How We’re Saving The Online Publishing Industry

Publishers

Gil Bar-Tur
5 min read

Our Mission: Save The Online Publishing Industry

It was only a few years ago that the print publishing industry was facing its biggest crisis since the introduction of the printing press.

Fast forward a few years and there is an entire generation of people who have basically grown up without reading anything in print, outside of their school textbooks, perhaps. Everything is digitalized and available at the touch of a finger. While this is great for the reader, the same challenges that faced the print industry a few years ago are starting to rear their ugly heads for their online counterparts in 2018.

Turning Traffic Into Monetizable Assets

The digital publishing industry is a powerhouse when it comes to revenue. In 2018, revenue for U.S. publishers alone is worth more than $36 billion. Including some other tier one countries, that number stands at around $74 billion.

To put that number into perspective, looking at an even bigger powerhouse of an industry – the automotive and car manufacturers – publishing industry revenue isn’t so far off companies like BMW ($100 billion).

Apart from the huge news and publishing corporations that tend to be early adopters of new work methods, there are thousands of publishers across the globe that are struggling with their revenue targets and understanding that there are ‘no free lunches’ anymore. If you want to make a dollar, you probably have to pay a dollar first, and understanding how you can manage this on a large scale is the challenge.

Revenue of digital media industry per country for 2018. Info-graph taken from Statista.

 

Businesses Fail When New Challenges Are Not Met

When Facebook dropped the algorithm bomb at the back end of 2017, no publisher believed that ‘it could happen to them’. A few months later, and one of the biggest viral publishers on social media, LittleThings, filed for bankruptcy and closed. A few years earlier, they were Facebook’s poster child for publishers looking to scale their viral reach. Today, they are the poster child that companies like ourselves will be using as an example of what not to do – relying on one platform and one type of traffic to build an entire business on. Diversification is essential, and understanding the ecosystem of your revenue streams, even more so.

This is not a new phenomenon, as an article from the Harvard Business Review in 1999 poignantly states:

“When successful companies face big changes in their environment, they often fail to respond effectively. The problem is not an inability to take action but an inability to take appropriate action.”

Changes In The Environment

Falling organic reach on Facebook, or a hike in the price of CPCs on a particular platform cannot be treated in a simplistic way. Acquiring more traffic isn’t the answer. Better attributing the cost of marketing or acquiring the users to what value they generated in ad revenue is what will keep you pressing the publish button on your CMS for a long time to come.

One company that wasn’t afraid to embrace technology that could help them innovate and overcome a market shift was Starbucks. They suffered 28% losses in profit during the recession years of the late noughties. Initially wanting to introduce a loyalty card system for their customers, Starbucks came out with a mobile app in 2011. Over the next few years, it became a mobile system for their customers to pay in advance for their drinks or snacks.

By 2015, 21% of their total US payments were processed through the app. The app, combined with a Loyalty Rewards Program launched for their app users, contributed towards them having a record-breaking quarterly growth shortly after launching it, increasing their revenue by 11%. Starbucks embraced a new technology and trend to leverage their existing product and engage their customer base.

Info-graph taken from Business Insider report on Starbucks company filings

Saving The Industry

As a publisher, we experienced these challenges, which led us to invest a massive amount of time and money to create a platform that would fit our needs. After developing and fine-tuning it to be what it is today, we are confident that it can help publishers across the globe deal with their own challenges.

Now, we know what you are thinking; isn’t it pretty vain to suggest that you are saving the entire online publishing industry? We understand that, but when we help publishers begin to understand their visitor value, how to diversify their audience acquisition as to not put all their eggs in one basket, we are helping them to survive the dynamic, fluctuating and rapid changes the online industry is going through, and helping them navigate their ships to a safe and profitable harbor.

We are the only platform that attributes your revenue streams to your marketing spend in real time, allowing you as a publisher to stop inherited loss and helps direct your tight budget towards the right destination – one with positive ROI.

Seeing green lines in your daily budget isn’t a dream, it’s a must to survive and we can help make it happen.

Gil Bar-Tur
Online publishing enthusiast, UX geek, and data science nerd. Combining all three of these brought Gil to start PubPlus: a platform allowing publishers to deep-dive into specific segments of information and extract insights in order to take action in real-time. He is also a self-confessed foodie with years of experience in restaurant selection.