Digital Publishing Top Stories
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“We’re in fighting shape and going strong”: Resilient publishers continue to embrace new opportunities at an unprecedented rate

Publishing has been resilient through the pandemic and Q4 “is expected to be mammoth,” according to Keywee’s latest The State of Publishing in 2020 report. The report presents an optimistic picture for the industry while acknowledging the damaging effects of the pandemic. 

For example, although staff reductions and pay cuts at publishing houses have been often in the news lately, 54% of the respondents to the survey said there had been no staffing changes in their marketing teams.

”We’ve all read the news over the last few months of publishers cutting newsrooms and other staff in order to weather the storm,” says Inbar Yagur, Head of Marketing at Keywee. “With all of that doom and gloom, I was expecting to see this reflected in publishers’ marketing teams as well, and I was surprised to discover that the situation was actually pretty positive.”

25% publishers expect higher YoY revenue in Q3 and Q4

Although more than half of the publishers expect to see a dip in revenue in the coming months, 22% of the respondents said they don’t foresee any major revenue hiccups on the horizon. And 25% of publishers expect revenue to be higher in Q3 and Q4 of this year compared to the same period in 2019.

The report looks into how publishers are allocating their social budgets and the revenue streams they are experimenting with among other things. 

“Publishers are working hard to diversify their revenue streams in order to achieve long term stability,” writes Yagur. According to the survey, 73% of the respondents are either actively testing or planning on testing new revenue streams. 

“We’re certainly seeing more of our customers testing out affiliate, newsletters, and paid subscription models,” adds Yagur. “It’s encouraging to see that the industry as a whole is doing the same.”

Source: The State of Publishing in 2020

“Q4 is expected to be mammoth”

Some of the revenue streams that were adversely affected by the pandemic are now recovering. They include branded content and ad revenue. While eCommerce, newsletters and paid subscriptions are seeing unprecedented growth, says Yagur.

Specifically, eCommerce has considerable potential. “This year’s Q4 is expected to be mammoth when it comes to ecommerce,” the report states. “CPCs will start to spike the closer we get to the big online shopping days of the year.”

It suggests that publishers who are looking to ramp up their commerce content efforts this year should use Q3 to experiment with and optimize their affiliate campaigns so that they “can hit the ground running once the holiday shopping season arrives.”

“Opportunities here are endless”

The next most promising channel is the newsletter. Publishers’ reliance on newsletters make sense considering the increased pressure to own their audiences, according to the report. 

The survey found that 84% of publishers have a newsletter program, but 75% of these are not monetizing them. That’s a missed opportunity as “apart from being an effective traffic driver, newsletters are an ideal vehicle for creating more revenue opportunities.”

Newsletters are prime real-estate that can be leveraged for sponsored takeovers, featured content, promotion of products and paid tiers, and so much more. Newsletters are, of course, about giving value to your subscribers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t draw value from them. Opportunities here are endless and publishers would be wise to embrace those.

Inbar Yagur, Head Of Marketing, Keywee

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” adds Yagur. “The industry took a hit. But we’re fighting back. We’re becoming more agile. We’re embracing new opportunities at an unprecedented rate. 

“We’re in fighting shape and going strong. That gives me a lot of hope for the future,” she concludes. 

Full report available here:
The State of Publishing in 2020