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Media Briefing: Overheard at the Sept. 2022 Digiday Publishing Summit

In this weeks Media Briefing, the Digiday media team recaps the very best challenges and regions of innovation that publishing executives discussed in this weeks Digiday Publishing Summit.

This quarter sucks

Publishers needed to be on high alert following a second quarter, which brought with it decreased advertising revenue and fewer commerce transactions. But reflecting now towards the finish of the 3rd quarter, many execs say there are many problems they need to cope with along with an economic slowdown.

At the Digiday Publishing Summit, held in Key Biscayne, Fla., from Sept. 19 through 21, publishing executives compared notes and shared suggestions about from hiring challenges to measurement complications in closed-door sessions. The discussions were conducted under Chatham House rules, meaning Digiday can share that which was said while maintaining the executives anonymity. Here are a few highlights from the conversations subject-by-subject. The Digiday Media Team

Downbeat businesses

This quarter sucks for everyone.

Its similar to enhanced seasonality. Everyone I speak to at pubs and partners we use, its like, Yeah, I believe Q4 ought to be better again enjoy it always is. But its always, who knows?

Messy measurement

One of the primary challenges were seeing has been in a position to show attribution, or return on ad spend, for the KPIs of clients which are buying other media. Theres this conflation between your affiliate business and direct business for media.

Lots of retail media networks enter into play. Amazon has their very own [demand-side platform] and having the ability to serve ads before users already shopping and show attribution for that that’s a thing that publishers cant do. But thats not necessarily our job. Our job would be to show influence and consideration.

Attribution and measuring it and looking to get what the publisher really wants to express to your lover is actually muddy. Its subjective to the partner and what they’re actually being mandated to accomplish.

Analysis paralysis

It sucks for me personally internally because I’ve other people considering the analytics around when, [asking] Why did this drop yesterday? Im like, Did you look at any data yesterday apart from my programmatic data? Like, we’d an enormous takeover or something. So its ideal for me when Im looking at patterns in data, however when I have those who are considering it at an increased level, its really annoying since it doesnt give me an opportunity to dive into more trends from the final a week, last month.

Personally i think like Im defending myself against people internally and against clients.

You need to do it prior to the campaign starts. You take action afterwards, and its own just like a self-interest thing. But when you can inform them whats likely to happen beforehand, theyre like, Oh, he was genuine. He was invested. I expect this.

Just a little analysis is terribly dangerous for the business due to the those who are considering things with techniques that doesnt actually capture reality.

I had to utilize our ad ops to produce a dashboard for the CEO. Like, listen if you would like this, here it really is. I purposely organized it in ways thats confusing, solely so he’d stop considering it. And he was like, Whatever. I want one to explain it if you ask me. Now he doesnt consider it. But I had to achieve that.


I work in direct-sold. For entry-level positions, what were finding is six to nine months in theyre getting scooped up by tech companies paying them double.

Provide them with the benefits these other big tech companies are. After all, TikTok has been grabbing people left and right. Appears like a shitty spot to work, but theyre paying them. Same with Amazon. The matter that people arent getting, especially publishers, is they dont pay people enough. They pay a lot more than the buy side. However the tech companies are next, and when youre likely to contend with them to talent, you need to pay them.

I believe the market is really a little inflated. Im not likely to pay a 24-year-old $100,000 to copy and paste.

Wages are up in the last 10, 20 years. So if youre an organization that’s still paying people as if you were 5, 6, 7 years back, youre likely to be behind. Its just the truth. Its likely to become more expensive to help keep people. Thats why our boards keep raising our goals each year. It appears crazy, but we have to bring in additional money to help keep this talent.

You will need the institutional knowledge to remain with you rather than leave.

Its very difficult for publishers to contend with those tech companies. Just saying that TikTok hit you up for employment, millennials and Gen Z in the workforce will be like, That is cool as hell. When I began, I needed to work with Google so very bad. Its sort of a similar thing for them.

Publisher 1: Does everyone have a cost that they will be ready to stop their jobs?

Publisher 2: Oh hell yes.

Publisher 1: Thats why. Its quite simple to allow them to tell me, I really like you. That is this type of great company. But Ill visit a bank or perhaps a tech company, and I understand theyre likely to make me cry through the week and focus on the weekends, but nows enough time to create money.

Cookie-pocalypse when?

I believe [Google deprecating third-party cookies in its Chrome browser] is never likely to happen.

Im not convinced its actually likely to happen. An excessive amount of risk [for Googles advertising business], and an excessive amount of equity in [Googles ad exchange] AdX.

Among the frames for timing and just why [the third-party cookies deprecation] should matter now could be the difference in performance between Chrome and Safari traffic. If youre open-market mostly, the rates are so drastically different that youre already losing a huge amount of money by devoid of a remedy for better valuation of inventory in cookie-light environments.

