BrandVerge 5 for 5 - Daily Mail Spotlight
This week’s 5 for 5 features not one, but two industry influencers: Alicia Muntzner, CRO at DailyMail.com, and Jon Hopper, VP of Business Development at DailyMail.com.
DailyMail.com is a daily publication that originated in the United Kingdom as MailOnline and now has a huge presence and following in the United States, and around the globe. We had the privilege of speaking with Alicia and Jon at their NYC office for DailyMail.com in New York. The publication writes over 1,600 stories a day, covering a wide range of topics, with a dedicated writing staff of 800. Readers come to DailyMail,cin to read about everything from breaking news, to exclusive stories, showbiz, crime, health and everything in between. They even have a popular television show – DailyMailTV – which just won a Daytime Emmy Award! Alicia and Jon also take a minute to discuss the importance of the mobile web and DailyMail.com’s influencer reach.
Read more from their interview below!
Industry Influencers: Alicia Muntzner, CRO at DailyMail.com and Jon Hopper, VP, Business Development & Innovation at DailyMail.com
Please tell us about DailyMail.com
JH: The Daily Mail has become one of the largest publications in the U.S., and the reason why is because we cover everything. We write over 1,600 stories a day, ranging from breaking news to celebrity news to lifestyle to sports. Our goal is to understand the pulse of what is going on in the world.
AM: Adding on to that, one of the things that DailyMail.com invests in is its editorial team, which has over 800 writers on staff. There is still very much a push for quality journalism. I think that, in this day and age, when there’s a lot of “fake news,” This is one thing that DailyMail.com can hang its hat on: is it offers excellent journalism. And like Jon said, we cover everything from serious topics to very popular topics. That is why I think people come to us. We have a very engaged audience. For those who haven’t tried DailyMail.com, I strongly recommend you go on the site and just start to read it, because you will be on it for 30 plus minutes with the amount of stories we produce. They range from news to showbiz to sports to health to science and tech.
JH: Ironically, what makes us so popular with readers is also the hardest thing for us in market, because we want to be a one-stop shop for people. If you come to our home page in one day, you will get every bit of information you need to know for any cocktail party that night or just be well-informed across the world. If you are on our homepage, every story is being covered. That’s why people come to us so much and why they consume so much of our content. On the flip side, we cover everything. So, who are we as a brand? We are whatever is happening in the world, which is not as easy to place in an established niche.
How does DailyMail.com reach people and who do you reach?
JH: We are so proud that as a publication we have been organic in our growth. We obviously look to understand how to best function in a world of social and search to make sure that we are popping, but we’re doing that because we are creating content that is popping on those platforms organically, as opposed to forcing the traffic to us. What we’ve really found is that people find us through their friends sharing us on social, friends texting links to each other. The people that we reach end up becoming our addicted fans who consume lots of content and share it out elsewhere. Word-of-mouth is our key driver, which is priceless.
AM: It also depends on the demographic. So, more of the 18-to-49, 25-to-54, come site direct or through the app. Whereas, I would say, the 15-to-18-year-olds and those in their early 20s, know us from Snapchat. You’ll walk into a room and people will be like “Ohmygod, you’re my favorite Discover partner on Snapchat, that’s where I know you!” That’s when I say, “come site-direct, download the app, it’s a great experience.” We reach a variety of consumers across multiple platforms.
JH: This goes back to my point earlier about our robust content - because we create content for everything, the audience that we attract is very large. It’s not about ‘do we reach your audience?’ It’s ‘Where and how we reach your audience?’ Knowing we have this great Gen Z audience on Snapchat, if a partner wants to reach Gen Z, we are not just the largest, but we are one of the most engaged platforms on Discover. We can help them to understand not just how to place their ads, but ways people interact with the ads. Again, it’s going to be based on, for each demographic, how are they using the site? Are they coming in side door or front door? What sections do they consume content in? Are they mobile or desktop? Those are insights we give our partners so that when they go ‘We want to reach this kind of person,’ we can say ‘Here’s how to do it.’
What makes DailyMail.com unique in today’s marketplace? How does this benefits brands?
AM: One of the things that our publisher has done, and has done really well, is to articulate the voice of the DailyMail.com on multiple platforms. If you look how people are consuming media these days, not only owned and operated, but on extensions like DailyMailTV, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, there’s a lot of disparity in how a publication’s voice comes across. I think our publisher has been able to maintain our voice consistently across all of those platforms. Not only do you get extensive reach on the owned and operated, but you get amplified reach across search, social, and TV.
JH: The other thing that’s great is the amount of readers we have and the amount of content we produce -- I’m a nerd for numbers -- and when we look at trying to understand with actual significance the importance of a topic, because we have the most amount of original content being consumed by one of the largest audiences, we have great insight into what is trending and why. We also have access to a robust library of niche topics that allow us to really focus in on the more nuanced audience and topics that some brands want to be focused on. For example, paranormal activity is something that you wouldn’t think of us as a site, but we have more content on our site about random ghost encounters than most horror sites do because they are real stories – ‘People see Poltergeist’ -- whatever it might be. Even the most niche topics have scale with us, where it’s harder to find that even in the smaller sites that focus on that topic.
AM: We also have a real-time analytics tool that will tell us what is trending with our readers in real time. So, quite often, what we uncover is the story behind the story, and we are able to write a lot of content around that specific topic. For advertisers and brands that want to be culturally relevant or capitalize on those moments that matter, we are an ideal destination.
As branded content investment continues to rise, how does DailyMail.com stay relevant to break through all the clutter?
AM: We create a ton of branded content, specifically editorial and video, that performs really well. The reason it performs so well that it’s done in that Daily Mail voice. You come to us for a reason. There’s an ease-of-use to the site that people will come in and gravitate towards the content and consume it. The branded videos that we do are also in that same voice and resonate really well with our audience. We’ve done a few branded video series for our clients.
What is the most successful branded content program you’ve worked on (and why was it so successful)?
JH: We did a wonderful partnership with Heineken that really did a great job about leveraging almost every capacity we had. Heineken House was going on at Coachella, and they came to us looking for an influencer to bring into Heineken House. We got Diplo to make a surprise appearance, posing for photos and engaging his followers on social media. This was all covered on DailyMail.com, Snapchat and DailyMailTV. We had great editorial coverage on the site, both organic and native.
JH: We also aired a segment on Daily Mail TV as part the activation. This meant live coverage on our Emmy-award-winning program. And then, of course there was some supporting media. Heineken really understood how to take this big moment in popular culture, which we cover organically, and allowed us to elevate and amplify this activation for them. It was an incredibly successful partnership.
AM: Another thing that we didn’t touch upon earlier, is that we have a fantastic events team and tremendous access to talent. That certainly is an area that we can help brands and advertisers.
If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to yourself when you started in media?
AM: I started in an agency and I always highly recommend people starting at an agency. The learnings are pretty significant and you get exposed to a lot of different publishers, networks, platforms, depending on the medium that you’re in. That asset can make you very valuable, especially if you choose to transition to sales because of your knowledge and understandings of the various mediums and platforms and the agency world.
JH: My advice is a reminder that everyone is a person who is just trying to do their best. A lot of times we get so focused on executions that there are growing frustrations. A reminder that we’re all just trying to make this work. Everyone, for the most part, has the best of intentions. Trust and relationships are the most important and fundamental parts of this industry.
AM: Enjoy what you do. Don’t sweat the small stuff – and really like the people you work with. It makes a difference! And have a healthy work / life balance – it’s important to remember why we do what we’re doing!
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