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Overcoming Complexity in the Digital Era for Media & Entertainment Sites

Digital transformation is a phenomenon that is revolutionizing
the tasks and activities we perform daily. Everything from news consumption to communication has been re-imagined and digitalized. End users’ expectations are rapidly increasing, and with competition just a lcick away, it’s critical to develop an end user experience monitoring strategy to meet the needs of your digital media business and your users.

It’s safe to say that the media industry has experienced one of the biggest digital transformations, with nearly 93% of adults in the US getting their news online. This is forcing legacy media corporations to adopt new online strategies or risk falling behind their competition. While users are spending an average of just 2.5 minutes per visit, making every dollar earned through creative subscription plans and ad revenue crucial to keeping up.

How to choose a content management system (CMS)

In general, there are two main types of digital content management system (CMS) architectures: coupled and de-coupled.

The classic example of a coupled CMS architecture is a blog engine. In a coupled system, the underlying store for your content serves both authoring and delivery. Your authoring capabilities are part of the live delivery system but are available only to those who have permissions. In a coupled system, the process of making content live is typically a matter of setting a tag in the database.

A decoupled system, by contrast, is one that puts authoring and delivery in separate applications, and potentially, on separate infrastructure. In a decoupled system, the process of making content live is done through a publishing mechanism where content is pushed from the authoring platform (and underlying content repository) to a content delivery infrastructure.

Headless CMS technology provides content to the presentation tier (or content consumer) as a service, typically via a RESTful interface in JSON or XML format. This is known as content as a service (CaaS).

The main advantage of a headless CMS (CaaS) architecture is that content is written and published once but can be requested and presented uniquely by any number of different channels/content consumers.

Headless CMS is a content management system (CMS) whose focus is not on the delivery of content through pages, but solely on the backend, providing content creators with the tools to get their workflows up to a point where content is ready to be consumed in a CaaS. It’s just a regular CMS amputated of its web delivery layer; no templating system, no HTML delivery, and no management of the site structure and style.

A headless CMS focuses naturally on supporting users with the following tasks:

  • Modelling content
  • Creating and authoring content
  • Facilitating the workflow and the collaboration around content (including translations)
  • Organizing content in the repository (semantic, collections, taxonomies)

Most enterprises today, especially those with many brands, international audiences, and multiple digital properties, should consider consolidating their digital environments to a flexible, scalable, and decoupled technology platform.

With a modern CMS based on a decoupled architecture, organizations can have the freedom to go headless or traditional — or a combination of the two, depending on the project. More importantly, these systems adapt to the organization’s business needs so they don’t get stuck with limited technology that hinders their plans to innovate.

Architecture selection

Architectures are getting more complex with an increasing number of moving parts. APIs are the default channels of communication in these architectures. APIs and web services are being leveraged for content publishing, curating, subscriptions, and collating, so including architectural components in your end user experience monitoring plan is important to help mitigate vulnerabilities.

The delivery of content directly impacts the performance experienced by the end user while viewing your web pages and in turn impacts user engagement and revenue. Content must be available and accessible at all times across multiple form-factors and locations. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and cloud architectures are playing a dominant role in improving the end user experience.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and Over-the-Top (OTT) solutions are leveraged to ensure high availability and high performance from anywhere in the world. CDNs also provide the infrastructure used for live and on-demand streaming or video delivery. Keeping these vendors accountable through precise service-level agreements (SLAs) is a major challenge and directly affects the spend of a media company.

Multi-media is a double-edged sword

There has been a radical shift in the type of content produced by the media industry. Online video is already a success story and media sites have increased their use of rich, high-resolution images. Consumers are no longer satisfied just to enjoy print, video, or other forms of entertainment and information passively. In today’s search-driven world, consumers are actively looking for control, community, and interactivity.

User abandonment is high when either the content doesn’t load completely or when a video fails to load. Thus, ensuring the performance and availability of content is essential. For example, for live streaming, it is essential to monitor the live encoder to ensure an available and a smooth viewing experience for the end user.

Data consumption is increasingly delivered via multi-media channels. Data-intense images, videos, and animations are essential for successful user engagement, but these formats can be detrimental to the performance of an application when implemented incorrectly.

The days of simple text and images are gone. Content has evolved to be suave, targeted, and media-rich. End users are abandoning websites with unintuitive user experiences, and a premium has been placed on user-generated content.

With the fear of user abandonment, corporations are undertaking customer outreach programs to engage with their users. Social media integrations are playing a vital role in the constant feedback loop between content producers and consumers. Over 97% of digital media sites are offering newsletters and nearly all of which have an official Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts.

Meeting end users’ expectations

The expectations of end users in the media industry have evolved over the years, and access to seamless content access across devices is now a given. The power of mobile and social platforms is transforming how media is consumed and perceived. In fact, today, more than 50% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices; this is where end user experience monitoring comes in. It is important to ensure that media webpages are optimized for these mobile devices and that the user has a smooth experience while scrolling through the pages.

Personalized content is king, and it’s important to deliver relevant content to users. Companies that can figure out how to push discovery of their content to consumers or help them discover it for themselves will have an advantage over their competitors.

All about advertising

Before the rise of digital media, newspapers, and magazines made the bulk of their earnings on subscriptions/newsstand purchases of print issues and advertising sales. The revenue models for both traditional media houses and new-age digital media corporations has had to change with this transformation to focus primarily on online advertising.

In 2016, eMarketer, a leading market research agency, observed a lot of growth in digital advertising in the US. Digital revenue grew over 20%, from $60 billion in 2015 to about $72 billion in 2016. Mobile advertising’s contribution to this was significant, growing from $32 billion in 2015 to $47 billion in 2016. Pew Research Center noted all this in their 2016 State of the News Media research analysis.

Before the rise of digital media, newspapers and magazines made the bulk of their earnings on subscriptions/newsstand purchases of print issues and advertising sales. The revenue models for both traditional media houses and new-age digital media corporations have had to change with this transformation to focus primarily on online advertising.

In 2016, eMarketer, a leading market research agency, observed a lot of growth in digital advertising in the US. Digital revenue grew over 20%, from $60 billion in 2015 to about $72 billion in 2016. Mobile advertising’s contribution to this was significant, growing from $32 billion in 2015 to $47 billion in 2016. Pew Research Center noted all this in their 2016 State of the News Media research analysis.

With so much at stake, it becomes imperative these media outlets manage their end-user experience with the greatest care. As the content paradigm shifts towards a media-intense experience, users’ patience levels are at an all-time low. As per Kissmetrics, a leading marketing analytics company, over 40% of users abandon a website if it takes over 3 seconds to load.

With such a small margin for error and so much at stake, the need to stay fast, load only essential content and provide a positive user experience becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. In this vicious landscape, end user experience monitoring becomes a vital cog in any media house’s revenue strategy.

Download a copy of our ebook, Overcoming Complexity in the Digital Era.

This post was written by Anand Guruprasad, Navya Dawarakanath, Ashish Kumar, Jermy Varghese, and Moiz Khan.

The post Overcoming Complexity in the Digital Era for Media & Entertainment Sites appeared first on Catchpoint's Blog - Web Performance Monitoring.

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More Stories By Mehdi Daoudi

Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.