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2020 Media Technology gets better and better

Highlights from the 2020 Mega Conference

Alisa Cromer

AI, automation, and more were on display at the 2020  Mega Conference.  

This year many of companies familiar to the media industry showed off technological advancements, especially with the addition of  BIY and DIY multi-media products. 

iPublish Media released a new classifieds module that allows media to upsell display ads into classifieds with self-serve technology, and even turn them into multi-media campaigns.  

BANG director of real estate, Eric Bloom, showcased a custom adaptation of the iPublish platform, they have branded locally as Leadhax, on the solutions stage. Designed for the real estate vertical, the initiative has drawn in 1,000 agents who have purchased 8,000 campaigns in the last few years. The stickiness comes from successful results for realtors, who can spend just $179 on an online-only campaign to gain 40 programmatic clicks and 100 FB clicks on the low side, Bloom said. 

Even more promising is their  enterprise version sold to brokerages, who can acquire 1,000 clicks from a marketing investment of just $5,000, Bloom said, paid by the agents.  The initiative has allowed his team to get back in the door with brokers and sell 3x in other products, including print, packaged in. 

Last year’s picks Evvnt and CitySpark have also come a long way.  Since media only have 6% of the event listings in their area, that leaves 94% of the $18 billion market untapped. 

Evvnt CEO Richard Green showed off a new email upsell, via a partnership with SiteImpact and claims a 64% conversion and self-serve sale of $2,000 per promoter. The module comes with a CRM. Partners include radio, Gannett, and Big Fish Digital. 

Challenges include load speed, how to incorporate reoccurring events and keeping the dashboard simple as options expand. 

Cityspark, the more established company, already allows for reoccurring events, plus has added an upsell to mobile as well as email (also via SiteImpact) and daily placement in newspaper partners’ print editions. 

SiteImpact, meanwhile, announced the appointment of Jennifer Gressman, formerly VP of Operations,  as President of the company. 

In other updates: Gannet-owned Design IQ, which offers U.S.-based design outsourcing has added website development to its product suite. 

Marfeel gave a compelling demonstration of how they altered the design of the mobile news app enhance ad viewability - and thus create extra revenue from mobile ads, according to Marfeel exec, Adam Guerrero.  The strategy meant removing all code not essential to monetization, slashing ad load time from 15 to 4.5 seconds. The increase in viewability of 22% resulted in a 300% revenue gain, and increase in revenue per user of  2x, Guererro said.

Whiz Technologies, which builds custom mobile apps for newspapers, showed off one that uses GPS to track the location of parades in New Orleans. But their real focus at the show was an app for video news this year.  Only 20 percent of video is accessed on a desktop, said Nikhil Modi. As local media load more video, he expects them to follow local television into the video app space. 

Recruitology delivered a case study with Terri Hall, Director of Revenues BH Media, on its new “Ghost seller” initiative: Recruitology is hires, trains and fields its own sales representatives to sell the product in media markets, under the BH brand, but operating as a separate team with a “do not call list” to prevent them from overlapping with media reps.   The initiative, testing in two BH markets, is focusing on repeat business, and has expanded the average digital only deal size from $340 to $7500 in the first two newspapers in the test, Hall said. “It’s hard to find a reason not to participate.”

TownNews has made even more headway since last year in serving unique offers to readers most likely to subscribe. Their platform bakes in sophisticated circulation sales optimization software so smaller newspapers can now use better strategies.




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