AOL Survey Indicates Publishers Upping Investment in Mobile, Video & Distributed Content
Yesterday AOL released its annual Publisher Outlook survey, which revealed that publishers are doubling down on mobile and video monetization and expect to earn the greatest revenue from these platforms in 2016. 73% of publishers increased their mobile inventory in the past year and publishers expect video to be their top revenue driver in 2016.
AOL surveyed 300 publishers and asked what they believe are the greatest opportunities and challenges in publishing today. Along with video and mobile, the survey asked publishers’ opinions on third party content distribution, programmatic advertising, the “Tech Tax,” and data analytics.
Following are some of the highlights from the survey.
The Mobile Opportunity
43% of publishers said that improved audience metrics and interactive ad units are creating new revenue opportunities. Unsurprisingly, survey respondents indicated that the biggest challenges to mobile monetization were ad blockers and poor user experience. Despite these difficulties, 75% of respondents are planning to increase their investment in mobile over the next 12 months.
Publishing Executive recently hosted a webinar on creating and monetizing content on mobile. Peter Houston, editor-at-large at TheMediaBriefing.com, said during the webinar that though display ads remain one of the primary revenue drivers on mobile, he expects native advertising to drive greater revenue for publishers going forward. He explained that the widespread adoption of ad blocking software would drive this shift. 69.8 million U.S. consumers are expected to use ad blocking software in 2016, which is 26.3% of all internet users.
Outstream Video a Significant Revenue Source
Digital video ads were also a bright spot for publishers who took the survey. 50% of respondents expect video and interactive ads to contribute more revenue over the next 12 months. Interestingly, 30% of respondents believe that outstream video will be the main driver of video revenue. Oustream video is a video ad that lives outside of video content. For example, outstream videos may be embedded into an article in between paragraphs.
Publishers like The New York Times, Time Inc., Meredith, Real Simple, have recently announced big investments in video and/or virtual reality. Meanwhile, PwC predicts that video will drive 85.5% of total internet data usage by 2020.
Publishers Value Distributed Content
One of the most surprising responses from the survey was publishers’ view on third-party content distribution, for example when media companies publish content directly to Facebook or LinkedIn. More than 90% of publishers who took the survey believe that distributed media has a positive affect on their business, and 53% think that it’s extremely positive. Some respondents indicated that they receive as much as 25-50% of their traffic from third-party content distributors.
We recently sent out a survey to publishers asking for their input on distributed content and whether they view it as an asset or threat to their business. Responses are still coming in, and publishing professionals can take the survey here. It will be interesting to see if our results align with those of AOL.
Data Remains a Critical Part of the Publishing Business
More than 66% of respondents indicated that the ability to access audience data across platforms as very or extremely important. Respondents also indicated that Data Management Platforms (DMP) that can integrate with third-party data sources are an important tool for tracking readership across multiple platforms.
Publishers Continue to Pay the Tech Tax
AOL described the Tech Tax as dollars lost to multiple intermediary vendors that publishers pay when selling advertising. Referencing a 2015 report from AdvertisingAge, AOL indicated that over 50% of ad spend goes to these intermediaries. The survey indicated that more than 50% of publishers rely on 5-10 vendors, and more than 30% have 11-16 vendors.
View the survey results here.