Why Publishers’ Digital Sales Teams Need a Mobile Solution

Digital publishing is at a crossroads. With the Digiday Publishing Summit next week, it’s the perfect time to take a deep dive into the challenges that publishers face.

I sat down with Jebbit’s Global Sales Director, Taylor Bellefeuille, to talk all things publishing. She ran the sales team at Streetwise Media for nearly four years, and knows digital publishing inside and out. This is the first of two pieces in this series – I’ll share our conversation on mobile first and then our conversation on interactive content. This time, we discussed the shift to mobile, how publishers can evolve, and what a modern digital solution looks like.

Let’s get right to it: What’s your take on the shift to mobile-first consumers?

The shift to mobile is undeniable and its effects on digital publishers are massive.

Seventy percent of publishers saw up to 50% mobile traffic growth in the last year. As a result, the vast majority of them plan to increase their mobile inventory in the coming months to drive more digital revenue. That’s a temporary fix: Adding mobile ads will only get publishers so far, because mobile traffic sees 3X the ad blocking rate of desktop.

How can publishers adapt to this challenge?

I worked at a digital publisher for years, so this challenge really excites me. A large motivation behind taking my current position at Jebbit was the opportunity I saw to work with digital publishers on a daily basis, helping their digital sales teams innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

Publishers know they need a mobile solution, but to really get to the crux of the issue, it’s important to understand the implications of mobile-first consumers.

First, you need to understand the dilemma of content shock. Coined by Marc Schaefer, it posits that there’s so much content online that it surpasses our ability to consume it all. Mobile devices inherently limit the amount of content on a web page, which means your content needs to stand out to to your audience. If it doesn’t, your property won’t be worth advertising on. It also means your sponsored content needs to be built for mobile – it should be visual, concise, and easily consumed.

Second, we need to acknowledge our rapidly decreasing attention spans. To put it in perspective, the average attention span is less than a goldfish’s. Publishers not only have to capture attention with compelling owned and sponsored content, but they have to sustain it.

Finally, consumers today expect personalization. They don’t want to see sponsored content irrelevant to their preferences, tastes, and shopping habits. They want to be treated as the individuals they are – with content, products, and offers tailored to their wants and needs.

What can publishers do?

Think outside the box. Typical digital solutions don’t work anymore: Mobile ad blocking is rapidly increasing and sites with mobile popups won’t perform well in search rankings. Publishers’ digital sales teams should test new options like interactive sponsored content, try increasing their mobile video offerings, and design for the mobile-first consumer.

What does an ideal mobile solution look like?

It looks a lot like the inverse of the challenges publishers face. It’s immersive, engaging, and concise. It could be taking a long-form piece of native content and turning it into an interactive experience. Maybe it’s turning a sponsored slideshow into a personality quiz. The important things to remember are that mobile digital solutions should be visual and should offer some level of personalization.

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