Quality publishers will win out in the end

The tide in the digital media world is rapidly turning in favour of premium publishers with strong content and quality user bases as marketers look for ways to maximise their return on investment.

So says Richard Mullins, director at Acceleration, who believes that savvy marketers are no longer looking at only price and volume when they make their online advertising buys. They are also looking at the quality of the audience publishers can offer them as well as the quality of the data publishers can provide.

“After the rapid commoditisation of content by the rise of the Web, we are seeing the pendulum start to swing in the opposite direction again,” said Mullins. “Advertisers are beginning to understand that it is worth paying a premium to access the sort of high-quality audience that the better publishers are able to attract to their digital properties.”

Mullins says that digital marketers have spent the past few years trying to bypass the traditional value chain by leveraging owned media such as their Web sites and social media accounts and by exploiting the low costs of ad networks and aggregators.

But they are beginning to appreciate that they do get more value from high-end publishers who make heavy investments in editorial production with the goal of capturing a quality user base.

“Many digital marketers have started to become disillusioned with the low quality of engagement and audience they access through lower cost channels,” said Mullins.

“As a result, they’re drifting back to high-quality publishers with a track record of building quality audiences and providing data and insights that can help advertisers maximise ROI.”

Mullins says that the implication from the publisher’s side is that it should ensure that it controls and understands audience data – it is the most important commodity a publisher has to offer its advertising clients. The audience is the reason that publisher invest so much in developing content, after all.

“After 10 difficult years of rising costs and plummeting revenue, better times are in sight for premium publishers. The market increasingly favours stable publishers with engaged, quality audiences. But to take advantage of this shift, they must show the same mastery of data as they do of editorial production,” Mullins said.

By Richard Mullins, director at Acceleration.

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Quality publishers will win out in the end