Transmedia: Five stages to Selecting your Right Platforms – Part 3

This blog post reveals step 3 of Robert Prattens five-steps to Selecting the Right Platforms. The content of this blog post is paraphrased from Prattens words in his post

Stage 3: Have platforms support each other with calls-to-action

After stage 2 you know the pros and cons of each platform, and you need to find ways to have them support each other. Some platforms will be great for spreading awareness but lousy at making money. Combining the strengths of each platform, means getting the audience to cross between platforms.

So how to do this? Firstly it’s important to remember that crossing platforms introduces friction. So rather than assume that audiences want multi-platform experiences, it’s better to ask yourself three questions:

  • What’s my objective in having audiences cross platforms?
  • How can I motivate audiences to cross platforms?
  • What’s the reward when they get there?

The Call to Action

In web design, the button and wording on a page that asks you to “click here” or “sign up” is known as the “call to action” (CTA). It’s a plea for the user to do something and good designers make these calls-to-action appear to be the default choice – you’re nudged to take action through clear layout, positioning of the button, use of colors and so on. The term is also used in advertising: “for a limited time only”, “while stocks last”, “a once in a lifetime offer”. These are all calls to action to get you to do something now and not put off your decision.

A transmedia experience needs similar CTAs to get audiences to cross platforms.

What’s the objective?

Part of your objective will be to create a fun experience, but it will also relate to your business model.  Here are three examples.

Example 1. A transmedia project has a comic book and a web series: the comic book will carry advertisements because it’s believed that print advertising is less intrusive than pre-roll video advertising (because the ads won’t get in the way of the story). The value of the advertising is such that it pays for both the comic book and the web series. Both will be given away for free but the advertiser has been promised a minimum number of comic book readers. Hence, it’s important to get web series viewers to cross platforms to the comic book.

Example 2. A transmedia project has a mix of free and revenue-generating platforms: the free platforms build the audience and the revenue-generating platforms pay for the project.

In Example 2 your first thought might be that CTAs are needed to ensure the free audience migrates to a revenue platform. But this only provides part of the solution. Table 4 compares the relative audience sizes and revenue potentials across platforms and offers possible strategies to maximize the opportunities. Note that CTAs are used not only to grow revenue but to grow the audience – migrating them to more social platforms and providing spreadable content with CTAs to promote further growth.

Table 4, Assessing your call-to-action: comparing audiences across platforms

  Audience Size and Loyalty/Enthusiasm
  Casual Audience Hardcore Audience
Big Small
Platform Revenue Biggest Revenue Big Win. Keep the audience here and keep them spending! Refresh content, allow audience to create content (includes discussions, suggestions, live chat). Provide CTA’s to motivate audience to become Hardcore Respect this audience: don’t milk them for money. Use their enthusiasm to grow casual audience. Invest in community and provide spreadable content with CTAs to build wider audience.
Smaller Revenue Small Win. Can a gentle CTA motivate them towards a bigger revenue platform? Provide CTA’s to motivate audience to become Hardcore – more revenue will likely follow. Maximize spreadability of content (see above). Provide gentle CTA to nudge onto higher revenue platforms.
No Revenue If revenue is important, need a CTA to send audience to a revenue platform How is this platform contributing to the experience? Maximize spreadability of content. CTAs to grow audience and nudge this audience to revenue platforms.

Example 3. In Prattens Lowlifes project, physical and device-specific copies of the content is paid content while web-based content is free. His primary CTAs are:

  • the project “logo” that displays three media types – informing audiences that this story spans multiple platforms
  • the story in each media begs questions that the audience desires to be answered – and expects to find them in the other media; hence enticing them to cross platform.

With Example 3 in regard to moving from a free platform to a paid platform, the hope is that the friction of being tied to a desktop (free platform) will encourage supporters to migrate to a paid platform for a better experience more in keeping with their lifestyle – for example, the ability to read a paperback book in the bath!

Read more about how to motivate audience to cross platforms here

I wish you all a nice week!