Users want high quality content, advertisers want to engage those users, and publishers want to keep their doors open. To satiate all of these wants, publishers are forever looking for ways to finesse their ad monetization so that they that can support the cost of production without turning away users. This search isn’t easy, and a recent report by eMarketer highlights just how difficult it is.
In the newly released report entitled The Value of Digital Media: How Advertisers Value Content, and How Publishers Can Make It More Valuable, eMarketer examines how publishers can create content that is more valuable to advertisers & more enjoyable for its readers.
For some content publishers, this means better determining what content is behind a paywall and what is made available publicly and supported with advertisements. To determine this, publishers like Hears are “tracking readers of free content to determine what they are most interested in,” so that they may build and promote paid content options accordingly.
For news outlets, this analysis is paying off. According to Reuters, news subscriptions were up 7% last year over 2016.
The key here is that the publishers are doing a better job at making content that is perceived as valuable by their audiences. As noted by Fred Ryan of the Washington Post, millennials in particular “have grown accustomed to paying for products and services they view as valuable and even essential.”
Nevertheless, ad revenue still claims 3 of the top 4 most important digital revenue streams for publishers surveyed, with video advertising leading the pack.
Unfortunately, users today are also more likely than ever to ignore or block ads outright if they’re seen as detrimental to the experience or irrelevant to their interests. Indeed, eMarketer states that 46% of millennials, 33% of Gen Xers, and 18% of baby boomers will use an ad blocker this year.
What to Do About It
So how do publishers ensure that their ad placements don’t entice users to block ads, and how do advertisers ensure their ads are seen by interested users? There’s a few best practices to consider, including:
- Ensure ads load quickly.
- Ensure content is trustworthy.
- Encourage sincere engagement.
Improving Load Times
If the ad takes too long to load, the user could either scroll right past it or exit the content entirely, which is ideal for neither the publisher or advertiser. As such, publishers should heavily weigh ad partners on their ability to deliver ads without delay or lag.
Yes, much has been said about the need for brands to advertise in safe environments, and the fact that users are 28% more likely to trust ads within publisher apps (69%) than on social media (54%) is a testament to the power that ad placement can have on the advertiser’s ability to sway an audience.
However, it’s also important to note that the need for trust goes both ways. Publishers also need to know that the ads running within their content are perceived as trustworthy. In order for this trust to be attained, the content being advertised should be aligned both tonally and stylistically with the parent content.
Encouraging Sincere Engagement
For publishers, this is twofold. First, consider ad placement types where the user chooses to initiate the ad. Second, ensure that any ad placement doesn’t illicit false engagements.
For advertisers, it boils down to remembering that “a real person is engaging with the content”, developing ad creative that is accordingly interesting and enticing, and placing these creatives in channels where users actually want to engage with the brand.
Join the Conversation
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