How Viacom uses artificial intelligence to predict the success of its social campaigns

To eliminate some of the guesswork from its social media campaigns, Viacom has turned to machines.

Over the past year, a seven-person data science team in Viacom’s ad sales group has been building a pipeline to collect near-real time information about how its social media posts perform. This way, the entertainment giant can predict how many social posts it will need to reach audience goals and what kinds of posts to use in each campaign. Continue reading “How Viacom uses artificial intelligence to predict the success of its social campaigns”

Subscription publishers (still) have platform problems

Platforms played integral roles in helping publishers scale audiences. Now, they’re helping with publishers’ subscription ambitions, with new product features and programs to educate publishers just starting to pursue consumer revenue.

While publishers are heartened by these steps, many are wary. Not only do platforms have a history of changing their minds about how their products work, they are also limited in their ability to help publishers’ subscription efforts. Here is a rundown of what the platforms have done and the gripes that publishers still have with them. Continue reading “Subscription publishers (still) have platform problems”

On the hunt for direct connections, publishers turn to registration walls

Consumer revenue is top of mind for many publishers, so some of them are starting with registration requirements.

Since October, Bloomberg Media has been requiring people that visit its site more than eight times per month to register. El Nuevo Día, a Spanish-language newspaper in Puerto Rico, now forces readers to submit an email address after reading 11 stories in a month, and has been testing registration walls with different messages and offers in an attempt to get them to hand over their emails. Continue reading “On the hunt for direct connections, publishers turn to registration walls”

How The New York Times is using interactive tools to build loyalty (and ultimately subscriptions)

The New York Times’ lofty goal of getting to 10 million subscribers is an all-hands-on-deck mission — involving even its Interactive News desk, the group charged with creating graphs and other interactive elements that support the paper’s long articles. Continue reading “How The New York Times is using interactive tools to build loyalty (and ultimately subscriptions)”

How Investopedia shifted to subscription revenue with video courses

Investopedia didn’t set out to become a subscription- and commerce-focused publisher. But that’s what it’s staking its future on.

Less than six months after launching its first batch of Investopedia Academy courses, the IAC-owned publisher enters the new year focused on dramatically ramping up this nascent side of its business. On Jan. 15, Investopedia will roll out its 10th course, on cryptocurrencies. Continue reading “How Investopedia shifted to subscription revenue with video courses”

Facebook will ‘completely deprioritize publishers’: Confessions of a publisher audience development head

Many of the publishers that spent 2016 and 2017 investing in Facebook products like Instant Articles and news feed videos enter the new year with new perspective on the relationship they have with the world’s largest social platform. For the latest installment of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, we spoke to an audience development head at a midsize digital publisher that resisted the temptation to go all-in on those products. The conversation has been condensed. Continue reading “Facebook will ‘completely deprioritize publishers’: Confessions of a publisher audience development head”

‘Ad blocking is a consumer signal’: A look-ahead to 2018 with Scroll CEO Tony Haile

Tony Haile is making two big bets in 2018, and both of them are both shorts. The first is that average revenues per user for publishers won’t improve. The second is that digital advertising will remain unpleasant enough that people continue to try and avoid it. Those bets will have a big impact on how next year goes for Haile, when the founder and former CEO of Chartbeat unveils Scroll, a startup aiming to solve publishers’ problems with ad blocking and intense competition for ad revenue simultaneously, with a paid service that removes ads from users’ browsers. Haile discussed publishers’ challenges over the phone with us. The conversation has been edited and condensed for brevity. Continue reading “‘Ad blocking is a consumer signal’: A look-ahead to 2018 with Scroll CEO Tony Haile”

Google reclaims title of top traffic referrer, and search-focused publishers are enjoying the moment

Search-focused publishers are having an I-told-you-so moment now that Google is once again publishers’ biggest source of referral traffic. On Dec. 11, Googlepar data showing that Google now accounts for 44 percent of referral traffic for publishers made its way across the internet. That share represented a 10-point swing from the start of the year, when Facebook accounted for 40 percent, and Google accounted for 34 percent; Facebook now accounts for 26 percent. Continue reading “Google reclaims title of top traffic referrer, and search-focused publishers are enjoying the moment”

Podcast ads remain stubbornly old-fashioned

In November, HowStuffWorks dumped the third-party ads in its podcasts. After spending most of 2017 trying to use ad networks to insert spots into its back catalog, which accounts for half of HSW’s monthly listens, the podcast publisher decided to abandon them. Instead, the company went back to monetizing the old-fashioned way: ads read by its shows’ hosts, an age-old format that started in terrestrial radio and remains the dominant form of advertising in podcasts.

“Our listeners didn’t love the experience,” said Jason Hoch, HowStuffWorks chief content officer. “They often felt like they were being shouted at.” Continue reading “Podcast ads remain stubbornly old-fashioned”

As Amazon’s media ambitions grow, publishers are wary

As Amazon’s media ambitions grow with every passing quarter, it is leaning on its publisher partners more than ever to realize them.

Some publishers are dedicating entire teams to creating content purely for Amazon’s voice-activated Echo devices or to porting content like recipes over to Amazon Prime Now, its same-day delivery service. Meredith’s AllRecipes product development team of five dedicated to porting its content into the Amazon Echo Show, the Alexa-powered video device. Fexy Media, the parent of Serious Eats and Simply Recipes, has a team of six, plus four contractors, adding the sites’ recipes to Amazon Prime Now. Continue reading “As Amazon’s media ambitions grow, publishers are wary”

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