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#DigitalKarma: Why a random ad model is not ideal for every publisher

You are a publisher. Agreed, but what type? You may be catering to general interest groups or targeting a niche segment of audiences. Your publication may be a B2B speciality title, consumer oriented or a mass market brand boasting a high circulation. Everything is as different as chalk and cheese.

Each publisher serves unique content to a distinct set of readers. If so, can the best ad model for each type of publisher be the same? It obviously isn’t, as there is no one-size-fits-all option here. You would rather choose ad models based on the target category and your core domain, wouldn’t you?

Print-based publishers who made a recent switch to digital platforms, in particular, would know the importance of picking an appropriate ad model. Right from national newspapers, consumer magazine groups to B2B speciality titles, almost each one of them is trying to sustain their revenues as fewer readers pay for printed articles, amid the collective expectation of free online content. Hence, everybody has to strike a fine balance to keep the revenue flowing unabated.

High-volume publications
Daily newspapers and periodical news magazines fall under general interest category, yet there are different sub-categories in news dailies: national, regional and local. As with every other media publishing segment, the ad models for different newspapers and magazines are also based on their readership base and the kind of content they offer.

Cost Per Click (CPC), Cost Per Thousand Impressions Or Mile (CPM), banner ads, display ads and native ads typically work well for national newspapers, as they attract high traffic to their online editions. The more eyeballs these websites grab, the better the ad revenues. With so many news categories in the offing, the scope for native advertising – which enables serving advertisements along with editorial content – is bound to get wider.

CPC, display, native ads and bids are viable ad models for regional publications as well. They can target region-specific products and advertisers for better reach. As for local publishers with high circulation, they can opt for bids on Google AdWords and search engine marketing, which help them pull in more CTRs. Most of the high-volume publications can make the most out of programmatic selling and real-time bidding.

B2C titles
A majority of Business to Consumer (B2C) publications have warmed up to the shift of ad revenues to the digital domain, as advertising revenue makes a bigger difference to their business growth than circulation revenue.

They are becoming increasingly adept at generating revenue from their websites, but web-only publishing models rarely supersede a print and web model. Even as digital editions are gaining traction on media tablets, they remain a fraction of magazines’ circulation base.

Popular B2C titles, consumer magazines, business publications and weekly magazines can go for Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – you charge when a user clicks on ads and completes specific transactions – CPC, CPM, display ads, native advertising, programmatic selling, real-time bidding and tenancy. The tenancy model lets you rent out a particular space to advertiser/s for a fixed period.

The affiliate / CPA model also enables publishers to augment their content with links to relevant products and services on an commission or cost-per-action basis. With the huge coverage of affiliate networks, there are always relevant products to which readers can be referred.

B2B media
Technical and trade publications in the B2B space may include speciality magazines, closed circulation publications and periodicals targeted at the business community. Apart from CPA and tenancy, these publications can opt for Cost Per Lead (CPL). The latter model is mostly employed with web banners, text links and e-mail, newsletters, subscription forms as well as with opt-in e-mail advertising.

With most of its revenue derived from advertising, the task is clearly cut out for any trade magazine: to deliver premium leads to advertisers. Trade magazines derive very little of their revenue from circulation, as the bulk of their subscribers are ‘qualified’ – basically in the target group for the advertisers in the publication.

Trade and other B2B publications can, by and large, create their own advertisements as well. For example, they can promote events, put up white papers, draw audiences to microsites and raise awareness on subscription bundles. These kinds of internal promotions drive more returns for their slots.

Journals – academic / scholarly
Academic or scholarly journals are predominantly low volume, as they are targeted at closed communities. The quality of the audience, and not the quantity, is a major differentiator to these publishers.

They can adopt Cost Per Lead (CPL), CPA and tenancy, leveraging the niche market they are operating in. Every lead generated through an ad campaign translates into revenue generation opportunities for these journals.

Priyali Hooda

Priyali Hooda is the Senior Product Manager and Digital Media Consultant at KREATIO.