The Media Minute 11.17.2020

Content marketing in particular is responsible for a big chunk of the marketing efforts we see on a daily basis. In fact, “88 percent of business-to-business companies incorporate content marketing into their overall marketing strategy.”

Digital publishing revenues in the UK fell to £96.6 million in Q2 2020, down by 14.3% in comparison to Q2 2019, according to the latest quarterly Digital Publishers Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte. This drop was less steep than anticipated, given the UK was in lockdown for much of the period.

Even prior to Covid-19, premium publishers were turning to audience revenue, mainly in the form of subscriptions, to grow profits. In an uncertain ad market, consumer offerings are critical for publishers. In fact, Reuters Institute confirmed this strategy in early 2020 reporting that 50% of digital leaders identify reader revenue as their income focus for the year.

Who wants to exist in a world without cookies? Apple, apparently. With its recent release of iOS 14 for iPhone and impending release of macOS Big Sur for desktop devices, Apple continues to move full steam ahead with its anti-tracking measures, giving pause to cookie-using publishers everywhere.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 11.11.2020

We are still in the middle of the pandemic, and while that makes it difficult to predict the future, some media trends seen in the past 6-9 months look set to continue. Elsewhere, the consequences of the coronavirus crisis will continue to reverberate and impact the sector.

As publishers begin making plans for 2021 and looking for ways to slim down their sales organizations, many are looking to give more responsibility to their sales teams’ account managers, partly to cut costs but also to nurture the kind of always-on relationship that many publishers are trying to forge with their clients, particularly in an era of compressed planning cycles, fewer RFPs and more pressure on buyers to prove that their spending is driving results.

The subscription model is not new, but it has taken on a new significance. Over the past seven years, revenue for all subscription companies – from software to healthcare – grew by 321% on average. In the case of apps, this positive trend was bolstered by a 32% year-over-year increase in the number of users who sign up for a subscription after installing an app.

The “retail apocalypse” of the past few years grew much worse in 2020. The pandemic led many people to avoid stores and shop from the safety of their homes. The upheaval in the retail industry will continue to shape the role of publishers next year as content and commerce become even more seamless.

Creating the perfect content marketing strategy for your brand is no small feat. No matter how well you know your audience or how long you’ve spent optimizing your content, every content marketer has faced the challenge of gaining readership and brand awareness.

A new browser war is here, thanks to how Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and a slew of startups have positioned themselves in the data privacy debate. While the third-party cookie is the obvious casualty, we can’t overlook the Balkanization of the internet and the hard choices small and medium-sized publishers will have to make to compete.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 11.03.2020

In response to an initial coronavirus news bump, a number of outlets witnessed record traffic to their sites, as well as a growth in subscribers. At the same time, however, they also had to contend with a major slump in advertising revenues as marketers shut their checkbooks.

As the war between the largest online media owners and the governments of the world heats up, marketers are notably sat on the sidelines. They learned a long time ago they can’t have their cake and eat it too when it comes to openly fighting these platforms while directly funding them.

For quality publishers with strong consumer relationships, a content-to-commerce strategy offers a valuable revenue diversification approach. The International News Media Association’s (INMA) new report, Content-to-Commerce Brings Revenue in Post-Advertising World, outlines key considerations, strategies and their implementations to help publishers build this line of revenue.

Newspaper publishers have seen a drastic drop in advertising sales this year, underscoring the need to diversify their revenue as much as possible during the recovery from the pandemic recession. They have suffered disproportionately, compared with other media outlets, according a Pew Research Center study.

As the ways we consume content, media, and technology continue to evolve, so too do the ways companies market themselves and showcase their brands. Similarly, consumers are starting to look beyond simple advertising tactics and now crave more unique and engaging online content.

User privacy is the largest trend shaping the direction of digital advertising. Governments are creating and enforcing new regulations that impact how advertising works, browsers and app stores are limiting how data can be shared and users are demanding more control over their data.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 10.14.2020

“In the US, one quarter of adults, or 60M people, listen to a podcast a few times a week, and 91M listen to one at least once a week,” according to journalists Piet van Niekerk and Pierre de Villiers. “And, as new podcasts are being aired every three minutes somewhere in the world, publishers have been handed the ideal revenue subscription tool.”

Pauley, Vox Media’s chief revenue officer, has been on the hunt for more upfront deals with brands and holding companies ever since Vox Media’s acquisition of New York Media gave the digital native publisher more scale — 125 million monthly unique visitors, it said at the time — and more titles to offer advertisers last fall.

With the introduction of each new set of regulations, it’s clear that we’re shifting towards a new era of consent. As third-party cookies disappear, consent will be required to counterbalance the loss of user ID to continue to target effectively.

