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  • 5 Steps to creating Engaging Content in Your App

    We are living in the age of online platforms, and most brands are increasingly seeing the value of having a mobile App as part of broadening their reach and tapping into the new age consumer. Having a mobile app for your business gives you the power to influence how and when your app members consume the content you share with them, and it also gives you the control to protect your app member's data as we gravitate to the age of POPI. Like every touchpoint for your brand such as your website or social media, the app needs a clear content strategy that is aligned to your business goals and objectives whilst staying true to the essence of who you are as a brand. Having an app is an amazing addition to your consumer engagement strategy. That strategy needs a clear and concise content strategy to support it. When this is done right, you will experience an increase in app downloads, app registrations, and member engagement - thus adding value to your consumer engagement strategy. Here's a summary guideline that can add benefit to your own content strategy: 1. Set out clear goals Setting goals is the starting point in any content endeavour you choose to undertake. Having a goal helps you create a foundational structure of where you want to go content wise and how the journey will look. Even the simplest content strategies have set goals - this is what sets the tone, and informs the type of content that needs to be created, thus helping create content that will an impact on your app members. The goals of your content strategy will vary, and might include: Increase the in-app Conversation and Channels member count Brand/app awareness Increase app downloads Increase app registrations Greater user retention rate Increase app member engagement. These are just a few examples — when you create content, bear these in mind throughout, and your strategy will have greater resonance as a result. 2. Clearly define your app target audience One of the most important principles of building a successful content strategy is to know your app members. This forms the foundation of every good mobile app content strategy too. What is important is seeing your app members as personalities for whom you can create tailored content for unique needs and interests. For instance, if your app members prefer a certain social platform over another, you could add that site as a provider on your Smashboard to see and respond to all messages received. Another great way to gain an understanding of who your audience is and what makes them tick is to create surveys geared to give insights into their personality. 3. Write content with a tangible hook As content creatives, we often produce our content with a consideration of the medium on which the content is being consumed. Because the app is on a mobile device, we might assume that most app members are less likely to engage with lengthy blog posts. That assumption is a bit far-fetched because app members or content consumers in online platforms are quite happy to read long-form content via a mobile app if it is engaging. To provide a teaser, share a summary of the article linking to your website so that you can kill two birds with one stone. If you want your audience to engage with the content from the first paragraph to the last word, you need to entice them with interesting content throughout. One way of maximising this would be to add content that is trending in another platforms. 4. Deliver fresh and diverse content As an app content creative, a vital intention is to keep your app members coming back in the app and spend time consuming the content in the app. This means you need to be creative in the pillars you choose to focus on in terms on the content you decide to publish to your audience. The precedence here is when app members keep getting exposed to the same content repeatedly, they become disengaged and, as a result, they decide not to come back in the app or read or listen to your podcast for a few seconds and disconnect from the app. The best strategies lead the charge in diverse content pillars to keep your app members stimulated. The best content strategies embrace a diverse array of content formats to keep audiences stimulated and engaged, and your mobile app’s content strategy is no different. Some of the content pillars you can get started with for your mobile app. Example include: Product sneak peeks: mobile apps are a terrific way to source app member feedback. Offer teasers for new products and invite customer input via in-app surveys. Here you can partner with a potential advertiser to give them brand awareness. Product tutorials: value is key in your mobile app content strategy, and how-to and explainer videos are perfect for delivering that straight to your audience. More on content pillars here: Creating Killer Content Pillars 5. Use metrics to guide and hone your content strategy One of the key benefits of having an app is the fact that it gives you real-time insightful result to report on and, in this case, helps you create content that is heavily consumed. For example, if one live podcast gets more plays, find out what the discussion around that podcast was about and use that as a pillar for creating content. Better yet, use the four most-played content as a foundational pillar for the next round of podcasts you add. If your audience engage heavily with news posts in the news channel, take note of what news content they reacted to mostly and in future instead of just having a post, include a podcast of it and it link on your socials. Lastly, if you are uncertain about how to create an app content strategy, contact us - we can help!

