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November 30, 2016

The attention economy in publishing

What is attention economy?

Attention economy is dedicated to the way we deal, filter and engage or not with a piece of information. Attention is seen as a “scarce commodity” and as an intangible that all industries fight for. When we get presented with various items, the mechanics of our it decides whether to act or to restrain from further engagement.

Being tiny spectacles in the bulk of information we get bombarded with, our time becomes vulnerable. The publishing industry is vastly dependent on the reader’s consideration. The basic calculation is that an hour spent on one book is an hour not spent on another. Attracting readers to devote time to your content equals a war of engagement with the other alternatives in the publishing sector. Thus, publishers have been “pioneers” in facing the metric swap: clicks do not mean attention.

Attention is at stake

How attentive can we be? How much time do we have? Both time and attention are not infinite. Capturing reader’s interest is a good goal that many can achieve with smart tactics. Keeping it, though, is not a piece of cake. Attention “stays” where quality thrives. Clicks and pageviews are just superficial data when it comes to publishing. However, if your content piques the reader’s intrigue, this is an excellent beginning. Then only time (and data) can tell whether you have really earned the reader’s mind in a more persistent way. This is the point when attention becomes a metric of success. When it comes to monetization, traffic becomes irrelevant. Audience is King.

The right data can give another prism to publishers. Namely, not measuring the activity of their index fingers but the extent to which publishers have reached reader’s minds.

Clicking is not the end of the journey. It is the first step of getting somebody to read and then to keep them reading on. This is where data steps in: to help publishers create content readers would want to get back to.

Word of advice: Create, publish and present content that is worth reader’s time.

Image source: http://www.wadeharman.com

November 21, 2016

What is data-driven publishing?

The publishing industry is one of the most agile spheres worldwide. It has been evolving actively from the introduction of the printing press to the emergence of ebooks. There had always been one big factor that had caused the publishing evolution: the readers. The way they select, purchase and interact with books, their preferences and habits. However, some bits of the decision-making process has long stayed unchanged: the choice of what to be published, and what not. A fun fact about “Harry Potter”: the book  has been put down 12 times before being published. Such decisions had been primarily taken based on the editor’s gut feeling. But how stable is that?Welcome to the data-driven predictions!

Data has literally overflown every industry: capturing and analysing it has been seen as a much more reliable way to understand readers’ wishes. Data in publishing empowers decision-makers to grasp the preferences of the audience and foresee potential future trends much better.

What do readers want?

Initially information has been gathered via focus groups and surveys. However, this “limited” approach could not get the desirable results at scale. Digital reading has changed the data aggregation pattern. The connected devices makes it possible for publishers to track readers’ behaviour on their daily commute, or during sleepless nights. It is now possible for publishers to understand whether somebody reads poetry for an hour every day! All this very specific information coming straight from the horse’s mouth can be analyzed!

Data as a Magic Ball

Data is advantageous to everyone involved in the publishing process. Authors get the opportunity to test their plots through forums and glean better understanding of the audiences’ interests. Readers enjoy a two-way communication with authors. They can give feedback, express their preferences and realise the power of their opinion. And of course publishers – they get real information that help them predict the next bestseller and the type of books that are currently the hype. They get to know the end-users through behavioural data.

Less risk, more power.