The percentage of U.S. adults who said they “very closely” followed news about the pandemic fell from a high of 57% in late March to 35% by early September, Pew found. That decline is understandable as the pandemic becomes part of the everyday routine, and reader attention shifts elsewhere.

The last couple of months have seen media consumers rely even more heavily than usual on phones, tablets, and practically any screen they can get their hands on to access content. While we’re all adapting to a life dominated by bright screens during a crisis like no other, the truth is that this way of living was inevitable. COVID-19 simply sped up the process a bit.

Some businesses have reached the oversimplified conclusion that designating their ad-tech partners as service providers is a silver bullet that can solve their toughest CCPA compliance burdens without sacrificing business results. The theory underlying this approach is that using a service provider contract for transfers of personal information to an ad tech vendor will prevent those transfers from being classified as sales of personal information.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 10.06.2020

The first lockdown to ‘flatten the curve’ of the Covid-19 pandemic happened swiftly and took the publishing industry by surprise earlier this year. Global in scope, publishers had virtually no time to implement any contingency plans as the industry became a virtual mix of Zoom calls, work from home protocols, and hastily digitized events.

Reddit has steadily accelerated its shift away from being thought of as “anti-publisher” over the years, since launching partnerships with publishers like Time magazine in 2017. While referral traffic from the platform is steady for publishers who put in the time and consistent effort to build a Reddit strategy, the primary goal is talking with Reddit members and using the platform as a resource to mine for story ideas.

With the imminent demise of third-party cookies in Chrome, and other browsers blocking them already, everyone is talking about “cookie-less” solutions. But what exactly are “cookie-less” solutions? And how will they help – or hurt – publishers?

It’s a heartwarming account of an inter-generational bonding ritual that formed a reverence for journalism and its vital role in a democracy. Sadly, many newspapers have died out amid declining readership and advertising revenue in the past 20 years, a period that coincides with Google’s growing dominance over the global digital ad market.

Who wants to exist in a world without cookies? Apple, apparently. With its recent release of iOS 14 for iPhone and impending release of macOS Big Sur for desktop devices, Apple continues to move full steam ahead with its anti-tracking measures, giving pause to cookie-using publishers everywhere.

“Publishers should be very choosy and take a hard look at what we decide to take on,” Beizer said. “There are some more niche solutions out there that might be right for a single use case, but not worth the time and attention a publisher would need to spend building for it.”

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 09.30.2020

Substack has been in the news lately as many journalists have left full-time positions to start their own newsletter on the platform. The most recent high profile transition being that of The Verge’s longtime Silicon Valley editor and creator of The Interface newsletter, Casey Newton.

Many publishers are struggling to keep their business models afloat with cookies dying and brands tightening their ad spend in an age of pandemic and recession. To contend with unprecedented challenges, publishers have taken to implementing a wide variety of new tactics.

Change is the “new normal” in 2020. Everything comfortable in our personal and professional lives has been upended. But in the face of massive amounts of discomfort, the digital advertising industry is beginning to collaborate like never before on the many challenges in front of us.

Penske Media’s merger with MRC brings together the publishers of competing entertainment industry magazines Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, leaving The Wrap as the only independent trade publication left in Hollywood.

COVID-19 World Content Publishing Market Research Report (by Product Type, End-User / Application and Regions / Countries) is the latest research study released by HTF MI evaluating the market, highlighting opportunities, risk side analysis, and leveraged with strategic and tactical decision-making support.

You would be hard pressed to find someone in this industry who doesn’t think marketing has a jargon problem. Our industry has the tendency to describe things – whether that’s processes, platforms or assets – with labels that are neither descriptive nor useful when put into real-world business application and strategy.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 09.15.2020

Instagram is opened a “staggering 35 times per day” by The Economist’s followers, according to Kevin Young, the publisher’s Head of Audience. The photo and video sharing platform “has become a key platform for The Economist’s digital growth” and is enabling them to “reach and retain new audiences.”

The presidential election is still more than a month-and-a-half away, but publishers are building their own voter registration hubs and launching informative campaigns around issues. In past, these editorial pushes have made a real impact in not only driving people to the polls — but also in driving engagement with the brand.

We’re living in a world where people are limited in cash, limited on funds and certainly limited on patience. For the most part, I think everybody right now is actually limited to some degree in their cognitive abilities. So how do we expect someone we’re selling to to actually understand what they need vs. what they want?

The contentious issue of whether or how much digital media companies like Facebook and Google should pay news publishers for content this week was tucked into in a report on possible changes to America’s internet decency law. It’s a novel argument, but doesn’t get to heart of the issue of what value is being exchanged between publishers and digital platforms.

If you’ve published your branded content through a local business journal, we take care of promoting it to our audience through headline promotions, social media posts, adding the headline to our daily email newsletters and all the other ways we bring your content to our reader’s attention.

