Mobile Still an Untapped Opportunity for B-to-B Media
Industry Dive CEO Sean Griffey on what publishers should focus on.
We’re all aware of the rapid ascent of mobile use—particularly for accessing content. Yet, many publishers in b-to-b media have yet to build out a strategy that fully embraces the platform as both a dedicated asset and revenue generator.
This is precisely why Sean Griffey [pictured], along with Ryan Willumson and Eli Dickinson, started Industry Dive, a mobile content producer and tech platform. The company has been making aggressive moves to build out mobile-first content verticals and has also begun licensing its technology to help other b-to-b publishers build their own products.
Griffey, who will be a speaker at FOLIO: and min’s MediaMashup summit on April 16 at the Grand Hyatt in New York, shares some of his insights on mobile publishing and what you’re missing if you don’t yet have a strategy in place.
FOLIO: What’s your general impression of how far along b-to-b media is with its mobile initiatives?
Sean Griffey: It’s wildly varied. Some folks have embraced mobile while others haven’t seriously looked at it.
Overall, the response to mobile is eerily similar to how b-to-b responded to the internet in general. When users first started moving online in the 90s, b-to-b media companies had two main responses. They either ignored online because they didn’t see money in it or they immediately tried to replicate their print magazines.
Obviously, there are exceptions, but you can see the same response today. The first response for a number of b-to-b publishers was to create iPad versions of their magazines and a frighteningly large number of companies still don’t have mobile friendly sites. The lack of innovation in b-to-b mobile is disappointing.
That is, however, starting to change. We are getting approached by an increasing number of b-to-b media companies interested in exploring mobile opportunities. We’ve actually started licensing parts of our technology stack to help other publishers develop mobile products.
FOLIO: What are the top priorities for mobile media infrastructure investment?
Griffey: It seems counter-intuitive but the most overlooked area for mobile investment is in a publisher’s email programs.
So many media companies rely on their email newsletters to support their digital efforts. Users are increasingly reading their email from their smartphones but publishers haven’t done anything to make the emails or destinations mobile friendly. They are letting their most valuable digital asset die on the vine. We tell clients all the time—if you are in email marketing and not thinking about mobile, you won’t be in email marketing for long. The same holds true for media companies.
FOLIO: What’s your impression of the current state of mobile advertising?
Griffey: Obviously, I’m bullish on the future of mobile. We are building an entire company focused on creating and monetizing amazing mobile experiences. I’ll be the first to admit, however, that mobile advertising is still in its infancy. We are all still figuring mobile out.
From a b-to-b publisher’s perspective, I think too many people are getting fixated on the value of a single mobile banner ad. If you focus entirely on a standalone banner, you narrow the possibilities. We can do better.
For example, I get excited thinking about lead generation on mobile devices. A critical component of good lead generation is discovery. That is something that mobile devices do extremely well. If we think about ways to make conversion frictionless to the mobile user, we can tap into huge b-to-b lead generation budgets.
FOLIO: As you’re scaling your company, what are you learning about your audience’s content consumption habits on the mobile platform?
Griffey: I think it consumption is exactly as you would suspect. Mobile as a percentage of our traffic continues to rise. More emails are being opened on mobile every month. There is a spike in mobile traffic in the evenings, weekends, and holidays. The desktop, however, remains an important.
In the end, mobile won’t replace our websites or other digital products. It does, however, extend the amount of time we have with our audience. Great mobile products make it more likely that our audience will check-in with us when they are outside the office.
If you’re looking to expand your mobile strategy, or better understand how your brands can thrive in a converged media landscape, register now for FOLIO: and min’s MediaMashup event on April 16.