Content is King

“Content is King” was the credo of online publishers in the early days. However, despite all of the initial talk about the value of content online, most publishers rushed to give away their content, audience, and traffic to Google, and more recently Facebook, in an effort to secure digital ad dollars.

Experience shows that for the vast majority of content creators, relying on search and social media to drive traffic has been a reckless mission. We now know virtually 100% of the growth in digital advertising revenue has gone to Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

In the meantime, the Wild West of programmatic advertising—with no barriers to entry on the demand side and no lack of inventory on the supply side—has resulted in a race to the bottom in yields, quality, and business practices.  Some argue, reasonably, that the banner ad/click bait model has killed the online experience.

There is no way to put this proverbial toothpaste back into the tube! Publishers have helped create an environment where economic viability is dependent, to a large extent, on low yield, often low quality banner and display advertising while at the same time becoming increasingly dependent on Facebook for new traffic.

This is an unsustainable strategy that leaves publishers at the mercy of programmatic ad agencies, whose only motivation is to find sessions to sell into. Facebook is draining the new digital ad spend away from publishers while using their content to create communities.

Newspaper publishers who are successfully fighting back have come to the realization that content is indeed king. They know that an engaged, human audience is critical to support local retail and brand advertising sales, and subscription models. Understanding individual user behaviours is essential to leverage referral traffic from all sources, including Facebook, to create new traffic and audience growth for the benefit of the publisher.

The only way to build an audience that is loyal, engaged, and desirable for high value branded and local retail advertisers is this: adopting behavioural content personalization technologies and utilizing audience and traffic analytics to manage the presentation of high quality, credible content across websites.

Mark Walker, President, 250 462 3783

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