Lessons from the 2017 Digiday Publishing Summit

From March 29-31, 2017, publishers and industry partners arrived in Vail, Colorado to hit the slopes and enjoy the apres-ski (great times) but also to attend the Digiday Publishing Summit to learn about established publisher experiences, successes and the challenges most publishers encounter across monetization and building an audience and while maintaining its brand.

We saw three central areas of focus at this year’s summit:

Facing a duopoly

Publishers may admire Facebook and Google for their data, access, and scale but this doesn’t mean they always love the two media giants, commonly mentioned throughout the summit as the Facebook and Google duopoly.

Attendees mentioned feeling some concern, primarily about Facebook’s growing control of the network and its impact on publisher audiences. For example, Facebook’s mobile app previously drove users to publisher websites after a user clicked within their newsfeed; however, a change to the mobile app now keeps users within the Facebook experience and limits users to explore additional publisher content.

Publishers are seeking alternative options to decrease their dependence on the duopoly.

Build and maintain an audience

How can publishers attract an audience to their properties and keep them there?

Yahoo: Creating unique content draws an audience, and using the power of storytelling will help publishers remain relevant

Also, as you build your publisher brand, you may be tempted to distribute content to as many channels as possible. To the first point, aim to minimize your dependence on other large distribution channels and grow your audience on your own site or sites.

Balancing monetization options

Although many publishers balance inventive monetization strategies including branded content and sponsorships, digital advertising still plays a large role in monetization.

Programmatic advertising commonly has a stigma, but one large publisher assured that "programmatic isn't remnant, it's a strategy for selling directly" and suggested selling advertising directly via programmatic guaranteed.

While choosing your monetization partners, be selective so you can customize and balance your monetization experience and still make it valuable for you and your audience.

What’s next?

Publishers of all types and sizes came together at Digiday Publishing Summit to learn best practices on content, audience retention, and monetization strategies.

Will publishers continue to fight the duopoly and how can they win? How can publishers learn to scale content, audience and monetization?

At Yahoo for Publishers, we have a few ideas so stay tuned!