Publishers are missing the impact editorial teams have on revenue

by Gil Bar-Tur – CEO, PubPlus

Online content is a commodity, and has been for a while. With thousands of publishers competing in the same space with similar content, trying to differentiate one from another has become a major challenge.

When it comes to editorial, the majority of readers don’t necessarily connect the piece of content they just consumed to the publisher who created it, especially considering the rise of large platforms controlling the demand and distribution of content.

It’s a reader’s market, but editorial teams are still steadfast on their content strategy without being able to place true monetary value on one creation over another.  

While struggling with the issue of ‘brand identity’ many publishers are missing out on real-time trends and insights that translate into immediate uplift.

Major news publications see themselves as being able to define their value by adopting paywalls for their content — assuming, correctly in many cases, that people identified enough with their brand and wanted to read their content. However, subscriptions come with their own set of problems and even the biggest of them all, namely The New York Times, have even experienced a growth decline in subscriptions this year. Most publishers don’t stand a chance at adopting a similar strategy, so the pain persists, as Neil Vogel from DotDash explained on the Digiday Podcast.

“Dotdash will never succeed with a paywall — not because we don’t have great content, but because there are a lot of people writing about similar things. It’s going to be really hard for publishers without passionate audiences to do well.”

The conversation among publishers and editorial teams is no longer just about creating great content. In order to stay ahead of the pack in our competitive online world, the way to succeed almost entirely depends on a publisher’s ability to recognize and react to constantly changing trends. Today, it’s all about instant gratification — when you have a profitable article, you want to see those insights in real time.

A number of tech-savvy publishers have been moving towards the direction of building their own tech platforms to be able to analyze real-time data to act upon. For example, Buzzfeed created Pound in order to track shares and trends in their content across different social media platforms. Another great example is The Guardian’s in-house editorial analytics platform, Ophan. Created after a hack day, Ophan delivers real-time analytics to almost 1,000 employees and enables their editorial department to understand trends and which tactics are working.

Speaking about the necessity of their real-time analytics for decision making, Chris Moran, Editor and Strategic Projects at The Guardian, said: “The answer to ‘why do we need Ophan?’ isn’t ‘because data,’ it’s because it can help us do our editorial jobs. Even if that’s just as simple as showing some section editors that they might be wasting their time micro-managing the front page and should instead be focusing on an article level on how to move people along to other pieces of content.”

While all newly created in-house platforms serve a definite need, none of them are actually addressing one major KPI — revenue.

PubPlus has created an editorial analytics platform that calculates the actual monetary value of your content, and shows you how much each piece of content is generating in real time. The platform allows editorial teams take things one step further by measuring different dimensions such as article, author, category and dates. This makes it simpler to build synergy between departments — editorial, monetization and operations.

To survive the volatile future of publishing, websites need the right analytics and real-time insight to stand out from the crowd.

Gil Bar-Tur is the CEO of PubPlus, a revenue attribution platform for publishers. You can check out their site here.

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