If we get visitors to test these [cookie-less] methods out and purchase above open-market rates, itll greatly benefit Safari traffic. Safari and Firefox together are about 50 % my readership. So there exists a great reason to start out focusing on this now, not only for Chrome later on.

Youre likely to visit a 50% delta in CPMs between [cookie-enabled and cookieless impressions] for exactly the same ad unit.

It needs the bidders and the marketers to place a value on which were considering non-addressable. It just doesnt translate. And its own crazy because a few of the highest-value opportunities are most likely those that have a home in Safari. Yet we see half the yield.

If youre likely to make an effort to monetize that [cookieless] inventory, its surely got to be viewable. Because low viewability plus no user-agent is nearly borderline unmonetizable.

Its not actually helpful that Google is delaying it. In the event that you scramble and by the end involve some half-baked solution or perhaps a excellent one, theres still this long road to convert casual readers into known readers. And its own likely to underwhelm expectations in the event that you dont get yourself started that early because those conversions will be pretty weak.

If the third-party cookie goes away completely, its a chance for real editorial brands to state, We’ve real users, we’ve an excellent audience, and you may just use our contextual signal.

Just how do advertisers understand that their ads will work once the third-party cookie goes away completely? Thats likely to be considered a big problem.

Cracks forming in registration walls

Weve got the mechanics set up [to set up a registration wall]; its really about, when could it be appropriate to achieve that with free ad-supported content?

Frankly, most of the occasions when youre like, Well, what else can we provide a reader with regard to registering, its junk. Its nothing theyre thinking about.

A few of the incentives that youd offer as features are pretty weak. Theyre often things such as, this will enable you to comment or bookmark. At a stakeholder expectation management level, how are we likely to convert our readership? It just doesnt work this way.

Finding features and known reasons for visitors to return more thats basically my biggest problem that I wish to solve. Particularly if youre really centered on SEO and that doesnt necessarily [get] users another.

We are in need of a thing that is of actual value to switch [for] emails [that has] real value behind it, instead of just obtaining a newsletter that you may not really value.

Plenty of our traffic is one and done and we dont desire to hinder that traffic. But will there be ways to only target that group that [comes to your site] five or six times? And have in ways thats not completely within their way?

Probably the most loyal return readers may be ready to give us that information without it being truly a big deal [and] without feeling like were likely to block them from doing something they would like to do this they werent blocked from yesterday.

Stuck in the conversion funnel

Were likely to use [a paywall] soon, but I dont think everybody is preparing to purchase accessing recipes and interior decor ideas.

Weve got an extremely stringent paywall and were attempting to workout whether giving someone a newsletter free of charge was a means set for them and getting them to convert. Its actually an extremely tricky journey to create. We finished up scrapping it.

We mined Facebook and [we] converted almost 3 million of our Facebook users to newsletter [subscribers]. Thats been an enormous win for all of us because newsletters [are] monetized far better.

The issues with personalization

Lots of [newsletter subscribers] dont want anything super custom. They dont want a personalized briefing. They just want an update of precisely what was published on the website throughout the day and the ones readers are super loyal for a long time. They will have more pages per visit than any kind of audience, but precisely what we thought would grow loyalty [hasnt].

[We tested personalized newsletters] over a couple of months, you understand, testing handwritten letter style emails, but we got really direct feedback from those loyal readers plus they just managed to get clear through replying and in addition through surveys that [they didnt want that].

Its a fascinating line between commercial and editorial because editorial will be the ones who would like leading page to function as front page. But [the homepage will undoubtedly be customized for a user] with a random article from page five, if [its] actually thought [to be] important to the person. Theres a fascinating type of dichotomy between what editorial wants and what commercial wants.

Hitting some hurdles with affiliate commerce

Were trying different [ways] to provide [e-commerce content]. Google is actually nailing us and trying to ensure that you have experts discussing [products], and its own real and its own not repetitive.

Were slowly concerned [about our commerce revenue]. [This year is] not necessarily likely to compare to 2 yrs ago or perhaps a year ago its a problem about how exactly we keep that growth trajectory going.

Another publisher said theyre not seeing a dip in e-commerce revenue but because Google is a driving force behind its affiliate commerce business, they have to be proactive about determining a content distribution strategy taking into consideration the changes to the platforms algorithm.

Weve really tried to accomplish original photography. Our experts viewed what will perform better and original photography was one.

The sincerity principles are actually huge with Google, who would like to understand that youre not only regurgitating specs for products but are creating your personal PDPs and being hands-on. Thats worked for all of us occasionally, nonetheless it hasnt lifted all ships.

