Hive Digital Media is excited to announce the appointment of Katherine Bell as the company’s new General Manager (GM). Katherine Bell takes over the reigns from Kristin Louw, who leaves the company to pursue new opportunities.
What are the details around this appointment?
Kath, as she is popularly known within business circles, held the position of Hive’s Operations Manager before the appointment. Her primary focus was to ensure that market products are competitive and that Hive Digital Media executes campaigns accordingly with continued optimisations and strategic reporting insights.
“Kristin has left massive shoes to fill, but I am excited to utilize my knowledge of the business to step-up to the task. I hope to continue the momentum Hive Digital Media has established and continue growing that. We have an incredible team of industry experts, and I aim to strategically steer this ship to the sweet spot that maximises the team’s potential and align this with our clients’ objectives. Our team is young and dynamic, as is the industry, and I aspire to grow Hive Digital Media in this direction as the market is ever-changing,” said Katherine.
“In a fast-moving world, change is inevitable. Katherine has been part of Hive Digital Media for a few years with an impeccable record. Katherine’s experience and qualifications (Honours degree in Business management) make her more than qualified to take over as GM and run with the challenge. She is a young digital native with a lot of positive energy and I am looking forward to working closely with her.”, highlighted Servaas de Kock, Caxton Group Executive-Digital.
Hive Digital Media has entered into an innovative partnership with Conversion Rate Pros. This partnership is based on an increasing need to positively assist brands in shaping and altering consumer perspectives towards brands and their online assets.
How will this impact businesses?
Established on the foundation of the emerging global digital trend of split testing, the Conversion Rate Pros business model is anchored around a keen desire to provide businesses and brands with an in-depth understanding of why online users were and weren’t purchasing from their online stores. This business model ultimately ensures businesses are driving their websites forward with customer insights rather than boardroom discussions.
This translates into businesses making more money from the budget they’re already spending and traffic they’re already generating. In a nutshell, Conversion Rate Pros is about sites becoming more effective and converting traffic into revenue and increasing marketing spend.
Businesses and brands can count on Conversion Rate Pros and Hive Digital Media to provide them with in-depth insights on consumer experiences as well as their fears and objections around purchasing and enquiring.
The long-term effects of having a structured approach to understanding customer problems and testing solutions to these generates powerful Intellectual Property (IP). This can then be leveraged through every area of the business from the online checkout process, PR strategy, packaging and even to product development road maps.
“As a business owner or marketing executive, you’re looking for low-risk strategies that can move the needle over the long run. Research and split testing is just that strategy. Making a real, data-backed difference for our clients is unbelievably fulfilling. It also places customers at the centre of website roadmaps, meaning better experiences for the customers that our clients value so much,” says Nicholas Wright, Founder of Conversion Rate Pros.
Paid media and conversion rate optimisation
The partnership between Conversion Rate Pros and Hive Digital Media speaks volumes about the great synergy between paid media and conversion rate optimisation services that every digital strategy should contain. This partnership, therefore, promises to achieve a two-pronged approach of driving quality traffic sites through paid media and iteratively improving the performance of the site with great and rewarding results for all parties.
“We have seen the benefit of this offering on our very own publications. No matter what a website considers a “conversion” to be, there are always ways to streamline the structure and layout of the site to support its overall end goals. While our core offering as a sales house has always been digital media, this services ties in so beautifully to a strategic client / partner relationship in the sense that not only can we drive valuable traffic to your site, but we can ensure that you get the best possible chance of conversion when users get there,” emphasises Kristin Louw, Hive Digital Medias General Manager.
In an age of ‘Tinder swindlers’, ‘Inventing Annas’ and ‘Fyre Festivals’, it is increasingly important for marketers to adapt their game plan in line with the latest consumer media habits and preferences.
A rise in distrust by consumers might mean having to strike a balance between new and innovative advertising solutions and ‘safe’ or traditional advertising channels.
For many businesses, budgets previously allocated to traditional paid advertising that focused on brand awareness have shifted to new media platforms – and to sponsored partnerships with influencers in particular. The expected trade-off for companies and brands working with individuals to promote their products more organically is that they would build trust more effectively with a target audience.
But that is not always the case, says Introducing!SA digital media strategy manager Aqsa Qureshi. Introducing!SA is Caxton’s multi-network marketing platform and content destination for brands and products.
Qureshi says that global research shows consumers are not only worn down by the disingenuous ads posted often by influencers, but that there seems to be a great deal of mistrust of influencers.
