Society needs free and open access to credible information

In the fight against fake news the publishers producing genuine content are desperate for more help from the ad industry. 

Many publishing brands are struggling to pay their content writers and journalists. This is because they are failing to effectively monetise their mobile inventory to compete with Google and Facebook. But to function as a society we need to guarantee free and open access to credible information.

The frustration for publishers is that they know up to 70% of views of their editorial content come from mobile devices but that around 80% of ad spend is still allocated to desktop. In fact, the outlook is dire for publishers that fail to make more of their mobile inventory. As desktop revenues slide over time Google and Facebook will grab more of the funds that do move to mobile.

Finding a solution

There is a real urgency to find more robust ways to finance respected publishers with ‘good ads’ that keep readers happy and engaged so they are not tempted to install ad blockers. Media agencies can be persuaded but they need publishers to have a better understanding of who is viewing their content on mobile.

There are certainly challenges with this. For example, it is difficult to achieve good mobile monetisation from iOS devices compared to Android where cookie matching is used. It is possible to twin cookie data for iOS to help with profiling, but publishers must find new non-intrusive, native technology solutions to, for instance, track user log-ins.

AMP and publisher collaboration

Publishers should collaborate more with one another to agree standards. If they work together they can start to match the sheer scale that Google and Facebook enjoy and which media agencies love.

Being Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) compliant is also extremely important so that publisher mobile sites are more user-friendly. AMP allows them to streamline content templates with purely text, images, videos and ads. And let’s not forget the importance of context in all of this.

Context is paramount

A study of content from Condé Nast, Forbes, Time Inc., and The Atlantic by neuro-marketing company Neuro-Insight discovered that ads are more effective on publishers’ websites than on social news feeds. This is not a surprise to me because it shows that monetising mobile inventory is about much more than just cookie matching.

It is not enough just to match the right user to the right product. A brand must be able to convey its message to people when they are interacting with it in a particular context, such as on a respected news site. This fact has been undervalued for years. It is not in anyone’s interest to let Google and Facebook dictate the news agenda because users will surround themselves with stories that match their own views and prejudices.

The quicker we find reliable and engaging ways to finance publishers via mobile advertising the better.

By Christophe Joyau, Chief Operating Officer