As a user, I dont require you to give me 20 items that I might need it. I wish to know very well what the very best three are and just why you should think about them in various ways. So from the user perspective, I find anything over a couple of clicks of my mouse to be really fatiguing.

Theres plenty of legacy content on the market that just sort of churns in the backdrop. And the question for all of us is definitely, [how much should we] touch it? If its a seasonal product, is once weekly likely to gain you in Googles eyes? Were still attempting to figure that out a bit.

I’d love an obvious answer for that with regards to principles like, heres your window [for how often you need to update commerce content]. Heres just what a true refresh is. Heres stuff you need to just leave alone. You understand, thats the info which were really hungry for.

We found its vital that you refresh, but theres no chance we could take action on a timely basis, like on a monthly basis as well as every quarter. We have a tendency to [update posts] seasonally when it comes to making sure all of the products remain available and frequently adding something new thats hot or [just] turn out. And we discovered that thats helpful also it seems to fortify the posts.

The dos and donts of desktop push notifications

Weve had an excellent experience with this push notifications, but simply for news. We need to take care not to send way too many and do segments, however when theres news our readers appear to actually want to find out about it and enjoy it. I wish there is a method to take action on mobile that has been affordable and because so a lot of our audience is on mobile.

We were testing them in 2019 plus they did not work very well for all of us. They ultimately weren’t worth enough time that went involved with it plus some of the technical conditions that was included with them. Our vendor was great, but despite having an excellent vendor, sometimes things go crazy.

The conversions we hardly ever really saw improve. It just type of decreases with each message.

In writing, the conversions are good. However when I viewed how many individuals who percentage put on, it just didnt feel worth your time and effort.

What weve heard

This idea of efficiency that media planners are asked to get because of their brands, often, I believe, is in fact laziness. And I dont think its efficient to just scale shitty ads.

Shira Atkins, CRO and co-founder of Wonder Media Network on the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast discussing why programmatic advertising in podcasting doesnt work.

Numbers to learn

<$100 million: The quantity of annual revenue an organization earns that could ensure it is small enough for BuzzFeed Inc. to take into account it for acquisition.

~$10 million: The money The Atlantic expects to reduce again this season.

What weve covered

The Rundown: The way the ad tech market is relocating the lack of public market exits:

  • Two acquisitions announced the other day are indicative of the M&A activity for ad tech still coming, sources told Digiday.
  • Financial information on both transactions weren’t disclosed but whats telling is how all of them signifies simultaneous M&A trends which have emerged as ad tech companies press pause on thoughts of raising funds on the general public markets.

Read more concerning the changes to the ad tech market here.

How publishers are circumventing the rising cost of in-person events:

  • Several publishers have discovered the costs connected with hosting in-person events have risen due to inflation and the lasting impacts of the pandemic.
  • To mitigate the increased prices of services like shipping, materials, catering and labor, publishers are taking a number of approaches from increasing ticket prices to planning earlier and determining whats superfluous for every event.

Read more about how exactly publishers are handling the expense of in-person events here.

Publishers are struggling to help keep commerce shops open, but creating brand identity in products holds promise:

  • Online commerce shops arent growing to be the golden ticket to revenue diversification that some publishers were expecting.
  • The media companies which are still operating storefronts on the owned-and-operated sites aren’t trying to contend with the Amazon style of having everything for each and every reader.

Find out more about hawaii of publisher-owned commerce shops here.

THE WAY THE Washington Post is going for a different method of its new wellness desk:

  • The Washington Post launched a health and fitness hub called Well+Being on Sept. 12.
  • Well+Being has eight reporters and writers adding to the vertical, an expansion from just one single wellness reporter and editor on the approach to life desk.

Find out more about the Posts new wellness vertical here.

True to create, sports publisher Minute Media has generated its SSP:

  • The publisher is currently the proud owner of its supply-side platform otherwise referred to as industry advertisers head to buy ads on its sites.
  • Minute Media is wanting to produce a premium publisher network via the SSP.

Find out more about Minute Medias SSP plans here.

What were reading

What sort of podcast helped to overturn a murder conviction:

Adnan Syed, subject of the initial season of the hit podcast Serial, had his 23-year-old murder conviction vacated on Monday, reported THE BRAND NEW York Times, which acquired the podcast series parent production company Serial Productions in 2020.

Tensions at the LA Times:

Employees of the LA Times are sick and tired of the news headlines publishers billionaire owner Patrick Soon-Shiong and family over accusations he and his daughter were meddling in news coverage, in accordance with Politico.

How journalists and publishers can combat online abuse:

The Press Gazette interviewed Rebecca Whittington, an online safety editor at Leeds Trinity University, about her efforts to greatly help journalists move from the theory that abuse is something you ought to have to put on with.

Read More

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