2013 Forecast: The Perfect Storm for Building a More Complete User Experience

All too often the technology strategies for publishers have focused on optimizing one to two networks for sharing content with their users while completely neglecting other viable channels. Typically the ‘end-to-end strategy’ goes by the wayside or is neglected until some imaginary later date (or never). The problem with a single-tier or even two-tiered business approach is the lack of providing a consistent user experience. For example, magazines have great brands and loyal readership but many have a tough time moving those brand relationships outside of their print versions or web sites.  Other web sites, like Facebook, might have a great application but have not fully taken advantage of customizing their mobile web layout.

With an expected 1.2 billion mobile devices in the hands of consumers next year, marketers everywhere will be laser-focused on providing a strong multiplatform user experience for customers. Content delivery based on time, place, and location will be critical. I believe that in 2013 brands and publishers will begin to marry both the technological advancements in phones, tablets and computers, with the more matured programs and applications (HTML5, etc.) that we use for sharing content.

Here are the four areas I believe the publishing industry will focus in 2013

Renewed Focus on Push Communications:  Companies will take advantage of how, where, and on what device their users consume push-type notifications. By leveraging push as a strategic platform, brands and publishers can connect more frequently with their audience in a service based way.

Custom Content for Mobile Devices:  All too often when publishers feel the pressure to “go mobile” they ignore the opportunity to craft a completely new use case based on where users are engaging with the content and instead simply port applications or content from device to device.  I predict that in the next year, publishers will optimize their content for different devices to better target how consumers want to interact with the information. While a mobile app should always include some of a publisher’s basic content, I believe its primary focus moving forward will be to serve the customer’s preferred engagement method.

Interactive Web Sites: In 2013, brands and publishers will embrace that this platform is built for reading, browsing, researching, chatting, pinning, liking, and gaming, and will use it to reinforce the opportunity to showcase their complementing non-desktop channels as well. By showing users how they can continue to interact with a brand on their phone, on demand via push, and on others’ sites, companies can help narrow the interaction gap, providing an anytime anywhere approach to content consumption.

Supersizing Syndication:  One of the lessons I’ve learned over the years is the power of a brand creating a voice and embracing syndication. When I was the CEO at DailyCandy, we were apprehensive of syndication and never allowed our content to be shown or syndicated to other sites.  We thought, “if people can get DailyCandy on Yahoo! why would they come back to DailyCandy?”  Looking back I think we could have done things differently and believe that publishers in 2013 will embrace syndication.  Instead of being overly concerned about sharing content, applications, and social votes with potential competitors, publishers will begin to share their content more freely and invest heavily in building credibility and voice amongst their audience. While not every passer-by will become a loyal visitor or consumer of a product or service, they will become aware of the content and perhaps share it with their friends.

About the author

Pete Sheinbaum is the Founder and CEO of LinkSmart, Inc. and the former CEO of DailyCandy. He has spent over 15 years as an entrepreneur and leader in ecommerce, media, and technology, having worked in a variety of executive roles. In 2000, DailyCandy hired Mr. Sheinbaum to assist with the launch and development of DailyCandy.com. In 2004, he was named COO of DailyCandy and in 2005 named CEO. After a successful sale of DailyCandy to Comcast Interactive Media in 2008, Pete guided the Company though the transition before departing in May of 2009. Prior to DailyCandy, Pete held the following positions: Director & CRM Practice Leader for Empower Solutions (ERP & CRM software consulting and implementation), COO of AlexBlake.com (retail e-commerce), and Manager of E-Commerce for E! Television Networks. Additionally, Mr. Sheinbaum has served on several boards and advisory committees including IdealBite.com (sold to Disney), TravelPost.com (sold to Sidestep), TotalBeauty.com, GeekChicDaily.com, and TechStars as well as investing in, and mentoring, a variety of technology startups. Follow Pete Sheinbaum (@sheinbaum) and LinkSmart (@linksmart) on Twitter.