“When it comes to social media marketing, the UM media agency’s insights show that influencer marketing appears to be the least trusted form of marketing. This is in line with another survey by YouGov and Grey London,” she says. “They attribute this to a lack of clarity and transparency; that things might not be all they seem when people are paid to place products in posts.”
In 2018, Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, stopped working with social media influencers who buy followers, citing unethical practices that defeat the purposes of a business choosing influencer marketing.
This raised the questions of whether influencers are knowledgeable about the brands they promote and if they follow due diligence before aligning themselves to a brand. In the recent Hello Darlings holiday fiasco, influencers who were used by the ‘travel agency’ to promote the business were left with their reputations in tatters.
It is important for brands to remember that influencers can bring both positive and negative attention to a brand. “The behaviour of an influencer can directly cause negative impressions of an associated brand, and the risk exists that consumers will associate people with brands, which rarely happens with local media,” Qureshi points out.
There is a direct link between the credibility of both the advertiser and the advertising medium and the impact on the audience, she says.
This is not to say that there is no space for new media and innovation. However, these days, research shows that consumers prefer non-disruptive advertising in ‘safe’ spaces. “Caxton provides a brand-safe environment with many measures in place to ensure that we are trustworthy and unbiased when it comes to marketers’ needs.”
While marketers trust TV and online video the most and consider podcasts and influencer content the most innovative formats, consumers think differently: They trust newspaper ads and events the most and consider digital out-of-home the most innovative.
Although news brands are often viewed as ‘low in the pecking order for brand building and sales effectiveness’, research by UK marketing body Newsworks and research company Future Thinking shows that news brand readers are attentive to advertising and are more likely to take out key campaign messages.
So how do news brands strengthen campaigns and how do they help drive behavioural change?
Spark Media marketing head Robyn Bishop explains: “The inclusion of news brands in campaigns contributed to higher awareness as news brands have high reach and readers are more attentive to advertising overall – second only to TV, while print creates higher awareness than digital news brands.”
This means that news brand readers are more likely to absorb, understand and retain the campaign’s key messages.
Spark Media is Caxton Local Media’s national print sales division.
Bishop points out that, according to Newsworks and Future Thinking, news brands are particularly effective among non-customers and when it comes to closing the competitive gap, compared with other media.
It has to be noted that key performance indicators increase as the number of different media used in the campaign increases. “If you are on a limited budget, a strong uplift in purchase intent still occurs when print news brands are one of two or three medium combinations,” Bishop notes.
Caxton Local Media has a long history of funding credible research to prove the readership of local print titles among purchase decision-makers and provide consumer insights to advertisers. The latest report of the group’s Roots survey (2019) shows that 65% of local papers are read every week. Roots is one of South Africa’s largest and longest-running consumer behaviour surveys. A new Roots report is expected later this year.
Bishop echoes the sentiments of digital strategy and eCommerce consultant Ludovic Martin, who thinks the weaknesses of print (no interaction, no digital output, passive reading, no spying) are its greatest strengths: “Print media is appreciated for its comfort, relevance and passive mode, especially regarding data privacy.”
Having said this, Caxton is not afraid to explore new territories.
Don’t get disenchanted with digital marketing
The digital advertising space has grown exponentially over the years and has become a lucrative avenue to advertise products and services.
This is due to its adaptability and ability to precisely target audiences. “Digital marketing affords advertisers the opportunity to precisely measure campaigns and even adjust advertising messages with ease,” says general manager at Hive Digital Media, Kristin Louw.
Of concern, however, is the ease with which advertising and content messaging can be executed online. It is possible for anyone with an internet connection to create a website and start offering services as an entrepreneur, often resulting in over-promising and under-delivering on campaigns.
But working with a trusted and experienced digital agency will get you a solid marketing foundation. “This means exploring the most appropriate channels for the greatest return on investment,” says Louw.
“The formula for traditional versus digital spend will vary greatly from business to business, so it is important that you consult an established media house which can advise you accordingly. As members of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, we pride ourselves in offering credible, reliable media choices.”
As Caxton Local Media’s national digital sales division, Hive represents well-curated news publications with a diverse but defined audience – offering marketers new media channels on established news platforms.
“Hive has at its disposal trained journalists and language professionals who are well versed in the principles of commercially viable, sponsored and advertorial content. This means clients enjoy the highest ethical and moral standards, with particular attention paid to credibility of information sources and references when it comes to content on our platforms,” emphasises Louw.
News content and credibility
How journalists gather news and how information is disseminated have changed substantively over the past two decades. Reach and public engagement have increased tremendously, but so has the ease with which ‘fake news’, disinformation and scams are disseminated.
