Engaging Your Audience In Today’s Media Environment March 23, 2012 by Gina Rau best practices, registration, social login The media industry has faced countless challenges over the past few years as the Internet, social media and user-generated content trends have severely impacted their entire business model. We get our news from Twitter, watch YouTube videos, skip or opt-out of ads, and rarely pay to have the newspaper delivered to our driveway. At the same time, never before have there been so many opportunities for these industries to develop, engage with, and better know their audience, given the new tools and capabilities that technology innovation has brought to market. Most publishers and media organizations are facing these challenges head on and exploring new ways to engage with their audience and nurture those relationships online in ways that were prohibited just a few years earlier. The National Post in Canada is a great example of a publisher growing their business as a result of leveraging new technology. Owned by Postmedia Network, the largest media publisher in Canada with 14 newspaper publications and over 50 destination websites, they came to Janrain to help increase readership and to engage with their online audience. Inviting Readers To Join The Community Across their sites, Postmedia encourages readers to interact with their content by making the first step incredibly easy: login using an existing social or email identity from Facebook, Google, Twitter, or other provider. They know that visitors to their site don’t want to create an account where they have to remember the user name and password; they want to quickly sign in and take their desired actions of commenting, sharing, etc. Postmedia knows that social login is five times faster than traditional account setup, and that people want choice in providers: not just Facebook. Across Janrain media customer sites, site visitors choose their Facebook identity to log in with 43% of the time, and others like Yahoo! and Google around 19% of the time each. Once a reader is logged into one of their properties, Postmedia has eliminated the need for them to login again, or create an additional account as they visit other web properties in their ecosystem by deploying single sign on. One of the benefits of logging into the site upon arrival is that a reader can comment on articles, and then share this content to their social networks. Many of our customers benefit from social referrals at 13+ return visits to the shared content each time a reader sends a link to their friends. Put Out The Welcome Mat Each time a community member returns to a Postmedia site, they are welcomed back by name and encouraged to sign in using the social identity they previously used. In our own research conducted by third party, Blue Research, 55% of people indicate that they’re more likely to return to a site that recognizes them, proving that putting out a personalized welcome mat adds value to the user experience. Profile Management Made Easy When a reader registers with a social identity, their information including first and last name, email address and preferred username are immediately brought over from their social profile. One of the important benefits of social login is that it expedites the registration process by pre-populating the data fields you want complete, so that people can quickly confirm the data with one click and get back to reading the content. In order to create a sense of community on their sites, Postmedia encourages their audience to complete profile pages which can be private or public, as selected by the reader. The individual profile pages allow the reader to link their multiple social network identities to a single account on the site, and supplement their profile with any additional information they want to share with others. Connecting social identities to their profile also helps keep Postmedia’s database fresh and current. Readers can click a single button on their profile page and automatically refresh their site profile with updated data from their social network. The data we keep in our social network profiles tend to be the most accurate reflection of our personal information, even more so than what we provide when setting up a new account, so collecting this continually updated information is key to database marketing efforts. The Rewards With content being produced at rates never before seen in the history of the written word, and technology innovating at lightening speed how we consume content, media organizations must continue to look for new ways to stand out, connect with an audience and grow their base. Those that leverage new technology to build and strengthen reader relationship, while making it easy for people to view and share good content, will lead their industry and enjoy long-term loyalty from fans.