Digital Publishing
4 mins read

What’s Hot and What’s Not – The Journey Through 2017

2017 has been a rollercoaster for the publishing industry. We’ve faced a number of big challenges and have come out the other end. But what will we face in 2018?  In this article, What’s New In Publishing asks some of the key industry influencers to discuss the hot topics of 2017.

Why has this been the year that ad fraud and brand safety dominate the agenda?

Joy Dean, ‎Director, Partnerships & Platform Sales at Widespace UK said, “All in all this year hasn’t been a great year for brand safety, with YouTube feeling most of the heat. Nor for ad fraud with Hyphbot following last year’s Methbot, and reportedly being responsible for 300m fake views a day. No wonder the likes of P&G have been speaking out against digital and cutting spend in response. By and large, corners have been cut and bad practice has been allowed to continue unchecked.

However, it is possible to guarantee 100% viewability and brand safety if we exclusively work with premium partners and properly harness the data and technology at our fingertips – as well as committing to third party traffic auditing. Initiatives such as the IAB Gold Standard should help encourage this behaviour, but it shouldn’t be the only motivator. As marketers become increasingly clued up and rightly question ROI the industry must future-proof itself by cleaning up its act by focusing on premium, measurable and viewable inventory, especially on mobile.”

What is going to be the most important ad format for publishers in 2018?

Video, video and yet more video” commented James Pringle, co-founder and CEO of Suggestv,Video is emotive, powerful, and more engaging than most content online. As such, it’s expected to account for more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019, currently a third of people’s time spent online is watching videos, and according to YouTube mobile video consumption grows 100% every year.

“Publishers need to keep up with this tidal wave of engaging and relevant video content if they want to survive and strive in 2018. Many publishers are at risk of becoming overly-reliant on low quality clickbait to generate income, which can diminish the brand and come at the expense of engagement. Advertising should reflect the premium nature of the editorial and video is perfect for this. Pre-roll generates 10x higher CPM earnings than display advertising, and is being used by the tech power-houses to take an even bigger slice of the digital advertising revenue pie.

“As newsrooms are getting smaller and doing everything to save on costs, the time journalists are having to spend away from content creation is increasing, so it’s going to be an interesting year in the industry.”

Why is viewability still such a hot topic?

“Let’s face it, an ad that is never seen has no value at all. The industry has a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be. Rather than measuring clicks, fans, likes or other proxies for engagement, we should start by asking “are our ads actually being seen?” says Eric Visser, CEO & Founder JustPremium.

“The move to mobile makes this quandary even more complicated and a recent viewability study by Meetrics explained that the decrease in viewability was due to mobile devices. The way that we engage with content on our phones is very different to desktop, and users tend to scroll past adverts much more quickly. We know that consumers are using mobile more and more, so it’s our responsibility to make sure we provide ad products that cater to users’ mindsets and behaviors on their mobile devices.

With our viewability centric approach, we focus on the quality of the ad that is being served. Most often, quality creative is the deciding factor for consumers when they choose to engage with an ad or not. Ad units that are designed for purpose, and have higher viewability rates, benefit both the brands and the publishers that we work with.”

What’s the hot topic for 2018?

“GDPR will dominate the digital publishing & marketing landscape in 2018, and it offers a unique opportunity for improved practices.” says Raman Sidhu, VP Business Development at Beemray. He continued: “Due to the need for explicit opt-in consent it will also greatly alter how data is used to target consumers.

“To truly harness the revenue opportunity, publishers will need to look to new sources of first party data. Real-time consumer behaviour is primarily about location and context. This location data, minus non-compliant Personally Identifiable Information (PII), will drive effective and compliant advertising in a post-GDPR world.

“Real-time segmentation and targeting based on reliable location data will be crucial to good marketing in 2018 and beyond. This means publishers, advertisers and marketers remain compliant. Most importantly, consumers are given relevant experiences at all times.”


We’ll leave you with one final thought.  A former professor of entrepreneurial management at Harvard Business School, Clark Gilbert, undertook a study of disrupted industries and said, “In industries that are being disrupted, only 9 per cent of companies make it. Of the 9 per cent that make it, all of them had set up a separate disruptive business unit.”

For newspapers, the same academic found that websites that separate their online organisations from the newspaper were more than twice as innovative than sites that remained integrated into the newspaper. More importantly, these sites gained 60 per cent higher market penetration.”