The way readers consume news or content is also constantly changing and segmenting, and great differentiation is needed within the media sphere to retain audiences.
“What is not changing is the demand for news or content you can trust,” says Caxton Local Media digital editorial manager Aliche Bezuidenhout.
“Readers are becoming more visually and digitally literate, opinionated and woke, but they remain exploitable as algorithms advance and trends catch on. Through gatekeeping and credibility, established media houses are often a cut above the rest in terms of the content they publish online or offline.”
In this regard, the Covid-19 pandemic emphasised the value of community newspapers. “We became a go-to place and a trusted source of information on the pandemic, turning Covid-19 questions into informative, easy-to-understand articles,” Caxton Local Media’s group editor Irma Green notes.
Caxton newspapers also play an integral watchdog role in the communities they serve. “Even in the digital era, the printed versions of our publications are highly respected due to the success they have in holding businesses and lower levels of government accountable,” says Green.
Caxton is a member of the Press Council of South Africa and adheres to the Press Code, which not only guides the media’s conduct, but offers members of the public a platform to seek recourse when Press Code transgressions occur.
Although Caxton print publications have a high advert-to-news ratio, the company’s Roots research has shown that a considerable number of readers enjoy the adverts – most of which contain special offers from retailers.
Green sees a future for local media and believes that new media, if done right, will complement rather than compete with traditional media. “We have managed to create a symbiosis between our print and online versions to the advantage of readers and advertisers.”
Hive Digital Media has entered into a progressive business partnership with Think WiFi seeing to accelerate ad-funded WiFi access to under-served communities. Through Think WiFi’s strategically placed technology and infrastructure, along with Hive Digital Media’s sales and ad serving expertise, this partnership is set to offer advertisers access to a market that was previously highly challenging to reach.
How will these two service providers complement each other?
Think WiFi, an Ad Tech company that specialises in delivering high impact WiFi solutions. These solutions aim to provide dignity and equality through access to technology, with the subsequent ability to help create Smart communities. On the other hand, Hive Digital Media is a digital division of the Caxton Group that provides expertise in digital media sales, marketing services, SEO, content, as well as technical support and development for partners across the network.
Strengthening Hive’s current extensive audience reach, the partnership will assist brands in launching products and services in unique market segments and reach key market audiences.
Furthermore, this partnership will allow Think WiFi to continue strive toward its noble ambition of providing free public WiFi across South Africa. This includes offering connectivity and digital education solutions to schools, and enabling Think Portal “Lollies” (solar-powered community lights) – The responsibility of seeking commercial partners to ad-fund this venture will rest with Hive.
“This offering adds to the robust range of audience segments that we can currently reach through our media offerings, giving brands all they need to make the best possible targeting decisions. Hive is looking forward to working closely with Think WiFi from a strategic & operational point of view in order to give our clients a world-class experience,” states Hive General Manager Kristin Louw.
“Over and above, this offers a unique prospect to be part of something that brings economic and educational resources to poverty-stricken areas – an opportunity that we did not want to miss”, emphasised Louw.
As further highlighted by Janine Rebelo, CEO of Think WiFi, “Hive share our passion for uplifting communities and have the knowhow and foresight to embrace the new ‘Kasi’ economy with us. This not only provides brands with significant campaign ROI and affinity benefits, it also enriches the lives of millions of underserved South Africans, bringing them a plethora of new products and services that closes the digital divide and allows them to participate in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.
What’s the end user reach?
Think Wi-Fi currently has 321 venues in 5 provinces distributed as follows, Western Cape 221, Gauteng 94, KZN 22, Eastern Cape 34 and Northern Cape 1.
Some of the unique business features associated with Think Wifi include that the internet access services provided are uncapped, and that users’ details such as email addresses are never requested. This keeps access open to all, ensuring that it is user-friendly and straightforward even with the semi-illiterate population.
Brands and branding are vitally important factors in the social and business spheres. A brand reflects the business outlook, stature and credibility and how it’s generally perceived by consumers and the market in general.
In order to remain relevant, maintain and increase consumer loyalty and trust, every business must invest every available resource in developing and sustaining valuable brand assets such as products, services, images, company ethos, etc. All this is what constitutes brand development.
Brand development refers to the tangible application and utilisation of tools and interventions in order to promote and enhance the unique traits of a particular brand. This involves finding suitable tools, researching and knowing what consumers want, evaluating the strength and weaknesses of the brand and checking how competitors have positioned themselves. There is also formulating the message and strategy and very importantly, finding the right platforms and avenues on which you can positively expose your brand, and exponentially increase your brand’s equity in consumer minds and the market in general.
