As publishers seek out new revenue streams, from native advertising and paywalls to mobile apps, live video, and programmatic, first-party data has become increasingly important. Forrester predicted in its trend report that 2016 would be the year publishers take control of their data, and to a large extent, they did. Amid this shift, however, sits an often-neglected element of the publisher ecosystem that could become the next monetization frontier: the content management system, or CMS.
Header bidding has become the new obsession of the fast-changing advertising industry. This advanced technology has presented a slew of new opportunities for both advertisers and publishers, but there is a learning curve involved.
For every new dollar of digital advertising budget spent in Q1 of 2016, Google and Facebook earned 85 cents, according to Brian Nowak, a Morgan Stanley analyst cited in the New York Times. This stat should serve as a wake-up call for the hundreds of high-quality content publishers competing with these giants.
It's no secret that video is the darling of the advertising industry. It is a highly engaging format that attracts both advertisers and publishers alike. This affinity has publishers quickly looking for ways to capitalize on a piece of the video pie.
Few companies have felt the effects of a changing publishing climate more than Leaf Group, formerly Demand Media. Once a prime example of how search-engine-optimized articles produced in large numbers could rake in traffic and ad dollars, the company was hit hard when Google changed its algorithm in 2011, punishing "content farm" sites that churned out a high number of low-quality, spam-like content. Now, Leaf Group is going back to the basics, prioritizing the production of higher-quality articles in less volume and creating dedicated verticals for its most popular categories of content.
As brands and agencies continue to shift dollars to programmatic campaigns -- two-thirds of display media is now purchased programmatically, according to eMarketer -- marketers are starting to take notice that they may be doing so at the expense of creating emotional connections with consumers.
After a long stretch of publisher submission to Google and Facebook, the rising competition between digital platforms is good news for publishers. However, publishers must not waste time on bad deals or spread themselves too thin, or they will lose their opportunity to increase revenue from the broader array of content distribution options in front of them.
One solution being undertaken by more brands is to consolidate budgets in the hands of strategic publisher partners. They can serve as a "quarterback" for the entire initiative, helping coordinate the various players supporting a campaign.
While some publishers are turning to social media platforms as a way to distribute their content to new audiences, Mike Dyer, president and publisher of The Daily Beast, relies heavily on his own journalists and platform to build the brand. "Our journalists and their expertise are our single best source for building a consumer-facing brand," he said.
The growth of the digital landscape has fueled a contentious debate over what exactly premium inventory is. Programmatic buyers can use data targeting and inventory quality signals to sniff out a bot or determine viewability. To some, this means premium; to others, premium depends simply on audience size. However, both of these perspectives miss the target when it comes to defining truly premium inventory: content.