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Notes and quotes from the 2013 Key Executives Mega-Conference

Brian SteffensLook at us — we (local news media) have 65 percent of market against other “media” in our market. That’s good, right? Maybe even great?

Not so much, said Eric Bright, vice president of e-commerce for Deseret Digital in Salt Lake City. Local news operations have just 17 percent of the local digital market. Some 83 percent of the digital spend in local markets is going somewhere else. Competition is NOT other media; it’s a multitude of other services and marketing.

Think advertising vs. e-commerce. Advertising is CPM based, sponsorship based. The goal is to get more people looking at more pages.

E-commerce focuses on end users, optimizing the funnel (moving from awareness to action/purchase). E-commerce is NOT concerned about page views — it’s about orders placed, units sold, revenue. It’s about delivering happiness (to the consumer and to the seller), Bright said.

Eric Bright“Here’s a red flag,” he said. In most surveys and focus groups, digital readers say, “I don’t really like all the ads.” If we deliver a lousy online or mobile experience, Bright asked, how does that serve the reader or the retailer/SMB?

That doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and give up. There are many more ways to grow revenue, and Bright shared several.

Key takeaway (echoed elsewhere during the conference): Deseret Digital is a free-standing operation, separate from the news or newspaper operation. It is focused on providing services, helping clients grow their businesses, providing solutions — not on selling ads. And they developed products and services around the theme of “marketplace.”

“Here’s a red flag,” he said. In most surveys and focus groups, digital readers say, “I don’t really like all the ads.”

Multiple products/solutions include jobs, deals, local search, movie ratings, travel, a landlord solution and more.

The goal, Bright said, is to optimize overall revenue mix. Started less than 3 years ago with one person (Bright), the target was a company-wide (print and digital, legacy and new initiatives) revenue split of 50-50, e-commerce to advertising, in 3 years. Bright expects to beat that deadline handily.

Of note — of his now 35-member team, only one came from legacy media. A top e-commerce hire came from YP.com. (This mirrors comments and practices of others who shared best practices at the conference).

Nuggets

  • 20 percent of the company’s classified traffic now comes from mobile.
  • The company now has 75 percent fewer ad impression opportunities (Bright says that’s a good thing).
  • Paid alerts is a hot new revenue stream.

Brian Steffens  
 
Director of Communications



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