Ultimately, brand development strategy is not just about reputation and visibility but must be strategically aligned to set business objectives.
What types of branding strategies should a business consider?
Company name branding – This refers to a brand development strategy which is anchored around an established and recognised company name.
Attitude branding – Attitude in brand development is about the general feeling and emotional connection that consumers have with a brand. Brands can rely on feelings and attitudes like street cool, conservatism, sports, etc.
Brand extension branding – Depending on the success of a particular brand development strategy, it’s common practice to apply the same brand development strategy on to a business or product which is generally known as a brand extension strategy.
For businesses with multi-products lines, you can opt to give each product its own brand name, colours, packaging, etc. This however needs to feed into the broader company business objectives.
Key elements of brand development
Brand feel and look – The look and feel of your brand can make or break a brand. Brand feel and look is about brand personality and making a strong first impression which sets the foundation for the brand. Brand feel and look can be enhanced in digital platforms through brochures, sell sheets, mailers, business cards, signs and displays, logos, websites, cleverly designed social media posts, apps and content.
Target audience – What is a brand without an audience? The audience is the demographic which is likely to engage or buy your products or services. The goal is therefore to identify the audience, attract them and sustainably retain their loyalty towards your brand.
Content – Content is king. Content not only enlightens the audiences but it amplifies the different aspects of the brand through digital platforms and marketing collateral. A business must therefore curate content which is relevant, compelling, engaging and suitable for social media and other relevant platforms.
Targeted advertising – Once the audience is established and content in place, you need to communicate your message with precision. Targeted advertising and marketing incorporate information-gathering tools and mechanisms which define brand messaging in order to connect with the right audience better. This must be accompanied by selecting the right platforms which are visited by your targeted audiences.
What is Hives value proposition in the brand development process?
Hive Digital Media is now a sought-after digital media solutions provider for small, medium and large-scale businesses seeking to initiate or establish brand development initiatives in the digital space. Hive’s value proposition is anchored around key brand development cornerstones which are:
Know your audience
Hive has invested in Carbon DMP which is a publisher-oriented DMP (Data Management Platform). Carbon’s role is to provide Hive Digital Media with credible, in-depth and high-quality 1st and 3rd party data. Hive relies on this DMP to collect data & deliver relevant, targeted campaigns for brand-specific audiences that can be charged to clients at a higher premium. DMP offers a unique centralised overview of audience engagement.
Precise targeting is driven through audience interest or location data to deliver primed mobile brand messages. The audience is also directed to written article content via social media, newsletters and display advertising. This is achieved by offering social media boosted posts as part of an overall content campaign. This translates into content on a Hyperlocal website reaching the right audiences on 3rd party platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. The benefit of this is that a brand is able to drive higher traffic and interested audiences.
Create your resources
Hive curates and publishes high-quality content on 59 hyperlocal community newspapers + social network pages in diverse communities dotted around the country.
By combining creativity with reliable, research-driven insights into consumer behaviour, Hive creates textual, visual and video content that captivates readers and keeps them on digital pages, engaging with your brand.70% of LNN audiences engage with content on this network through mobile. Precise targeting can be driven through audience interest or location data to deliver primed mobile brand messages where it matters.
Brands are also granted the opportunity to have their own content hubs developed for them with content provided by Hive. Content hubs showcase the breadth, scope and capability of what a brand has to offer in a centralised destination. Hive also offers brands a dedicated catalogue advertising platform called Guzzle. Guzzle has healthy audience numbers with over 700 000 users a month planning their shopping using this platform, browsing over 11.4 million catalogue pages.
Manage your brand growth
Hive’s value proposition in the brand development process doesn’t just end with providing you with tools and resources. Hive is interested in assisting you by managing your brand growth. This is done through monitoring brand campaign initiatives and providing in-depth reports which highlight diverse brand development insights. These insights touch on audience interests, demographics engaging with the brand and possibly how the brand is being perceived in the business market.
From the above, it’s clear to see that brand development in the digital space is a process which requires planning and relevant skills in order to be successful.
Web interstitials are a big part of digital advertising media space because digital advertising is dynamic. This dynamism is driven by constant innovation aimed at improving functionality and user experience, achieve higher engagement and increase revenue on web pages, apps, blogs and social media platforms.
What are web interstitials?
For those familiar with gaming apps, it’s a common experience to notice interstitial ads before or after a new level. Google Ad Manager has brought this exciting ad unit to Desktop and Mobile web in the form of web interstitials.
This ad unit displays to the user between page views as they navigate from one page to the next on the same website.