  • Digital Transformation in Public Broadcasting

    There are few local tech inventions that have received international attention, despite an abundance of successful South African tech stories. However, one South African innovation is changing this narrative. Fabrik, developed by SA company immedia, is being used by international public broadcasters to bring audiences into the digital and social revolution. Fabrik has totally transformed and enhanced audience engagement of the publicly funded national broadcaster of the Republic of the Seychelles, the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation. The Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), recognising the need to capitalise on the opportunity inherent in digital transformation, have invested in modernising its offering with a full set of featured mobile apps to support its Paradise FM and Radyo Sesel radio stations. Both apps are built on the Fabrik digital platform, a cloud-based set of tools and applications - backed by Microsoft - that allows broadcast radio organisations to digitise, consolidate, and monetise audience engagement. Derrick Young-Khon, head of marketing, multimedia and corporate affairs at the SBC, says managing fake news during a public emergency like the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the SBC apps deliver tremendous value to citizens, allowing the station to provide listeners with fact-based, objective, breaking news stories from a media source they trust, in real time. “The apps have become the go-to place to get information. Firstly, because it is instant, it is in the palm of our audience’s hands, and the latest pandemic statistics are available on the app with just one click. Second, we give people credible information,” says Young-Khon. Creating cultural impact The SBC also incorporated the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC) sessions into the apps. The TRNUC was established in September 2018 with the aim of bringing closure to past socio-political events that had negative impacts on many Seychellois citizens. By streaming the sessions, listeners in the country as well as those abroad were able to follow the debates. “What we have provided is not just a service to the public, but to the TRNUC itself,” says Bérard Duprès, CEO of the SBC. Building a more connected and engaged audience In transitioning from traditional media to digital, the SBC already understood that the youth generation were more geared towards mobile technology. “For youths accessing information via radio apps on their phones, without having to tune in on the radio or having to watch TV, the digital route for us as a public broadcaster, is a no-brainer. It has also stimulated citizen engagement, participation, conversation, and the co-creation of content,” says Duprès. The apps deliver live digital streaming with direct access to podcast channels, in-app messaging, in-studio message boards, and social media integration. The consolidated Fabrik platform also delivers proof of play and analytic data where existing content can be seamlessly re-purposed for the apps. The SBC apps currently reach 20% of the adult population of the Seychelles. There is also tangible excitement in reaching the Seychellois diaspora globally, to engage with them in real-time as a truly modern broadcaster. Duprès believes the digital transformation has been game-changing in keeping the public broadcaster at the forefront of positive public opinion. “Not only does Fabrik ensure a direct and immediate connection with our audience, it allows our audience to become co-creators of our broadcasts with us, bringing them into the very heart of our broadcast personality,” he says. The radio programmes are also saved into a cloud archive that serves as a record to all citizens of the Seychelles of their audio cultural heritage. “South Africa can offer game-changing tech innovation for public broadcasters, as proven by the SBC, which broadcasts to a population with a high level of technology adoption. Fabrik has enabled the SBC to realise its imperative for digital transformation to not only compete commercially in a digital era, but also establish itself as the fabric that binds the culture of the Seychelles,” concludes Lumley.

  • How to integrate your App into your Engagement Strategy

    As you become more comfortable with incorporating Fabrik into your daily workflows, you may have realised the importance of strategic planning around how you're engaging your audience using your app. Your app audience is more often than not your most engaged, most loyal audience and therefore may require an approach to engagement that's different to your other channels! Your app is also packed with unique features and functionality you can leverage to create a memorable experience for your app community and value for your advertisers. As such, we recommend implementing a two-pronged approach to your app engagement that keeps your app top-of-mind, by incorporating events, campaigns or special programming as well as ongoing inclusion in daily programming. Implementing a successful app engagement strategy requires collaboration across all teams within your organisation, so here are some steps on how to ensure you are doing so in the most effective way. step 1: consider your overall audience engagement objectives When creating your app engagement strategy, it's important to keep your overall audience engagement strategy across all your channels in mind. These may be broad directives informed by your overall business strategy such as expanding your reach across all channels, measuring and increasing audience engagement based on specific metrics or building your audience to position and support your advertising offering in a certain way. In terms of formulating that overall audience engagement strategy, we generally recommend considering the following aspects: Growth - what are the ways you're consistently growing your audience by connecting with individuals on different channels who were not aware you existed before? Engagement - once someone has connected with you on one or more of your channels, how are you adding ongoing value to them to ensure you retain them as a loyal follower? Monetisation - once you've grown your audience and are adding ongoing value to them, how are you positioning your audience in a way that it is attractive to advertisers? (If you're uncertain about how to create an engagement strategy, get in touch with us - we can help!) Step 2: Prepare your App Experience to support your Audience Engagement initiatives Once your overall audience engagement strategy is in place, the next step is to configure the engagement aspects of your app to enable the app engagement you'd like to encourage. Conversations and Channels are the two types of messaging groups available within your app that can be configured to different types of engagement, as follows: Conversations are true engagement groups, interactive message groups where anyone who is a part of that conversation can post content. Channels are read-only message groups in which only 'Trusted' individuals (members who you assign the 'Trusted' status, such as administrators or moderators) can post content. Decide what types of groups you need according to key initiatives in your business, and configure them according to the level of interaction you would like. Remember that Contact Us is a Direct Messaging conversation where each app member can connect directly with you via your Smashboard application, or centralised messaging dashboard. When you send a message to all or individual members via Smashboard, your message will appear in that direct conversation only for the individual/s receiving that message. Find out more about how Conversations and Channels work and how you can create and configure them yourself using the Community Centre community management dashboard. Step 3: Consider specific engagement tactics Now that your app environment is ready for engagement, leveraging your app to support your business strategy becomes easier. When thinking about how to effectively engage your audience, consider how to promote what is coming up in your on-air broadcast and what would entice your app audience to keep coming back. There are a number of different tactics you can use that are related to a two-pronged approach of using both events like campaigns, and ongoing engagement initiatives. Ongoing Engagement Regular Features - use your direct Messaging group to let your audience know about upcoming shows or interviews to ensure engagement on your Fabrik-powered live stream, and capitalise on your most popular features by throwing forward to them in the app. Shows - consider adding show-specific conversations or channels for your most popular shows and invite your presenters/DJs to post in them. You could also get listeners involved by asking them to send you their messages or voice notes before the show, to be played out on air. Community Chat - institute a general Community Chat where your community can come together to talk about topics they're interested in! Campaigns Exclusive Content and/or Special Offers - use your app to share content your audience won't be able to find anywhere else, and/or partner with advertisers to offer exclusive deals only available via the app. Competitions - use fun competitions, quizzes and games to give your audience multiple opportunities to re-enter your app. To truly leverage the app experience in ways that your other digital channels might not be able to deliver, consider how to integrate some of these unique features into your execution: 1. Push notifications (or messages that pop up on the home/lock screen of an individual's device) are a great way to invite engagement into the app, and you can configure each of your Messaging groups to either Notify by Default or not. 2. Podcasts - record on-air moments (competition segments, interviews or recurring features) as a podcast, and send a message or push notification to let your audience know there's a new podcast that's been published. 3. Billboards - add app billboards for an additional awareness component around your ongoing programme initiatives and campaigns. 4. Pop-up message group - easily add topical messaging groups into your app around specific events or topics to stimulate engagement amongst your audience. Step 4: Identify & empower key role-players from other departments To ensure the success of your new app engagement strategy, it's important to consider how it impacts your colleagues in other departments. Ask, how does this addition to the overall digital strategy impact other teams and, just as important, how does your app engagement strategy translate into ways that other teams can contribute and win? These initiatives may include training and education on how the app impacts on other departments, and how their own business strategy can benefit from this. Key to this is the continual promotion of the app via the below channels. Programming/On-air - ensure the on-air team are informed as to how they should be inviting listeners to your app, and empower them with scripts and live-reads that can be easily incorporated into their shows. Marketing - empower your colleagues in the Marketing team with information about the app they can share on your social platforms i.e. highlighting app functionality, topical Messaging groups or exclusive content. Promotions - ensure the team/s working on campaigns within your organisation know exactly how to include the app in the execution of campaigns, i.e. using app-based calls-to-action or tracking the impact of the campaign using keywords set up in Smashboard's Campaign Manager. Sales - if you're engaging with the Sales team in your organisation, offer to take them through your new app engagement strategy so they're aware of how to leverage these tactics and benefits in their Sales pitches. Step 5: Report back on your engagement initiatives to obtain buy-in The last step in the implementation of your new app engagement strategy is to let your stakeholders and colleagues know how you're doing! Fabrik makes this easy by visualising all your audience engagement and live-streaming data within the Metrics application, which you can easily access and incorporate into your reporting, to assure stakeholders that what you're doing is having an impact. Further Info Read how to configure Conversations and Channels within your app. Hear from Anice & Jonathan on how to kick-start Digital Transformation in your environment in this Fabrik webinar. In this webinar, Kelly, Bevan & Darren demonstrate the metrics and insights available within the Fabrik platform.

