5 New Year’s Resolutions for Media Publishers

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Media Publishers

New Year’s resolutions feel like a battle between what you want to change this year and what you try to change every year. We know sticking to your New Year’s resolutions takes focus and a lot of hard work. While we probably can’t help you hit your fitness goals or lower your carbon footprint in 2020, LiveIntent is here to help you manage your inventory and explore opportunities to grow your revenue. 

Here are five ideas to consider adding to your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Lean Into Consumer Privacy

Respecting consumer consent was a hot-button topic in 2019, and it’s only going to get bigger in 2020 with the rollout of the CCPA, Google imposing limits on cross-site tracking in Chrome, and future plans for Apple’s ITP in Safari. Offering your readers control over how their data is used is a must in 2020, and it requires mechanisms that respect a readers’ preferences in a consistent manner across every instance of their digital identity.

The connective tissue that defines an identity graph is critical to conversations about privacy. Partner with next-gen identity providers that can enhance your first-party data, help you monetize your inventory, and build tailor-made data solutions that comply with readers’ privacy preferences. 

LiveIntent Identity solutions can help you carry the privacy choices expressed on your website to your email strategies, making sure you’re compliant on both fronts.


2. Explore New Traffic Sources

Social platforms and Google AMP have provided reliable means to find the audiences necessary to drive ad impressions and win new subscribers. According to a publisher satisfaction survey conducted by Digiday, more than 80% of publishers post content to Facebook News Feed and Instagram, while nearly 70% of publishers post to Google AMP. 

The amount of content pushed to these platforms means publications have to cut through the noise in order to earn website visits. Not surprisingly, the same survey revealed that only 33% of publishers are satisfied with the traffic they get from posting their content to Facebook News Feed and only 38% of publishers are satisfied with Google AMP when it comes to driving traffic. 

Diversifying the platforms you post to helps you cut through the noise and reach new audiences. In the new year, make it a priority to establish enough reliable traffic sources that if competition gets stiff on one platform, your other options continue working to get your content in front of interested readers.

News publishers have seen great success in partnering with mobile aggregators, like Flipboard, TopBuzz, and SmartNews. Just within the last year, these apps have been downloaded nearly 7 million times in the U.S. alone.

 “It’s like a new type of traffic. Going beyond search and social, this mobile aggregator traffic is driving visits to news sites,” said Jill Nicholson, Chartbeat Senior Director of Customer Education. 

Consider leveraging these platforms that can offer a larger piece of the pie to help you catch on-the-go readers who are battling their own rush hour traffic in a crowded subway. Learn more about cutting-edge thinking as it relates to diversifying and testing new media partners in this webinar.


3. Balance Your Revenue Drivers

Looking for a magic ratio to balance your ad revenue strategies? Welcome to the club – we’ve got great buttons!

The internet makes it easier to deliver and consume content. These sundry opportunities challenge companies to experiment with various monetization strategies for digital content. 

Of the 135 publishers surveyed, nearly 52% of publishers revealed that direct-sold ads are a large or very large source of revenue, followed by programmatic (35%), and video content (27%). Selling ads direct can be more difficult, but can be lucrative for smaller publishers for whom subscriptions are not a major source of revenue. 

While reducing inventory volume and raising prices tends to fill ads with higher-quality demand, here are some other ways you can work to find balance in your monetization strategies:

Understand the value of bids on your inventory.

Use programmatic bidding insights to optimize your floor prices, reveal potential advertiser partners, and inform your direct-sold rate card.

Put direct-sold up against programmatic.

Sponsorship campaigns don’t allow much room for competition, but having your non-guaranteed direct-sold compete against programmatic is a great way to boost revenue.

Leverage an ad server that helps you streamline and scale.

Smaller publishers tend to have the advantage of being able to test, iterate, and then scale. As your business grows, yield optimization and operations can become cumbersome. Ad servers allow you to set bidding priorities, day & time rules, and targeting capabilities that help to rank the bids coming in.

Give brands the visibility that they crave.

Advertisers are usually willing to pay higher rates for the guarantee of being front and center. Offer larger ad sizes in above-the-fold placements wherever possible.


4. Think Outside the Ad Box

Remember that advertisers aren’t your only customers. The largest, most successful companies focus on creating experiences that their users want to explore and brands want to support. 

Invent and host your own event.

Industry events can be helpful to learn from and share stories with your peers. You get insights into the challenges they are overcoming, inspiration to implement informed changes in your own organization, and build strong professional connections. Hosting your own event gives you the chance to proudly display your hard work and innovation with everyone you want to engage in the same space. Consider curating members-only events to create a scarcity that doesn’t exist in the world wide web of infinite landing pages. 

Explore niche solutions aligned around your audience.

Several publishers are testing niche solutions as viable, stable revenue streams. The New York Times offers crosswords, Marie Claire and Vogue offer click-to-purchase experiences tied to their digital content, and Good Housekeeping has sold housewares in pop-up shops. All of these endeavors began with an effort to create communities amongst their readers. 

5. Find New Audiences

Without an audience, you don’t have monetization. We’ve previously spoken about how audience growth is key to survival. Let’s explore some ways to grow your audience in 2020. 

Email is king

If they’re already subscribed to your email newsletter, they’re more likely to become a paid subscriber, right? The answer is a resounding yes from 65% of publisher executives who named email as their most effective tactic for driving subscriptions in a Digiday survey. Leverage the power of email to drive people to sign up for a subscription and create awareness for custom products or member-exclusive events. 

Offer a tiered membership model

A subscription paywall offers access to content, but membership touches on that aspect of building communities around audiences that want to support you. The experiences that you offer your members build deeper relationships with your publication, journalists, and content. Consider offering memberships that come with the added benefits of personalized web/app experiences, curated content, and exclusive access to unique “gets” like a hosted event

Setting goals for yourself and your business each year are worth the effort.

So what’s next? Take your resolutions and create a plan to make them stick in 2020. 

  • Set specific goals that you can reach this year.
  • Assemble the winning team that can help you create an action plan to reach those goals.
  • Take stock of the resources available to you today. Do you need more?

Once you’ve got your goals and a plan to reach them, remember to set aside time to reflect on your progress each month. What is working? What isn’t?

Good luck and Happy New Year!