Publishers don’t have an easy ride; and with so much to navigate in a constantly changing digital environment, the challenges they face become greater and more pronounced. How can publishers win in a world where Facebook and mobile apps seem to rule the roost? ExchangeWire speak with Phil Barrett (pictured below), SVP & GM, Purch, about where publishers should place their focus to achieve success in the long term.

ExchangeWire: How should publishers approach their relationships with walled gardens, such as Facebook? Are they working for or against publishers?

With approximately 40% of mobile app time spent on Facebook, publishers must access that audience, but they need to do so cautiously and strategically. While Facebook is certainly an effective vehicle to help drive users to publishers’ sites, becoming too reliant on a third party for traffic can be risky – just look at what happened to Buzzfeed when Facebook changed their algorithm.

In quantifying ROI within these walled gardens, publishers must figure out how to make their business model and revenue lines fit into Facebook’s platform and then compare it against the right metrics. For example, at Purch, we separately analyse our mobile and desktop engagement results. We’ve found that comparing results from Facebook Instant Articles to Google AMP and mobile web, for instance, helps us make informed decisions on where to invest in each platform.

Publishers should recognise the value in the Facebook Network as it provides decent monetisation, generally speaking, but the real ROI will come from Audience Acquisition (ex: lead generation, email signups) and Direct (native and affiliate) within FIA. That’s where publishers will see the long-term value from walled gardens.

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It is common knowledge when you sign up for sites like Facebook you’re basically giving the tech giant unfettered access to find out what you like to eat, where you like to go, and now — even if you don’t specifically declare it — how you might vote.

We’ve all heard about media bias, but this election cycle, Facebook has been facing accusations of social media bias. Months after the site was accused of burying conservative news, the service is surprising some users by being able to deduce their political leanings. Henry Casey from Tom’s Guide spoke with Fox 5 about the subject.


By John Potter

The battle against ad blockers is heating up. Last week, Facebook announced it had found a way to circumvent ad blocking technology in what is perhaps the most extreme measure against ad blocking to date. Then, only two days later, the Adblock Plus community found a way to block ads again. Now, Facebook is rolling out new code to disable Adblock’s workaround. It’s only a matter of time before Adblock comes back with another solution. In the long-term though, the fact that Facebook has total control over the advertising environment means that it will almost certainly win this battle.

In particular, Facebook brings several unique advantages to its fight against ad blockers:

  • It serves all its ads from its own domain, so the ad blockers cannot simply block http calls to that domain.
  • Advertisers buy ads on Facebook based on Facebook’s data, not their own or third-party data. Therefore, no non-Facebook sourced pixels or scripts are necessary.
  • Most importantly, Facebook offers a unique service that users running ad blockers cannot easily find a substitute for.

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