The Top Technologies Publishers Will Buy in 2018

Media executives reveal which technologies they plan to buy this year and why, exhibiting a more audience-centric approach than recent years and an overall desire to take back control of their own destinies.

Continuing our efforts to better understand how publishers are honing their technology strategies, for the second year Publishing Executive surveyed publishers about which technologies they plan to buy, the objectives behind their investments, and which technologies they expect to drive the most revenue. The results and analysis have been compiled into this report to enable publishing and media companies to see where their peers are making technology investments and how these investments relate to the business objectives publishers are prioritizing in 2018.

The starting point for publishers’ technology budgets this year appears to be based on the recognition that today more than ever, success will follow from strong, direct relationships with audiences. As a result, publishers are looking for tech tools that yield audience growth, engagement, and above all valuable insights. Marking a change from the publishing industry’s previous platform- and ad-driven mindset, publishers in 2018 are also looking most closely at technologies that will help them reduce an over-reliance on scale-based advertising revenues. What has emerged is an “audience intelligence” model that aims to provide uber-qualified leads that marketers can’t get elsewhere, directly monetize audiences through subscriptions, or a combination of the two.

This year’s technology shopping list is topped by Audience Analytics. Tools to improve Audience Engagement, SEO/SEM and Social Media performance sit together in joint-second place. Taken all together, it’s clear that finding, understanding, and retaining audience is the objective. And with Paywall & Subscriptions Management making the top ten this year -- last year it wasn’t even in the top twenty -- there’s a clear pivot in the industry toward user-generated revenue.

Overall, the survey results also show a wide spread of spending intentions. There doesn’t appear to be a single, fashionable technology bandwagon that publishers are jumping on and the absence of a dominant technology tells the story: Publishers are focusing their technology strategies back on their own businesses in 2018. Burned by over-reliance on the algorithmic whims of the tech giants, they are done with chasing their tails around the problems created by other people’s platforms. Now, publishers want technology that will help them deal with challenges on their home turf.

Key Research Questions:

  • What are the top technologies publishers will buy in 2018?
  • Which technologies do publishers expect to drive revenue?
  • What are the priorities for publisher tech investments in 2018?
  • Which emerging technologies do publishers think will have the greatest impact on industry?
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