Digital publishers who rely solely on advertising revenue have it rough; more and more of their revenue is being gobbled up by the tech giants. What’s worse, many of the users are spending more of their time on platforms associated with those same giants. The result is a daily war to capture users’ attention, and then when they are on site, there is a constant need to maximize yield from each user.
Moreover, many publishers’ business models are built around promoting themselves on big platforms, so they are even more reliant on any decision that the platforms make. Add to that the legal and technological aspects retaining to privacy, GDPR, CCPA or the removal of the 3rd party cookie- all cause instability and the need for extreme agility.
Naturally, publishers are frantically looking to diversify their revenue streams, in a quest to decrease their reliance on any one method. Here are three aspects that you need to learn very well in order to find the right revenue mix for you.
Understanding your Audience
First you must gain a really strong knowledge of your audience. What do they like and dislike; what are their demographics; are they likely to pay for the content they consume online; will they agree to a lot of advertisements; etc. Knowledge is power, but with your customers or audience, knowing them well is nothing short of necessary.
Understanding your Capabilities
Then you should take inventory of yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Do you create unique quality original content; do you have strong technical skills; strong ad ops skills; good sales team etc. There is no one revenue balance that fits all, and if you choose an option without the skills to implement it well, it can cause a devastating blow to your digital business.
Understanding the Alternatives (and which ones are right for you)
This is the relatively easy part- after conducting some core research, it is pretty clear what the main options are out there. Focus on what is really driving revenue growth, and where consumer trends are headed.
Finally, If you’ve done the first two steps right, then deciding what revenue streams to add to your mix should be straightforward. Here is a short list of the main ones, and which fit what kind of publishers:
If you have a loyal following with disposable income and you produce a lot of good and original content, then subscription may be the way to go.
Definitely one of the main revenue drivers online. Today, many publishers are going for video discovery solutions that give so much value in terms of revenue and engagement, and at little effort due to discovery automation.
If your audience is ls looking for free content, and are willing to accept advertising, this is the classic decision- and it is part of most publishers’ revenue mix.
From sponsored posts to banners that have the look of content, this is definitely a strong contender for almost any publisher with ok ad-ops (if going programmatic) skills, or a very good sales team.
Many publishers that specialize in a niche category or audience could capitalize on this opportunity. Simple links to products your audience would like, together with good reviews about them, and you can create a strong additional revenue stream.
The Key to Diversification
Publishers must learn how to find the right balance between the channels that they do choose. Constant learning of changes in the industry, together with the courage for intelligent trial and error practices will keep you one step ahead of the rest. And, with this daunting influx of ideas, don’t forget to do what is right for you, and most importantly, what is right for your users.