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Media Briefing: Publishers are feeling the pressure from advertisers to provide more, faster

This weeks media briefing explores the evolving relationship between publishers and advertisers because the pressure mounts to justify marketing budgets with actual proof driving revenue.

Time crunch

The main element hits:

  • For a few publishers, enough time between receiving an RFP and executing a campaign has drastically shrunk at the request of eager advertisers.
  • The sales cycle for BDG has decreased by almost half, going from typically 50-60 days to about 30 days.
  • Blavity Inc. has experienced agencies fighting back for more KPIs post-campaign, delaying the beginning of payment windows by days as well as weeks.
  • To support higher demand within their advertising businesses, hiring more pre- and post-sales roles has turned into a necessity.

In times of economic turmoil, just like the current period that emerged come early july, advertisers need to balance smaller marketing budgets while still proving those campaigns efficacy. Because of this, publishers are reporting that their clients have significantly more demanding expectations with tighter timelines and stricter results they have to deliver.

BDG is pacing to be up 35% year over year altogether revenue this season, after being up 31% in the initial 1 / 2 of 2022, based on the companys CRO and president Jason Wagenheim, which is partially as the average deal size in its advertising revenue is up 15-20% year-over-year.

Despite wanting more, however, advertisers desire to start to see the campaigns go live sooner, he said.

BDGs average sale cycle meaning enough time between finding a proposal request from an advertiser to signing a contract has decreased from about 60 days to between 30 and 35 days, said Wagenheim. And once a deal has closed, there exists a shorter window allotted to BDGs post-sale team to execute the campaign. Earlier in the entire year, campaigns went live typically 12-16 weeks after signing a contract, however now, its nearer to 6 to 8 weeks, if were lucky, he said.

The Independent is experiencing an identical trend of clients attempting to execute faster and portion of the reason is basically because theyre skipping the obtain information (RFI) stage and skipping to the obtain proposal (RFP), meaning advertisers arent taking their time weighing additional options nearly just as much.

Were seeing much less RFIs and much more firmer RFP requests that may move quickly, said Blair Tapper, The Independents svp of U.S.

Tapper declined to talk about the average amount of the companys sales cycle, but said fulfilling a campaign in 6 to 8 weeks is becoming standard practice. That is preferred, however, she said, because, truthfully, a 16-week RFP cycle is actually hard on everybody. It drags on. So for all of us, the shorter the cycle, the higher.

High demands

A brief sales cycle will not indicate a swift and painless post-sale, as well as post-campaign period, however.

Blavity Inc has added a lot more than 50 new advertisers to its client roster this season, increasing its ad revenue by 56% in the initial 1 / 2 of 2022, but because the year has progressed, delivering on some clients key performance indicators (KPIs), like total impressions, has gotten difficult, or even impossible.

This is simply not due to condensed timelines, however. The companys founder and CEO Morgan DeBaun said her team can be used to receiving an RFP and executing the campaign inside a matter of a few days, specifically for clients searching for display ads.

Agencies are increasingly being held to raised standards by their clients, [but] then its actually impossible what theyre promising, and for that reason we need to over-deliver to [meet the baseline requirements], said DeBaun. Agencies have a long time to cover us and spend lots of time fighting us on every impression.

Its not only that campaigns have to achieve more impressions, however they need to meet up with the right kind of impressions that abide by agencies viewability requirements, frequency caps and brand safety standards.

Advertisers are absolutely requesting more KPIs to measure success. That is particularly true of advertisers that are leveraging [publishers] first-party data, said Seth Hargrave, CEO of media buying agency MediaTwo Interactive, adding he has seen this trend of requesting more rigorous standards among clients increase in the last almost a year.

Sufficient reason for campaigns made to increase brand awareness and product consideration, like video and connected TV, Hargraves clients are requesting more path analysis data, which measures the client journey and is intended for connecting the spots of a brandname awareness campaign with their impacts on the companys important thing, he said.

Hiring to greatly help with the demand

To take care of the influx of campaigns and the tight timelines, all three publishers have hired staffers to take care of the pre- and post-sale funnel, meaning those tasked with securing handles advertisers and those tasked with executing the deals after the contracts are signed.

The largest functions which were hiring for remain events, account management, sales planning individuals which are actually executing deals for all of us in post-sale. [Those] will be the places in which a large amount of the investment is certainly going at this time, said Wagenheim. Our post sale team, [specifically] our account management team, has probably grown by 30 to 40% in comparison to this past year.

For The Independent, project managers have already been essential to handle the demand of clients.

We have been in growth mode. Plenty of our hires have fused with a few of this increased demand, however the notion of [increasing the] project management [and] marketing [teams] and letting sellers be sellers is completely 150% critical, said Tapper.

Meanwhile, Blavity Inc has seen more of an influx of display-driven campaigns, which are substantially better to execute, but leave the post-sale team of creatives and marketers with fewer assignments, DeBaun said. Blavity Inc has therefore had a need to double how big is its pre-sales team, which include sellers and media planners, to five full-time staffers.

