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Audience Development Evolves with Industry Standards, Engagement

Media Rating Council releases audience development standards; Hearst sees major growth in digital video, including reach of Delish

The evolution of audience development comes through the evolution of online tools, social networks and communities.

Today we’re looking at some recent news for audience development, including a set of standards being shared by the Media Rating Council (MRC).

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We begin with the MRC and its new guidelines. MediaPost reports, “The Media Rating Council (MRC), which has effectively been the standard bearer for the “viewability” of digital ads for the past couple of years, on Thursday morning released its first-ever standard for digital audience measurement.”

“The new standards build on the MRC’s prior work on viewable ad impression measurement, as well as “invalid traffic filtration” requirements, spelling out industry best practices for collecting and processing data used in estimating audience characteristics at the impression level.”

The article continues with a glimpse at the guidelines and standards. “Importantly, the standards introduce the concept of “duration weighting” viewability of digital ads — laying the groundwork for the MRC’s broader effort to develop a cross-media measurement standard, which is also under development.”

Next we move to Hearst, and the growth it has experienced by offering digital video for audience development. Adweek reports, “The path that led Hearst Magazines Digital Media to its new space is an example of the approach the organization takes toward innovation: aim high, start small and scale up.”

“Hearst Digital’s explorations have led to a presence on every distributed platform you can think of, from Facebook to Snapchat Discover to Amazon Echo to Musical.ly, where it was the first publisher to form a partnership with the app.”

The article continues with a look at the results thus far. “For its efforts, Hearst Magazines Digital Media has some solid figures to flaunt: a combined 95 million unique visitors to its sites in October; 15 billion video views in 2017, a 161 percent year-over-year increase; and 143 million social media followers, a 23 percent increase over the previous year. And while many legacy publishers can boast equally impressive growth, Hearst Digital has been able to translate audience growth into monetary growth, both in terms of revenue, which in 2016 was up 40 percent from the previous year, and profitability. Hearst Magazines Digital Media has now been profitable for three straight years.”

Our last story dives a bit deeper into one of Hearst’s digital publications that has been finding audience development success with video. This story involves an interview with Joanna Saltz, editorial director of DelishFolio: reports, “For many publishers in 2017, video has become a significant format for audience engagement. In October, Hearst’s popular food site, Delish, had its best month ever, according to data from comScore. The brand saw a rise to 25 million unique visitors, a 43 percent increase over the same period last year, as well as a spike on social platforms, growing to 15 million followers on Facebook, a 100 percent increase over last year. With 500 million video views per month, Folio: spoke with Delish’s editorial director, Joanna Saltz, on the food site’s recipe for success.”

The article continues with a look at the social strategy for Delish, described by Saltz. “We’re obviously video-heavy — we produce 60 videos a week: fun recipes, long-form features, and episodic series like our runaway hit WTFood?, which is hosted by our deputy editor Lindsay Funston. But we also feel totally comfortable covering royal weddings and other random food-adjacent content—we want to be part of those conversations too. We really try to approach our social platforms as if we’re a person, not a brand. What would your funny, dialed-in friend share? That’s our barometer.”

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