Publishers are still working out journalism on mobile devices. While basic responsive design is usually a given today, mobile article formats haven’t dramatically changed. Most innovation happens on platforms like Facebook Instant Articles and Snapchat Discover – not on owned-and-operated sites. Which is why Quartz’s app, a conversational news app launched in February, is a fascinating use case for publishers trying to crack mobile.
Facebook’s recent courtship of publishers – like its attempt to move them onto Instant Articles, paying them to produce Facebook Live videos and allowing the posting of sponsored posts on their feeds – hasn’t insulated publishers from Facebook’s algorithm adjustments. On Wednesday, Facebook said it will change its algorithm to focus its news feed on friends and family posts. That includes articles friends share, but it will reduce the amount of posts from publishers that users follow.
Admiral, a performance marketing solution designed to help publishers reacquire and monetize audiences who use ad blockers, launched Monday with a $2.5 million seed round. Admiral identifies audiences with ad blockers turned on, works to re-establish those users (by opting in to a lightened ad experience, say, or asking to be whitelisted) and then makes a small cut of every ad served to the reacquired audience.
Facebook invited three new third-party ad verification partners into its inner sanctum on Tuesday – further evidence that what the buy side demands, the buy side gets. Integral Ad Science, comScore and Nielsen will now be able to verify viewability and attention metrics for display and video ads on Facebook, including mobile web and in-app.
The experienced sales team at Rodale, the publisher behind Men’s Health, Prevention and Runner’s World, sells most of its print and digital ad inventory direct. “They fluctuate between 70% and 100% sell-through,” said Diego Sanchez, executive director of digital programmatic and strategic partnerships, who leads a team of five. Due to the high level of direct sales, programmatic accounts for just 10-15% of digital revenue. The real value of programmatic for a publisher like Rodale is to support direct sales efforts by opening more conversations between the sales team and buyers.
Although The Washington Post partners with Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP, which help speed mobile load times, it’s also striking out on its own. Over a two-month period, a team of Post engineers cobbled together a proprietary tech solution called Zeus that sped mobile page-load times by 75%. Viewability improved by 20% in current tests and the Post plans to license out the tech to other interested publishers.
On Tuesday, August 23 Google made a pretty big announcement about helping users easily access content on mobile by updating their mobile search ranking algorithm. After mentioning a minor update about removing the label for mobile-friendly sites, the search giant shared their plan to remove some interstitial (popup) ads. “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”
For a couple of years, at least, it seems the entire digital marketing world has been talking about programmatic ad buying. Spend is increasing, new platforms are launched all the time, and more and more is being written about it, like the article you’re reading right now. So much has been written about marketers should be looking into using a programmatic platform, but recent research has suggested that although most advertisers use programmatic in some form, around half of them don’t fully understand it.