This article appears in the latest issue of Digiday magazine, a quarterly publication that is part of Digiday+. Members of Digiday+ get access to exclusive content, original research and member events throughout the year. Learn more here.
The end of the year is a time for resolutions, for vowing to do better in areas you fell short, even if you know you’ll probably again come up short. Here are our resolutions in the Digiday editorial group.
We’ll be honest about what’s real and what’s PR in digital media. There is a lot of doubletalk and outright fabrications in the market. Our job isn’t to fall for it.
We will highlight verifiable success stories. There are many instances of sustainable media businesses being built. There are many marketers contributing to building a sustainable media environment.
We’ll go back and check on what people claimed. There’s a lot of talk in digital media, especially in areas that are unverifiable. Everyone complains about Comscore but it is a measurement. We need to hold people accountable for the things they claim about their businesses.
We’ll ask if that’s good. Many executives claim progress in cherry-picked areas. “Subscriptions are up 200 percent” and “We sold out of the t-shirts in three hours.” But too often there’s little in the way of a benchmark to truly judge whether this is progress.
We will always ask people how profitable their platform initiatives are, as in actual money and not traffic or “exposure.”
We will always ask people for churn when they brag about their subscriptions growth.
We’ll go beyond the biggest names. There are many success stories in digital media among smaller, vertical players. These deserve more attention than the giants undergoing their latest reorg or reorientation.
We’ll stop with the “pivot to video.” The pivot to video and its many variations is now dead and gone. It’s time to move past it.
We’ll be more diverse in our sources. On the Digiday Podcast, we’ve too often had very similar white male executives. Same goes for events. This is, in part, a reflection on the state of the media and marketing industries, but we need to work harder to find other voices.
We won’t let publishers blame Facebook for everything. Businesses set their own strategy (or should). All publishers are responsible for the decisions they made. Blaming Facebook doesn’t let them off the hook.
We’ll refocus on the underbelly of digital advertising. One of the many lies of digital media is that inventory is limitless. The amount of fraud in the market continues to be high, and this is money that isn’t going to legitimate publishers.
We won’t call every small e-commerce player DTC. There’s something interesting going on with digitally native brands challenging incumbents, but DTC has become yet another buzzword.
Speaking of buzzwords, we’ll use far fewer of these: blockchain, AI, micro-influencers, purpose and engagement.
We won’t lose sight of the human cost of failures. There will be more carnage in media in 2019, and many of those most acutely affected aren’t at blame for poor decisions made by well-paid executives who should have known better.
Here’s to surviving 2019.