  • Feedback from our Final Customer Survey of 2020

    Every three months, our Customer Success team surveys our customers in both the Radio and Managed Communities industries to get a gauge on the value that Fabrik is currently contributing to your business, and how we can improve our service to you. This is done in 2 different ways: 1. Quantitative information A survey is emailed to each of our Fabrik administrators, i.e. those who have login access to applications such as Smashboard and Echocast. The responses give us quantitative information regarding how our product and services are being received across our base of administrators. 2. Qualitative information Our team also conducts in-person interviews with a segment of our Fabrik client base to gain qualitative insights into how Fabrik is contributing to their success. In the final round of customer interviews for 2020, our team received some interesting feedback which we’ve taken on board and used to iterate our product and service delivery. Innovation In general, our customers scored us 7.67/10 for innovation and found the platform ‘handy and innovative’, noting that the platform is ‘constantly evolving and improving’. Some of our customers felt that the recording workflow on Echocast could be improved and we’ve taken that to heart! A useful suggestion on Smashboard was for a preview of the message to appear when hovering over it. Our dev team determined that this would be a quick (and delightful!) user experience improvement, and have already implemented this functionality to Smashboard. To view all our recent updates, check out our Release log. Adding Value to our Customers Our customers scored us 8.5/10 in terms of how well the platform meets their needs, and 83% of customers surveyed felt that the platform had contributed to improving their teams’ workflows. In specific, one customer mentioned the fact that the ability to remotely access Fabrik’s web-based applications was very useful, and our Metrics data visualisation and reporting tool was specifically mentioned as a feature that makes it much easier to provide post-campaign reporting to clients after app-driven campaigns. Support Our Customer Success team have been working intently to provide our customers with exceptional customer support. We are elated that, in general, our customers are extremely satisfied with the way in which we support them and their app members, scoring us 9.33/10 on our Support provision. Communication In terms of the frequency and quality of our communication, all of the customers surveyed feel satisfied with our current routines around communication. One customer mentioned that they would like to see content in the monthly Fabrik Features Update that is more relevant to their professional services business, so we will be implementing a new monthly newsletter for our PAL communities from February onwards. Propensity for Digital Change Within the survey, we also wanted to gauge our customers' perceptions about their organisations’ own ability to implement digital change and transformation. In general our customers gave their businesses a confidence rating of 7.87/10 in their ability to implement digital change and transformation in their organisations. This is a 10% increase from the previous round of surveys, denoting an improvement which we hope is due to our more robust Customer Success engagement and workshops! Whilst they are eager to embrace change within their organisations, some customers felt that they were limited in terms of time and resources which stopped them from achieving what they would have liked to in the last quarter. While our surveys and interviews are scheduled every three months, you are always welcome to send us any feedback you might have. And as always, we would love to hear of features or tweaks that would make Fabrik more useful for you and your team.

