What Does the Washington Post Do to Profit from Mobile Advertising? Sales Chief Says It's User-First Mentality

The Washington Post BuildingTraditional publishers, once down for the count, are seeing a resurgence of interest in their offerings. It’s mainly due to the fact that the old line media companies have embraced the new world of mobile advertising.

That’s clear from an engaging interview with Jeff Burkett, the senior director of sales, operations, and product strategy at the Washington Post, which was recently posted at Folio. Burkett will also discuss the topic in-depth at the MediaNext conference to be held October 20-22.

What does Burkett believe will be the next big opportunity in mobile advertising over the next year?

“Mobile is an exciting space that provides many opportunities for publishers,” Burkett says. “Video, native, and geo-location are big trends to watch, but by far the most exciting opportunity is audience. The growth is extraordinary. At The Post, our tablet and smartphone audience has exploded—up 115 percent YOY in August 2014 according to ComScore—and the majority of our readers are consuming our content via those devices.”

The Washington Post remains a publisher of high end journalistic content, however. Burkett believes in investment in that, too.

“This uptick is due to our strong focus on mobile innovation and aggressive investment in high-quality journalism,” Burkett notes. “We believe that if we provide a great experience for our users, the monetization will follow.”

When it comes to publisher priorities, Burkett is adamant that the starting and end points always relate to customers.

“All decisions should start with two big considerations: the user experience and the needs of buyers,” explains Burkett. “Without the reader, there is no advertising, so the user experience must be top priority. Publishers must understand what buyers want now and in the future and then work backward from there. What products do you need to be able to sell? One mistake that can be made is considering these decisions in platform silos. You must have a strong focus on mobile, but there is a huge desire in the marketplace to run advertising across all platforms.”

How are Washington Post readers reacting to the mobile ad push?

“We’ve seen nothing but growth from our mobile audience and I think it is because we operate with a user-first mentality,” says Burkett. “In general, mobile readers tend to be very engaged because it’s such an intimate experience. We’ve found that is true for mobile advertising as well. We create high-impact mobile ads that perform very well.”

There’s more to digest in the interview. To check it out, click here.