These ads will not pop up while a user is in the middle of reading an article on the same domain.
The difference between web interstitials and standard display banners is display banners do not cover anything but, rather display pages on specific positions.
The implication is that users are more likely to engage with interstitials than standard display banners. When designing and implementing interstitials, Ad units are supposed to provide a clear exit / close option. Interstitials should also by design either be automatically hidden after a certain time interval or the user has to close it manually through the provided exit/close option.
What are the benefits of web interstitials?
These ads have a high impact and viewability, putting your brand right in front of the user. Because these ad types are so prominent, higher click-through rates are also predicted.
What about accidental clicks? Because these ad types have a very clear close / exit option, the design of this ad unit aims to avoid confusion.
Apart from having a clear close / exit option and not interfering with the user’s reading experience, interstitials fall in line with Google Search Standards when it comes to intrusiveness, and respects Better Ads Standards.
Better Ads Standards classify Web Interstitials as a “prestitial ad without countdown”.
A fixed frequency cap is also in place – only one Interstitial can be shown to a user per hour. From here, other frequency caps can also be put in place depending on your campaign needs.
What are the recommended creative sizes?
Hive Digital Media is hoping to harness the power and potential of web interstitials.
“Offering a high viewability, web interstitials allow you the opportunity to capture a user’s attention. Because of its functionality – displaying between pages, covering the entire screen – you don’t have to share on-page real estate with other advertisers. I believe with this format, along with strong creative, we could create some magic.”
“What I really like about this ad unit is its built-in user friendliness, ensuring that users do not get interrupted in the middle of reading an article, or accidentally click on something while trying to close the interstitial,”
Annabel le Roux, Publisher Programmatic Advertising and Search Engine Optimization Specialist at Hive Digital Media.
Hive Digital Media has launched Infinity, which is a new approach to digital content and video advertising. This product is in line with Hive’s efforts to enhance and diversify its product offerings. This is also designed to respond to changing digital market dynamics and business needs.
What’s the value of this product?
Infinity is a new immersive, dynamic & adaptive content channel within an ad unit. It is designed to find new audience groups and adapt the content in the unit according to targeted audiences.
This product offering places emphasis on time in-brand at the top of the funnel by encouraging interaction and dwell time in the unit. This is done by utilising new technology to find online behaviours that gives Hive more granular user insights which translates into a better understanding of what content resonates with brands’ audiences.
Infinity has been developed to provide sufficient functionality and adaptability to different types of content such as:
Branded content – Content theme which is used to highlight your product or brand to serve as an awareness tool.
Editorial content – This is curated content meant to create lifestyle-centric pieces that speak to your audience’s interests.
Partner content – This speaks to business partners leveraging existing partnerships or sister brands to showcase additional offers or promotions.
Infinity’s reporting and efficiencies will help to understand the perception and performance of a brand’s marketing efforts. It’s an ad unit which serves an organic goal, keeping brands at the top of consumers’ minds. By finding users and increasing awareness and share of mind, brands will see an uplift all the way through the marketing funnel.
Brand performance benefits
Brands will be able to track familiar performance metrics of the campaign, however, the audience and content performance insights are bespoke to Infinity,making it a unique way to understand a brand. Brands stay in control of their content and brand safety, whilst having access to all associated performance and insights metrics.
Infinity offers brands the opportunity to predict audiences’ choices based on their behaviour before presenting them with brand content in a purposeful way. By encouraging consumer interaction and attention, it is more efficient in how brands could and should use their content.
This will also ensure content efficiency, as brands can create content with real purpose, informed by real data while also repurposing existing brand content. This is already distributed on platforms like television and social media, but can all be redistributed in one single ad unit, Infinity.
The digital space is anchored around two interdependent vital components which are digital platforms and audiences. For websites, it’s about drawing users to your site and maintaining them as regular users. This also extends to generating referral traffic to a particular site.
Maintaining site visitors and increasing audience numbers relies on facilitating excellent user experience.
What is Google Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that can help you understand how a user experiences pages on your site.
Google in 2020 announced the concept of Core Web Vitals, which forms part of the larger Page Experience update and the reports are available under Google Search Console (GSC). The rollout of page experience updates was completed at the end of August 2021.
Core Web Vitals consists of three main metrics which are:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
First Input Delay (FID)
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP looks at how long it takes for different content blocks to load in the user’s viewport (or screen).
The crucial point here, is the load time for content above the fold, with below the fold not being taken into consideration.
