Publishers: Know your worth and start demanding it

It’s time for publishers to understand their true value, and to demand a greater share of advertising revenue by playing to their strengths, and in the process reset their advertiser relationships, writes Hector Pantazopoulos, Co-Founder and CRO of SourceKnowledge.

In a content-driven world, why does it consistently feel like publishers are getting the short end of the stick? It takes talent (as well as blood, sweat and tears) to create a stream of engaging content. A publisher that is able to help drive conversions benefits both its readers and its advertisers.

However, the media company’s allotment of these benefits is skewed. Users get unique content, advertisers get increased awareness and sales and publishers get… an incremental percentage of the returns.

Today, many content providers, news sources and blogs live in a world where advertising payouts are based on the lowest common denominator. But that world is changing.

When the death of the third-party cookie eventually happens, advertisers will pay more attention to which websites their desired audiences linger on and click through to cart without the easy access to consumer data. This gives publishers a negotiating opportunity. By exploring new advertising sources on the open web, publishers can take full control of their sites and increase their revenue streams.

The collapse of direct relationships

With walled gardens and the growth of the programmatic ecosystem, advertisers and publishers are rarely in direct contact anymore. Today, it’s most often the case that advertisers put their ads up for auction and take the prices they can get. Even without a direct relationship with advertisers, publishers don’t have to only settle for what any single platform thinks you deserve. Especially, if connecting with your readers is helping marketers drive sales.

Knowing your worth

Publishers are putting forth the legwork in curating their audiences, so they should be able to reap the rewards of this effort. Statistics suggest that there are over 50 million independent content creators operating today. With so many micro-entrepreneurs in the marketplace, finding and curating a loyal audience is that much more difficult.

Publishers have to think carefully about the specific niche they want to inhabit. Once you have a loyal following, there is plenty of money to be made in this market, with estimates that the market will reach $41.64 billion by the end of 2022. Publishers need to demand an increased share of those billions.

Publishers’ websites are created with a specific purpose in mind, and with this knowledge, they should feel empowered to seek new sources of revenue. By examining their audiences’ interests, they can begin to consider the types of advertisers that would do best on their site. From there, it is a matter of determining optimal ways for connecting those advertisers with their readers to maximize revenues.

Create Competition

The open web has a wealth of advertising options. It may be simple to plug into one of the major players— such as Google or Facebook— but working with only one platform will hinder your ability to drive greater revenue. Most platforms will monetize your site’s content in a way that works best for them, not you. With a variety of options, you can take direct control of your revenue streams.

One way to promote better yields is by inviting competing advertisers to bid on your site by working with multiple platforms. If there is more demand for your supply, your return increases.

When considering which platforms may be most impactful for your audience, it is critical to balance the risk and reward. It may feel safe to work with a more well-known platform like one of the walled gardens, but the payout for choosing to work with open web platforms who may not be household names can be significantly higher.

Understand Your Numbers

Most publishers prefer to deal with words, but understanding your numbers and how to use them to tell the story of what you offer advertisers is critical. Quality and recurring users are vital to advertisers, and more audience data can help drive more advertisers. It is also critical to measure how your ads perform. If you know ads on your site are helping to actually drive conversions, you have stronger bargaining power.

Advocate for your site

Your content is unique. When it comes to monetizing your website, you should have a strategy that is equally individualistic— and tailored with you and your audience’s interests in mind. Finding a balance between the technology giants and independent platforms and keeping track of your metrics will help craft this strategy that optimizes revenue streams.

Hector Pantazopoulos
Co-Founder and CRO of SourceKnowledge

SourceKnowledge, founded in 2009, is an ad network that helps performance marketers and E-Commerce stores get an incremental lift in sales outside of Google, Facebook and Amazon. Its advanced UI and tools allow for precise campaign management for thousands of advertisers and increased page yield for publishers.