Publishers are adjusting to a new normal where ad spend comes in fits and bursts. Many are leaning heavily on the open programmatic marketplace, but there are signs guaranteed sales might be slowly returning.
At the same time, many publishers used the ad spend slowdown to examine their processes and tech partners, implementing major changes like paywalls that will color user experience going forward.
This wide-ranging, intimate discussion on October 8, 2020—Is This the Rebound?—with the support of eyeo, brought together a panel of revenue specialists from the US and Europe to talk about what publishers expect during the fourth quarter, how they’re preparing for an uncertain future beyond that, and how their audience relationships are evolving.
Watch a video recap of the webinar: Is This the Rebound?
While it’s still way too early to tell what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be on ad revenue, things are coming around the bend and publishers are cautiously optimistic.
“We’re just shy of a rebound, said Lisa Bouam, Business Development Manager, eyeo. “There’s a shift in priorities with the deprecation of third-party cookie coming. It’s taking time for brands to catch up and adapt to consumer’s new reality.”
With direct sales taking a hit due to advertiser brand safety concerns, the publishers who are surviving the pandemic had a few key elements in place to weather the storm. Registration walls, new subscription models, launching new ad products, doing more customizations, and providing ecommerce offerings have all helped pubs mitigate revenue losses due to the direct sales slowdown.
But what works for one pub may not work for another. It really depends on the brand and the audience’s behaviors.
Here are the top three takeaways from the webinar:
Revenue diversification is key
- Pubs are focusing on their newsletter offerings and providing native content to buyers, as well as doubling down on contests and looking at ways to implement sponsored paywalls.
- Customizations for advertisers have become the lay of the land with new products like customized podcasts where pubs and brands work together on the content as well as more interactive elements allowing readers to speak directly to article subjects or journalists via video and/or chat.
- Ecommerce has also helped some pubs mitigate revenue losses. Dennis Publising Reviews section really took off during the pandemic. Having the right content in place gave them a headstart while some pubs who were just starting out during the pandemic didn’t see as much success.
Get your first-party data strategy together
- Here’s what the pandemic brought: First-party data strategies that focus on the user. Pubs are creating new products and more interaction with users.
- Personalization has been a big play for publishers dealing with the ups-and-downs of the pandemic. How are marketing, sales and operations working more closely with data modeling to better understand user behavior.
- “We’ve been focused on having a really robust first-party-data strategy to offer products that are scalable and compliant.” Alex Kirb, Dennis Publishing
- “There’s a struggle with first-party and obtaining consent. It’s best to focus on first-party-data and data alliances. Publisher data will be more valuable in the future and the open marketplace will be bottom of the stack. Data will be cleaner. It will encourage us all to work together more.” — Sophie Toth, Euronews
Come out, come out of your silos
- Is this the end of silos? Sales strategies changed at The Economist—the way we go to market. Got closer to product teams. 2021 should bring less division between church and state.
- Programmatic, direct and marketing tools are all coming together. “It’s not just working together but learning from each other. It’s how it should be as a whole business moving forward to create the best products.” — Sophie Toth, Programmatic and Ad Tech Lead, Euronews
- Some pubs have different funnels set up for subscribers, registered users, and non-registered users. Building these strategies takes teams working together.
Business Development Manager