News Corp: Social media is facing a reckoning

Showcases capabilities beyond media this week

Social media platforms are set to face a commercial reckoning as news media organisations harness the power of customer data with contextual and professional editorial experience, News Corp Australia's COO, Publishing, and former CMO, Damian Eales, says.

The bullish comments were made to CMO as the media giant this week unveiled multiple data, advertising and targeting initiatives to its customers, to compete on a global scale with social media and other platforms.  

Despite increased media scrutiny and protests following the Christchurch terrorist attack, News Corp announced 24 initiatives at its annual showcase, Come Together, event. These included UnrulyEQ+, a new data-powered tool for consumer insights which combines the proprietary emotional data from video platform, Unruly, with audience targeting platform, News Connect.

Eales told CMO these various initiatives enable News Corp to become more targeted, more efficient, and more precise in the investment of advertising dollars.

“All marketers are concerned about ensuring they get more bang for their buck. This investment in data enables us to do that,” he said.

Eales also believed the data-driven capabilities, combined with journalist expertise, would finally give News Corp the competitive edge against both other media players as well as digital giants such as Facebook and Google.

“We now offer the same type of targeting capability as the Facebooks of the world, but we do it with professionally-generated content, not user-generated content, which is particularly relevant right now after the Christchurch attack,” Eales claimed.

The comments come despite News Corp facing an investigation from the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) looking into how Australian media coverage across all channels of the recent Christchurch attacks. It’s an investigation News Corp stated it will fully comply with, even as it criticised having “one set of rules for responsible media organisations and no rules at all for digital platforms”.

“Public scrutiny is bearing down on Facebook on what is appropriate content and what should they facilitate. There are many examples on a daily basis of hate speech and inappropriate content on social media, and ads run alongside this,” Eales continued. “This is the much more important social issue: How is it people can see the Christchurch video on social media and other platforms, and yet the ACMA inquiry is focused on free-to-air networks?

“Social media platforms are facing a reckoning because they can’t have it both ways. They can’t boast about technological capability to surface ads in precise locations in seconds, and yet say they can’t remove hate speech.”

ACMA’s opinion has also been backed by the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) and the Commercial Communications Council, which said in a statement that while social media provides many community and social benefits, with that comes responsibility to effectively moderate content on their sites.

“The events in Christchurch raise the question, if the site owners can target consumers with advertising in microseconds, why can’t the same technology be applied to prevent this kind of content being streamed live?” the statement read. “ANZA and the Comms Council encourage all advertisers to recognise they have choice where their advertising dollars are spent, and carefully consider, with their agency partners, where their ads appear.

“We challenge Facebook and other platform owners to immediately take steps to effectively moderate hate content before another tragedy can be streamed online."

The associations are working with members on what more can be done by advertisers, agencies, platform owners and global partners to minimise the risk of this happening again.

Reorienting around the customer funnel

Eales said the latest commercial initiatives are also about ensuring data is applied in the context of a purchase funnel and commercial results are measured accordingly.

“The problem in some marketing these days, is a lot of ad dollars are pushed to the transaction end of that purchase funnel, and not enough money is spent so customers are aware of a product, service, problem, solution, or their options,” Eales said.  

“We have been saying all week, we don’t start by searching for your brand or product, we end there. This is an important recognition of customer journeys. Customers are on multiple journeys simultaneously, discovering needs they never knew they had, and solutions they never considered. You’ve got to be part of those customer journeys to be successful.”

The data initiatives also enable News Corp’s marketers and customers to be more targeted, and more selective about who they talk to. However, Eales also pointed out consumers are now paying for digital content more than ever before, meaning their user experiences have to be enjoyable.

“Due to fake news, there has been a renaissance in trust for established media brands, so it’s important to provide a user experience they enjoy and not serve ads that are irrelevant or jarring,” he said.

“We have now partnered with third-party data providers to become more targeted through Skyscanner and Near. Near offers us amazing geo-targeting capabilities. Our clients can select their audiences, via 1600 customer segments and refine them further, then transact online and run a campaign.”

With the content customers engaging with becoming much more scientific, Eales said editors are also using customer data to determine what they should produce more of.

“We are seeing a demand for true, quality journalism, long form is also more popular again, as is local journalism. This resurgence is a good sign for quality journalism in general,” he added.  

Other initiatives announced by News Corp this week include NewsCast, a portfolio of new podcast series devoted to sport, travel, food, fashion and true crime; as well as Code Block: the opportunity to secure category exclusivity across News Corp Publishing for its coverage of a chosen sports code including AFL, NRL, cricket, motorsport and racing.

News Corp also announced greater sales collaboration with Multi Channel Network (MCN), the programmatic sales joint venture initially established between Foxtel, Fox Sports and Network Ten. Ten pulled out of the agreement at the beginning of this year.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu  

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

3 ways to leverage the talents of your team to avoid disruption

​According to the World Economic Forum in its most recent The Future of Jobs report, the most important skills for the future are not technical, task-oriented skills, but higher-order skills such as creativity, social influence, active learning, and analytical thinking.

Gihan Perera

Futurist, leadership consultant

CMOs, it’s time to stop squandering customer attention

Businesses continue to highly value the attention they buy through paid media, yet at the same time, many continue to disregard and under-value opportunities to connect with customers using their owned media.

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...

Heather

It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Thanks Nadia for sharing this blog. It has really useful and amazing information about Salesforce Commerce Cloud and digital engagement w...

Holly Smith

Adidas taps data and technology smarts to build personalised digital engagement with consumers

Read more

clearly someone who's jealous and only comments from the safety of being behind their keyboard

Peter Sibson

The purpose of purpose - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in