Tip Sheet for Publishers: Seven Ways to Overcome the Crisis and Take Off When the Market Resurges
We intended to overview news and tendencies in online advertising, but it so happened that anti-crisis measures are now trending more than anything else. The main piece of advice - optimise everything within your reach.
There is an upside: as the market has not yet revived and agreements with advertisers are paused, publishers can spare some time for enhancing their domains. Another piece of good news: with long-term effects, these measures are worth paying attention to, even for those who are barely affected by the crisis.
Here’s a list of actions that help publishers not only stay afloat but also grow their business:
- Improving SEO.
Google’s algorithms now recognise synonyms and grammatical relationships between words. Thus, the browser selects search results not only by exact keywords matching but also by context. However, starting next year, the browser introduces three new ranking signals: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift. If the website aims for the top placement, its content had better not be undermined by UX issues.
- Considering omnichannel.
Since 2017, the share of mobile traffic has increased quite modestly, remaining within 55% of the total volume, and in Western countries the desktop remains ahead. The audience of messengers and CTV is snowballing, and this trend will prevail for the next few years. The number of voice and mobile web search queries is also on the rise. Therefore, the publisher must take into account all possible website use scenarios.
- Protecting the ad platform from fraud.
Transactions made through open auctions are at most risk of malvertising. There are three sides to keeping invalid traffic away from one’s platform: weeding out unreliable actors, increasing the platform’s attractiveness to trustworthy actors, and filtering impressions using Ad Quality vendors. IAB-led initiatives and associations like the Trustworthy Accountability Group provide useful guidance for such matters.
- Selling more inventory.
While large deals are on hold, publishers have given a second chance to self-serve solutions - custom platforms that enable small and medium-sized advertisers to book inventory, edit creatives, set targeting, and track campaign delivery, all by themselves. That way, publishers receive incremental revenue without overloading the sales team and ad ops. Both the publisher and the advertiser benefit from eliminating any intermediaries and from an ensured brand-safe environment.
- Automating work processes.
Algorithms drastically outperform humans at handling routine, standardised tasks and complex computations based on large data volumes. So, it is only sensible to automate such processes. Thus, employees could concentrate on the platform development instead of day after day downloading and filtering data, filling out template documents, or trying to analyse Big Data in Excel.
- Updating IT architecture.
Obsolete hardware is slow and fails often. Software with no regular updates is vulnerable, does not receive bug fixes, and is often painful to use. Over the years of growth, infrastructure turns patchy and fragmented. All of the above affect productivity and put the business at risk. Regular revision and updates of an IT architecture help prevent technical problems and build a solid foundation for growth.
- Conducting a business audit and selecting the best partners.
The market is under constant change, so the company should review its goals, strategies and methods every so often. A business auditor will help optimise internal processes, strengthen weak links to the desired level, and reduce costs. The next step is to analyse the partner network. If a relationship drains resources rather than brings benefits, the publisher needs to change either contract terms or vendor or even abandon the partnership altogether.
The steps described above allow publishers to expand their audience, cut costs, and avoid layoffs. We will elaborate on each of them in the subsequent articles.
This coming series only addresses the most common pressure points, and they all boil down to the same notion — use the current lull wisely.
And may the next year be successful for all publishers.