This week’s Campaign Publishing Summit saw publishers, marketers and commercial leads review 2020 and share their ambitions for the year ahead.
At a panel on the ad-funded model, Campaign’s media and technology editor Omar Oakes invited a line-up of commercial chiefs including The Telegraph’s CRO Chris Forrester and News UK’s CCO Dom Carter to give their views.
Carter and Forrester discussed how data fuels their consumer-first approaches to content and advertising. Data allows news brands to create “a balance between the context and the emotion of the consumer, that elicits the right behaviour that an advertiser and brand want,” Carter said.
On the impact of Covid-19, Forrester called it the “perfect storm” with growth in readership accelerating at a rate that would have taken years. He said that all generations are expecting news content on the platforms they frequent. Even digital natives have digitalised with The Telegraph seeing massive growth among young audiences on Snapchat and YouTube.
During the first wave of coronavirus, advertiser revenue wasn’t following audience growth, said Carter. This has now changed and commercially, publishers are seeing a totally different story whereby “news has a unique place in an advertising strategy”.
The main driver of news brands’ commercial success is trust. Forrester commented that “journalism sits at the heart of everything we do” and it is trusted journalism that drives the engagement and therefore the results advertisers what to see.
At another session, we heard from Reach’s sport audience and content director Jonathan Birchall and audience and content director for engagement Liz Hazelton. The duo introduced the publisher’s new customer value strategy and how they have packaged it for sports readers.
Like News UK and The Telegraph, a key element of this is the data and content value exchange between the reader and news brand. Data allows the publisher to feed its readers with personalised content, events and activities to enhance their experience. Reach is aiming to engage 10 million registered users by 2022, which will allow them to service even more readers up and down the country with the content they want.
At an earlier session, Hannah Buitekant, executive director, digital at Mail Metro Media, said publishers are innovating and diversifying more than ever, but they’ll always “fundamentally be driven by their audience”.
She also talked about data being an “important commodity, more so than ever before”. Buitekant believes we’re just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wealth of publisher first party data. “There’s so much more to explore,” she commented, adding that there’s a real value in publishers knowing and understanding their audiences.
When it comes to measures, she described the layers of enhanced data available including viewability and attention. She talked about a new, deeper regard for trust and premium content and said, when it comes to news brands, “engagement is key and the quality is absolutely there”.