It’s definitely not an easy time to be a publisher. These days, pubs are getting hit from all angles. Google and Facebook (also known as the Walled Gardens) take 90% of all new ad dollars spent. At the same time, Google (via SEO) and Facebook (via their news feed algorithm) completely control the distribution of content. As these big kahunas flex their muscles, the entire industry has to react and adjust to accommodate them—or risk falling by the wayside. Recently, the punishment of publishers has been especially harsh...
Coalition for Better Ads: Google is unit-shaming publishers and penalizing their SEO (a huge source of traffic) if they run certain ad types. While most of these units are not user-friendly, these rules restrict pubs’ freedom to monetize their sites to their liking and in keeping with their business needs.
Facebook’s algorithm change: In Facebook’s attempts to fend off fake news, they have announced an update to their algorithm that de-prioritizes publisher content in favor of user posts. This has severely decreased traffic to publishers, and has even shut one down already.
How can publishers fight back and win ROI? Here are a few best practices to help pubs continue making money in this ever-changing media landscape:
- Think mobile-first—including editorial and ad products
- Since 2016, most web traffic has come from mobile devices. Mobile should be the first consideration for both editorial design and ad products. Consider page length when publishing articles and don’t run 30-second pre-roll ads before a minute-long video clip. The attention span in mobile averages only seven seconds!
- Make sure your ad slots count
- Viewability is everything. Invest in making your ad slots as viewable as possible and it will pay back dividends by garnering more dollars from direct and programmatic deals. Viewability is a KPI of almost every single campaign that we run here at Kargo.
- Consider lazy loading your ad slots. This maximizes the viewability potential of each ad slot by making the ad call as the user scrolls down the page instead of upon page load.
- Remember: There’s power in numbers
- In order to compete against Google and Facebook, pubs should be teaming up with other publishers for more scale, even if those publishers were rivals in the past.
- Buyers want an alternative to the Walled Gardens—this is where Kargo comes into play. By combining the scale of the world’s top media companies, we reach 100% of smartphones and compete against Google and Facebook in mobile.
- Work your strengths
- Pubs won’t be able to compete against the data that Google, Facebook and Amazon have at their fingertips. Premium editorial is your bread and butter—work that while still maintaining industry standard data products.
- Diversify your strategies
Vary your traffic sources and the types of content you produce. Don’t be completely reliant on Facebook’s new video initiative or on Google search. With so many changes constantly hitting our industry, you don’t want to be blindsided.