Even though analysts forecast an uneasy year for publishers of editorial inventory in terms of ad revenue acquisition, things are never as bad as they seem. Here’s how to make the most of the 2023 trends.

Let’s start with some bad news. According to the recent Reuters Institute research results, over 50% of publishers of editorial inventory aren’t confident of their business growth prospects for 2023, citing a number of reasons, from the growing readers’ fatigue from news content and their inflation-driven lowering desire to pay for quality journalism, to the potential loss of profits from duopoly partnerships and the declining advertising opportunities, in view of the upcoming deprecation of cookies, of course. 

And if it weren’t enough, the new privacy regulations, like CPRA, which come into effect in 2023,  are only putting more pressure on website owners, who need to ensure maximum transparency and ethics in terms of how they process readers’ personal data and utilize/disclose it to advertising partners. 

While the scope of challenges ahead may seem overwhelming at first glance, the truth is, there are several practical steps, which can really help make the most of the current digital trends. 

Check a comprehensive guide for publishers by AdPlayer.Pro and learn which monetization strategies are worth pursuing in 2023. 

1. Create Product Bundles for Readers

What’s a worst case scenario for a publisher of editorial inventory, whose big share of revenue comes from premium subscriptions? Quite predictable, it’s the continuous, if not accelerating decline of their loyal readers’ audience. And while such decline has become a new reality for many reputable digital outlets in recent months, this doesn’t mean this negative trend can’t be reversed. 

In this respect, one of the efficient strategies, aimed at improving reader retention rates among paid subscribers implies offering product bundles instead of/in addition to a standard, i.e. “access all articles” membership option and the product recommendations. Namely, the offered “bundle” can include a specially curated podcast, a leisure-focused website edition, access to a separate cooking-focused section (fyr. using the video editing software for production of video recipes might save some time and effort), personalized discounts from advertising partners, and much more. 

The trick is, even though the implementation of new products (and product bundles) in itself is a rather time- and resource intensive initiative, it can unlock significant revenue opportunities for online publishers. 

Not only will this widen the scope of informative insights, provided to readers with Premium memberships, hence encouraging them to remain subscribed, but also expand the available ad inventory portfolio in the free offerings, i.e. by enabling to display non-disruptive outstream video ad placements on newly-launched website sections – to non-subscribed readers, for instance. 

2. Get More Serious around TikTok 

While the ambiguity of TikTok’s reputation as a source of at least somewhat trusted information remains intact, the fact is, this social video platform is still undergoing a real boom, specifically among younger viewers’ segments (aged 18 – 24). 

More importantly, as the social media stats reflect, TikTok currently makes appr. 25% of the marketers’ overall social advertising budgets (per Digiday sources), which makes this social media a lucrative source of incremental ad revenue for online publishers, including those working in the editorial/news segment. 

Namely, one of the vivid success stories is the Vice World News TikTok account, which has managed to gain over 2,500,000 followers in less than 12 months. And judging from their example, what works for a social media strategy on this platform is authentic, entertaining, yet informative short-form video content, which grabs viewers’ attention almost instantly, i.e. within the first several seconds.

In spite of being a potentially rewarding strategy, which should definitely be added to the publisher’s content plans, getting serious around going live on TikTok shouldn’t mean any great shift of their focus to an “all-in for social video advertising” monetization strategy. The trick is, the ongoing scrutiny around social media in a whole, and TikTok in particular may lead to unexpected policy/regulatory changes in the near future, which could potentially wane all revenue gains quite fast.

The good news, though, is that launching a news-related TikTok account doesn’t actually require massive investments, rather a new creative angle to content creation, so here’s where publishers’ growth area is for 2023.

The multitude of newly-introduced privacy laws and regulations, particularly across the U.S. is likely to give many online publishers’ quite the headache in 2023, especially if those are earning money from targeted advertising. Namely, one of the key pains is the CPRA-driven obligation to have legal agreements, which cover the notions of data sale and data sharing with all service providers involved, which may be a slightly complex task to solve fast, especially if they lack law firm software and relevant ERP tools.

3. Implement Privacy Compliance Toolkits 

Again, on the bright side, a growing number of practical solutions and toolkits are being currently launched to minimize the hassle somehow. In particular, one of such initiatives is the IAB’s contractual framework, known as Multi-state Privacy Agreement (MSPA), which enables signatories to claim their obligation to honor, set, send and receive privacy signals, related to businesses’ compliance with the state-level privacy regulations in the U.S.

Since the MSPA’s adoption hasn’t scaled across the online advertising industry yet, it’s hard to predict whether most market players would actually embrace it, but the importance of streamlining a publisher’s compliance with the changing ecosystem of privacy laws using some sort of a toolkit/framework will definitely become a Must in 2023.