The publishing industry has changed dramatically over the course of 2016, driven largely by the changes in content consumption by consumers. Publishers have had to look at new ways to drive revenue and as a result have had to alter historic monetization strategies and discover new and innovative solutions. As we look to 2017, a number of industry leaders provide their insight into what we can expect from the year ahead.
Joy Dean, Partnerships Director, Widespace said: “With mobile ad spend overtaking desktop for the first time in 2016, 2017 looks to see huge development in mobile ads. This is especially prevalent with video ads, with Apple and Google now supporting autoplay in their browsers the result will be a shift from mobile video being defined purely as pre-roll, and instead as integrated website content. As such, next year will see more advertisers than ever considering the unique user behaviour on mobile devices, and continue to see it as an effective brand building tool. This will result in higher quality videos and smarter video formats that entice users to engage with the ad rather than pushing content on them.”
Alicia Navarro, CEO and Co-Founder, Skimlinks said: “Over 80% of people now research online before making a purchase. And unlike in decades gone by, their starting point for research isn’t whatever the Mad Men are spinning. Instead they’re turning increasingly to “comtent” — commerce-related content — which informs and educates them about the purchases they’re making.
“Advertising has failed to bring valuable experiences to customers: That’s why almost 70 million American use an ad-blocker. Comtent on the other hand succeeds in bring value to both readers and publishers alike which is why it’s rapidly becoming such a profitable source of revenue, with entire publishers like Wirecutter and Refinery29 dedicated to it.
“The comtent is primarily great content: smartly crafted, written by an editorial team (as opposed to an advertising team) and designed to help their audience research and be inspired by products and shopping trends that resonate with their voice and their style. However, the reason comtent is so valuable now to publishers is that besides engaging their audience, it’s a natural source of unintrusive revenues through affiliate marketing, and it generates data around their audience’s shopping preferences that can boost their ad revenues. It’s the reason the NY Times bought Wirecutter, and Refinery29 has raised money at such high valuations, and increasingly other publishers will look to place comtent at the center of their editorial and revenue efforts for 2017. “
Ally Stuart, Strategy Director at native advertising SSP Sharethrough, said: “Legacy publishers will have to continue evolving toward a new business model in order to survive. With a decline in print sales and ad revenue coupled with a broad desire for less disruptive forms of advertising online, it remains vital for them to embrace change.
“Most traditional online advertising formats are outdated and don’t deliver the audience engagement and ROI that brands are after. Audiences have turned against pop-ups and pre-roll ads, which helped lead to a rise in ad blocking. Native advertising allows publishers and brands to engage audiences with content that is in line with a publisher’s look and feel, not interrupting but adding to a reader’s experience. Publishers have experimented and started to embrace this strategy over the last few years and its potential has shown out. At Sharethrough, we’ve seen engagement rates for native ads between 20% and 60% higher than for banner ads, with engagement expected to increase next year.
“Next year will also require advertisers to focus on their mobile video strategy, working with agencies to adopt a multi-channel creative approach to native advertising, and optimising formats according to each relevant touch point.”