  • Echocast Gets Some Love

    Among the first parts of Fabrik to be shipped more than 10 years ago, Echocast was created to address a few key challenges in the Radio industry that unfortunately persist even today: the inability of the on-air team to capture on-air moments live; the inability to create and publish podcasts in real time without having to rely on workflows that were too time-consuming or technical; and the lack of quick and easy access to the broadcast programme archive to retrieve pieces of audio for advertisers or compliance. Echocast has since evolved to the point where it has become a vital content management, archival and compliance tool used extensively across our base of media customers. Radio Programming teams use it to capture snippets of audio that they'd like to make available for listening beyond the live moment, as well as to record and store useful content they may need to access later. Content and Production teams use it for publishing and managing on-demand content (either live or immediately after the moment) to the website, mobile app and social media channels. Promotions and Marketing teams use it to publish featured audio content as part of station promotions and campaigns. Technical teams use it for compliance and audit purposes by downloading any audio from Fabrik's cloud archive. As our Media customers across various departments become more reliant on creating and distributing podcasts, we receive feedback every so often about how the live recording and podcast publishing workflows can be improved. Taking into account our customer feedback, Echocast has received a few updates over the last month to enhance existing functionality and add some new features. Here's what you can expect to find in the latest update: Skip & Return to add Podcast Metadata The workflow of real-time recordings has been improved, providing more options and flexibility upon stopping, saving and publishing the recording. This means that, if you're short on time, you'll be able to skip the capturing of required metadata, and return to complete and publish your podcast at a later time. New 'Publish none' Category Setting It is now possible to set a Category's publish setting to either All, Latest or None. This setting impacts what is shown in your public feeds on your website or app, and all recordings, regardless of this configuration, will still be available in your Echocast admin view. While 'All' is the default, 'Publish latest' is useful for frequent, repetitive recordings (such as News, Sport or Weather) for which your listeners might only be interested in the latest recording in that category. When configuring your Category as 'Publish latest', the previous recordings available in your public feeds will be automatically unpublished whenever a new podcast is published to that category. The 'Publish none' setting is useful for podcasts that are required for archival or proof-of-execution purposes, but not necessarily for publishing to your general consumer. This setting is perfect for sponsored audio content such as live-reads or competition moments that must be captured for business purposes but may not be compelling on-demand listening for your audience. And, when used in conjunction with a Preset associated to this Category, 'Publish none' enables a streamlined and consistent recording workflow for your presenters/producers of content. Increased live-stream buffer One of the most important components of Fabrik for our broadcast customers is the digital live stream, which enables your live radio broadcast to be transmitted via your mobile app and website. The way the app or website transmits the live broadcast is that it loads small sections one after the other into the app to make sure that any breaks in connectivity or interruptions to the stream are sufficiently buffered, providing time for the stream to recover from any unexpected interruptions. In order to make your live stream even more resilient to network interruptions, the duration of that buffer has been extended to allow for a better experience when your listener's connectivity is strained, thereby reducing the likelihood of interruptions to the stream. Increased time tolerance of missing audio segments In the past, if there had been an interruption or break in the audio broadcast, Echocast would restrict the ability to request and retrieve a piece of the audio that had been interrupted. This was fairly limiting in terms of being able to retrieve audio from that section - a feature our Media customers require quite regularly. To ensure all audio (regardless of interruptions) is accessible to those requesting it, this restriction has now been adjusted and is more tolerant to periods of missing audio. Once having downloaded that audio snippet from the archive, you can then go ahead and edit or manipulate the audio as you see fit. Reworked Architecture Echocast was initially engineered to solve a few key challenges in the Radio industry more than a decade ago! Since then, Echocast has undergone a number of iterations, and different parts of the application have been worked on and improved at different times. Although the application had been maintained consistently over the years, it had come to a point where some of the back-end code and architecture had grown outdated and required quite a bit of work and time to bring it up to date. After this update, you should find that the Echocast application loads and processes your audio more quickly, and that podcast recording, audio archive requests and manual uploads are more reliable and speedy. Bug Fixes Preset Recordings Recordings configured with a Preset were occasionally affected when the Pause/Resume recording functionality was used. The result was that, when the recording was resumed, the assigned Preset would be automatically and incorrectly cancelled and erroneously saved to the General Preset. Now that this bug has been addressed, recordings categorised with a Preset will record, pause, resume and publish as expected. More Informative Error Notices In the past, when an audio archive request or a podcast recording failed, a generic email would be sent to the administrator notifying them of the failure. The email notification is now more useful, containing more information around the error. In addition, the way technical issues are logged to our Support team has been improved so that we receive more information regarding the issue, allowing our team to be more proactive when diagnosing issues and/or failures. Content Type Validation on Audio Upload Additional validation has been added to the audio upload functionality so that invalid content types are flagged before the podcast goes into a Processing state. Assigning Podcasts to a Blank Category A bug that caused podcasts to be assigned to a blank Category has been fixed. Further Info Watch our webinar about Echocast's podcasting and content management capabilities.

  • Community radio gets a R10m boost to accelerate the digital evolution in Africa

