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“A surprising level of confidence”: AOP report on publishers’ priorities for 2023

“Publishers feel that they are well-positioned to adapt and thrive in a recessive economy.”

AOP’s latest survey, ‘Digital Publishing: Outlook and Priorities for 2023’, investigates the sentiment of the UK digital publishing industry and how businesses are adapting to current and future challenges.

What it reveals is a surprising level of confidence, an unsurprising move away from open programmatic, and a dedication to progress beyond profit. 

At a time when news coverage is focused on the cost-of-living crisis and the Bank of England is providing negative forecasts for the UK economy, publishers and solutions providers expressed a strong degree of confidence for their own businesses. 

According to the report, on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is very unconfident and 10 is very confident, across both publishers and solutions providers the confidence rating in the face of negative forecasts for the UK economy is 7.2. Publishers feel that they are well-positioned to adapt and thrive in a recessive economy.

Here are a few critical insights for publishers from the report:

“Most potential for growth”

Averaged across all publishers, subscriptions are seen as offering the most potential, with 17% of all publishers selecting this option. However, the responses show that B2B publishers now see the most opportunity for growth in lead generation, sponsorship, and events. 

A move away from programmatic

Focusing on advertising revenues, there’s a noticeable shift that publishers expect to see in the next three years – 44% of all publishers expect to see growth in revenues from private marketplaces and 42% expect to see growth in non-programmatic revenues.

LinkedIn driving content discovery

Revenue growth is dependent on audience growth, so it’s important to understand where publishers are investing off-platform to drive content discovery. Unsurprisingly, B2B publishers are dependent on LinkedIn, with 44% investing there to promote content. Consumer publishers are investing across multiple off-platforms to drive content discovery

When asked what actions publishers are taking to prepare for the deprecation of cookies, 23% of publishers said that they were focused on improving the engagement funnel to build better first-party data – the most frequently cited area of focus.

This is the second year that the AOP has surveyed the digital publishing industry – inviting publishers and solutions providers to share their organisational priorities and expectations for the future. Responses to the survey were gathered from both members and non-members, providing a broad snapshot of the important areas of focus for B2B and consumer publishers in the UK. 


Download the full AOP report here:
Digital Publishing: Outlook and Priorities for 2023