It was heartening to see the AOP’s latest Digital Publishers Revenue Index recently – in 2017, UK publishers grew digital revenues by 5.6%, with 27% of this annual revenue driven by display advertising.
Once the scourge of publishers and users alike – display has seen a reinvention over the past 18 months, driven by innovations in both software and hardware. Formats are now interactive through voice, touch and accelerometers – allowing users to engage with ads in ways previously not thought to be possible.
This is not only good news for publishers, but for the ad industry as a whole. In a difficult year for digital advertising, with threats to brand safety and accusations of murky supply chains, this rise in revenues indicates that advertisers have been flocking to the inventory on publishers’ sites. This is no surprise when you consider that quality publishers offer not just brand-safe environments, but more engaged audiences, and at scale – especially when you consider the user-generated content that populates social media platforms.
Premium publishers have spent decades creating quality editorial content and have cultivated strong brands that their readers trust. With the rise of fake news, consumers now know they can’t always believe everything shared on social media sites. Our latest study shows that 75% of consumers are turning to premium publishers as a trusted source of information, with only 11% trusting what they see on social.
In fact, our research last year in the run up to the UK snap general election revealed that 15 million people in the UK turned to quality publishers to get their political news, doubling their news consumption. Almost half said they were more wary of news reported on social media following high profile ‘fake news’ scandals around moments such as Brexit and the US election.
Even though it’s encouraging to see this growth in publishers’ digital revenue, we must not become complacent. The AOP report also suggests that while advertising continues to play a vital role in publishers’ digital revenues, new and innovative ad formats are needed to make sure this growth continues. And in an age where consumers need quality news sources they can trust in, it’s crucial that quality journalism has a sustainable revenue for the future.
We were pleased to see the UK Government has recently launched a review into Britain’s free press to preserve the future of high quality national and local papers in the UK, which is a good start. But the ad industry also needs to make sure premium publishers have the tools to support content with ad-funded models.
At Teads, this means our continuing support of quality publishers with innovative ad formats that are not only engaging for readers, but that don’t interrupt people as they read the content they trust. For example, AI is now allowing advertisers to build conversational ads that include chatbots, so users can ask questions about products and services, as well as self-assembling ads, which can be tailored not only to the individual but the time of day and location.
One challenge often laid at the door of premium publishers is one of scale. While in the past, inventory on these sites was limited and reach was constrained by doing deals with each individual publisher, networks like Teads are changing all this. Outstream video has opened up huge swathes of inventory on these sites, that is also high quality and can be delivered across any device, programmatically.
If we want to maintain a free web, with a diversity of information that is accessible to all, we need to continue to support quality publishers and the excellent journalism they create. For the ad industry, this means making sure they have the right tools to fund the content we love – or risk seeing them disappear altogether.
Justin Taylor, UK MD, Teads