What weve heard

While weve driven plenty of page views, weren’t driving as much conversions once we forecasted. You can find barriers to getting consumers [in] the mindset our sites certainly are a place it is possible to transact.

Jason Wagenheim, CRO and president of BDG on what its commerce business has performed in both years since launch.

DPS preview

At the Digiday Publishing Summit held personally in Key Biscayne, Fla. in a few days, media executives will gather to go over how they will have adapted their business models to brace contrary to the current economic depression, from accumulating their first-party data sets to developing NFT businesses and creating new editorial products.

Heres an example of the topics more likely to dominate town hall discussions. Sara Guaglione

Building on the blockchain

Publishers want to emerging technology to build up new revenue streams, including experimenting on the blockchain. Time is most likely probably the most active media companies developing and selling NFTs, and the companys president Keith Grossman will explain at the summit the way the publishers Web 3.0 business earned over $10 million in per year. Alanna Roazzi-Laforet, CRO at crypto news publisher Decrypt, may also discuss how their branded content studio is using blockchain tech.

Developing first-party data to get ready for the post-cookie era

Despite Google continuing to rebel the deprecation of the third-party cookie, many publishers are developing their very own first-party data suites to get ready for the inevitable. At the summit, Salon CRO Justin Wohl will discuss the cookie alternatives the publisher is adopting around its programmatic business, the potential of seller-defined audiences and the significance of first-party data. Blavity Incs founder and CEO Morgan DeBaun may also share the way the media company built out its ad network and adjusted its programmatic business of these challenging times.

Maintaining commerce

Many publishers second-quarter earnings reports pointed to a slowdown in commerce revenue year-over-year and placed the blame on a softening of consumer demand post-pandemic. In a few days, Eric Karp, svp of brand licensing at Vox Media, and Michelle Myers, Wrights Media CRO, will discuss the role licensing might have on driving publishers affiliate revenue and increase traffic. And throughout a live recording of the Digiday Podcast, Sheel Shah, svp of consumer products and partnerships of Hearst Magazines, will share insights on the companys commerce business.

Reaching audiences through inboxes and headphones

Publishers have increasingly considered new audio and email products in an effort to reach audiences, drive them back again to their sites, develop first-party data and create more opportunities to promote. At the summit, Jessie Katz, vp of audio programming and podcasting for A+E Networks, will reveal the way the network is which consists of podcast slate to cross-promote its content and push audiences from audio to TV and vice versa. And Adam White, CEO of Front Office Sports, will share the way the company is concentrating on brand-lift studies showing advertisers how newsletter ads make a difference their businesses.

Numbers to learn

3: The amount of years where the NY Times hopes it could make The Athletic, its subscription-only sports site, profitable with the addition of advertising in to the mix.

69%: The percentage of publisher execs who havent worked within an office full-time during the past year.

What weve covered

The growing season of change: Digidays editors recap summer 2022s top trends in media:

  • Heading in to the fall, lots of media execs want to strategize for a small business environment that doesnt reflect how it used to check even half a year ago.
  • On the most recent bout of the Digiday Podcast, my co-host Tim Peterson and I unpack the largest takeaways from that point period and also chatted through what this may mean for media companies fourth quarter and the beginning of 2023.

Pay attention to the episode here.

WTF are seller-defined audiences?

  • The IAB Tech Labs seller-defined audiences specification is among the many digital ad industry efforts to displace the third-party cookie with purportedly privacy-friendly alternatives.
  • Its effectively a cohort-based targeting method packaged with a nutrition label for the corresponding ad targeting data.

Find out more about this third-party cookie-alternative here.

Several Gannett employees hold protest over recent layoffs:

  • The other day, several unionized Gannett employees stood outside Citis Global Technology Conference in NEW YORK to have the attention of Gannett CEO Mike Reed.
  • Ultimately, the protestors said they spoke with Reed and discussed the contract bargaining negotiations which have been going on since January, and also the unions main grievances with managements handling of the business.

Read more concerning the protest here.

How high tuition costs and low salaries result in painful student debt for a few journalists:

  • U.S. President Joe Bidens initiative announced last month could give a light relief, with the potential to wipe around $20,000 in individuals federal education loan debt.
  • However, this program wont fix the underlying discrepancy between expensive journalism programs and low entry-level salaries, working journalists say.

Read more concerning the state of journalists debt here.

What were reading

Cond Nast recognized company-wide union:

Since going public making use of their labor organization efforts in March, Cond Nast employees have finally won unionization recognition, based on the Washington Post. Staffers have already been requesting better pay as workloads have increased.

The Verge really wants to challenge Twitter:

Following a redesign, The Verges homepage now carries a feed of content thats curated by its top editors and reporters, in accordance with Axios.

Semafor is nearing its debut:

After announcing almost 20 new editorial hires this week, the brand new media company born from media veterans Ben Smith and Justin Smith, Semafor, is nearly ready for launch, in accordance with Puck.

Read More

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