Digital Publishing and Adtech in 2018 and Beyond

Future of digital publishing

Like the years before it, 2017 brought on significant change in the digital media world.

With the new year underway, we detail the top factors that will impact digital publishers and advertisers in 2018 and beyond.

Visual and Interactive Content

Visual journalism marries traditional text with graphic elements to tell an immersive story.1 As Amanda Farnsworth of the BBC explains, “We want to use our skill and creativity to engage and inform our audiences on the biggest, most significant stories, providing insightful, personal and shareable visual explanations.”

The BBC’s early implementation – a class system calculator – of this vision proved successful: seven million page views and 50 social shares for every 1,000 views.2

“Visual journalism can effectively help our audience to understand a story better,” Farnsworth said.

“They say a picture can be worth a thousand words and that’s certainly true. A simple map or graphic can really convey a story in a visual way that can be immediately grasped whether it’s on TV or on online.”3

She continued: “In a world where many organizations are covering pretty similar stories in often pretty similar ways, visual journalism can bring a real distinctiveness to the way the BBC covers the news agenda.”

Learn how visual journalism can also help publishers fight against the industry’s biggest disruptors, including anti-tracking, the duopology, and brand safety.

Visual on Mobile
It’s impossible to understate the importance of mobile devices, looking ahead to 2018 and beyond.

A 2016 study conducted by Pew Research Center showed that unique visitors on mobile devices outpaced unique visitors on desktops for 99 out of 110 news outlets studied.4

What’s more, nearly 15 percent of internet users, or 40.7 million individuals, will use only a mobile device to use the internet in 2017 – an increase of 11.2 percent from the previous year.5

In June of 2017, CNN’s digital team offered a prime example of leveraging visuals on mobile.

While covering London’s Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the outlet catered to users learning of the news in social feeds and on mobile devices. Editors and writers utilized bulleted lists of confirmed news items accompanied by visual media from the scene.6

On the first day of the incident, CNN saw 5.7 million combined pageviews through its site and app from Grenfell Tower content. The company claims that 75 percent of its traffic comes from mobile.7

“Whatever we do now, mobile is considered first, followed by desktop. It’s still a challenge when you don’t have planning time [with breaking news],” said Blathnaid Healy, senior editor at CNN Digital in London.

“Everyone [in the industry] is still trying to figure out how to make the mobile experience as good as it possibly can be,” she said. “But mobile has to be our focus.”

How Advertisers are Responding to Visual
Naturally, as publishers’ content has turned visual, advertisers and brands have followed in lockstep.

In fact, 69 percent of marketers surveyed in a study by GumGum, an advertising artificial intelligence company, said that they were spending over $100,000 per year to create visual content.8

Visual advertisements include elements of imagery and interactivity – much like visual journalism. They also focus on marketing to, and engaging with, consumers in spaces they are already actively viewing.9

In an interview with ExchangeWire, Greg Pritchard, SVP of business development at GumGum, spoke about how visual advertising can help with the current challenges marketers face, such as viewability and ad blocking.

“Advertisers are certainly savvy to the fact that consumers are very focused on images [and] publishers understand that they need to come up with a practical solution to generate engagement,” Pritchard said.10

“Consumers have short attention spans, so visual-centric content is a great way to get consumers to spend more time on site, as images are addictive,” he continued.11

Recently, Josh Topolsky – co-founder of The Verge and Vox Media – created The Outline, a news site that integrates interactive ads between its articles and works with brand partners to create specific visual ads.

These ads include fact cards, draggable comparisons and games that readers can play on both mobile and desktop browsers.12

According to The Outline, ads on its site receive a click-through rate, on average, 25 times the industry average. The site also sees around 13 times the industry average of engagement rates on its ads.13

Indeed, as visualization continues to empower online journalism, all aspects of the experience are reaping the benefits.

Content Personalization

1. Farnsworth, Amanda. “What Is Visual Journalism?” BBC News. BBC, 10 May 2013. Web. 01 Feb. 2017
4. Goujard, Clothilde. “Mobile is driving the transformation of visual journalism.” Medium. Global Editors Network, 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 12 July 2017.
5. “US Digital Users: The eMarketer Forecast for 2017.” EMarketer. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 July 2017. February 17, 2017
6. Davies, Jessica. “How CNN told the story of London’s Grenfell Tower fire on mobile platforms.” Digiday. N.p., 17 July 2017. Web. 17 July 2017
8. Tanz, Ophir, and Ben Plomion. THE RISE OF THE VISUAL WEB. AND WHY IT’S CHANGING EVERYTHING (AGAIN) FOR MARKETERS. N.p.: GumGum & Brand Innovators, 2017. PDF.
9. “What Does the Rise of the Visual Web Mean for Traditional Ad Formats?” ExchangeWirecom. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Aug. 2017.
10. IBID
11. IBID
12. “What Does the Rise of the Visual Web Mean for Traditional Ad Formats?” ExchangeWirecom. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Aug. 2017.
13. IBID