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Content marketing tripled in last year, digital media Advertising Delivers 2x ROI

TODD SMITH

TODD SMITH

Marketers have dramatically increased the content churned out in the past year, but people aren’t paying any more attention to it, according to an analysis of $16 billion in client spending by marketing analytics and software firm Beckon.

In a report released last week during an Advertising Week presentation, Beckon said clients tripled the pieces of marketing content they delivered in the past 12 months – encompassing video and images circulated both in paid and unpaid media. Yet aggregate consumer engagement – such things as likes, comments, and shares – with that content remained flat.

Just 5 percent of content generated 90 percent of consumer interactions, according to Beckon. “In other words, 19 of 20 pieces of content get little to no engagement,” the report concludes.

Beckon clients include Coca-Cola Co., Gap, Microsoft, HP, Stubhub, Reebok, Converse and NBC Universo. Beckon builds data collection and analytics systems for marketers, and the report aggregates data from across the firm’s client base.

The sheer volume of content from some brands is staggering, with Beckon logging 29,000 individual pieces of content advanced by one brand, 50,000 by another. Beckon CEO Jennifer Zeszut said in an interview with Advertising Age that she’s encountered some brands whose primary key performance indicator (KPI) on content is simply to generate more of it – and the numbers indicate they’ve succeeded, at least at that.

The content glut appears to be responsible for another finding in the report – spending on so-called “nonworking media,” or what it costs to create advertising and other content, has soared as well across Beckon’s client base.

Beckon found nonworking spending was up 50 percent year over year across its client base. That’s a potentially huge number for the industry given a study released late last year by another marketing-analytics firm, Percolate, finding around 40 percent of marketing spending went to such, production, talent and research costs.

By contrast, Beckon found only a 7 percent increase among its clients in paid or so-called “working” media.

Beckon’s report also found digital media bought programmatically by its clients delivered twice the return on investment of other digital buys, though only about half of measured digital spending was bought programmatically.

News coverage of the national political conventions skewed negative

A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzes news coverage of the 2016 Republican and Democratic national conventions, and whether this coverage, which was overwhelmingly negative, best served the needs of the public.

The report is the third in a multi-part series of research analyzing news coverage of candidates and issues during the 2016 presidential election. The study examines news coverage during the four-week convention period, starting with the week prior to the Republican convention and concluding with the week following the Democratic convention.

The daily news audience is larger than that of the convention viewing audience, meaning that many people learn about the conventions through the news media’s version of the events. Coverage of Donald Trump continued to outpace that of Hillary Clinton during this period, but, notably, both candidates received negative coverage.

Negative news reports about policy positions, for example, outnumbered positive reports 82 percent to 18 percent. Trump experienced a reversal of the “good press” he had received earlier in the campaign, with his reaction to the Democratic convention speech of Khizr Khan generating the most negative attention. Although Clinton’s coverage was more positive than Trump’s, it was still negative on balance, with a full tenth of her coverage revolving around allegations of wrongdoing.

What appeared to be missing from this negative coverage, however, was context. For example, although Clinton’s email issue was clearly deemed important by the media, relatively few stories provided background to help news consumers make sense of the issue—what harm was caused by her actions, or how common these actions are among elected officials. And in keeping with patterns noted earlier in the election cycle, coverage of policy and issues, although they were in the forefront at the conventions, continued to take a back seat to polls, projections, and scandal.

This Shorenstein Center study is based on an analysis of news reports by ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, the Los Angeles Times, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Washington Times. The study’s data were provided by Media Tenor, a firm that specializes in the content analysis of news coverage. The research was partially funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Charles Osgood passes ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ mic to Jane Pauley

On his final edition of “CBS Sunday Morning,” Charles Osgood introduced his successor, former “Today” show co-host Jane Pauley.

The on-air transition will likely be welcomed by fans of the beloved Sunday morning newsmagazine. Pauley has been a popular substitute host of the broadcast since 2014, and she was considered the most likely person to take over for Osgood.

Osgood, 83, announced his retirement plan last month, and Sunday was his final program. He will continue to appear on the show occasionally, according to CBS News president David Rhodes.

Pauley’s promotion is – in part – a signal that the show itself isn’t changing. Executive producer Rand Morrison is staying in place. And Pauley, 65, is well known to “CBS Sunday Morning” viewers.

Pauley joined the program as a contributor in April 2014, a few months after the program profiled her distinguished career.

“We first got to know Jane when we did a story about her,” Morrison said in a statement. “Our viewers immediately responded by suggesting she belonged on ‘Sunday Morning’ permanently. And as is so often the case, they were right. She’s a dedicated, experienced broadcast journalist.  But every bit as important, she’s a delight to work with. A worthy successor—and a perfect fit.”

Pauley’s first program will be this Sunday.

She recently praised Osgood while speaking at the News and Documentary Emmys.

“He’s going to be missed by millions,” she said. “What will ‘Sunday Morning’ be without his ‘presence?’ His calm demeanor? His civility? His curiosity? His delight?”

She said “CBS Sunday Morning” is a kind of church for many Americans. (It is the most-watched Sunday morning news program, reliably out-rating all the political talk shows.)

“For 22 years, the church of ‘Sunday Morning’ has had an officiant who reliably conveyed grace,” Pauley said at the Emmys. “People will miss him deeply, because even in the worst of times, it felt like Charles Osgood could see the best in us.”

Golden Mic | Austin City Limits brand shines brightly with stellar performances

The Spin Cycle stopped at the first weekend of Austin City Limits while at a client conference – and the music lineup rocked the Texas capital with a stellar brand of music fusion!

I was there with my children, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, and we sampled the likes of Marin Morris, Radiohead, Kasey Musgraves, Mumford & Sons, and Chris Stapleton – whose bodacious country-rock licks and belted baritone echoed with a hint of Hank Williams, Jr., Willie, Waylon, a bit of Cash and a dash of Lynyrd Skynyrd!

Other artists who rocked ACL were: Wild Belle, Oh Wonder and LCD Sound System. This weekend’s show culmination boasts Willie Nelson, Awolnation, LL Cool J, Kendrick Lamar, Flume, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, Young The Giant and more.

Austin – and its soul music sister Nashville – continues to deliver the best music in the land, and belted out a blockbuster Golden Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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