In this article, Kayleigh Barber unpacks how Wired used cyber week coverage and affiliate content to boost subscriptions.
“Traffic to Wired.com increased by more than 180% during Black Friday and Cyber Monday versus the same days last year and the most popular article visited was its Absolute Best Deals post, which accounted for 1.8 million clicks, according to Rosenfield.”
Codie Sanchez of Contrarian Thinking presents some revenue projections and cashflow models based on buying newsletters with large subscription lists. It’s food for thought if you’re considering going this route.
Zeus Performance, a publishing CRM built by The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is focused on site speed, especially bid and ad rendering. It was designed to face a perplexing challenge.
‘“So we really had an existential issue, which was: If we cannot build an environment that’s on par, if not better, than what readers and advertisers are getting from Facebook and Google, then what is our business?’”
Built in 2016, it was later offered to other publishers in 2019. It uses 1st-party data to sell highly targeted advertising across publications on the platform, which the Zeus team hopes will lure advertisers away from Google and Facebook. Time will tell.
Ryan Sager provides a framework for what to think through if you’re hoping to sell newsletter sponsorships. He addresses some choices you’ll need to make, such as what kinds of ads to sell and how to find advertisers.
Check out the deal details in this article.
Also, from the issue of Morning Brew announcing the reason they were able to secure success:
“While the broader digital news media is struggling in a landscape dominated by tech behemoths, Morning Brew found success by building strong relationships in one of the most underappreciated places: the email inbox.”
Five years ago, some college guys launched Morning Brew, a daily business and finance newsletter. Three million subscribers later, and they may be entering agreement with Business Insider parent company Business Inc.
“The terms the companies are discussing would value Morning Brew at over $75 million, including certain performance incentives, the people said. The companies haven’t completed a deal, and the talks could still fall apart.”
Key takeaway for newsletter creators:
“Newsletters often command higher advertising rates than traditional display ads in news articles because they allow advertisers to reach engaged users directly in their email inboxes.”
This one’s not for skimming, y’all.
In this article, Gilad Edelman breaks down the message of Tim Hwang’s new book: Subprime Attention Crisis: Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet.
That message? Microtargeted ads don't work and will eventually go the way of subprime loans.
“Microtargeting is far less accurate, and far less persuasive, than it’s made out to be, he says, and yet it remains the foundation of the modern internet: the source of wealth for some of the world’s biggest, most important companies, and the mechanism by which almost every ‘free’ website or app makes money. If that shaky foundation ever were to crumble, there’s no telling how much of the wider economy would go down with it.”
His solution? A “controlled demolition” of the business model:
“A sprawling marketplace representing hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth probably shouldn’t remain an ungoverned free-for-all; and replacing today’s opaque, monopolistic market with a transparent, regulated one might lead to more innovation in ad targeting and more competitive pricing.”
Nice timing, WIRED.
My take on what this means for publishers: The niche audience you’re creating has future value, especially if programmatic spending is determined to be more wasteful than profitable.
In case you missed it, last week’s House Tech Antitrust Report is, well, huge news.
“‘These four corporations increasingly serve as gatekeepers of commerce and communications in the digital age, and this gatekeeper power gives them enormous capacity to abuse that power,‘ a lawyer for the subcommittee’s Democratic majority said in a briefing with reporters.”
What kinds of changes will we see if the “structural separations” suggested in the Antitrust Subcommittee’s report are enforced?
“The recommendations, if enacted, could radically change how these companies operate. They could, for example, restrict Amazon from selling its own products in its marketplace, in direct competition with sellers who depend on the platform to reach customers. Google could be banned from using the data the Android operating system collects on users and other apps to refine its products. Facebook could, theoretically, be barred from acquiring another competitor, after concerns over how it bought rivals including Instagram and WhatsApp.”