5 Ways Publishers Can Effectively Monetize Mobile Content

A number of content publishers are doing tremendous work bringing their content to mobile users, seizing the opportunity brought on by the adoption of smartphones and tablets.

However, others have been slow to make that full commitment. Many are still learning how to adapt their business to mobile, evaluating how to present content and monetize it. Some of these publishers have extraordinary online content, yet it doesn't translate as well on mobile. Knowing that their audiences are consuming content on mobile devices, some publishers, in their haste to get into the medium, have cut corners operationally and creatively, not fully understanding the nuances that go into building a solid foundation on mobile.

Here are the factors publishers should consider when putting together their mobile strategy.

1. Mobile Is Harder
Compared to other mediums and platforms, mobile is a much harder environment to get right in terms of creating great, sticky content. It's still a nascent environment that content makers and advertisers are still trying to wrap their heads around. What has worked in the first few years of the mobile ecosystem is advertising that doesn't disturb the mobile experience.

The transaction-based environment of mobile, one in which consumers are on for minutes, rather than hours at a time, means that you have just a few seconds to get them to notice, without hassling that user. Also, not all mobile users will be connected through a fast Wi-Fi connection, so content and advertising need to be designed to adapt (read: load faster) accordingly.

2. Sell a Good Product
Putting your content on a mobile device means that the end-user's window to a site or app will be on a small screen. The introduction of tablets eased this pressure, but for the most part, users won't wade through an online version of your content crammed into a mobile device. This has made it difficult to convince marketers that mobile content is worth advertising on, that putting their brand next to certain content will yield better click-throughs and actions, such as downloads or newsletter sign-ups. The lack of deep thinking around content design is forcing sales teams to play catch-up in terms of how to sell the medium.

3. Mobile Web vs. In-App

Today, publishers are debating whether they should put their content within the mobile Web or within an application. Both avenues should be explored, but it's economically prohibitive for some to do so. Content owners have to make a mobile Web site, they have to make an iOS app, they have to make an Android app, they have to make an app for the iPad, and so on. It's just not realistic for some. Publishers should make a decision based on business goals.

Content within applications tend to have huge, recurring user bases that are very engaged with anything within that environment. Brand loyalty means users trust that content, making apps a favorable environment for advertisers. The mobile Web is agnostic of operating systems and can streamline costs for publishers and advertisers alike, allowing them to create one piece of content adaptable to multiple platforms.

4. Common Mobile Traps
Publishers expanding their audience reach to mobile may be bringing along some quirks from online advertising that won't fly with mobile audiences. Publishers that have become accustomed to online ad technology should be wary of traps in advertising technology -- long-form video ads, ads with sound that automatically plays, lack of device detection and inefficient frequency capping capabilities. With roughly seconds to get a mobile user's attention, intrusive noises, video that takes long to load, and the flooding of the same ads over and over again are going to turn them off.

5. Go The Extra Mile
Despite the challenges, mobile devices provide very distinct capabilities that marketers love -- rich media and mobile targeting. Rich media is much more effective in engaging with consumers, and, as long as publishers keep up with the SDK updates of their rich media vendors, it can help them to avoid some of the dead ends that happen with in-app advertising.

Mobile targeting methods are becoming very sophisticated as more sophisticated devices proliferate the market. This means that "run of" ads that are inappropriate or irrelevant are becoming less of an issue as publishers allow for targeting that keeps the experience relevant for the user.

Mobile will continue to evolve as new, powerful and larger mobile devices keep changing how users experience the medium. These simple steps will help publishers lay the groundwork for an effective strategy, enabling them to fully unlock the revenue potential of the ever-changing mobile landscape.

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