The Online Publishing Industry is at a crossroads, growing digitally at an unprecedented level and generating more content than ever before. At the same time, marketers for publishing companies are constantly challenged to produce more engaging, relevant and impact-heavy results to bring in revenue, boost their brand, and stay on top of their game.

online publishing interactive
Interactive Storytelling Using Data
The Globe and Mail’s Silver Award Winning article predicting ‘Where in Canada Can You Afford To Live?’ 

So what are the areas that truly allow publishers to get creative, expand their reach and increase revenue? We looked to various categories in Online Publishing Awards from the year 2016, and their results to see what worked and what didn’t.

Why Look to Online and Digital Publishing Awards?

Digital is the medium of the hour. Publishers desperately need to innovate and embrace new technologies to reach a younger, more technologically inclined population world-over. We looked to digital publishing awards in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States to understand the levels of recognition of these new technologies and audiences. What these awards also tell us is what worked best for customers – and also made an impact in terms of engagement across geographies.

Evolving New Categories

At the Publish Awards in Australia, awards up until 2015 were largely in the ‘Best Magazine’, ‘Journalist of The Year’, ‘EdItor of the Year’ and ‘Designer/Cover of the Year’ categories, with a few awards for ‘Mobile Apps and Multi Channel Brands. New categories such as Best Short form Video content and even Best Podcast were added these online publishing awards in 2016. 

In the United Kingdom, The ‘Advocate for Quality Original Content’ presented digital awards in the categories including Best Use of Social and Best Research / Insight Project. One award that stood out was the ‘Digital Data Team’ won by the team at the Trinity Mirror.

Awards built around partnerships like the Best Commercial Partnership, Best Media Partner and Best Native Ad Campaign showed the importance of partnerships across organisations to reach a wider audience and deliver better results. Immediate Media, winner of this year’s Best Native Advertising Campaign created a Netflix Integration for RadioTimes’ TV Listings that delivered over 17 million Netflix shows on the listings, generating over 14,000 clicks.This solution presented itself with the creation of a bespoke integration that appears on every element of the Listings grid.

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Netflix / Radio Times Listing Integration

Every time a user hovered over a show on the grid, they would be served an additional integrated ad format which offered a recommend Netflix show or film based off the linear TV programme the user was looking at. More importantly, Netflix received valuable data on which shows were generating the most clicks, what the demographic of the users clicking were and which device they were using.

The Digital Publishing Awards in Canada awarded categories such as the ‘Best Blog or Online Only Column.’ as well as awards for Best Use of Multiple Platforms, Best Use of Data, and a Best Podcast Series

Digiday’s Publishing Awards (winners will only be announced in 2017) get even more specific. Their awards include Best use of Snapchat, Instagram Facebook Live, and even Messenger Bots and Virtual Reality (VR) – which are all new categories. Digiday also announced a Publishing executive of the year award. Their focus clearly is on social as a channel with strong reach potential for online publishing. Applicants are judged on the consumer value they provide and results related to KPIs.

Takeaways: What Winners Do Differently

Online Publishing is all about innovation and the winners got creative with mediums such as video, social and podcasts to connect with their audiences.

In Social Media, Guardian’s campaign ‘The Counted’ proved that great social numbers are possible when you stand for the right cause. The campaign encouraged the US government to begin keeping records of killings by police, which they currently do not. To do this, The Guardian created an interactive database of all police killings in the US in 2015, with the help of communities built on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-16-02-50Guardian’s ‘The Counted’ Campaign

Folks at The Guardian reported that they have received more than 1,500 tips through our anonymous form, and have reported several deaths that would otherwise have gone unreported. This also prompted the US government to take action to improve its own reporting, and the FBI is now learning from their methodology. Cool, right?

In the world of Data and Analytics, The Globe and Mail won a Gold award for using predictive modeling to create a simulation of the seats in the house of parliament as they filled up prior to the Canadian Elections. The Globe also won the Silver award for an interactive article on Canadian rental rates and their affordability. 

online publishing canada awardsElection Simulator – The Globe and Mail

The team at Trinity Mirror has made significant contributions to the key business goals of growing traffic and revenue, which won them the Best Digital Data team award. The Digital Analytics team was put in place a plan to quickly and radically transform how analytics was used by the business to help drive digital growth. At its core was a commercial focus. Modelling ad value and its relationship to traffic allowed ROI analysis across editorial and product changes through marginal page view value. This award underscores the value and contributions of data analysts, scientists and predictive modelers to create a new data-driven and visual style of storytelling. 

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