With Byte, TechWeb sees a test bed for innovation
UBM TechWeb’s recent re-launch of the Byte brand does more than fill a gap in the trade publisher’s technology coverage; the new site also will serve as a test-bed of innovation for TechWeb’s evolving content strategy.
With Byte, TechWeb has dusted off a print brand that lay dormant for a decade but still retains a surprisingly loyal community. The new, digital-only Byte will leverage shared resources across other TechWeb properties – the site includes only one full-time editor – while more aggressively producing audio, video, image galleries and other interactive content types.
“All of our other properties are still very non-visual,” said David Berlind, TechWeb’s chief content officer. “We’ve been making a lot of changes under the hood to our publishing systems, and Byte will be a good way for us to test some of these new information types. You’ll see those innovations rolling back into our other sites.”
Changes included reclassifying content and customizing TechWeb’s TeamSite content management system to interface with Brightcove’s online video platform, which TechWeb is using to host its growing video library.
A centralized taxonomy will also enable Byte to leverage TechWeb’s other technology sites for contextual content. “You’ll see an increased focus on pulling in relevant assets at a very granular level,” Berlind explained. Those assets might include articles, online classes, white papers or live events related to a specific topic.
It’s a familiar strategy for many B2B publishers: Lead your audience down an engagement path that increases their value to the publisher as well as its advertisers. UBM TechWeb even has a name for its methodology: curvonomics.
“We want people who come to our sites, wherever they enter from, to find the things that help them do their jobs better,” said Berlind. Curvonomics, he explained, is TechWeb’s way of measuring the value of its audience based on the content they consume. As a visitor digs deeper into site content – viewing a page, downloading a white paper, registering and attending a webinar, downloading a report, attending a paid event – his value increases. Each stage, in other words, drives more average revenue per user (ARPU), which as Ken Doctor noted this week is becoming a more popular metric among publishers.
Curvonomics encompasses the three main revenue drivers of TechWeb’s business: advertising, lead generation (which the company now calls marketing services) and paid content (primarily paid research and live events). It’s a way for TechWeb to diversify its business so it does not become overly reliant on any one leg of the revenue stool.
Byte extends the TechWeb strategy to a growing trend in the workplace: the consumerization of technology, which Berlind calls “BYOT” (bring your own technology). Increasingly, employees are using smartphones and other mobile devices, along with easily accessible “cloud-based” software, for work-related tasks – often without the involvement of traditional IT departments. TechWeb editors confirmed the trend through website analytics: Content about gadgets, social media and the like consistently drew heavy traffic across TechWeb’s network of business technology sites, which includes InformationWeek, Dr. Dobb’s and Blackhat.
“We were seeing and feeling the trend, and our traffic logs confirmed it,” said Berlind. That sparked the idea for Byte, which debuted in 1975 and chronicled the launch of the PC era in the 1980s. Now, Byte is seeking to carve out a new niche – this time, armed with a lot more data to guide its journey.