    Durban-based tech company immedia has invested R10m to help African media entrepreneurs to build sustainable community radio by using Fabrik, a set of cloud-enabled digital tools that empower media entities to livestream shows, grow and engage with audiences around the world and benefit financially by monetising their audiences. The 25-year-old company, which has the backing of Microsoft and the Industrial Development Corporation, has been developing their Fabrik technology since 2017. Fabrik allows media entrepreneurs to upend the traditional notion of “we broadcast and you receive”, by creating a feedback loop that directly helps the stations and listeners that use it to leapfrog old technology, to become citizen journalists and find their strategic space in a digitally transformed world. It is already being used by 15 commercial clients, including radio stations Gagasi FM, Smile 90.4FM and YFM. As part of its Digital Leap programme, immedia will be giving its platform to qualifying media entrepreneurs across Africa for free for a year. This includes consultation, training and support to help monetize the technology, cumulatively valued at R10 million. Phil Molefe, a veteran of broadcast radio in South Africa, Fabrik’s head of business development and strategy, says the programme was key to the company’s vision to spearhead media transformation. He says the uptake of Fabrik by energetic entrepreneurs at community radio stations showed how empowering the suite of digital tools is. “It enables them to deepen their relationship with their audience and monetise it sustainably because the quality of their engagement with listeners is meaningful.” Building stable, sustainable community radio across Africa Molefe points out that while community media is often under-resourced and struggles to retain skills, the company’s case studies have shown that it is more than possible for them to thrive - and that the Digital Leap programme is the kind of opportunity they need, and can succeed on. Fabrik helps media entrepreneurs by solving key challenges for them, including: Providing them with a mobile application that allows community and campus radio stations to livestream shows, as well host podcasts, allowing them to reach audiences well beyond the geographic constraints of their traditional radio broadcast signal. By shifting to a cloud-based tool, radio stations get access to archival and backup that is compliant with BCCSA and Icasa regulations. This helps them to significantly cut down on time and resources required to manually back up radio content to on-site servers or even tape. Messaging functionality, including push notifications, so that stations can better engage with their communities, publish written or multimedia content and even promote active conversation between listeners. Push notifications help drive engagement by bringing attention to active competitions, surveys and polls, recently published content, and more. By encouraging listeners to register as a member and provide some of their personal information, such as geographics and demographics, stations are able to build audience profiles for their listeners, and gain a better understanding of their needs and preferences. These detailed analytics provided by Fabrik gives stations the data they need to convince advertisers and marketers of the value of promoting their products and services through the station’s app, helping bring in much needed revenue. Fabrik has a range of users, and about 60% of their listeners have an opt-in relationship with their broadcasters. By building and growing owned communities, stations then stand to benefit financially by serving highly relevant ads to their digital listeners. In addition, where sales conversions on social media are around 2%, Fabrik users enjoy 8%. According to Tamie Mbombo, head of marketing and PR at Izwi loMzansi, one of the largest community radio stations in South Africa, says that the platform has revolutionised the station’s engagement with its listeners, and has led the digital charge with featured podcasts and integrated advertising campaigns on the Izwi mobile app. “Community media’s aim is to provide trusted information and expression, and Fabrik has helped do that,” he says. A change of mindset is required The Fabrik team made some interesting observations based on the experiences of early adopters of the technology, including around community radio, where many advertisers and business decision-makers are often dismissive of the audience. “For example, one of our clients is a station with an audience in the LSM four to six range. That audience is typically regarded as ‘too poor’ or too marginalised to go digital and yet our clients are proving that they are taking to it like ducks to water,” Molefe says. He says that the take up by media entrepreneurs, either regarded as ‘on the fringes’ or as outliers, is the best showcase for Fabrik. “They are doing what they do because nobody told them they couldn’t - and it is proving to be a great leveller. We’ve seen how powerful this platform is in the community media space, which is why we are looking at boosting the rate of transformation.” Watch the full event here:

  • Navigating the Digital Sea of Change: 3 tips to help your business swim not sink

    How ready is your business for digital transformation? If your answer is “not very”, the data shows that you’re not alone. That’s the answer we received from a surprising number of our clients we canvassed in a recent survey. We got a similar response when we polled our audience during a recent webinar on 'Radio's Digital Transformation in a Data-Driven Age'. Watch the webinar: https://youtu.be/kmusgBFh5ys I say “surprising” because you’d expect companies in the media and broadcasting space to be ahead of the digital curve. While many undoubtedly are, particularly those who have adopted digital tools such as Fabrik, quite a few others aren’t as ready for digital transformation as they might need to be. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that momentous change is not only inevitable, it’s upon us, whether we’re ready or not. While we were all busy drawing up our ‘Digital Transformation’ strategies and debating the definition of “4IR”, Covid came along and thrust everyone off a cliff into a digital sea. Whether your company sinks or swims may depend on how quickly and adeptly you adapt to a new reality, one where formerly fringe concepts like WFH (work from home) have entered the business mainstream and niche products like Zoom have become verbs – much as Google and Skype did for an earlier generation of netizens. The good news is that there are three practical things you can do starting today that will help ensure your success in this regard. While the experience I draw on is largely in technology and broadcasting, these three principles are relevant for decision makers in most industries who find themselves confronting the reality of digital transformation. 1. Look within It may not always be apparent, but most members of your organisation can help point the way to your digital transformation priorities. The younger people are more obviously digitally savvy, having grown up in a world of smartphones, memes and connectivity. But don’t discount your older team members. They’ve already lived through the arrival of - and in many cases helped usher into their workspaces – tech like fax machines, the internet, email and voice conferencing, long before the arrival of instant messaging and video calls. They bring a wealth of institutional knowledge and expertise as well as solid values and ethics to any discussions around your company’s digital transformation journey, all of which can be the perfect counterpoint to their younger colleagues’ enthusiasm, energy and comfort with cutting edge tech and the latest trends. This may mean looking at your people through new eyes, employing a collaborative process, and being receptive to ideas from unexpected quarters. But if you’re open to allowing discourse, debate and conversation, looking within will help you find the seeds of change - and maybe also the agents of that change - inside your own organisation. 2. Look without While change starts from within, looking outwards can take its positive effects to an entirely new level. Internal collaboration unlocks the potential of your own team, but external collaboration can unleash the power of the entire supply chain. To get started, identify at least one external partner – perhaps a supplier or even a key customer or a loyal advertiser – who would be prepared to take this digital journey of discovery with you. Try looking at your supply chain in an entirely new way and identifying individual links as potential partners. Digital transformation is a convergence problem and the more partners you have in this journey, the more perspective you can collectively bring to solving problems. Taking this path requires courage and will push you well out of your comfort zone. It will require a leap of faith and trust in your prospective partners. But the rewards are worth it. 3. Adopt a culture of change If it wasn’t already apparent, 2020 has driven home the fact that change isn’t a once off, but a continuous, often disconcerting, reality of life. To survive and thrive in this state of constant flux, you will need to adapt your internal culture and structure to embrace change and encourage it within your organisation. This may involve re-examining the metrics you currently use to measure progress, productivity and other organisational priorities. You’ll need to ask yourself, “Do the things we measure encourage change or do they entrench established practices that may be at odds with change?” As important as being agile and responsive to change is finding consensus as an organisation on what constitutes good change. Chaos is change, but you want to avoid that. Throwing stuff up against the wall and seeing what sticks is not meaningful change. Nor is change for change’s sake. Yes, the prospect of transformation can be daunting. But doing nothing simply leaves you vulnerable to unwanted and unexpected changes you haven’t planned for. So, tap into the insights, energy and experience of your own staff and external stakeholders, then have a robust conversation on what kind of change you want. If our own experience and that of our partners is anything to go on, this will get you out of the starting blocks and further along the path to sustainable digital transformation than many, maybe all, of your competitors. In a recent webinar on digital transformation in the Radio industry, Anice delves into the subject in a lot more detail, as well as discussing issues like customer privacy and opportunities for real-time rich data in metrics. “You are not flying blind. That’s the digital transformation - it makes reality a lot more accountable.”

