Category Archives: Four Media Update

News Corp Reports Revenue Decline

News Corp, the publisher of newspapers including The Times and The Sun, has reported a 2.8% decline in revenues for the quarter ending 30th September 2013 with a decline in advertising being blamed for the decrease.

In the first quarter since News Corp was split into a highly successful entertainment company and a less profitable publishing business earlier this year, the latter’s net income rose from a loss of $83 million last year to a profit of $38 million. However, year-on-year annual sales actually fell from $2.13 billion to $2.07 billion, falling short of the $2.18 billion total predicted by analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Source: www.advanced-television.com/

The news division, whose portfolio includes titles in the US, the UK and Australia, saw advertising fall 12 percent and revenues from circulation and subscription decrease by 6 percent with the Australian papers accounting for the largest decline (a 22% drop in sales).

In response to the results, Robert Thompson, News Corp’s chief executive, was keen to highlight that the company is in a period of transition with the brands’ evolution into digital content providers key to its future: “Our first quarter as the new News was the beginning of a journey in the digital development of the company. We […] are transforming our publishing operations longer-term into multi-platform businesses [and] we are even more convinced the company will thrive as the company becomes more digital.”

Paid websites represent a key part of this strategy – it is now three years since The Times and Sunday Times websites went behind a paywall with The Sun following suit earlier this year. While it has been a controversial approach at odds with that of the highly successful Guardian and Daily Mail sites, News UK argue that the indisputable reduction in visitors is compensated for by the quality of the data they have on their subscribers and, therefore, the level of targeting which they can offer advertisers. However, from Four’s point-of-view, this reduced traffic makes it difficult to reach a sufficient number of people on more niche areas of the site relevant to our clients, such as the Property section.

In addition, News UK has identified the iPad and tablet apps as central to a strong digital offering, with increased functionality and a wider range of creative advertising solutions being planned for 2014. With Tesco’s £119 Hudl tablet tipped to be a strong seller this Christmas, we believe that a presence on apps will become increasingly important to many of our clients in the coming months.

Can Twitter Work as an Ad Medium?

On its first day as a public company Twitter was valued at £19bn. Following its successful stock market launch, Twitter now needs to prove to investors that it can effectively grow its revenue; one medium through which it would do this is advertising.

Source: www.mediatel.co.uk

There are 230 million users globally on Twitter, 76% of which access Twitter on a mobile device. Therefore advertisers are extremely interested in utilising mobile ads. In response to this, Twitter is introducing a new set of targeting capabilities for mobile devices.  Now all advertisers can segment audiences on iOS and Android by operating system version, specific device, and WiFi connectivity. This helps advertisers reach the users most important to them, for example mobile app developers can target users with the necessary operating systems, prompting a new download or re-engagement through an app card. This is something that has previously been successfully operated by Facebook, the main rival of Twitter.

Telco companies can now also promote loyalty and rewards to users on their specific devices. All marketers can focus campaigns on users with device models that are indicative of demographics which align to their campaign goals.

Furthermore there is now the self-serve ad platform to be used by small businesses across the UK. Anyone with a Twitter account and a credit card can now buy promoted tweets and promote accounts; targeted through keywords or interests and followers.

In addition to this, the new segmentation reporting gives advertisers better insights in to the OS versions and specific devices of users engaging with their general campaigns.

Source: www.theguardian.com

So will Twitter be an effective advertising platform? Despite the many advantages of using advertising on social media, the juxtaposed dangers were suitably demonstrated last month on Facebook, when a video showing a human decapitation appeared without warning. This was a disaster for advertisers sharing this content on the same page. Clearly, regulation of content is a difficult and controversial issue to tackle. Twitter has its own pitfalls for companies, for example companies are being warned about Twitter ‘trolls’; who can harm the company’s reputation with unprovoked criticism.

Now that images are allowed, ads appearing in Twitter are much more prominent. This does change the experience for the user. As Twitter pushes for more advertising there is the potential for a backlash from users as they are inundated with adverts. Plans were revealed to widen its advertising to target “every business on the planet”. Although this is brilliant news for small/medium businesses, this may not sit well with some users. Therefore a fine balance needs to be reached to avoid the over-saturation of adverts, on Twitter feeds, driving its users away.

The Growth of Multi-Screening

Source: www.futuremedialab.com

Multi-touch point media campaigns are not a new thing.  Outdoor, print, TV and cinema have long operated hand in hand to enable brands to reach an audience through-out the day, with people interacting with different platforms at different points of the day.  This has changed over the years however, with the introduction of a variety of differing media.  Google announced, in a piece of research in 2012 that 80% of people in the UK’s interaction with media now come through a screen, be it TV, tablets or smartphones for example.

