- The fear of the delta variant of COVID-19 is hindering publishers’ Q4 preparations. Many advertisers aren’t ready to commit to holiday campaigns yet.
- The New Statesman is preparing for expansion. The publisher has redesigned the site, hired more people, and started focussing on engagement over clicks. The strategy will also help in gaining more subscribers.
- The latest iOS update will make it difficult for publishers to track engagement metrics for their newsletters. However, the lack of traceability will only be limited to Apple Mail users.
- News UK will incorporate more visual elements into its stories to make them perform better.
- The NYT predicts the internet of the future with more publishers offering paid access. Whereas, AdAge predicts that Apple will come up with its own ad products to compensate for the losses.
How are top publishers preparing for Q4?
We’re about to enter Q4. Are you all set? The pandemic has changed a lot for publishers, including the ways they prepare for the most important quarter of the year. Digiday says that while we’ve weathered the worst of the pandemic, the fear of the delta variant is still looming.
Publishers like Vox Media and Meredith are in the planning phase, but the advertisers are unsure about the probable situation during the holidays. As a result, the advertisers are hesitant to commit to creative messages. Some clients are signing deals in advance, whereas some are adopting a real-time approach. To manage the situation, Meredith is focussing on its long-term deals for the time being.
Vox Media expects that the inventory of some of its podcasts will be sold out by the end of September. But, the publisher needs to start working on branded content soon, else time can run short. Meredith is avoiding such backlog in branded content by building campaigns that can roll out over time. Such campaigns can be tweaked as the situation arises.
Most of your clients would wait and observe the situation before spending their budgets. It means you can expect sudden demand during the festive season. So, you’ve to be creative to cater to such requirements. But the demand can reduce or stay flat if the virus spreads and people start restricting themselves. Be ready for both possibilities. Our resources can help you with it.
Strategies from Top Publishers
The New Statesman
This week’s publishing strategies come from the New Statesman. The publisher is more than a century old, and it’s preparing for expansion. To begin with, the publisher has redesigned the website for a new visual identity and a modern look. It’s introduced a new design system, just like TheVerge did for its big makeover in 2016. New Statesman has collaborated with Mark Porter, an acclaimed editorial designer, for the task. Other visual elements like typefaces, color pallets, etc., have also been reintroduced during the process.
The New Statesman has hired new employees to grow itself beyond its current niche. They’re from reputed places like Bloomberg, Telegraph, BBC, etc., and they’ll help the publisher reach 100,000 digital subscribers very soon. Currently, the New Statesman uses a metered paywall to gain subscribers. It plans to earn most of its revenue from subscriptions and direct partnerships.
Jason Cowley, the editor of the publication, is betting purely on the quality of the content. He wants a highly engaged readership over huge traffic. Prioritizing engagements over clicks can help the publisher in building a high-value audience. We’ve already seen the success of this strategy with Politico.
The Business of Subscriptions
Latest iOS Changes and their impact on your subscription revenue
If you’re a publisher who makes money with free or paid newsletters, Apple’s latest update is about to hit your business. For instance, tracking email opens wouldn’t be possible with its Mail Privacy Protection feature. The lack of engagement data will not only make it difficult to find partners for email campaigns, but engaging, retaining, and attracting email subscribers would also be a challenge.
The good news is that these features will only be accessible in Apple’s native mail app. The impact of this update depends on how many of your subscribers use Apple Mail. But, what about publishers with a lot of Apple Mail users? They should explore other ways of monetizing their email audience so that they’re not dependent on a single method.
“Without accurate opens moving forward, I’d assume most newsletters will charge either a flat rate of CPM based on list size or set up a CPC model. Or perhaps some hybrid of flat-rate + CPC.”
News UK’s Efforts to grow subscribers
News UK is trying to grow its subscription business, and it’ll do so by changing its storytelling methods. The publisher will rather deliver fewer stories and tell them effectively instead of producing a large volume of content. The focus will be on visual journalism with more graphics and videos in the content pieces. Every story will have a format that’s best-suited for it. News UK will also work on audience building with SEO and social media.
All these efforts will require more investment from News UK. But the company has no problem doing so because it wants the number of its digital subscribers to be double the number of print-only subs.
The Battle for Privacy and the Future of Internet?
The rising concerns around digital privacy are changing the landscape of the internet. The New York Times published an article on the same topic and garnered a lot of reactions in the ad tech industry. It says people’s fear of online data collection is making the tech giants change their modus operandi. Apple, Google, Facebook, and other tech companies are moving away from cookies and other identifiers. Eventually, personal information wouldn’t remain the currency of the internet, so what would replace it?
Many publishers have already started changing their business model by offering paid subscriptions. The advertisers who relied on targeted ads would struggle to sell their products. But giants like Facebook wouldn’t suffer for long because advertisers still have to keep spending on their platforms for sales. The walled gardens also have the edge with the massive amount of data about hundreds of millions of users around the world.
Another debate is about how much tracking should be allowed. Apple wants no tracking of its users, whereas Google needs targeting to run its business. It can lead to different experiences on iOS and non-iOS devices. The ads on Apple and Android devices may vary to a great extent. Ad-supported publishers may choose to block their sites on Apple devices. On the other hand, businesses selling products can increase their prices to compensate for the decreased ROI on ads.
But AdAge adds a different view to the narrative. It says Apple can start offering its own version of personalized ads. It can take a new role to fill the holes it left in ad markets. For instance, it has SKAdNetwork and other measurement tools for advertisers. It has also launched search ads for app advertisers. Such actions can balance out the shortage of targeted inventory that Apple has created. While these are all the views of industry experts, only time will decide the fate of the internet.
Moments That Matter
- TransUnion Acquires Neustar In $3.1 Billion Deal With An Eye On Identity – AdExchanger
- Newspaper Holding Company Sues Google and Facebook for Antitrust Conspiracy – Law Street Media
- Google says its data ‘does not give an unfair advantage’ in the ad tech world – Mumbrella
- Advertisers and publishers rediscover their alliance amid tracking turmoil – Digiday