  • Use billboards to engage your advertisers & your audience

    We know that starting anything new can be hard, and that as your organisation embarks on your journey of digital transformation, your advertisers need to come along too. One of the most simple, yet powerful ways you can start to build familiarity and trust with your advertisers, generate revenue and connect with your audience is by using app billboards. What is an app billboard? An app billboard is a promotional image that appears for a few seconds after your app is launched. Billboards are a popular choice for advertisers, and can also be used communicate special campaigns or any other newsworthy information you'd like to share with your audience. Within your app, you have the option to display more than one billboard at the same time. These can represent separate advertisers/campaigns or a single campaign with a number of different billboards. If you are flighting a number of billboards at the same time, you can choose whether you'd like them to appear in a particular order, or randomly. You also have the option to add a call-to-action to your billboard which could consist of either a clickable link allowing app members to navigate to a website or a clickable button allowing them to dial through to a predetermined phone number. The billboard/s will display once every 10 minutes so if you're coming in and out of the app frequently, the maximum amount of times the billboard/s will be shown is once every 10 minutes. And once you're in the app, there's no need to quit and reopen in order to view the billboards again. Simply tap the star in the top right of your app. Benefits of using app billboards Billboards can be used effectively to stimulate app engagement and offer value to your advertisers regardless of what industry you're in. Our customers across all industries, such as broadcast entities, residential communities or business groups, use billboards to support their business objectives in a few different ways, including: Promoting local business specials, products and deals. Providing community-interest info such as Covid-19 awareness. Supporting broader engagement campaigns or initiatives. Building strong brand affiliation over a longer period of time. Informing audiences on features and functionality within the app. Introducing an Advertiser to Billboards Billboards are a low-risk way to introduce a new advertiser to your digital audience, or to get an existing advertiser comfortable with the wide range of app-based inventory options available. It's easy to measure and provide statistics on the performance of a billboard campaign and, for an advertiser who would like quick in-flight changes, it's so simple to change or adjust a billboard on-the-fly. Pricing of billboards could also be offered at an introductory or promotional price, or part of a package with other elements such as on-air or social media. You can price this inventory in a similar way to your other inventory so as not to deter your advertisers from being willing to experiment. You could even consider offering premium pricing if a customer would like their billboard to always appear first when the app is launched. how to set up a billboard campaign Now that you've aware of what an app billboard is and its benefits, there are a few simple steps before you're ready to run a successful billboard campaign, whether it's an internal initiative or a partnership with an advertiser. Step 1: Plan your Billboard Campaign For the purpose of this exercise, let's imagine our community is hosting a Fun Run to raise funds for the local SPCA. The community would like to share a billboard in their app to let people know about the event, and potentially add a link navigating to a website for registrations or ticket purchases. Some questions you can ask when considering how to create your billboard are: What is the message you'd like to get across? Is it simply one billboard or a campaign of several billboards? Would you like the billboard to link through to a website or video when tapped? How long would you like the billboard to run for? Step 2: Design your Billboard Once you've decided what it is you'd like to say in your billboard, it's time to create the design. As this stage, it is important to be aware of a few simple guidelines to ensure that the billboard displays appropriately within your app. One design for the billboard will be required, which will respond to different device sizes. The actual size of the billboard will be different to the size of the 'safe area' which is the area that will be visible within the app, to accommodate for different device sizes. Any text included in the billboard should not be too small or illegible, and images should be clear and not too detailed. Below is an example of what our Fun Run billboard could look like. Including a call-to-action button that informs the member that the billboard is clickable will help our community find out more and maybe even sign up. Step 3: Submit your billboard to the Fabrik team for flighting Once your billboard design is complete, and you've decided how long you'd like the campaign to run for, you're ready to get started with your campaign! When you're ready to submit your billboard/s for flighting, please contact our Customer Success team who will do that for you. Measuring the impact of a billboard campaign Once the billboard is live, you will need to find reporting and insights about how the advertising campaign is performing. This information is available within the Metrics application, where you'll be able to see exactly how many times the billboard was viewed within the campaign and, if there was a clickable URL associated with it, how many times the billboard was clicked or tapped. To find out more about how to use billboards to engage with your advertisers or to flight your next billboard, please get in touch with our Customer Success team. And stay tuned for some exciting upgrades we have coming to app billboards soon! further info Read more about Fabrik's other Advertising Inventory possibilities. Watch our webinar about different campaign ideas and opportunities within Fabrik.

