3 Highlights From The Lost Art of Great Storytelling

Christel van der Boom / May 26, 2016

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Nicole McCormack, Flipboard’s Head of Advertising Strategy

Recently, Flipboard’s head of advertising strategy, Nicole McCormack talked with the editors of Thalamus for their Thought Leadership series In the interview, discussed the changing media landscape, trends mobile content consumption, their impact on publishing and advertising, and the role Flipboard plays in this world. Here are three highlights from “Flipboard on The Lost Art of Great Storytelling”:

Flipboard is one of the most prolific brands in the digital & mobile content industries, having pioneered the mobile social magazine back in 2010. How has the product, and advertising offering, evolved since the genesis of the company?

We started the company with a big vision: Great stories move the world forward by educating, inspiring, and rallying people around their passions. We believe we can provide a platform for these great stories to thrive and achieve maximum impact in a mobile, social world.

Since the launch of Flipboard in 2010, we’ve been executing on this vision. For instance, we’ve made Flipboard available on multiple platforms (smartphones and tablets running iOS, Android or Windows as the Web) and in more than 25 languages. We also added ways people can use Flipboard: we expanded Flipboard so anyone can curate magazines, sharing stories, images and videos around topics they care about, and last year we added 34,000 topics. Topics are filled with stories, videos and images being shared on Flipboard and curated into any of the more than 25 million magazines made by readers.

Brand advertising has been part of the vision from the start, as we were always inspired by print, where an ad is part of the experience and used for brand building. The first ad unit we introduced was the full-page magazine-like ad in 2011 and since then we’ve added two native advertising products, Promoted Stories and Promoted Video with Cinema Loop, for the distribution of brand content. Another effective way for brands to connect with consumers is with Brand Magazines – collections of curated brand content. Brands like Lexus, Rolex, Sony Electronics, Whole Foods, Merrill Lynch have beautifully curated collections in the form of Brand Magazines on Flipboard, bringing together stories, images, videos and more to connect with consumers through storytelling.

Due to the explosion of mobile content consumption, as well as social platforms, audiences are now distributed and consuming content across a wide range of devices, platforms, websites, and mobile apps. How do you see content consumption, and as a corollary, advertising on these multiple channels, progressing over the next few years?

Today’s successful media companies have shown that three things are important when it comes to content: atomization, aggregation, and being available everywhere. We’re seeing a separation between content creation and distribution with the emergence of social platforms, which creates a fragmentation of audiences and disaggregation of publisher content. We think it makes sense for publishers to connect with readers where they are. It’s why you find thousands of them on Flipboard. Increasing publisher partnerships with platforms like Flipboard can be good for all involved, especially if there are news ways to monetize on other platforms as well.

For advertisers, who are increasingly becoming publishers themselves as traditional advertising fails to capture attention, they also have to think about how to distribute branded content across other platforms in a way that is authentic to that audience and platform. The brands we work with see it as an opportunity, not a threat.

 There have been many that have tried to corner the market and become the de facto news, magazine, and content consumption app on mobile, mostly recently with Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles. Do you ever see any one company dominating as this primary content consumption app, and if not, do you think the market will continue to fragment?

People want great content around their passions and interests and that’s what Flipboard is focused on. We are happy to see the model we have been investing for years of partnering with publishers and content owners is getting traction.

Since its founding, Flipboard has been ever deepening and broadening its partnerships with publishers and other content owners. Thanks to years of work by a steady and dedicated team we have been able to add nearly all publishers to our platform that were on our wishlist. And because anyone can add any content from the web to their Flipboard, we are not limited to partner content — the sources are infinite and growing daily thanks to our user base.

It’s not a winner take all scenario and publishers don’t have to decide between platforms. Different platforms serve different purposes – Facebook is about friends and family; Apple News, which is only available on iOS, is more focused on news stories.

A final thought: the global ad market it worth $600B and most of those dollars still haven’t moved online let alone to mobile. The biggest ad spend still goes to brand-building campaigns that by and large haven’t moved to digital yet. Flipboard has created a premium environment for that type of advertising.

Continue to read the full interview on Thalamus’ blog.

~ChristelV is curating Eye Openers