Marcus Stephens, GM of SA web portal Howzit MSN has highlighted the growing mobility of South African consumers, and has urged the media sector to spend more time on their audiences’ experiences on mobile devices.
Natural user experiences
Stephens says that publishers are under pressure to show that they are useful and relevant in a market where apps and social networks make it easier than for users and brands to share information with each other.
He says that audiences will gravitate to connections that are simple, easy and natural.
“Mobility, especially, matters,” the portal lead said.
Higher mobile broadband speeds, lower rates and ease of access are changing, the demographic of the user base is shifting significantly, once again creating space for new content and business models,” he opines.
“Not only are smartphones enjoying massive growth, but we expect two million or more tablets to be active in South Africa by the end of 2013. Audience owners must spend more time on their audiences’ experiences on these devices – so mobile apps and services at should be at the top of the industry’s priority list,” Stephens said.
He believes that South African publishers will shift their emphasis from building audiences and advertising market share towards becoming serious about monetisation of their online properties.
“As they do so, one of the biggest questions they must ask themselves is how they can sell their aggregated audiences into marketing organisations in a manner that delivers the best returns for their advertisers and the best revenue for their businesses,” Stephens said.
According to Stephens, for digital publishers striving to drive profitability, the next year or so will all be about the challenges of defining price, protecting data and audiences, and demonstrating their value proposition to advertisers. “It’s all about quality of audience and engagement rather than pure reach.”
The general manager says that brands must invest in providing followers and fans with information that extends their stories – content that is practical and that adds value in the context of the user’s life. “Those that get this right become a part of their customers’ daily lives and benefit from positive brand association and exposure,” Stephens said.