By Ross Benes

Relying on ad tech vendors is a hard habit for publishers to quit.

Because vendors eat into publishers’ revenue and slow down their pages, pubs are eager to purge them to have more control over their own tech stacks. But even if a publisher has a strong internal tech team that is capable of building its own products to replace third parties, a lot of vendors stay embedded in publishers’ stacks because pubs don’t want to pay engineers to monitor and tweak these products, and they want somewhere to turn for a quick fix whenever there is a malfunction.

“Sometimes I need a neck to throttle when something breaks,” said a publisher head of product requesting anonymity, when asked why his company outsources some of its ad tech.

When deciding whether to build ad tech themselves, publishers make decisions based off their core competencies. A rep from a comScore top 100 pub with a strong video focus said it built products to replace video vendor Brightcove and native-ad vendor Sharethrough because native and video are major parts of this pub’s business model, and the investment would pay off in the long run since the publisher only expects video and native to grow. But the publisher declined to build its own ad server for display inventory.

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There are also ad tech vendors whose products benefit from economies of scale that wouldn’t be possible if a single pub were to go in alone. Purch has a tech team that built its own server-to-server product that it uses to sell all of its programmatic inventory server-side, which is rare among publishers. But it keeps around bad-ad detectors like Ad Lightning and Media Trust because those vendors offer sophisticated detection since they learn from the billions of impressions they analyze across multiple clients, said Purch CTO John Potter.

Read the full article here: https://digiday.com/media/publisher-vendor-habit/

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By Diane Harding

Publishers are under pressure to continuously monetise their own inventory, as well as help advertisers justify their ad spend. ExchangeWire speak with John Potter, Chief Technology Officer, Purch, about how pubtech solutions can solve this problem and keep publishers ahead of the game.

ExchangeWire: How do Purch help customers connect content and commerce?

John Potter: By combining trusted content, product reviews, and services across our 25 brands, Purch enable purchasing decisions amongst our audience of buyers in both consumer and small- to medium-sized business markets. Purch’s proprietary publishing technology platform (pubtech) enables the rapid creation of high-quality, targeted content to create a seamless connection between high-intent buyers and performance-based sellers. Purch’s technology platform also optimises monetisation and profit, both internally and for third-party publishers, through our sophisticated ad-server and real-time bidding offering.

How can publishers rebalance their marketing mix outside of a brand marketing focus?

Publishers have traditionally relied on brand advertising, and brands tend to be overweighted in the marketing mix. The move to digital has triggered a shift to direct, affiliate, and performance marketing; and those are all the right moves to make as publishers rebalance their marketing mix. In addition, publishers need to look past capturing ‘eyeballs’ and monetisation through display ads/banners. Overall, we are moving to a world where publishers are going to be judged on their ability to connect buyers with sellers. Diversification includes customer acquisition through referrals and lead gen, native ads and native commerce, high-performance sponsored content, and mobile commerce and marketing.

For the full article please visit ExchangeWire

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By Ross Benes

Here’s one more thing for small publishers to worry about: New net-neutrality rules are going to jack up the costs of doing business.

Rolling back net neutrality would relegate independent publishers to the slow lane of the internet because they’d be unable to afford access to high speeds. Large publishers with more cash can overcome this obstacle, but they’ll be hit with onerous fees and face possible competitive disadvantages from subsidiaries of internet-service providers receiving preferential treatment.

“I suspect that ISPs would create different tiers of data transmission speeds and prioritization,” said Fred Lane, an attorney who specializes in emerging technologies. ”Large corporations would be in a position to negotiate preferential treatment in ways not available to smaller content producers.”

See the full article featuring comments from CTO John Potter here: http://digiday.com/media/net-neutrality-hurt-publishers/

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By Ross Benes

Publishers have gotten data religion.

A few years ago, publishers began enlisting data scientists to help with audience building and monetization. But back in 2014, publisher data teams usually consisted of only a person or two. Since then, several publishers have expanded their number of full-time data experts. And their roles have grown too. Media data scientists are now developing apps based on machine learning, shaping content-management systems, teaming up with first-party data providers and testing augmented reality features. Here are a handful of large publishers that have increased their emphasis on data analysis.

Mashable
In 2013, Mashable brought on Haile Owusu, who has a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics, as its chief data scientist to work on the site’s analytics tool that predicts which articles will go viral. Since then, Mashable has hired two additional full-time data analysts and added an intern. In the past year, the data team led by Owusu has helped shape Mashable’s new CMS and its Knowledge Graph tool, which tracks how branded content on Mashable is shared through social platforms, email and text messages. The team was not affected by the round of 30 layoffs Mashable did in April. “There was a pent-up demand for insights around the performance of our content,” Owusu said.

Purch
The tech network, which publishes Top Ten Reviews and Live Science, is a different type of publisher in its data focus and commerce-heavy strategy. Purch launched its own ad tech platform, Ramp, in 2014. Since then, its number of data scientists grew from one to five. Their focus is mostly on creating recommendation models that pair content with related consumer products. “We realized how much data we had and that we needed to analyze it to know whether we were charging the right price for advertising,” said Purch CTO John Potter. With Microsoft’s HoloLens, Snapchat’s Spectacles and Google Glass in the news, Purch’s data team has been testing augmented reality features in Purch-owned shopping app ShopSavvy.

Read the full article here: http://digiday.com/publishers/newsrooms-expanding-data-teams/

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By Lucia Moses

If some publishers are cooling on Facebook Instant Articles, they’re becoming hot and heavy with Google AMP, the search engine’s answer to Instant Articles.

In February, Google rolled out AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, on mobile search results in Google News. Publishers scrambled to adopt Google’s open-source code on their pages because search still drives close to 40 percent of referral traffic overall, and they know that as their audiences shift to mobile, having fast mobile pages can only help them get surfaced by Google’s algorithm.

“We love it,” said Ben Robinson, Thrillist’s editorial director. Thrillist is getting 15 percent of its search traffic from AMP, boosting its search traffic by more than a third, which he called “exciting,” given the company is more lifestyle than news. At news-heavy USA Today Network, AMP is generating 12 percent of all mobile page views, said Michael Kuntz, svp of digital there.

So although Instant Articles is a new channel, AMP is fast becoming the de facto mobile web, so publishers have little choice but to get on board. “You really need access to that audience,” said John Potter, CTO of Purch.

Read the full article here: http://digiday.com/publishers/publishers-excited-google-amp-traffic-wonder-revenue-will-follow/

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