1-to-1 personalization was nearing the end of the marketing hype cycle, when it suddenly morphed into something-something Artificial Intelligence. Regardless of how it is actually implemented, personalization is not the solution to publishing industry’s main problems: how to counter decreasing advertising CPMs and how to take back control of their audience from the platforms. At best, personalization can increase engagement of already engaged subscribers. As a solution, it’s got more in common with the “show more ads on the page” strategy for increasing revenue than it does with something that can actually change the course of publisher business models.
I expand on this in my contributor post at the Association of National Advertisers: The Truth Behind Personalization: Why It Doesn’t Solve Publishers’ Biggest Problem
This is a byline I wrote for PerformanceIN. While PerformanceIn is an advertiser focused publication, publishers are a critical part of the ecosystem so their woes should be of concern to advertisers.
The gold rush to programmatic created a digital “tragedy of the commons,” with too many publishers providing too much inventory supply, and CPMs began to plummet. This might sound like a good thing for advertisers – after all publisher revenues are advertiser costs. But publishers are supplementing their falling revenue simply by placing more ads. This hurts the reader experience, erodes trust, and reduces ad performance due to systemic “ad blindness.”
How Programmatic Has Hurt Publishers and Why Advertisers Should Care
My article on Martech Advisor about why and how publishers should diversify away from Facebook and programmatic to survive:
Why Direct Relationships with your Audiences are more Important than Ever
Having lived in Austin for 17 years and maybe being a little jaded on SXSW hype, I wrote this opinion piece on how Email still thrives, despite a parade of startups through SXSW Interactive that aim to kill it.
What’s going to kill email this year at SXSW? Probably nothing, again
Email has always been a (maybe the) lucrative way for political organizations to raise funds come election time. I was interviewed by USA Today on this topic … I really wanted to say more, but I have several political advocacy clients at PostUp that send exactly this kind of email and wanted to respect their privacy.
Campaigns see dollar signs in AOL email addresses
This article ran in the paper edition also. At least I can check “quoted on the front page of USA Today” off my bucket list.
In reaction to the latest of Facebook’s publisher harming algorithm and product changes, I was asked by State of Digital to suggest ways to boost engagement on Facebook. In fact, the best way to use Facebook to drive engagement is to use Facebook to establish a direct relationship with your audience (the Facebook one publisher’s don’t actually own), so that you depend less on Facebook as a channel.
10 Ways to Boost Facebook Engagement Without Ads
10. Encourage Fans to Interact via Other Channels
Brands can also use social media to encourage interaction via other more direct avenues like email.
“This newsfeed change is cause for publishers to stop building their greatest asset on borrowed land,” said Keith Sibson, vice president of product and marketing at email marketing firm PostUp. “Publishers and brands must figure out how to stop being reliant on social platforms for developing their audience. There is great reward in organically nurturing and growing audience relationships.”
When Google changes their algorithm publicly, everyone should take notice. In this case, Google is penalizing “intrusive interstitials” in mobile search results. Fair enough, these interstitials are often annoying and spammy, but there’s a real risk to legitimate publishers just trying to engage their audience. I wrote an article on Martech Advisor about how to avoid these problems. (Note that I did not choose the title, I’m not encouraging anyone to circumvent Google’s crackdown, only to stay within Google guidelines as to what constitutes a good mobile user experience.)
How to Circumvent Google’s Crackdown on Mobile Pop-ups