Online Media Trends: Social, Audience, Ad-Free

Monitoring the latest online media trends with some help from Folio

The phrase online media trends can run the gamut, of course – in this day and age, it might mean anything on the internet.

But we use it to mean topics of interest to digital publishers, and in this case, that includes magazines on social media and their codependent relationship with Facebook Instant Articles and its ilk, along with data-driven publishing and the ever-present but often confounding revenue opportunities around digital advertising.

This time around, we check in with for the latest. Let’s take a look!

Silber With a Shot Across the Bow on Social Publishing

Is Folio Vice President Tony Silber the voice in the wilderness when it comes to publishing on social media, or, more to the point, giving away your publishing content to social media? His latest piece presents more arguments in favor of a skeptical approach to services like Facebook Instant Articles.

“For all the ‘smartest-people-in-the-room’ posturing of some media-company executives, there’s something unexplainable about why you’d turn over your content unconditionally and free-of-charge to giant social-media companies, which are generating billions on it. Note to magazine-media executives: Social media clearly is a fabulously innovative 21st Century town square, but it’s not altruistic. It doesn’t exist as a grand platform for your monetization and audience-engagement experiments. It exists to make money for its owners, and that money is coming out of your revenue and from your content,” Silber writes.

“Look at it another way: You hire the best talent in the world, pay that talent a lot of money to generate great content, and then give it to another company, free. You enhance the other company’s audience experience, and you know that the other company is selling massive amounts of advertising against your content, while you’re hoping to monetize the traffic from clickthroughs. What’s more, in doing this, you’re also making yourself too dependent on a single source of traffic, vulnerable to that company’s whims. Terrific.”

HBR Customer Analytics Chief on Data-Driven Publishing

The Harvard Business Review does great audience development and harvests excellent consumer date, and they’re making it a point of emphasis to utilize it. interviews Director of Customer Analytics and Insights Carrie Bourke to see how they’re doing so.

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“Effective uses are email campaign execution; segmentation and modeling, which allow you to better target your universe; and analytics. At HBR we offer several ways for our users to interact with our brand — read, save and share content; register on; subscribe to our magazine; sign up for a newsletter; follow us on social; watch a webinar; buy a product — so we’re able to capture a vast and varied amount of customer data,” Bourke tells Becky Peterson.

“Our marketing database serves as the repository where all this data is brought together, providing a rich 360-degree view of our member community. This data provides value to stakeholders across the organization, facilitating a robust email program, advanced segmentation for targeting and personalization, and reporting and insight analysis.”

How’s the Ad-Free Approach Treating Prevention?

Rodale’s Prevention went ad-free back in June. What has been the impact so far? And how does it affect online media trends? recently interviewed new Editor in Chief Barbara O’Dair to find out.

“It’s too early for numbers, but I know just judging by letters and word-of-mouth that the response has been very, very good. We’ve been getting a lot more letters than we used to. People are really paying attention,” O’Dair tells Greg Dool.

“We have all kinds of ways that we encourage our readers to go online. Online is booming, especially video. We are discussing the prospect of a paywall for editorial content, and if video works in general, it’s nice to know that we can offer bonus content of that sort behind the paywall. … Most editors at this point have had some digital experience. Every editor I’ve hired since I’ve been here has run some kind of digital product or business. That said, I just hired, for the print side, a new executive editor and a new executive health director, which were two linchpin positions that were open when I got here.”

Which online media trends are you tracking? Let us know in the comments!

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