Plummeting print advertising, continued newsstand decline, slow digital growth, and the loss of some leading titles. Let’s face it, 2017 wasn’t the greatest year for magazine media. But amidst the wreckage are some favorable trends and promising opportunities. Here are six that publishers should be looking to exploit in 2018:
1. Brand safety
“Brand safety” is now topic #1 in advertising circles. And that’s a major opportunity for respected publishers.
“Only when brands partner with reputable publishers can they have full confidence in where their ads are being placed,” says Shelagh Daly Miller of AARP in a recent article on Advertising Age. That’s a message that should be all over our industry’s media kits. And tattooed onto the foreheads of our ad reps.
But there’s a caveat: Be sure your house is in order. You can’t exactly claim the high ground when your web site uses a recommendation engine that touts sleazy clickbait headlines like “19 Hottest Female Politicians”.
2. Reader Payments
2017 was the beginning of the end for the “information wants to be free” era. Readers became warier of being misled and showed an increased willingness to pay for reliable, valuable content.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for paid web content. Each publisher has to weigh the potential gains in subscription revenue against the inevitable shrinkage in the number of page-views for ads.
Possible tactics include leaky paywalls, metered paywalls, charging only for premium content, and only allowing paid subscribers to comment or to participate in an online community.
But what about giving paying customers early access to certain articles, before they become available on the free web? Or giving readers access to paywalled content if they subscribe to a free newsletter?
3. Ad Networks
Two months ago, the B2B Media Exchange debuted as a marketplace for programmatic digital ads with more than 100 publishers – many of them magazine publishers.
So why is placing a national ad in multiple magazines still such an arduous, manual process? When are we going to band together and create a multi-publisher system for buying and selling print ads?