Last week, Sovrn CEO Walter Knapp joined Chase Palmieri for an episode of The Credder Podcast — a show dedicated to exploring the intersection of media and technology.
In this episode, Walter and Chase discuss a variety of topics that are critical to online publishers, including:
- The evolution of online advertising
- Three revenue models for online content creators
- The challenges facing independent publishers
- The importance of data insights for strategic decisions
- The impact of COVID-19 on publishers
- And much more!
Here are three of the top takeaways from the podcast:
1. Today’s revenue model for online advertising is problematic.
The fundamental goal of media is to grab people’s attention. Unfortunately, when it comes to advertising, this has led to some unintended consequences. While pricing for most “offline” advertising — like television and radio spots, podcast placements, etc. — is based on elements of time spent and attention generated, the standard for most online advertising is based on the number of impressions (rather than time or attention). This model incentivizes publishers toward sensationalism because humans are hard-wired to pay more attention to negative information — but many advertisers try to avoid being associated with this type of content.
2. The biggest challenge facing publishers today is… everything.
Humans have evolved to make decisions based upon the stories we hear and the stories we tell — a fact that “institutions” have used to their advantage for centuries. Today, media has aggregated to such a point that it’s almost impossible for individual, independent publishers to find an audience, earn their engagement, and drive predictable, sustainable revenue. The future of media deserves to be decentralized, which could empower publishers and reinvigorate the potential shown in the early days of the open web.
3. Most publishers don’t have the data insights to truly understand their business.
One of the most fascinating things about working with our customers is the near-universal response when we dig into their metrics. Whether we’re looking at simple measures like time on site, bounce rate, and click-throughs or deeper analysis like average ad revenue per thousand pages, the first question is always, “Is that good?” The fact is most publishers lack the data insights to understand either their own business or how they stack up against their peers — not to mention the industry as a whole. At Sovrn, we’re working to help our customers understand their business performance, place it into context with the larger publishing industry, and then act on that understanding to make better strategic decisions.