2015 Publisher Predictions

As we close out a great 2014, let’s think about how we can have an even better 2015. Looking back at top headlines and discussions within the industry, I’ve narrowed down five of the biggest areas where publishers can reap some great rewards in 2015. Some of these areas may seem trite or repetitive, but there’s a reason why they continue to be mentioned.

Managing Web Traffic

Managing your Web traffic seems like a no brainer, but given how many other tools and new solutions are available to publishers, this area isn’t always at the top of a publisher’s priority list. Today there is a robust amount of site traffic detail available, but are you taking advantage of these resources? What sources may be considered direct traffic may actually be something a little deeper and darker, which could give you better insight on your audience’s motive for bouncing and how you could get them to convert. Social and search traffic sources are high areas of growth for publishers. In fact, in a recent study done by Viglink and Netpop, 81 percent of publishers who had a high percentage of repeat visitors get traffic from social media and blogs/sites receive 40 percent of all traffic from search engines.

Viewability

If you’ve done any monitoring of what the industry is talking about and what brands are demanding, it’s that the ads they purchase must be viewable. In 2015 brands will not invest in ads that are not seen. If you have historically depended on below-the-fold revenue, this well is starting to run dry. With viewability monitors like Integral Ad Science, Moat, and others gaining widespread adoption, ad placements living below the fold or out of view have little chances of surviving. Publishers need to develop a viewability strategy in 2015.

Battling the Bots

Safety first for any publisher site – there is still a need to protect yourself from harmful bot traffic. According to a recent article from Business Insider, botnets cause $11.6 billion in wasted advertising budgets. Bot traffic has many harmful implications for a publisher, namely supporting fraudulent non-human traffic, which in turn could harm the publisher’s brand integrity. Simply put, brands do not want to risk their brand safety and wasted media spend on publishers with high incidence of bot traffic. So how can publishers minimize their risk getting mixed up with the wrong crowd? Start by educating yourself on what is considered bot traffic and what is being done to battle bot traffic. Get a clear understanding of how your traffic is behaving and dig deeper into the abnormal traffics to see the level of risk potential. Vet your vendors. Make sure that you are working with trustworthy partners that could not infringe upon your brand’s integrity. For more information on how you can further protect yourself against bots, see this recent article.

Optimize Sharing Economy

Social is important. With more than 50 percent of traffic coming from search and social, you need to embrace the sharing economy. One effort is to capture users who enter your site from social, and another strategy would be to optimize your content to enable greater outbound sharing. Earlier I had mentioned how you may not have the full picture of how your audience navigates to your site or even how they interact with your content. What’s the largest social network? It’s not what you think – more than 71 percent of social shares occur via Dark Social (e.g. email and chat) and 82 percent of all shares occur via copy and paste. Aside from optimizing your light social platforms, make sure that you don’t leave email out of the equation with industry leading content sharing tools.

Partner Up for Programmatic

Programmatic is not going anywhere. In fact, programmatic spend is slated to grow by 47.9 percent in 2015 according to eMarketer. If you aren’t already working with programmatic partners or even if you are, there are a few things that you should consider when choosing or reviewing programmatic buyers. First, make sure that you are working with trustworthy partners. You don’t want to undo any of the optimization work that you’ve done or trigger any bot traffic. Do your partners have a viewability plan in place to get you the best buyers to increase your yield with quality in-view ads? Your partners should also be transparent so that you can ensure your brand is safe and that you are working with quality buyers. Your partners should support all of your 2015 goals.

Summary

In summary, publishers will reap great rewards in 2015 if they manage their Web traffic, make sure their monetization efforts are viewable, protect themselves against bot traffic, optimize their sharing economy, and partner up for programmatic.

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