- The UK Ad Market will grow 15.2% in 2021. It’s faster than China, Germany, Europe (excluding the UK), and the US.
- The pandemic didn’t have a considerable impact on the share of publishers’ revenue streams. The share of direct deals, branded content, programmatic ads, and subscriptions remained almost the same.
- Apple’s IDFA changes are less likely to affect publishers if the users are asked to pay for the content. 74% of the users would rather be tracked instead of paying.
- Google is very confident in the FLoCs proposal as a replacement of third-party cookies. Advertisers can expect 95% efficiency and publishers wouldn’t be disappointed too. Another proposal called FLEDGE is in the pipeline.
- Facebook and Twitter are the latest tech companies to enter the email newsletter space. Reuters Institute report explains why email newsletters can be promising for publishers.
Latest Ad tech Trends for Publishers
UK’s Fast Growth
The UK ad spend is set to rise by 15.2% in 2021. It’s better than 14.4% forecasted in October. The Advertising Association and marketing agency Warc says that UK’s growth will be faster than China (10.3%), Germany (9.3%), Europe excluding the UK (8.8%), and the US (3.8%).
Image Credit: Pressgazette
The Pandemic’s Impact on Publishers
Digiday’s survey of 181 publishing professionals probes the pandemic’s impact on publishers. Here are the key findings:
For more than three-quarters of the survey respondents, direct-sold advertising remained the largest source of revenue.
Last year, branded content was a moderate source of revenue for 47% of the publishers. This year, the number of such publishers has increased to 55%.
Programmatic was a moderate source of revenue for 57% of the publishers last year. This year it’s a moderate source for 62%.
The number of publishers who generate a moderate share of their revenue from subscriptions has also increased from 37% to 40%.
Consumer Behaviour Towards Apple’s Privacy Policies
A survey of 2,012 Apple users reveals that 74% of them would rather be tracked than pay for the use of sites and apps. So far, 72% of the users are aware of Apple’s upcoming policy changes. While 65% of the survey respondents agree with the policy, 23% think the company might be taking it too far. There are multiple scenarios where the users are comfortable with tracking:
59% say they would allow tracking if that’s how an app delivers relevant content.
48% would allow tracking if it means not losing access to content or features they currently enjoy.
43% would accept tracking if the app is upfront about the data collected and their applications.
UK’s ad spends predictions show that the world is recovering faster from the pandemic. Post-pandemic changes in publishers’ revenue-share are also minimal. We can say that the industry is almost on track. The survey of Apple users signals that IDFA changes may also not have a huge impact on your revenue provided you convey what data is being collected and why.
Google Privacy Sandbox Update
Google’s product manager, Chetna Bindra has announced a new proposal in the Privacy Sandbox development. It’s called FLEDGE: First Locally-Executed Decision over Groups Experiment. It expands on TURTLEDOVE, an older proposal for cookieless advertising.
There are already many sandbox proposals suggested by multiple parties. TURTLEDOVE suggested moving auction into the browser. SPARROW suggests using an independent third-party server for the same purpose. DOVEKEY proposes adding a key-value server to SPARROW. Then there is PARROT that seeks publishers’ control over the auction process. Chetna Bindra says that FLEDGE tries to take the best of all these proposals.
Another Google blog explains, “FLEDGE includes a way for on-device bidding algorithms to use additional information from a new trusted server designed for this sole purpose. To help early experimentation before the new trusted servers are available, we propose a “Bring Your Own Server” model and expect to ship this first experiment during 2021.”
Digiday’s article on the topic says that Google may hash out the criteria of considering a server as trustworthy. There are many possibilities. A trusted server may be independently controlled by a third-party, or it may involve code audits, or other security methods.
The FLEDGE experimentation will start in Q2. The company may also bring another proposal to help personalized ad targeting FloCs (interest-based audience cohorts).
Google has already shown a lot of confidence in the FLoC proposal. It says that advertisers can expect 95% of the conversions per dollar spent compared to cookie-based advertising. FLoC will be available for public testing by March. Google says that the figures should be reassuring to publishers as well.
Just like most Google offerings, the industry is skeptical about the proposal. Some professionals say that it can give too much power to Google, while others believe it’s not safe for users.
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Tech Giants’ new interest in Newsletters
Facebook is creating a competitor for Substack. The company has its eye on the fast-growing newsletter space. As per NYT, the product will allow individuals to build a following on and earn money through paid subscriptions. The effort would be part of the Facebook Journalism Project. It’ll help the company to provide more legitimate news sources.
Twitter is also on a similar track. It has acquired Revue, another company similar to Substack. Major publishers like Vox Media and The Markup are its clients. Currently, Twitter has made Revue’s pro features free for all accounts. It has also lowered the paid newsletter rev-share to 5%. The company has already started hiring professionals to grow the platform.
Paid-newsletter is a growing market. It’s natural for the industry players to run for a piece of the pie. So, should you start a newsletter too? This report from Reuters Institute might have some answers:
16% of the consumers access news each week via email.
Email news consumers generally have a disposable income.
1 in 5 consumers in the US access email weekly, and for half of them, it is a primary source of news.
Most popular news emails can have an open rate of upto 80% though the industry average is close to 30%.
Daily updates are the most popular type (60%) of email.
No matter how many modes of communication are available, email has held its ground firmly. It is an important part of people’s lives. A successful email newsletter strategy can bring you a lot of paying customers. Facebook, Twitter, Forbes, etc., have already sensed the opportunity with email newsletters. It’s time for you to get ready.
Take advantage of the Reuters Institute study and other similar reports to understand the audience. Use data to come up with the right plan.
Publishers Are Unique; So Should be their Approach
Just like email newsletters, the podcast space has also witnessed significant growth. A four-digit growth is expected from 2015 to 2024.
Image Credit: Axios
But the meteoric rise doesn’t mean that any publisher can succeed in the space. Axios reports that only the top 1% of publishers receive 99% of the downloads.
The primary reason behind such disparity is that podcasts don’t have an ecosystem for viral growth (like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok)
So, if you are entering the podcast market as a publisher, make sure you have a robust distribution strategy. Your content should have the best quality. You should be ready to advertise your podcast. You should map-out every possible distribution channel to grow your podcast.
Denmark’s biggest news site Ekstra Bladet has recently stopped using Google Analytics. It has replaced the tool with its proprietary tech for its data-related needs. Now there is no middle-man between the publisher and its audience data.
The number of available data points has increased from 30 million to 130 million. The speed of retrieving the information has increased significantly. The publisher is attracting the advertisers with the sheer amount of data it can offer.
Again, a unique approach has helped the publisher in gaining better control over its business. You should have a similar modus operandi while following industry trends.
Moments that Matter
‘Regulation is coming’ – UK publishers respond to Google’s ‘hollow threat’ to leave Australia – PressGazette.
Ad-Tech Firm Taboola Merges With SPAC at $2.6 Billion Valuation – Bloomberg.
Facebook News launches in UK with publisher payments – Press Gazette.
GDPR: UK firms using adtech told to assess data usage – Press Gazette.