All Digital Magazine Advertising Roads Lead Back to Viewability, Targeting

Is viewability a ‘headache’ or an opportunity? How much of targeting depends on Facebook? And what do scrolling and video mean for digital magazine advertising?

Digital magazine advertising is by no means the only way to generate revenue in publishing – subscription strategy, events, and membership benefits drive performance, as well – but it remains a strong model that can reap benefits when done right.

Easier said than done, of course, especially when metrics tend to shift with each passing week. Recently, viewability has emerged as the biggest concern in digital magazine advertising, with buyers being increasingly more selective and discerning.

But publishers have other arrows in their quiver, including video and social, that can improve viewability and business outcomes for marketers. Let’s take a look at some recent stories from Digiday that cover these topics and others.

The Challenge of Mobile Viewability in Digital Magazine Advertising

In a recent article, Digiday explores the “headache” of mobile ad viewability. Here’s why:

“A big reason the mobile viewability issue has been a sleeping giant is that the viewability standards that the Media Ratings Council issued last year were specific to desktop devices. David Gunzerath, svp, associate director at the MRC, said that’s because the council recognized that mobile behaviors (scrolling and swiping) are different from desktop,” writes Lucia Moses.

“The MRC plans to issue a statement as early as this week providing interim guidelines for how mobile viewability should be measured in advance of having permanent guidelines by the end of the year, and it’s open to considering the difference in environment in setting mobile standards. Facebook has already taken a stance, saying it considers ads viewable as soon as they appear on a screen, which is lower than the MRC’s definition that says 50 percent of an ad has to be viewable for at least one second to be counted as viewable.


“So for now, publishers are trying to get ahead of the issue by using units that are designed for mobile viewability. For buyers, in-app mobile video formats such as pre-roll, interstitial, value-exchange video and native video are some of the most viewable (as well as prominent) ad placements, said David Kurtz, svp of product strategy at Opera Mediaworks.”

Facebook Tries Its Hand at Niche Targeting for Publishers

Facebook and publishers continue their amour fou with a new feature on the social giant: interest targeting with content. While audiences may shrink, they’ll also strengthen, Facebook promises, as stories will be read by consumers with corresponding likes.

The New York Times is among the early adopters of this new development tool.

The Atlantic Says Farewell to Infinite Scrolling

Recently, we relayed news about the infinite scrolling backlash: What was once a darling of publishers is now problematic because of its potential threats to digital magazine advertising. Buyers fear that too much content can drown their ads.

The Atlantic is the latest to reject infinite scrolling with its recent redesign, Digiday reports.

IDG Establishes Video Hub

IDG is taking the leap into dedicated video production, months after leveraging its audience to further monetize content from media properties like Macworld, PCWorld, NetworkWorld, and CIO. In effect, this is another studio-style approach to digital magazine advertising, minus the “magazine.”

Mashable’s Interesting Instagram Strategy

Mashable has parlayed its Instagram prowess into an event strategy and new approach to publishing.

“Mashable’s Instagram success might make sense considering the site got its start covering social media. Publishers and brands have traditionally tried to use Instagram as yet another top-down broadcast medium. Some, including Mashable itself, even try to use it to drive traffic by updating the link on their Instagram profile page each time they share new stories. Unlike Twitter or even Facebook, Instagram, however, is designed to keep users in, not send them out, which has forced publishers to change how they approach it,” Ricardo Bilton writes.

“Such an approach has become increasingly popular among publishers. Last year, BuzzFeed launched BuzzFeed Distributed, a division dedicated to making content that lives off of BuzzFeed itself. In February, NowThis took that approach to the extreme by scrapping its website entirely. The first publishers to sign up for Snapchat Discover, which doesn’t link back to publisher pages, have also read the tea leaves.”

How are your digital magazine advertising efforts progressing? What can you share with us in the comments?

To read more about digital advertising trends and more, visit Digiday.

    Amanda M.

    Hi Jamiel,

    Infinite scrolling is typically referring to website design and mobile site design, where pagination is eliminated completely. This means that readers can read an article and the next article is directly underneath, like a long scroll of content. Some users find it disorienting when the design forces them scroll down as their only option for navigating content.


    What’s meant by “infinite scrolling”?

    Is that in reference to reflow making the pages longer?


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