The London Book Fair is one of the highlights of our spring season here at Livres Canada Books. This year was no exception. In advance of the regular hustle and bustle of the fair, we attended the newly reconfigured Quantum conference to learn about some of the latest developments in the industry. Reconfigured for 2017 and sporting a new collaboration with Nielsen Book, Quantum’s compact program focused on “consumers, audiences, partnerships and much more.” The day was peppered with useful insights into the minds of modern-day book consumers. Here are a few key takeaways from some of our stand-out sessions.
Leveraging Data for Insightful Publishing
A number of useful best practices emerged during the panel on leveraging data for insightful publishing. Data occupies a key spot in today’s publishing environment – influencing virtually every role within the process of bringing stories to life. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
- There is very little in the modern publishing process that is not influenced by consumer behaviours and desires. In many ways the journey of modern publishing has been marked by the progression from not knowing anything about our consumers, to barely being able to keep them at arm’s length. Today we listen to our consumers more than almost any other player in the publishing life cycle.
- Social media data is key to understanding consumers in their most natural state. It is a hotbed of organic and unprovoked opinions. Pay particular attention to the insights you gain from readers’ sentiments via their social media engagement. Understand how to shape, curate and create better content for the future.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. One of the biggest advantages of data is that it allows you to try things out and switch gears if needed. Test across a gamut of social media platforms to find the ones that work best for each individual campaign.
- Pay attention to wider trends that fall beyond publishing. Look outside the book world to see what consumers are doing in their other lives. Books might occupy all of your day, but they are probably only part of that of your consumer.
- Quantitative data is vital, but don’t forget that qualitative data can be equally important. Use both for best results. One panelist used the example of shop-alongs as a great source for consumer insight. By taking time to shop with your consumers (not just for books, other items too) you gain hands-on insight into their thought processes and actions.
- Discoverability is an ever growing challenge. The big books are getting bigger and it’s hard not to feel like everything else is getting lost. Make your metadata work for you. Use keywords drawn directly from your social media and consumer insight data for optimum results.
- Publishers are ‘clue hunters’. You need to piece together lots of different sources of data to get the full story.
- Engage with your audience. Involve them in the testing process and let their feedback point the way for development. Keep in mind that your audience is constantly changing. People age and move on. A new generation arrives to fill the gap, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily have the same habits or interests. Check back with your audience and adapt accordingly.
Speakers: Sarah Lloyd, Pan Macmillan; Katie Roden, Consultant
Publishing is all about books but video is becoming an increasingly important marketing tool. To shed some light on the ways that publishers can successfully utilize video in marketing campaigns, Pan Macmillan’s Sarah Lloyd and consultant Katie Roden delivered a case study of their successful Christmas 2016 marketing campaign “Wrapped with Love.”
The goal was to create an audience-centric video campaign to showcase the value of books as an ideal Christmas gift. A handful of the most ‘giftable’ titles were selected and videos were conceptualized to show a unique way to gift wrap each one. Both book and wrapping were positioned towards a specific type of consumer (i.e. the crime lover, the romantic, the politico, the health fiend, the pet lover, etc.). Inspired by the success of ‘real talk’ advertisements and the how-to videos popularized by BuzzFeed’s Tasty, Macmillan created a series of 15-20 second videos for specific types of consumer (watch examples of their videos for history lovers, hygge snugglers, thinkers, book lovers and family story time). Each video featured the book front and center, a fun accessible wrapping process for a unique and personal touch, and a simple call to action. Once complete, the videos were distributed via organic channels and paid Facebook advertisements.
Long story short? The campaign was a success. The average click through rate for the videos was 25% (industry average is around 15%). Lloyd and Roden pointed out some key takeaways from their experience:
- Make your strategy mobile first. Most consumers are browsing video on their phones so tailor your approach accordingly.
- Videos should be no longer than 15-20 seconds in length.
- Don’t rely on audio. Videos should be equally watchable with or without sound.
- People engage naturally with non-sales content. The key is to imply ‘buy the book’ without saying it explicitly.
- Highly targeted Facebook advertisements can be very effective. Take advantage of the granular audience segmentation afforded by the platform.
- Experiment and adjust your campaigns as they run based on performance. See what works and what doesn’t.
- If you are lucky enough to get the consumer to click they should be taken directly to the book’s page to complete the purchase. Customers don’t want to be taken to a landing page with other curated titles. They only want the particular book they saw in the video, no matter how good the others might be.