Publisher Monetization: Video, Display Ads, Facebook

The latest moves in publisher monetization strategy come from the likes of the Atlantic, Upworthy, Vox, and Lad Bible

Popular industry opinion says publisher monetization of video, digital advertising, and social media is a 21st-century challenge.

The thinking goes that previous generations of magazines – read: print – were blessed with a much more straightforward task than we have: Produce quality content and distribute it effectively via subscriptions and newsstand.

But popular industry opinion is wrong.

The aforementioned 21st-century challenge is actually age-old; it’s simply the same song, different verse. Or, put another way, the straightforward task that our predecessors faced is still the one we face today: Produce quality content and distribute it effectively.

If anything, you have more options than ever. Readers, do, too, of course, which means you have to step up your game – but the reward is full-throttle revenue streams when you find the right formula.

Mequoda can help you with that part. And Digiday – one of the foremost monitors of digital publishing news – can help you track the trends that will shape your strategy. Let’s take a look at quartet of their recent articles.

How the Atlantic Is Monetizing Video Content

Look, we can’t all be the Atlantic. They’ve been around forever and will always be one of the elites. And we have tremendous admiration for Atlantic Media. But it’s good to know that even they are struggling to figure out the art of monetizing video content.

“Traffic for The Atlantic’s video, while still relatively small, has grown. The Atlantic averages 520,000 streams a month on its own site, and 334,000 views on YouTube, where it has 9,755 subscribers. Overall traffic to has also grown 42 percent in the last year to 10.6 million monthly uniques, according to comScore. The video team, which started the year at seven people, will double this year,” Ricardo Bilton writes.

“The perpetual challenge: balancing the The Atlantic’s highbrow reputation with the kind of lowbrow content that works best on the Web.”

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That’s the key point here. Sometimes the right fit is out of your comfort zone. Experimentation is the key when it comes to audience development.

“There’s definitely a tension between longer, in-depth storytelling and the smaller, snackable stuff,” Atlantic Video Executive Producer Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg tells Digiday, “but there’s still a lot of space to find more visual short-form ideas that work for this audience.”

Facebook for Publishers: the Lad Bible

How is the Lad Bible working social media? According to Digiday, they’re utilizing follower-generated video that drives hundreds of millions of views per month.

Vox Media Explains Its Display Ad Tactics

Vox has a 27-person team that produces custom banners and other display ads, Digiday reports, and the reason is better blending, content management, and targeting. While there are questions of scalability, the quality of Vox’s connection outweighs any loss in quantity.

Upworthy Shifts Gears on Monetizing Content

Upworthy might be known for clickbait, fairly or unfairly, but the publisher is now moving away from curating content and instead concentrating on creating it, Digiday reports.

“Those headlines alone are not enough to drive a huge amount of viral traffic,” founder Eli Pariser tells Bilton. “If they were you would see every media company growing the way we had. The other critical part is the content you’re delivering has to be what people want to share in large numbers. It’s not just headlines, also the number of likes and comments. You’re telling stories that move people.”

Are you a publisher? Monetization on your mind? Start with a free download of our Subscription Website Publishing Handbook!

To read more about publisher monetization in the news, visit Digiday.



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