It is so easy to conform to the ‘post first, ask questions later’ mentality the internet seems to not only accept but actually rely on in the modern age. Why worry about the truth or the substance behind your content? So long as your content is seen by the many, that is all that matters, right?
The pull of the platforms
The drive for the largest possible audience, even if it means resorting to clickbait (at best) or fake news (at worst) is of course fuelled by the power of the search engine. According to an article from Marketing Charts, search engines became the most trusted source for information, overtaking traditional media, back in 2015.
It seems unlikely that this major shift is due to any single factor, and publishers themselves have had a role to play in this significant content consumption change. All publishers have ventured onto ‘the platforms’ - Google but also Facebook, Twitter and so on - in one form or another, if only to survive. It’s what successful organisations often do: follow their audience and supply to their demand in any way possible. They have too often found, however, that this is at the expense of their ad revenue, the traffic to their own websites, their ownership of data, and even the quality of their content. Who can blame publishers for resorting to click-bait when their audiences have been lost to social media?
Greater content consumption
At the same time, the news for publishers is not all bad. We are all spending more time than ever consuming information, able to access information 24-7 no matter where we are. There is potential for audiences to spend more time than ever with their preferred content providers. This is where loyalty can be won and retained.
The fact is however, that most publishers have not seen increased time spent online resulting in more time spent consuming their content or engaging with them, and certainly not necessarily regularly returning audiences. So far, publishers have generally struggled to make the platforms work for them or to capture a greater share of the time spent consuming content.
What is the solution?
Answer: New technology that has the capability to deliver deeper audience engagement through the provision of trusted content, under publishers’ own brands.
Search engines and social media networks have their place, increasing reach and attracting audiences in numerous locations both geographically and virtually (hence this article has been shared to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!). More importantly, there is a lot that can be learnt from them about how to involve an audience; how to foster loyalty (or at least repeat visits).
However, as this recent opinion piece from Stevan Dojcinovic in The New York Times well illustrates, it is now time for publishers to bring their audience back to their own websites, their own brands.
“Using Facebook to reach our readers has always been convenient, so we invested time and effort in building our presence there, helping it become the monster it is today. But what’s done is done — a private company, accountable to no one, has taken over the world’s media ecosystem.”
The power of the platforms is such that it has left consumers wondering who and what to trust. So, not only for the sake of their own future success, but also to make it easy once again for consumers to identify trusted sources of information, we believe that publishers should be seeking out technology that enables them to engage their audience without the need for click-bait, fake news or lost control.
Contact us to discuss whether Zapnito could be the solution you are looking for.