The portable nature of laptops and especially tablets and smartphones has encouraged a dramatic growth in ‘multi-screening’, where an individual interacts with multiple screened devices at the same time (Marketing Week, 2012).  Advertisers too are catching up with this trend with ad campaigns that run simultaneously on multiple screens, designed to drive response by emphasising the brand’s message to a consumers on all of the devices they may be using at one time

The British market has seen an increase in the number of advertising brands seeing benefit in multi-screen campaigns.  Some opt for ad campaigns on TV, along with online and tablet display advertising spots.  However, the most noticeable of interactive multi-screen campaigns have come with the inclusion by advertisers, of links to Twitter feeds on their TV advertising (Hawlins, 2013).  This is done in an attempt to drive social media interaction with a brand which ‘helps organise and steer the conversation’ (Twitter, 2013) on that brand.

Thinkbox reported in 2012 that 72% of TV viewers stay in the room for TV advertising when not multi-screening; while 81% do when multi-screening, meaning that not only are the multi-screening audience more likely to see advertising, the ability to reach them on multiple platforms will increase the impact.

The opportunities to take advantage of the multi-screening audience are also increasing with improvements in targeting technologies.  The technological facility to target specific households by their social demographic grouping and deliver messages to individual screens within that household now exists.  This technology considers all of the devices/screens in a household as part of the same ‘ecosystem’ and delivers ads across each platform accordingly.  19 million households across the UK are currently accessible in this manner. There is significant power to be gained from targeting both the breadwinner and decision makers in a household across multiple platforms simultaneously and for further details on how to take advantage of such technology please contact Four Marketing & Media.

Research of the US media market, undertaken by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Nielsen shows that 20% of media budgets are now ear-marked for multi-screen campaigns.  (WARC,2013).  This trend will also continue to grow, with the sale of tablets predicted to continue to grow dramatically (Lomas, 2013) and the expansion of 4G networks and ever faster broadband connections ensuring smoother online access, delivering an easier route to interaction.  Advertising that takes advantage of the multi-screening phenomenon will therefore increase, given the repetition and strength of message a campaign of this ilk affords an advertiser and the ability it gives these advertisers to wrestle back the share of voice, lost by the divergence of advertisers across multiple screens.

The ‘Rising Stars’ of digital media?

At Four we are always looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of our campaigns.

Visually creative new ideas that encourage audience interactions are being dubbed the ‘the canvasses of the future’ for brand advertising on digital platforms. Needless to say, it is a great way to run a branding campaign that drives user engagement.

As you can see from the chart below, the statistics demonstrate that the click-through rate (CTR) for these rich media banners tends to be significantly higher than standard banners:

Rich Media Banners

Source:http://blog.adform.com/rich-media/is-rich-media-the-key-to-better-engagement/

Some examples of these banners and how they work:

  • Dynamic skins that offer a stimulating background to a webpage.
  • Product carousels that allow the user to scroll through an ad and navigating further accordingly.
  • 3D MPUs literally jump out of the page at you, a sure way to catch the eye of the audience.
  • Gliders that present a floating ad in front of the original article, which can be navigated accordingly by the user.
  • Shutters that play a video advert when a user clicks or hovers over the ad that contain product images and further calls to action, such as ‘view further images’, ‘register now’, ‘click to purchase’ or ‘view more information

Not only do users tend to spend more time engaging with these ad formats, research also shows that users liked the ads more, saying that they improved their impression of the website more than standard banners.

The great advantage of using these ads is that they are deliberately interactive; they are designed to make it as easy as possible to instantly engage with a brand or product. This gives the audience the freedom to interact and explore the advert within a pop-up microsite, without being pulled away from their original article.

Below is an annotated example of an ‘open door’ format created by Adform:

Open Door Ad format

Source: www.adform.com/site/help-and-resources/

Four Hires One Hyde Park Branding Expert

Source: Four M&M

Luxury branding expert Alex De Blonay, the creative force behind the One Hyde Park brand for Candy & Candy, has joined the marketing and media division at Four Communications, the award-winning independent agency.

Alex has been appointed Creative Director, reporting to Andrew Jack, MD of Four Marketing & Media. Alex has 12 years experience in the luxury and property sector –  six years as Head of Branding for Candy & Candy, and as Brand Director at 1508 London, a luxury design house.

At Candy & Candy, Alex created the globally renowned One Hyde Park brand and was responsible for all elements of the marketing strategy for the UK’s most famous new development, which attracted ultra high net worth buyers from around the world and set new levels for prices in prime central London.

Alex will bring her creative flair and vision to add value to Four’s work with leading developers and agents, both in the UK and internationally. Four Communications is based in London and the Gulf, with an international network of offices, and offers truly integrated communications service, with a specialist property offering across  marketing and media, PR, public affairs and digital services.

Andrew Jack said: “Alex is exceptionally talented and has an outstanding track record in the luxury sector. Her ability to create real stand-out in a highly competitive marketplace will enhance Four’s position as the leading experts in property marketing and media.”

Alex De Blonay said: “Four has an amazing reputation and I am looking forward to working with Andrew and the team to create marketing strategies that break  boundaries, capture the imagination of the audience and deliver results for new and existing clients.”