Newsweek: Harbinger of Things to Come?

Newsweek magazine’s move to an all-digital format seems to have raised some eyebrows, but it really shouldn’t have. I’m willing to bet we’ll see similar media announcements in the next few months, and for good reason. Online media consumption continues to grow exponentially, and not just in in the magazine category. The number of people watching TV shows and listening to “radio” online skyrocketed in the last year, and that growth won’t stop anytime soon. Equally compelling is the shift taking place within the digital media world, where tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices are rapidly supplanting conventional computers.

The scope of these changes was underscored by a number of speakers at B+L’s recent Digital Marketing Summit. Pandora’s Kim Luegers pointed out that the percentage of Pandora listeners tuning in via mobile has grown from 12 percent to 75 percent in the last two years. Correspondingly, several speakers noted that mobile devices are now outselling laptops and that, by 2014, they will be the world’s primary means of Internet access.

These trends are nothing less than a seismic shift for marketers, and we can’t ignore the tsunami of change they have thrown off. At Boelter + Lincoln, we are embracing these changes across all disciplines. Since we think that evaluating the effectiveness of interactive ads is more important than ever, our media department is partnering with companies like Vizu to measure the brand “lift” or purchase intent generated by our online buys. That’s also why we are using state-of-the-art ad-serving tools like MediaMind to provide real-time metrics for those buys and pushing clients to adopt metrics that transcend the standard CTR analysis.

Likewise, our creative department has upped its digital ante with the addition of a new interactive designer and by obtaining certification in mobile app development for both Apple and Android platforms.  We are also beginning to incorporate these app’s into ads, brochures and other traditional marketing materials, along with online video.

In the PR/social media arena, we are using Radian 6 and other social media tracking software to monitor brand buzz and online reputations. Additionally, we are building SEO, Google Analytics and other digital tools into our press releases and other media materials.

So, if you think Newsweek’s announcement was more of a hiccup than a harbinger of things to come, feel free. We think a digital media evolution is underway…and we’re getting ready to evolve with it.