Audience Engagement Digital Innovation
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AOP’s Content Census reveals mobile and video will be top priorities for publishers in 2017

Findings from the Association for Online Publishing’s 2016 Content Census indicate that video and mobile internet are top priorities for publishers; native advertising will continue to grow; and video inventory needs to increase to meet demand

The latest figures from the Association for Online Publishing’s 2016 Content Census, an online survey which provides insight into the current UK digital publishing landscape, reveal that mobile internet will be a significant priority for the majority of publishers this year (92%), while video will be a significant priority for over three-quarters of respondents (77%). In contrast, just over a half of publishers will prioritise smartphone apps (54%), and less than a third will prioritise tablet apps (31%).

Video ad formats continue to gain popularity, with most publishers (92%) agreeing with the sentiment that “market demand for video is high.” Nearly eight out of ten publishers (77%) experienced an increase in smartphone video inventory in the last year; with over two-thirds (69%) citing an increase in desktop video inventory across the same period. With over three-fifths of businesses (62%) reporting that demand for desktop and smartphone video has increased significantly over the last year, and more than two-thirds of businesses (69%) stating they could sell more video if more video inventory was available, there is a clear opportunity for further growth.

However, publishers have also admitted they face both commercial and technical challenges when it comes to video. Over three-fifths of businesses claimed that selling video is more complex than standard display (62%); and just under half observed that “technical requirements for different devices and platforms discourage growth” (46%).

All publishers surveyed (100%) stated that delivery of native advertising is now part of their content offer, with most (85%) expecting to deliver more native advertising over the next 12 months.

Social media platforms are considered commercially important environments for content delivery, with over three-quarters (77%) of publishers stating that a brand presence on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will be important in driving audience growth over the next 12 months. When asked which platforms are believed to be significant priorities for delivery in the next year, Google AMP and Facebook (including Instant Articles) came out on top for 77% of publishers respectively.

According to the research, agency attitudes towards, or focus on, mobile have become the main inhibitor to revenue generation from portable devices for over three-quarters of UK publishers (77%). Other inhibiting factors include ad blockers – a concern for 69% of publishers – and viewability (62%).

Looking across all delivery platforms, over half of publishers admitted that ad blocking impacts their business significantly (54%); with over two-thirds (69%) reporting that viewability issues significantly impact their business.

Richard Reeves, Managing Director, AOP, commented: “With mobile media consumption opportunities growing, it is great to see that mobile internet is a key focus for publishers in 2017. It is also interesting to note that despite the high demand and potential for video, many publishers have highlighted the lack of inventory currently available. This is something the industry needs to collaborate on to both meet advertiser demand and to deliver an engaging user experience.”

Reeves continued: “The AOP Content Census also highlights that awareness around issues such as ad fraud and ad blocking are at the fore of publishers’ minds. The last few days have seen these concerns gain much public exposure, and these areas will continue to be a priority for the AOP and its members in the year ahead.”