendees bonded over the duct-taped power outlets.

Five months later, it appears that Twitter has…matured.  The speakers in LA weren’t giddy.  The lead sponsor was Kodak, represented by CMO Jeffrey HayzlettPicture 2, a glossy brochure touting Kodak’s “convergence media tactics” and coupons for 15 percent off Kodak products. You can’t have either duct tape or power outlets in the Kodak Theatre (where the Academy Awards are held) so the crowd was often bigger in the lobby than in the auditorium.

I still had fun at #140conf LA – it is Twitter, after all – but the biz talk was pervasive:  strategy, goals, objectives, processes, systems, results, the four Ps and the four Es, one of which was, of course, engagement.

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October 7, 2009

Niche audience = $10 million

Nikki Finke 10-7-09“…Mail.com Media Corporation…purchased Deadline Hollywood Daily for upward of ten million dollars….It is an ambitious plan for a site that attracts a few hundred thousand unique visitors per month – but then many in that group check the site ten times a day.” “Call Me,” by Tad Friend, The New Yorker, Oct. 12, 2009

This is a telling statement, despite mixing up the use of “monthly unique visitors” with “daily unique visitors.”

It doesn’t matter how many millions of “monthly unique visitors” a news site has.  The value of a site is based on the ratio of visits per weekly or daily unique visitor.

It also matters who those unique visitors are.  Deadline Hollywood Daily is a must-read, not just for the hangers-on in the “Industry” but for studio and agency executives at the highest levels.

Nikki Finke, the diva extraordinaire without whom DHD would be worth nearly nothing, posts 24/7, multiple times a day.  So, the number of visits per daily unique visitor is the more appropriate metric.  The number of monthly unique visitors is a “so what” number – useless.

July 1, 2009

Age – or geography – is not enough

After burning through $9 million, TeeBeeDee.com, a social network for baby boomers, is closing because “baby boomers apparently did not want to be categorized away by their age,” Joseph Tartakoff of PaidContent.org reports.

Uh, duh?  Audiences have never been able to be truly understood by category, and often resent it.   From @deanpeters on Twitter:  “I logged-in once [to TeeBeeDee.com], it gave me the creeps.”

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June 2, 2009

Twitter audience segments

Two recent studies on Twitter usage reinforce the importance of looking at audience segments:

—    Only 22 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds (called “millennials” by some) use Twitter, according to this story in Online Media Daily.

—    “An average man is twice as likely to follow another man than a woman,” says this study done by a Harvard Business School student.   Also, “men have more followers than women.”

It would be interesting to study followers of news org. tweets.  Even getting the most basic demographics – age, sex – would help news orgs. figure out how to use Twitter more effectively.