The advertising landscape has undoubtedly been in a state of flux for media companies during the past few months. As a result, many publishers have been working to crack the code on generating steady revenue.
But, with the right strategy, media companies don’t have to move away from advertising revenue. Nor do they need to choose between ad and subscription revenue streams.
“It is becoming clear that advertising and subscription business models are very much connected,” explains Greg Piechota, INMA’s researcher-in-residence. “It seems that because of ... what publishers have learned by building their subscription businesses, they are now reinventing what and how advertising works.”
Lead your media company into the future with confidence by learning what it takes to build a consistently successful revenue model.
Prioritising on-site, targeted ads
From the collapse of third-party cookies to the corrupted algorithms on social media, there’s never been a better time to remove third-party cookies and Big Tech platforms from your advertising strategy.
Publishers will forever be at the whims of Big Tech companies unless they adopt an ad strategy centered around their own digital properties.
Unfortunately, 85% of newsroom executives still depend on third-party technology to grow ad revenues.
By reducing your dependence on third-party social channels and cookies, you can reinvest that energy into collecting first-party data. That way, you can advertise to interested, known audiences who already have strong relationships with your company. Additionally, your organisation has the power to keep content and discussions positive around advertisements on its digital properties.
“One of the advantages of native advertising for independent news outlets is that it returns control to the publishers,” writes James Breiner, a media consultant. “They sell the ads that appear on their sites and keep all the revenue.”
Ultimately, running ads directly on your Web site or app allows your company to show loyal audiences relevant content and offers that align with their interests. And since 72% of consumers favour ads that relate to their preferences, it’s vital that your company has access to its audience’s interest and behavioural data.
Hosting ads in a brand-safe environment while targeting loyal audiences can also help your company strengthen its relationship with advertisers and secure consistent ad revenue.
Value of revenue diversification
While advertising certainly gives publishers the opportunity to generate money, the most effective way to ensure long-term profitability is to unlock additional revenue streams. That way, companies can continue to earn revenue, regardless of advertiser behaviour.
Different revenue streams can also overlap, amplifying one another. For instance, publishers can collect data about their paying subscribers to understand their unique interests, which advertisers can then use to their advantage.
As Mark Glaser, an experienced media consultant, puts it, “[Diversifying] revenues is the best way to be sustainable.”
The key to unlocking ad and subscription revenue
There’s a reason ad revenue and subscription revenue are closely connected: They’re both driven by engaged audiences.
This means publishers can upgrade their revenue growth strategies by building out a robust audience engagement strategy. More specifically, an effective audience engagement plan can encourage people to stay and interact on a publisher’s digital properties longer.
And the more engaged and active people are, the more likely they are to interact with an ad or purchase a subscription.
You can implement community engagement tools directly on your company’s digital properties to increase loyalty and interest from audiences. Plus, your engagement tools should be able to monitor audience behaviour and pump out first-party data.
By combining your advertising and subscription strategies with a data-backed audience engagement plan, you can target your most engaged users with subscription offers and ads.
“The goal is to get the right content marketing and advertising message to the right person at the right time,” states Daniel Hallac, Hearst Newspaper’s chief product officer.
Although publishers have faced their fair share of challenges related to ad revenue in the past, advertising can still play a major role in publisher profitability. Media companies simply need to adjust their ad strategies while bolstering their approaches to subscriptions and audience engagement to maximise revenue in the long run.