Food For Thought

The process our company went through when rebranding Telecom Express as Spoke last month brought into sharp relief the tectonic shifts in consumer behaviour and content consumption that have occurred in recent years.

Convincing consumers to pay for content has become a burning issue, as free access to written news and feature content through the web has changed the publishing industry forever. As the interactive media industry continues to evolve, it’s important to consider emerging consumer behavioural trends for the future. Here are some pointers to success:


Ensure interactivity really is two way

Brands should be wary of interactive solutions in the market, which (if used ineffectively) do not actually result in a real two-way “involvement” with the consumer, such as we’ve seen with some executions of QR codes and Augmented Reality technology. The most effective solutions create genuine two-way interaction, and concentrate on creating a bridge between the print and digital environments, without severing the traditional reading experience, which leads me on to my next point…

Print and digital to coexist

As digital gathers momentum, publishers’ long-term business models have increasingly become focused on the online space. However, media owners will need to be vigilant that their efforts do not result in a divergence of print and digital business objectives –  attention must be given to ensuring a symbiotic relationship between these mediums.

We advocate technology supporting and enhancing print, not necessarily replacing it, and don’t subscribe to an “either/or” mentality when it comes to the print-to-digital transition. Publishers who have developed mobile apps, mobile-optimised websites or tablet-focused digital editions will need to consider how to utilise new platforms to migrate traditional physicalinteractions like competitions and voting, and should be careful not to entirely separate these digital assets from their print products.

Adjust to consumer shifts

With figures showing that 20 per cent of internet traffic now comes from mobile, and that half the UK population accesses the internet only through a mobile, trends indicate that smartphone ownership is well on the way to being the norm. Mobile marketers and the brands that they represent will need to adapt to these significant shifts in content consumption. Given predictions that 50 per cent of subscribers will be paying for goods and services by mobile by 2014, and that most online searches will take place on mobile, the link between traditional display advertising and mobile activation is one that really could define retail advertising from here in.

TV becomes increasingly social

The most important new development in the broadcast industry (outside of the digital switchover) has been the evolution of social TV, incorporating content, interaction and discussion into the viewing experience. TV is becoming an increasingly “mobilized” experience, as 87 per cent of people are using their mobile devices whilst watching TV, and mobile web users spend more of their media time on mobile than TV. It’s about much more than having a Facebook page, gaining ‘likes’ and trending though.

Currently, two major agendas have been proffered for how social TV will develop. One dictates that content will be consumed and paid for on-demand in a non-linear environment, where the viewer is their own aggregator, whilst others argue that the power of social TV will be in the ability of social apps like Zeebox and Shazam to directly enhance and reinforce live TV services for viewers.


These evolving trends provide food for thought for brands and media owners, and highlight the need to think strategically about developing new business models and harnessing these new technologies to help realise genuine returns for the future.


Graham Halling is digital business director at Spoke. Spoke is a silver sponsor of Mobile Marketing Live, and can be found at Stand 15 on the exhibition floor.