Four digital strategies publishers should pursue in 2012

It’s that time of the year. The time for top ten lists and predictions about the future. I’ll settle for four digital tips to help guide publishers’ digital strategies for 2012. One for each category: Revenue, Content, Design and Platform.

Revenue: Get serious about e-commerce

I’ve been advocating for quite some time that publishers should get serious about e-commerce, and with the rise of tablets, the opportunity is just getting bigger and bigger. E-commerce on mobile devices alone will top $6 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $31 billion in 2016.

In particular, tablet owners seem excited about shopping directly from their devices. Even better, they want to shop from within publications. In “The Magazine Mobile Reader” report released by MPA a couple of months ago, 59% of respondents said they would like to buy directly from adverts in digital magazines and 79% said they want to be able to purchase products and services directly from editorial features.

eMediaVitals’ Rob O’Regan sees three ways for publishers to pursue e-commerce:

  1. Sell your own stuff
  2. Sell other brands’ stuff
  3. Recommend other brands’ stuff

Whatever the path, it’s time to take advantage of the relationship publishers have with readers and start selling. Continue reading

E-commerce Represents New Play for Local Publishers

Local news publishers have always been in the business of enabling transactions on behalf of advertisers. It started with preprints in the newspaper, then digital preprints, and then coupons on news websites. The next frontier for commerce lies in mobile. Mobile innovation is required in order for publishers to remain relevant to local advertisers, a topic I covered in an earlier blog entry. How can they help advertisers take full advantage of location-based services? How can they help advertisers connect with mobile users when they are comparison-shopping inside the store? For further reading, check out a recent article from Mashable: “5 Ways Mobile Will Transform Commerce.”

In this blog entry, I am proposing taking it a step further. As publishers continue to look for new revenue streams in response to declining advertising and circulation revenue, commerce represents an attractive opportunity. Continue reading