Good: Lower or equal to 2.5 seconds
Needs Improvement: Lower or equal to 4 seconds
Poor: More than 4 seconds
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) can be improved by looking at elements that could increase load times – this could include text, CCS files, images, backgrounds, and videos.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Content that shifts or jumps is frustrating to all users. We’ve all clicked on a button, only for that button to move at the last second, resulting in us clicking on something we didn’t intend to. CLS is used to measure how much of a page’s layout (content) shifts around as users interact with it.
Good: Lower or equal to 0.1
Needs Improvement: Lower or equal to 0.25
Poor: Higher than 0.25
CLS score is calculated by multiplying the impact fraction by the distance fraction. Impact fraction measures how unstable (or moving on-page elements like text) impacts the viewport (or screen). The distance fraction measures the distance these on-page elements have moved.
The aim is to reduce any layout shift. Elements like images, navigation menus or ad units loading in that space which can cause content to shift up or down.
Minimising shifts helps contribute to a more positive page experience and reduce accidental clicks by users.
First Input Delay (FID)
As a user, one of the many frustrating things on a page is clicking or tapping a button or link, and not being sure whether it worked. Admittedly, this results in users tapping until it looks like something is happening.
This is FID – the time from when a user clicks on something, until the site / browser responds to it.
Good: Lower or equal to 100 milliseconds
Needs Improvement: Lower or equal to 300 milliseconds
Poor: More than 300 milliseconds
User interaction is what all site owners strive for. Site owners should make interacting with our site easy and enjoyable.
Other Page Experience metrics to pay attention to
When it comes to page experience, there are other factors and metrics that affect search signals.
Security: The first big one that has been around for a while is security and serving secure pages. Your pages do need to be served over HTTPS to be considered for a good page experience status.
Mobile Friendliness: This refers to any issues your pages might have when being viewed on mobile devices. This can range from text being too small to read, to clickable elements being too close to each other.
Time to Interactive (TTI): This is the time it takes for content on your page to become fully interactive. A fast (or green) score is between 0 and 3.8 seconds. Moderate (or orange) is between 3.9 seconds and 7.3 seconds. Slow (or red) is anything over 7.3 seconds.
Total Blocking Time (TBT): This is the total time between First Contentful Paint (FCP) and the Time to Interactive (TTI). A fast (or green) score is between 0 and 200 milliseconds. Moderate (or orange) is between 200 and 600 milliseconds. Slow (or red) is anything over 600 milliseconds.
Speed Index: This is the time it takes for content to be visible / displayed on your page. A fast (or green) score is between 0 and 3.4 seconds. Moderate (or orange) is between 3.4 seconds and 5.8 seconds. Slow (or red) is anything over 5.8 seconds.
Hive Digital Media incorporates Core Web Vitals in its approach to technical SEO audits.
“Core Web Vitals have become a part of not only how our team tries to understand a user’s on-site experience, but also helps us to prioritise pages and elements that require work. Any technical SEO audit starts with data and tools, and with the addition of Core Web Vitals and the data which is provided, rooting out potential issues and working towards a solution is that tiny bit easier,” says Annabel le Roux, Publisher Programmatic Advertising and Search Engine Optimization Specialist at Hive Digital Media.
Here are some free Google tools to assist you in highlighting and achieving Core Web Vitals
Google Search Console
If you haven’t set up Search Console for your site yet, I would highly recommend that you do so. You can get started with Google Search Console here.
Page Speed Insight
This tool allows you to run tests on your site. Google will analyse your page, score it, and give suggestions for improvements.
The digital space has continued to evolve with different innovative developments impacting web functionality, traffic and user experience. Web developers and site owners should pay particular attention to the highlighted Core Web Vitals in order to stay ahead of others through improved user experience.
The business market is a fiercely competitive space with different brands competing to capture audience and consumer attention. The task is to convert this attention into sales and profit margins. Sometimes it’s just for purposes of creating awareness and changing the narrative.
It is common knowledge that consumers respond to a brand or product based on need, experience, product functionality, cost, word of mouth and very importantly reputation.
It is therefore not surprising that brands are constantly on the lookout for brand safety in reputable online news publications like LNN. Hive Digital Media relies partly on (Local News Network (LNN) as a guaranteed brand safe publishing space for brands.
LNN reaches communities across the country through its 59 print and digital local newspapers spread across the country. LNN serves a diverse audience catering for different demographics who have come to trust LNN as a trustworthy and credible publishing platform. LNN is therefore a brand safe environment where brands meet audiences and consumers who trust what they read and see on it.
The importance of brand safety in modern marketing and advertising is highlighted by Hive Digital Media Premium Commercial Channel Manager Stephnie Atkinson.