  • Bring your digital strategy to life with an App-driven campaign

    Execute a high-impact, integrated campaign that works across your digital platforms to support your audience growth and engagement objectives. Fabrik's suite of applications can enhance your traditional audience engagement campaign by adding a powerful real-time element, along with sophisticated campaign insights and metrics you can leverage in-flight to increase your outcomes. To help you get more comfortable with executing app-based campaigns, we'd like to share some guidelines on how you can get started. Let's imagine an example of a campaign that can more clearly illustrate these steps. How about something like 'Create your own Christmas Jingle?' For this kind of campaign, we'll be asking our app members to send us a voice-note of themselves singing their most festive Christmas tune. The winner at the end would be the person who'd sent through the best one! Step 1: Plan your campaign The first step in this process is to consider what you'd like to get out of the campaign, and start to plan the activities required to achieve those goals. Determine your Campaign Objectives: The objective/s you'd be aiming to achieve with an app-based campaign should ideally support your Business Strategy, such as: growing your digital audience or membership, increasing engagement, or obtaining more meaningful demographic or psychographic information about your membership. For each campaign, consider any particular objectives you have around audience growth or engagement, and whether there are specific audience insights you'd like to gain or habits you'd like your audience to form. These could be objectives such as: Educate your audience on how to use key functionality of the app i.e. sending voice-notes or images. Increase the size of your app audience through new downloads. Increase the size of your addressable audience through new registrations. Enhance audience insights through the addition of new profile fields or through surveys and polls. Create a compelling case study you can take to future advertisers or sponsors. In our Christmas Jingle campaign example, we want to increase the size of our audience and engagement through new app downloads and registrations, as well as introduce our audience to the concept of sending voice-notes. Create your Campaign Mechanic: Consider how you'd like to invite your audience to enter the campaign in a manner that aligns with your objectives. Ensure that the mechanic is easy enough to follow so it does not deter your audience from entering. For example, in our Christmas Jingle campaign, we would want to encourage our members to Download the Fabrik app. Register your profile. And send us your most festive Christmas Jingle via the Contact Us conversation! You'd also want to make sure your mechanic is very clear when it's being mentioned within social media promotions or during your on-air broadcast. For more fun campaign ideas, check out this video with promotions expert Jonathan Lumley! Choose Inventory to support your Campaign: There are a number of in-app inventory options you can use to support your campaign objectives within the app, including a promotional billboard, or even a pre-roll audio that can be added to your live-stream or podcasts, or both! Within our Christmas Jingle campaign, we're adding a festive billboard and an audio pre-roll (a clip that plays before our livestream and each podcast) to remind our audience about the campaign and how to enter. Read more about the various kinds of advertising options available. Engage with potential Advertisers: When planning the campaign, consider whether it would work best as an internal engagement campaign, or whether you'll invite an advertiser to be a part of it. This may be a good opportunity to get one or more of your advertisers or partners acquainted with how to use the app, and demonstrate how their investment can yield pleasing results. Consider offering sponsored prizes to incentivise your audience to engage with the campaign, and ensure they pose a large-enough incentive to obtain the engagement you're looking for. STEP 2: CONFIGURE YOUR APP At the heart of any Fabrik-powered campaign is your mobile app, and using it effectively throughout the campaign is important to maintain a high level of engagement and interest with your audience. Plan your App Engagement and Content: The way the app's Messaging functionality is employed is a key part of sustaining audience engagement throughout the campaign. During our Christmas Jingle campaign, we might consider adding a dedicated channel for the duration of the campaign where we could share regular updates about the campaign, celebrate winners, etc. Consider whether you'd like to make it a Conversation in which people would be able to chat about the competition, or a Channel in which only Trusted Members in your organisation can share information that everyone else can view. Watch this video to learn how to use Conversations and Channels more effectively. Create your campaign using Campaign Manager: To make it easier to monitor and measure the impact and engagement of your campaign, you'd want to track responses to the campaign using Smashboard's Campaign Manager. Campaign Manager empowers you to enter a particular keyword associated with the campaign that would be monitored throughout, and facilitates the selection of winners from those who've submitted entries using that keyword. In the event that your campaign is active across other messaging platforms, you also have the option to consolidate all entries from Twitter, Facebook or even SMS. Update your app's Profile Fields: Consider the kinds of information you'd like to collect from your audience, and use your campaign as an opportunity to encourage people to update these fields. Profile fields are configured within the Community Centre application and can be set as 'Required' or 'Optional.' STEP 3: set up your Promotions In order to ensure the success of your campaign, there are a number of activities you can embark upon to promote your new campaign and create awareness. Use Social Media to create awareness about the campaign & drive engagement: Use all your social media platforms to create awareness around your campaign, mention the entry mechanic often and share information about winners to create buzz and excitement. Put together a content plan to begin a few days before the campaign and to run throughout the course of the campaign Set aside some budget to boost specific posts promoting the campaign within which you'll ask your followers or those targeted with the content to download your app. Co-ordinate any other Promotional Activities: Consider how else you could create awareness around your campaign. Rally your internal team around incorporating the campaign into their routine communication initiatives like monthly emailers or your on-air broadcast. If your organisation is a radio station, consider prepping your presenters with live-reads they can incorporate into each show or include your on-air audience in the fun by getting your presenters to read out the winners on air, or better yet, call the winners back on air and ask them to answer the call with a specific phrase to win. Step 4: execute & Monitor your campaign It's now time to execute! During the duration of your campaign, your aim will be to optimise the effectiveness and impact of the campaign to provide the best ROI possible. Looking at the data on a daily basis will help inform "in-flight" tweaks that need to be made to the execution, and help keep all important stakeholders informed on the campaign progress. Create in-campaign analyses for internal and external stakeholders: Keep all stakeholders informed throughout the campaign with regular updates. Consider including information like new downloads, new registrations, daily engagements via Smashboard's Campaign Manager and social media engagement. You can obtain all this information easily using the Metrics application. Watch this video to learn about the engagement information available within Metrics. If you've included an additional action in your campaign mechanic like asking your audience to update their Profile Fields, you may want to include some information about how many individuals have updated those fields. Get in touch with our Customer Success team if you'd like access to insights or information that are not yet available within Metrics. Step 5: Create your post-campaign Reporting Fabrik offers powerful data and audience insights after the fact, which you can use to demonstrate value to your advertisers or impact to your team. Create a post-campaign analysis: Use Fabrik Metrics to create an insightful post-campaign analysis which your stakeholders can use to gauge the impact of the campaign. Create a campaign case study: Once you've created your post-campaign analysis, you may want to package it in a different way, to appeal to your press office for added publicity, or send out to your Sales teams which they can use to engage with potential advertisers. Further Info: Read this case study around how one of our customers successfully implemented a Fabrik-powered campaign. Watch our recent webinar around how a Fabrik customer achieved over 1 million campaign entries!