Scale is an issue, of course, but putting that aside, the benefits of email are clear. For years already, email has enabled advertisers to market directly to customers and to create Custom Audience on Facebook and Instagram. Publishers big and small, from The New York Times to local newspapers, can reengage site visitors and woo them into subscriptions.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 09.09.2020

Global paid digital circulation volumes of newspapers increased by 307% to reach 31.5M paying subscribers between 2013 and 2018. Print circulation figures fell by 0.5% during the same period, according to Australian Media Landscape Trends, a new report by AlphaBeta.

The presidential election is still more than a month-and-a-half away, but publishers are building their own voter registration hubs and launching informative campaigns around issues. In past, these editorial pushes have made a real impact in not only driving people to the polls — but also in driving engagement with the brand.

Here is the hard truth. The current state of local journalism is dire. The devastating impact of COVID-19 has made advertising dollars plunge and closed more than 50 local newsrooms around America, according to Poynter’s Kristen Hare, who has been tracking the closures since March. But before COVID-19 hit the industry, local journalism was already in need of help.

Apple soon will give publishers another way to offer subscriptions to readers who use apps to read newspapers and magazines on their iPhones and iPads. The company last week announced the upcoming rollout of “offer codes” that publishers can create for a variety of promotional efforts.

Ten years ago, display advertising made up 58 per cent of digital publisher revenue and subscriptions only 7 per cent. Subscriptions now account for 22 per cent of total revenue; with display advertising having shrunk to 42 percent.

Since web browsers were released over 25 years ago, they have amassed a significant amount of power. They’re sources of both supply and demand, all while holding the key to user data.This power gives the browsers huge influence over how users will access the internet in the future.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 09.02.2020

The fixed mindset believes your abilities are fixed, so you stick with what you have, and you believe your potential is predetermined by circumstances beyond your control. As a result, you don’t sharpen your skills and ability to identify opportunities, improve efficiencies, and make futuristic decisions vs. short-term choices.

Revenue was higher by 62% compared to January 2019. February saw a 79% increase over the previous year. The growth continued across March (27%), April (9%), May (17%) and June (17%) as the pandemic spread across the world, shrinking digital ad revenues and pushing many countries towards a recession.

With uncertainty continuing to hang over the American economy and advertisers continuing to face pressure from CEOs who want to see ad spending drive results, it has gotten harder than ever for publishers to start relationships with advertisers, executives at five different media companies told Digiday.

Apple is getting close to releasing the next version of the software that runs the iPhone, which will give people more control over the data they share with apps. Those changes will affect advertising revenue for publishers, but shouldn’t be considered a death knell for the industry.

For years, news organizations around the world have been pushing for fairer profit-sharing between themselves and the likes of Facebook and Google on news content distributed on social media platforms. Some of the industry’s leaders, like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, have won government support to propose relevant regulations.

As opposed to Facebook, which yodeled from the rooftops about the negative impact Apple’s IDFA changes will have on publisher monetization through Audience Network, Google quietly updated its AdMob Help Center last week with information on the steps developers need to take before iOS 14 rolls out.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The Media Minute 08.25.2020

Few marketing channels get more attention these days than TikTok — and for good reason. Between January and March, the app was downloaded 315 million times, bringing the total to more than 2 billion downloads. Unique visitors have also been on the climb, nearly doubling in a matter of six months.

In spite of the ensuing outrage, Apple initially dug in, insisting that in-app purchases are required whenever apps “allow users to access content, subscriptions, or features they have acquired in your app on other platforms or your web site.” Nevertheless, after continued surprise and outrage, Apple backed off, issuing a rare on-the-record apology, saying that WordPress will no longer have to add in-app purchases.

For the past several weeks, audiences have begun to come back, some of them lured by content that is more focused on safety or staycations. Last month, publications including Travel Insider and BringMe each posted more content on Facebook than they had at any point since the pandemic started; BuzzFeed’s Bring Me posted more than it had at any point in 2020.

The New York Times has been an exemplary model of a newspaper that has worked to offset declining advertising revenue with gains in subscriptions — especially digital. A key question is whether local newspapers can mimic that strategy on a smaller scale than The Times, which has a national and global reach far beyond its namesake city.

Major US news publishers have joined the list of companies and app developers criticizing Apple’s App Store terms as unfair and potentially anti-competitive. The digital media trade association Digital Content Next — which includes newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post and numerous magazines, broadcasters, and websites (Vox Media, parent company of The Verge, is also a member) — sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday.

Google has said it will release a default setting to block advertisements that violate its heavy ad intervention policy by the end of August. Sources tell AdExchanger those new policies coincide with the release of Chrome 85, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail this to someone