“When it comes to brand safety in content or display advertising, the trust in the brand from the audience comes more from the fact that the brand is advertising in a trusted and ethical environment rather than the ‘contextual relevance’ in let’s say a news publication. Advertising next to hard news content in a trusted environment gives brands added credibility,” explained Steph.
The key factor in this regard is to leverage on established trust, transparency and loyalty. These factors cause certain demographics to patronise a particular advertising or marketing platform or to warm up to a brand based on who is associated with it.
Brand perception is therefore intricately linked to brand safety. This is because brand safety is ultimately what safeguards brand perception and sustainability. A recent research study conducted by news publisher Reach questioned people to disclose where they are likely to see bad things from a brand safety point of view. The research results showed that:
73% said they expect to see unreliable content on social media, 43% on user-generated content video sites and 19% on news sites.
52% said they expect to see violent content on social media, 44% on user-generated content video sites and 9% on news sites.
59% said they expect to see shocking content on social media, 47% on user-generated content video sites and just 14% on news sites.
The stats above highlight the fact that audiences and brands alike are more concerned about the general content and reputation of a publishing platform than they are about what’s published or broadcast next to their brand.
Brand safety and how it impacts the above highlighted scenario
Brand safety is established on the fundamental advertising principle which demands that brand adverts or product content must not appear on platforms and spaces like websites, apps, videos and articles which are detrimental and harmful to the brand. Brands have a responsibility to take a robust and progressive moral and ethical stance which safeguards the brand but also the environments in which they operate.
When brands get associated with publishing platforms which promote what is morally and ethically misaligned to the brand ethos and values of the market in which they operate, the result is a fragmented customer loyalty and market base which becomes destructive to the brand affinity.
What are the most common brand safety threats?
Malgorithms – This simply refers to adverts where the context between a web page and display ad is misaligned. In layman’s language this is juxtaposition of brand ads with the wrong content on a broadcasting or publishing platform.
Fake news – Fake news has caught the attention of diverse audiences and remains one of the fastest ways to lose credibility and consequently harm any brand associated with it. A platform which misrepresents, misstates or conceals information becomes a danger to any brand whose revenue depends on the quality of ad placements.
Extremists’ sites – The world is not short of extremists’ groups who own publishing platforms and sometimes choose to strategically place their content on relevant platforms. A brand must never be associated with hateful, resentful, divisive and unlawful viewpoints.
Bot traffic – Bot traffic is about fraudulent clicks which mislead audiences and can cause tremendous damage to a brand. Bot traffic doesn’t just harm your brand in the short, medium and long term but also adversely affects your ROI and conversion metrics.
How can you ensure brand safety is achieved?
1.You need to find a reputable programmatic provider or agency. Hive Digital Media offers automated buying and selling of advertising which is streamlined and consolidates your digital advertising efforts in one technology platform.
2.Third party content verification is key in achieving brand safety. A publishing platform has a responsibility to check that content received does not in any way harm the interests of other brands. Hive has managed to put in place a dedicated team which writes content but also scrutinises any third-party content to ensure it’s suitable for various publishing platforms.
3.Striving for authentic audiences is an imperative brand safety measure. Hive Digital Media has access to a large network which allows this reputable digital agency to collect diverse audiences based on the publishers within the network (From Local News and Computing, to Parenting and Travel).
When an audience is created, Hive can instantly activate it and start using it. Hive can also build custom audiences based on Brands which refers to awareness, engagement, advocacy and Intent which refers to consideration, evaluation, purchase stage, etc. Using the DMP, Hive is able to collect & deliver relevant, targeted audiences across the Caxton Network of Premium News & Lifestyle focused websites. These audiences are customised to meet the specific needs of our clients with the unique campaign message in mind.
4.You must avoid blacklisted publishers. Hive Digital Media is a trusted service provider which safeguards brands because the agency adheres to Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) & Press Council standards which demand that the business is truthful, accurate and fair, with no intentional or negligent distortion, exaggeration, misrepresentations or material omissions.
5.You must consider using insights to monitor campaigns in real-time. Hive has developed this capability by using its Data Management Platform (DMP). The DMP platform helps in understanding audiences & their interests. The DMP provides insight into users & information on what tickles their interests. This means the right ad is shown to the right user.
From the points listed above, it’s clear to see that brand safety is a key cornerstone in brand development and sustainably protecting the interests of any business enterprise.
The media space is closely intertwined with the concept of the attention economy. This is based on the fundamental principle which is the fact that media platforms exist to serve the audience. The attention economy therefore refers to the engagement of humanity with diverse elements which includes information within a particular environment with complete mental focus.