  • I left radio to save radio

    I vividly remember sitting in my bedroom back in the 1990’s, next to my double cassette deck and radio combo with detachable speakers - yes, my Pirate Bay friends, back then I could record straight onto cassette from the radio. I was listening to a competition on Radio 5. It was a clip of 10 songs spliced together into 10 seconds and I knew all 10 clips! I stole a call on my parents’ landline to the station, but I wasn’t able to get through because the lines were jammed. Fast forward a few years later and I was the desk controller at Highveld Stereo directing all the buttons for Carnival City’s “Beat the Bomb” promotion. What an experience to see how the competition worked at the backend and how excited the audience was. By the way, a decade later, we still used phone calls as the entry mechanism and all six of our lines were “jammed”. I laugh now because I can’t imagine telling a client today that their campaign was a success because all the telephone lines to the station were blocked by callers. Yet, that was a measurement of success. Things changed when SMSes became a standard competition entry. And now, voice notes. But first the SMS. Back then the total SMS numbers delighted the client, until we could see the UNIQUE count and we found out only 100 people sent all those SMSes in the first place. Now we are discovering true engagement in radio. But unfortunately, not from industry itself. And that’s why I left radio. I have joined a Durban company, a team of developers and broadcast veterans whom I have known for years. They opened my eyes to a suite of digital radio tools called Fabrik. It is that nirvana that radio has been looking for. Except it’s not here to disrupt or topple you, it is a massively empowering tool to help. The impact speaks for itself. I have seen radio stations use the product to great effect. Imagine having a dashboard view of who is listening to the station, a view of how many people are interacting with you, and from what area of the country and with what device? There is tons more information. It is all on one platform and it is all available in real time. It is that incredible and I left radio for this. The way radio typically tries to serve its advertisers is to have an outside supplier give them a messaging system and message board. Another supplier hosts your podcasts and live streams and another company will build you an app. Another will host your website. And yet none of these systems “speak” to another. Sure, you get some information and data from some platforms, but never a view into the audience to interact with them or to have a full repository for your audience. To put it another way, imagine your radio station had a way to put everyone in one place and get them to send you voice notes from your own app, and then build up a profile of that engaged audience? Imagine you could find out how many people were listening to you at any given time and were able to picture that listening behaviour to understand over time what it actually means. This is something that RAMS has never been able to achieve, and now it’s a tangible thing. Now, of course, the more astute of you will say, “yes but that’s just a small section of my total audience”… and yes that’s true. But what if you actually grow YOUR OWN platform? Instead of pushing Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter or Instagram for feedback, you can actually have access to YOUR OWN listeners to communicate with in your own environment, in real time. Maybe, just maybe that is a better option than the disparate tools you currently deploy that still don’t let you know anything about your audience. This is harnessing digital. It takes us that much closer to understanding our audiences at a more granular level. Media buyers are familiar with social media dashboards, or web view engagement figures which they use to view or deep dive into. Now we have it for radio, with Fabrik. And it is a real digital offering for those same media buyers. Now radio can harness digital in its own way. It is a true engagement audience metric. There are no bots. Just real audience figures. The audience is ready. Is your radio station? To find out more about the outcomes that our clients are experiencing with Fabrik, check out our guest webinars on YouTube or read our case studies.