Why Niche Pubs Should Ally

Publishers of all shapes and sizes are grappling with the ever-changing media landscape. Small to mid-sized publishers, however, face different challenges than larger, more established outlets. Digiday spoke with Stephane Pere, vp at Ideas People Media, an ad network  owned by The Economist Group that targets niche publications like Technology Review and Kiplingers.

What can niche publications do to show agencies they’re worth their time?
The natural path for them is to go down custom executions, generate ideas that have integrated solutions. Branded content is a great way to have a conversation. If we just focus on the display side, it’s hard to get in front of buyers. One solution is to build an alliance with like minded pubs. It goes to the threshold of reach, the cornerstone of how buyers buy. Align with other publications that can compete on the reach side of the buy. There are different ways to do that: An alliance can be based on common demographics or profiles; it could be a mindset or topic-oriented — let’s say publishers all covering sport or science. I think in order to tap into display advertising, small and medium-sized publishers need to merge together to offer a cohesive product for marketers.

How can publishers close the revenue gap in mobile?
The first step was how can publishers fill the gap between print and online. Now it’s desktop to mobile. With mobile, we face a certain challenge that print had to face. Why? Because online advertising was seen as search. So online was always associated with option based buys, CPCs, CPA, etc, and it took a long time for marketers to look at online as a branding platform. This maturity phase is the same with mobile. We look at mobile as a targeting solution — geotargeting solution. But the reality is mobile is changing. In order for publishers to get money from mobile, they need to stress to marketers there is national reach at scale. They need to explain on mobile, there are other behaviors — game, search, reading — and that’s where they need to be. Some say mobile is a one type of market, because most of the buys are on a gaming environment. The reality is if we can explain that publishers have a specific usage — reading or engaging content — it’s another context which can lead to much higher cmps.

How are publishers taking advantage of responsive ads?
Publishers can focus more on sponsorship opportunities and high visibility of things. Interestingly, the big difference with mobile is that the nature of mobile — with small screens — commands sure ad units. Everyone’s trying to figure out what — should it be small overlay or one piece? That brings more engagement with ads; it brings better interactivity. Engagement with the ad, for marketers to build interactive ads in a mobile environment, is important.

Can publishers monetize from social networks?
Everyone’s struggling how to tap into this market. One way is to think, Shall publishers be able to retarget fans on social platforms? Why not shall they be able to target people sharing on the social platform? The market is switching from media silos to a content approach. In order to survive they need to monetize. On social networks, they need to be able to monetize the content on other platforms. But to do that the need to reach agreement with the platforms and have revenue share. If I’m a publisher, I believe in equity and audience profile, and will be more than happy to target an audience anywhere the content is consumed.

What about video? 
The big challenge is for print publishers. First, how to figure out how to develop an embed strategy. It can be expensive or doesn’t fit into a digital strategy. One way to have a video advertising strategy is to start to get content from other publishers. Publishers sharing their video content with other publishers, creating a private marketplace for content between like minded publishers can be beneficial. It creates more content for the audience and more ability to monetize.


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