The attention economy is therefore developed around a common understanding that the media has a task of ensuring that they capture the human attention span. For businesses and brands, it’s about aggressively capturing the attention of the right audience in the form of consumers. There is a difference between a ready to buy, sceptical and oversaturated consumer. Grabbing this attention therefore entails carefully curating the right message and content, placing it on the right platform and at the right time in order to meet the minds of consumers not just for a moment but to stick in their psyche for a sustainable period of time.
When does attention economy happen?
Attention economy often occurs when a consumer sees a product ad or piece of information while waiting for something to happen. This can be an ad while waiting for a sports game.
Attention economy can also happen when a consumer is actively searching for relevant information and products for a particular need.
Attention economy also frequently happens when a consumer encounters information or product/business ad just after finishing an intellectually engaging activity which could be a work meeting or even an academic class.
Capturing the above indicated points of the attention economy demands that the media and in particular community news should conceptualise product ads, articles and visual content in a manner that promotes talkability. There is a huge difference between a consumer seeing something and a consumer who sees something and chooses to share and spread the word. Talkability provokes a consumer chain reaction which results in a huge audience attention towards a product, business brand or any other development for that matter through discussing and sharing news, discussing product ads and marketing campaigns and other information.
How community news media is meeting the challenge of attention economy in audiences
Local content with broader impact – Community news entities often operate on the premise of serving the immediate community. However, there are local issues which have a broader effect and resonates with audiences beyond a unique community. These issues include climate change, crime, poverty, clean water, etc. Community news entities are therefore meeting this challenge by coming up with local content which resonates with a broader audience.
Cross-platform convergence – Consumers are constantly searching for new platforms and channels where they can engage and source new information. Community news entities have therefore adopted a multi-platform approach which involves producing and publishing content across multiple platforms.
Social news – Social media is a big deal and is at the heart of information and advertising. It initiates and accelerates the speed of the news cycle and information consumption by consumers. Community news entities have therefore tapped into the power of social media to compete in the attention economy.
Short and impactful – How you structure your content determines how much attention you capture. Shorter articles and eye-grabbing multimedia have proven to be more impactful with a strong ability to capture the attention of the audience within 6-14 seconds. An increasing number of community news organisations have come to this realisation and have made serious content production adjustments.
Maintain habitual consumers of information -It is fact that tradition runs very deep in the consumer markets. There are still consumers who maintain information consumption traditions such as reading the morning paper, looking out for articles on particular days and looking for connections for more information. Community news providers have a duty to capture this audience by sticking to publishing content as scheduled, delivering newspapers on set dates and displaying ads and information on times which suit these traditionalists.
Hive Digital Media in the audience economy
Hive Digital Media has responded to the changing market dynamics and the power of the attention economy by offering services such as technical support, content creation, marketing services, SEO and conversion optimisation, etc.
Through its internal marketing and content team, Hive produces and delivers high quality content which is broadcast across the 59 hyperlocal community newspapers + social network pages in communities around the country. Hive Digital Media has tapped into the strength and deep-rooted reach of Caxton’s Local News Network (LNN) by creating content which is distributed across a brand safe environment to interest categories within the Caxton network of brands. The audience is also directed to the article via social media, newsletters and display advertising. This is done by offering social media boosted posts as part of an overall content campaign to ensure that content on a Hyperlocal website reaches the right audiences on 3rd party platforms like Facebook in order to drive higher traffic and interested audiences.
Hive has also recently invested in a publisher-oriented DMP (data management platform) called CARBON DMP. Using the DMP, Hive is able to collect & deliver relevant, targeted campaigns that can be charged to clients at a higher premium. Using this DMP, Hive is able to create brand specific audiences which can be retargeted based on brand and business needs. The DMP offers a centralized overview of your readers and enables you to identify your most engaged audiences. Precise targeting can be driven through audience interest or location data to deliver primed mobile brand messages. Carbon provides Hive with high quality 1st and 3rd party data that opens up opportunities for new clients and helps Hive to understand readers in new ways.
How this works is that:
A reader visits an LNN site and is captured in the DMP for targeting later on.
2. Once Hive knows more about the readers and their interests, targeted campaigns aimed at reaching them are considered.
3. Hive pushes the new DMP audience to the Ad Server (GAM).
4. Hive sets up a new campaign to target the specified audience.
5. The relevant reader visits an LNN site, and will see the relevant targeted ad.
From the above, it’s clear to see that the attention economy will continue to drive how media disseminates information and how brands engage with the markets. Hive Digital Media has positioned itself to be the trusted media entity with community news which captures the attention of audiences.