Digital feature: Questions you should also be asking your publisher

As media owners/publishers, we get a lot of briefs coming through from our clients on a daily basis, which we respond to, and in the process of which a lot of questions, answers, problems, solutions and insights are exchanged.

Working right smack in the middle of this process, you tend to get a pretty good idea of what your clients are looking for everytime you respond to a brief. On the other hand, if you get a vague brief, you learn very quickly how you should go about finding out what the core of the problem or campaign objective actually is.

Often, finding the right answer is about asking the right questions to begin with… and sometimes, the questions that don’t get asked can end up being the ones that should’ve been.

So this week, I’m going to do a “Questions you should also be asking your publisher” series, focusing on digital campaigns.

Now these may not all be crucial or business critical questions. They may not make or break campaigns, or shoot you to super stardom for asking them (although they may make you sound a tad bit smarter…).

These are simply questions which, I feel, tend to not get asked as often as they probably should… and when asked in the right context or for the right reasons, can yield particularly interesting insights that may give you, as an advertiser, a different take or approach to executing your campaign.

So let’s begin with the first question in the series:

How do your users navigate the site?


In advertising, publishers are often asked which sections or areas of their site is the most popular with users, to get a sense of where the audience is. Publishers then respond by providing rankings of their sections by traffic volume – that is with unique browsers/visitors and page impressions/views – as a measure of popularity and audience size, which is perfectly fine.

However, there is also a second question that should probably be asked, but rarely ever is;

“How do your users navigate the site?”

The subject of “navigation” tends to get rendered into the domain of usability design or editorial. Yet, navigational data has so much more to offer than just path-finding information to the web design or content team.

User navigation behaviour on a site can give you a different perspective or insight into what sections are “popular”, and the checkpoints that users go through to get to their destinations. Each checkpoint can offer an opportunity for the advertiser to reach their customers.

So on one hand, traffic volume allows us to look at a site’s section in terms of size and popularity of content. On the other hand, navigation will tell us where users choose to go to, especially after the homepage, as a matter of active consumption rather than passive. It’s about content discovery.

Interpreting these metrics together and in the right context allows you to paint a better picture and understand what kind of content is consumed, how much of it is consumed and how it is found on the site.

Where traffic volume to a section tells you where you can hit a mass audience and to what extent, navigation will tell you how to increase the frequency of a message to a wide or targeted audience, or increase the chances in which a user might see a single or varied order of advertising messages throughout their visitation period on a site.

Both questions inform different aspects of the marketing strategy. Try asking for some navigation information as well and ask your publisher to suggest how might help improve existing campaigns. Even if it doesn’t, it could still be useful to know as it might help you formulate future media executions.

Follow me on Twitter (@feibiangoh)

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One Response to Digital feature: Questions you should also be asking your publisher

  1. Pingback: Digital feature: Questions you should be asking your publisher part 2 « Opportunity to Excel

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