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Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

How Should Publishers Assign Value to Writers?

SIAmong all the highly complicated questions media companies are grappling with, Time Inc. is still in a seriously unique transitional period. But when Gawker reported that the publisher — more specifically, Sports Illustrated magazine — scores its editorial writers based on how much they benefit the respective magazine’s advertiser relationships, it was a bit hard for me to feel sorry for them.

To be fair, that’s not the only thing they’re applying a numerical value to. “Quality of Writing,” “Impact of Stories/Newsworthiness,” “Productivity/Tenacity,” “Audience/Traffic,” “Video,” “Social” and “Enthusiasm/Approach to Work” are all categories that appear on the writers’ scorecards. But “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship” is still there.

Wrote Gawker watchdog reporter Hamilton Nolan:

“(Time Inc. provided this document to the Newspaper Guild, which represents some of their employees, and the union provided it to us.)  These editorial employees were all ranked in this way, with their scores ranging from 2 to 10.”

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New Study Finds That the Internet Didn’t Kill Newspapers

moneyvortex.jpgA new study done by University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business professor Matthew Gentzkow finds that the Internet did not kill the newspaper industry. It was cellphones.

I jest. Even though it sounds like the (very) first draft of an Onion article,  it’s apparently real.  Here’s the deal: we usually say that the internet killed our old business model because of advertising revenue. Gentzkow shows that it’s a bit of a fallacy — people spend more time looking at advertisements online, too. From Booth’s release on his study:

“This perception that online ads are cheaper to buy is all about people quoting things in units that are not comparable to each other—doing apples-to-oranges comparisons,” Gentzkow says. Online ad rates are typically discussed in terms of “number of unique monthly visitors” the ad receives, while circulation numbers determine newspaper rates… By comparing the amount of time people actually see an ad, Gentzkow finds that the price of attention for similar consumers is actually higher online. In 2008, he calculates, newspapers earned $2.78 per hour of attention in print, and $3.79 per hour of attention online. By 2012, the price of attention in print had fallen to $1.57, while the price for attention online had increased to $4.24.

There’s also his findings that people were actually starting to lose interest in newspapers in the 1980′s, long before signing into AOL’s walled garden of news was a consumer habit. You can read his published paper “Trading Dollars for Dollars: The Price of Attention Online and Offline.” at the American Economic Review. Pay per view options are available for non-subscribers.

Consider my mind blown.

Digital Publishing Gets A Little Smarter (and Better Looking) With Matter’s 2nd Round of Startups

matterdemodayThis week, Matter’s second round of start-ups took over New York City for a demo day at WNYC’s Greene Space. All of the companies spent the past 100 days in a work space in San Francisco, working with mentors and each other, to bring their ideas to fruition.

All the start-ups are focused on innovating in the media industry and a few specifically are targeting digital publishing. Contextly was the ‘oddball’ of the group, according to co-founder Ryan Singel, because they already had a bit of a foothold in the market. Forget Outbrain and recommended content recommendation faux pas (ever found a right wing article linked to on a liberal leaning news site? It happens.), Contextly’s algorithms help you find better content, micro-manage it as much as possible, and focuses on building reader engagement and community on your site. Says Singel: Read more

Ready For An Upgraded New York Times (and Native Ads)?

nytThe New York Times‘ long-awaited redesign will grace our computers next week, complete with updated typography and responsive design.

Wednesday, Jan. 8 will also mark a shift in The Grey Lady’s advertising model, as the new and improved design allows for the Times to display sponsored editorial content, or “native ads.”

NYT Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. told staffers in a Dec. 19 memo that the move to paid editorial was mandatory for the paper to sustain itself digitally and noted that designers and NYT editors were working to ensure no confusion between sponsored content and reported news. Announced to start appearing this month, Sulzberger said advertorial will feature a “distinctive color bar, the words “Paid Post,” the relevant company logo, a different typeface and other design cues to let readers know exactly what they are looking at.”

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Is The Banner Ad Making a Comeback?

ft smart matchMake way for better banner ads — The Financial Times rolled out “FT SmartMatch” last week after a trial period. The ‘content matching service’ weeds out semantic relevancy between editorial content and ad creative, making sure that advertisers show up where it makes sense.

It’s pretty sophisticated, as Jon Slade, FT‘s commercial director for global digital advertising and insight, explained to me.

First, they audit editorial content to rank and weigh it, semantically. Then, they do the same with advertiser’s content — their website, their videos, their white papers. The third step is about creative — if there are 500 pieces of content, they create 500 pieces of ad creative. Lastly, comes what Slade calls the “special sauce” where an algorithm knows how to link the two pieces together. Says Slade:

It’s two fold benefit. We not having to place 10,000 ads, we’re only placing an ad when there’s a good match. So its much more efficient, click through and engagement rates are about 10 times more than the standard.

It’s more than efficient, I like that it’s not about going native and making the content look like editorial — it just situates similar things together. Slade is interested in moving towards more intelligent advertising, too. And he doesn’t think banner ads need to go anywhere:

There’s the idea that the banner ad is dead. We just think it needs a bit of love… advertisers are very sophisticated in their targeting,  but still applying the one creative message across all of their audiences. We think that’s not making the most of the opportunities that digital can offer.  So the creative in banner advertising needs a little bit of love and secondly, the placement needs to get smarter. Making sure you’re in the right environment is still important in any media buy.

Be on the lookout for better banner ads then, journos. Smart Match is a product of the FT‘s partnership with Smartology, which provided the technology for it. Smartology is making their rounds to other publishers, too, so it’s not exclusive to FT. What do you think about automated advertising?

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