Smart Publishers Will Thrive In This Downturn

We all know what's going on out there, so let's not spend too much time on the problem -- the economy is in terrible shape. Here's the good news: smart publishers will continue to be successful in monetizing their inventory in these troubled times and will set themselves up for dramatic growth once the macroeconomic situation improves.

Goods continue to be sold and advertisers continue to compete for consumers' share of wallet. So how can publishers maximize their revenue in a down economy? Here are few pointers:

·    Be flexible with the ad formats you accept. Now is the time to engage with agencies and demonstrate your value. Even within the established ad types, marketers still like to experiment. When the budget makes sense, work with them on research studies. Provide engagement metrics. Try a variety of creative formats and work closely with the agency to determine what works best.

·    Optimize for performance. Even in video, click-through rate still matters. While many advertisers are satisfied to obtain strong reach adjacent to high-quality content, an equal or greater number are optimizing their campaigns based upon CTR and conversion. Use the tools at your disposal to strive for a 1% or higher CTR: turn off autoplay on your pre-roll. Study which sections of your site achieve the highest performance. Work with your agencies to learn which creatives are resonating best with your audience and see if you can shift delivery to those.

·    Keep your content fresh and advertiser-friendly, and be sure users know about it. If your video becomes stale, it will lead to a downward spiral of click-through rates and impressions. Make sure you're properly merchandising your new video throughout the site and give users the tools they need to share links with their friends. If you're lucky enough to be a content creator, think about whether your video appeals to advertisers. Content doesn't have to be "G-rated" -- but keep in mind that the largest buys are still targeted to relatively general audiences.

·    Don't panic. It is highly unlikely that you will ever completely sell out your video inventory. This is because inventory spikes (such as those which may result from breaking news or video going viral) are impossible to predict, and there are companies that are able to help fill those spikes.  Publishers should approach this downturn as an opportunity to differentiate themselves. Be consultative with advertisers and work hard to earn their dollars. "Order-takers" might not survive this downturn, but smart media sellers will thrive.

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