8 Headlines For Digital Publishers To Ponder

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In a din of daily tweets, press releases and stories covering the media space, some stories deserve more attention than others. Here are 8 signs of the times that digital publishers should peruse and ponder as they head into 2014.

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1. ESPN mobile traffic eclipses its desktop traffic

It’s been widely anticipated that mobile will overtake desktop traffic for most publishers in 2014. One by one you see brands like ESPN announcing that this milestone has already occurred. Publishers need to be ready for the implications of a mobile first world. New ad solutions and new business models are required. If you don’t have a strategy for mobile yet (and you should), it’s critical you get one before 1/1/14.

2. YouTube announced that they are adopting Nielsen OCR as currency

With this move YouTube should be poised to capture a large amount of the volume of investment spent on video advertising since they are now being seen as more friendly by marketers and their agencies. Anybody in the video advertising space knows that transacting on Nielsen OCR or comscore VCE is not an easy proposition since it can result in serving ads against impressions that don’t count towards the advertiser campaign goals. YouTube’s move is a big signal that these forms of currency are fast becoming the norm.

3. Yahoo News hires Katie Couric and FOX Business News hires Maria Bartiromo.

It’s important to ask if Yahoo thinks Couric will drive more 18-to-34-year-old news hounds to Yahoo News? Probably not. However it will make it easier for Yahoo News to earn a place in the White House press corps, secure big news gets, and help to continue to position Yahoo as more than an aggregator. Ditto with Maria Bartiromo. Her presence may not drive immediate ratings or hurt CNBC, but it will certainly attract high level exclusives and in the long run, potentially switch momentum.

4. Rolling Stone announces Rolling Stone Country.

The expansion of Rolling Stone content into country music is a sign that all publishers (online or off) are looking at new ways to get into businesses that are adjacent to their core business models. Every publisher should be going through the same exercise and making similar moves into adjacent businesses. As other examples of this, CNN recently launched a platform to share Instagram photos direct from the field, called Scenes, and dozens of publishers are publishing their content directly through Flipboard. These are the kinds of innovations each publisher should be seeking out.

5. Google adopts viewable impressions as currency in AdWords. 

In August Google quietly announced that it was going to transact with viewable impressions. The current proposed viewable impression definition is still only a recommendation from the Making Measurement Makes Sense consortium made up of the IAB, ANA, and 4A’s. Google’s running ahead with what they’re calling ‘active view’ as a currency that viewable impressions are something that every publisher needs to pay close attention to because it is absolutely going to become table stakes for ad campaign budgets moving forward.

6. The FTC review of native advertising

When hundreds of people descended on Washington to attend the FTC’s review of native advertising it signaled not only that native advertising was big (eMarketer estimates say it’s a $2.36 Billion market) but that it’s something the industry needs to get its act together on and self-regulate. Publishers should go out of their way to make sure readers are not confused on the difference between editorial content and advertising content. Proper labeling is the key. If publishers label paid content as coming from an advertiser, there should be no more confusion. If they do that, there should be no more FTC hearings. The IAB recently released their native advertising guidelines which is a first positive step to tackling this problem/opportunity.

7. The Visual Revolution Summit

Early in December in New York City a first of its kind summit around the visual web occurred. The “Visual web” feels like it’s the new new thing. One only needs to look at the rise of Pinterest, Instagram, BuzzFeed, Tumblr and others to know that a picture is worth more than 1000 words. Publishers are actively redesigning for feed and gallery formats. Native advertising can be simplified with and an embrace of images over text is a way to communicate this. The emergence of the visual web is a big deal.

8. The Internet of things

While CES is only a few weeks away it’s safe to assume that the Internet of things is going to receive a tidal wave of attention coming out of this massive gathering in sunny Las Vegas. It’s hard to predict what digital publishers will do in this new ecosystem but it’s safe to assume that marketers will be looking for ways to bring their products and services into the home and workplace and non-conventional, non-media driven ways.

About the Author
Peter Naylorpeter-naylor-digital.jpg
Peter Naylor is the IAB’s first Publisher-in-Residence, providing thought leadership and critical industry insights on the most important challenges and opportunities facing digital publishers today. Until recently, the digital media pioneer was the EVP of Sales for NBC News Digital. Prior to that, he oversaw advertising sales for the company’s entertainment and sports digital properties. Naylor was Chairman of the IAB Board of Directors from February 2012 through February 2013. You can reach him on Twitter @prnaylor.
 




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