Homepage and multimedia because your site is not only social video

Aug 9, 2016
social media
Homepage remains vital amidst the dominance of video and social media in the digital landscape, serving as the cornerstone for audience engagement and long-term strategies, despite the challenges posed by external platforms.
Media is an industry that thrives on trends dictated by its market leaders - like any other. The digital conversion handed the control room to two companies that are monopolists in practice. This leadership led to the overvaluation of two of these trends: video and social. Despite the dominance of the two when it comes to digital strategy, editors and publications should not lose sight of the fact that their most valuable resource continues to be an old (and undervalued) friend: the Homepage.
It may sound a bit contradictory to raise doubts about the big stars of digital media at the moment. There is no company in the world that has not dived headfirst to explore these two spaces. Not long ago, the idea of placing all content within a social network would be considered madness. Today it is not. Social platforms have so occupied the editorial field that Instant Articles started to make all sense, with Facebook alone accounting for 20% of pageviews in the United States. In 2006, the market bet that Google's purchase of YouTube for more than $1.5 billion was insanity due to the risk of copyright infringement. Today, about 300 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute and by tomorrow, at least 4 billion video views will have passed through the Google/Youtube/Alphabet data centers.
If the impact of these companies is of this magnitude, why then should video and social be secondary?
Well, not exactly. Video and social media traffic must be central to any digital editorial strategy. The point is not to relegate video and social to a back burner, but rather not to forget that the homepage is the cardinal point of any publication - still and will be for some time, no matter what happens. Traffic has strongly migrated to social networks and video consumption has multiplied, but your identity is not going to come out of it. This is also vital - but not only.

Where things happen - like, for real

Digitization has created new audience and consumption characteristics. Your reader/viewer/listener today is no longer at home and probably no longer on a large screen. They are no longer immersed in your content offer, but submerged in an unimaginable variety of possibilities. Rarely do they have time set aside for what you produce and even less to explore what other things you would have to offer. Even with this cataclysmic scenario, if you are going to establish some connection with this 'customer', it will happen on your turf.
The numbers above (and many others) serve to make it clear that Facebook (and Google) are devouring the world, with particular sadistic refinement, the editorial world. The industry has lost control of its traffic and since this control is with companies without competition, there is no possible negotiation. All participants in this scenario are in a war they cannot win, but as Ahmed Shah Massoud, the mythical Afghan leader who expelled the Soviet Union from the country, said, "there are battles in which victory consists only in survival". The homepage of almost all publications is the only ground on which a safe strategy can be made.
Despite the growth in video consumption, the takeover of this media over the others is not proportional to the noise made around it, and much less a total dominance of it, as a Facebook executive stated a few months ago. According to a Reuters study, about 75% of users from a selection of 26 countries do not consume any video regularly. In societies where consumption is more moderate, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, this number reaches 85%.

In your field

Where does the homepage come into play, given this digression about video & social? Everywhere. The homepage is not just a source of traffic. In fact, its role as a source of traffic may be most at risk, since search and social have swallowed a good part of the business. Your homepage is crucial to you because it is there that you create your identity, close deals and win audience through 'negotiations' of longer terms, such as subscriptions, communities, customizations, etc. And even more important than all of this, it is the place where you know that the rules are dictated by you.
A global digital trend, the explosion of mobile devices, is something you cannot ignore. It's not an exaggeration to say that the way you build your home on small screens will determine how you can convert old readers into new readers and transform occasional visitors into regular consumers. Remember: this is not only valid for media consumption. Services, partner offers, interaction opportunities - your digital menu will start on the homepage.
This approach of revaluing the Home has a touch of hope. The fracture of the business model of most media companies has diverted attention from the homepage due to the growing importance of external platforms (such as Google and Facebook). The use of videos in this piece of your space needs to fit into this concept. This media must be in function of the Home and not the other way around. It was never considered to use text and image as the focal point of any publication, but the buzz around video created a wrong perception in which it is the end, and not the means, even in its etymology. As fundamental as they may be, external platforms are also a means. Your 'architecture' must take this into account. Otherwise, you will be in a very delicate situation.

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