Native Ads are Well Suited to the Digital Age
Time Inc. has announced its intention to double down on its native advertising. In a July 2016 announcement, the media company declared its intentions to restructure its editorial and advertising system, including an uptick in the use of native advertising. Native advertising is a type of disguised advertising, in which paid promotional messages mimic the style of the publication where they are placed.
The CEO of Time Inc., Joe Ripp, explained that native branding solutions have provided a large revenue stream for the company. Time has been producing native advertising since 2014 in an effort to improve profits. Print magazines have been suffering circulation and profit loss for many years, as readers turn to online content, and advertisers distribute the greatest share of their budget to online ads.
Time Inc. is not alone. Major newspapers such as the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and The Washington Post have been using native advertising as well.
Poor Book Sales Have Led Publishers to Reinvent the Book
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has released its 2015 final sales estimates, disappointing book publishers. Total industry sales dropped by .6 percent between 2014 and 2015, showing another year-over-year drop. Even though unit sales rose, overall profits have dropped.
Ebooks showed sharply declining revenue, down to $2.84 billion in 2015 compared with $3.20 billion in 2014. Overall, print books’ revenue rose, with paperbacks forming the basis of that revenue. Downloadable audiobooks continued their stratospheric climb, with sales that rose by more than 37 percent since 2014.
The AAP derives its figures by combining sales figures of more than one thousand reporting publishing companies. AAP claims that its estimates reflect sales from other publishers as well. Indie book publishers might paint a different picture of the industry, but these figures denote the climate for major publishers’ book sales.
News Publishers are Frustrated by Ad Blockers
According to research by eMarketer magazine, more than 25 percent of Americans will block online ads this year. More than sixty-nine million Americans are expected to use ad blockers in 2016. That represents a double digit jump in the number of people acting on their frustration with online ads since last year. Moreover, by 2017, more than eighty-six million people are projected to make use of ad blockers.
For survey purposes, eMarketer defined an ad blocking user as anyone who uses the Internet at least once a month via any device that has an enabled ad blocker. Around one in five people have caught on to the utility of these devices, and the idea of reading ad-free content seems to rapidly spreading.
Naturally, marketers and advertisers are dismayed by this trend. Any industry that depends on ad revenue, such as publishing, marketing, and ad agencies, is negatively affected by online users’ efforts to stop ads from appearing. Just when they had adjusted to the online universe by producing digital versions of their wares, the uniquely digital problem of ad blockers grew to epidemic proportions.
Social Media is Becoming the Most Popular News Source
Reading news on social media has become the norm, according to a recent survey by Pew Research. Pew asked 4,654 Americans about their news-acquiring habits and found that 62 percent of adults get their news on social media. That’s a majority of adults, and it represents a shift. In 2012, only 49 percent of adults reported seeing news on social media. While people haven’t completely abandoned newspapers, it’s clear that in order to remain relevant, news corporations have to post their content on social media. Two thirds of Facebook users and 59 percent of Twitter users get their news from those sites. Social media is pervasive, and it’s become the source of all types of information, including serious news.
Free News is Everywhere
Reuters, the esteemed national news agency, recently took a poll of its readers to gauge their current attitude toward paid news. The results do not bode well for the pollsters. Even though their 1,230 respondents claimed to appreciate quality news reporting, they readily admitted their unwillingness to pay for it. Disappointingly, two-thirds said they would not pay for any online content, quality or not. Reuters’ readers seem to be discriminating customers: Eighty-one percent of them agreed that a particular news brand equals trusted content; nine out of ten of them regularly consult with a specific news brand to confirm breaking news. Even though they trust the news brands, they will not part with a dime to ensure the continuity of those news companies. Continue reading