Pooja Yadav

How do publishers balance content creation and monetisation?

Publishers need to keep brand safety in mind because it is one of the reasons advertisers will keep away from content.

In the evolving world of digital advertising, gaining advertiser trust is paramount for publishers to strike a balance between revenue generation and brand safety. Concerted efforts are being made to develop cutting-edge industry standards and guidelines, implement new technology solutions, and collaborate with advertisers to create a safer digital ecosystem.

To gain the trust of advertisers, publishers have to keep four pillars in mind, i.e., brand safety, technology, audience and monetisation. Brand safety is one of the reasons advertisers don’t want to advertise, because they don’t want to be present in the content.

During the 4th edition of Digipub World, hosted by afaqs! recently, publishers talked about the various aspects of collaborating with advertisers. The discussion was on the theme of ‘Gaining advertiser trust by way of safety and quality’.

Moderated by Pankaj Sharma, CEO and director at MGID India, the panellists included Gaurav Arora, SVP & chief revenue officer at Jagran New Media; Sanjay Sindhwani, CEO at Indian Express Digital; Ravanan N, ED at Eterno Infotech; and Hemant Jain, president & business head digital at Lokmat Media.

As per Arora, "First & foremost, just run campaigns on publishers as it's a safe enough thing to start with. Audiences today have varied interests, and advertisers do know the genres and the quality of content of a publisher. If a brand comes to us, we can do contextual targeting by including or excluding certain keywords to adhere to specific advertiser demand."

Jain shares, “As a news publisher, you’re creating content and covering all sorts of news. But some brands will come to you and say that it’s not safe for their brand. So, if content is a core reason for a user to come and engage on your or other website(s), then it’s critical for all of us to put a huge emphasis in the content creation/editorial newsroom into the entire journey of content creation.”

“As a practice, we’ve kept the entire science and journey of content creation taking precedence over stories and the manner in which the content is presented, to drive short-term traffic from various digital distribution touchpoints. This has always had a direct correlation with the way campaigns are performing. So, if you have genuine, good quality, credible content, then you will have audiences come and spend quality time on your website. It also delivers great CTRs and campaign outcomes."

Ravanan states that the question for a brand like Eterno Infotech is, how do you balance revenue and brand safety?

“From the point of view of aggregators, what’s safe for a brand, isn’t necessarily unsafe for another one.”

“For platforms like us, ensuring brand safety comes with the cost. I don’t know if brands would be willing to pay an additional premium on that. So, that’s a bit of a challenge for platforms like us."

Sindhwani shares that the engagement of users with the ability to pay, is the first filter (subscription-based).

“Our brand is putting out a lot more high quality content, because we want people to read and feel that it’s worth paying for. Engagement has become one of our primary metrics.

“I think the role of a publisher is to enable the environment where the advertiser can choose what he wants his brand to get exposed to and in what context. As a publisher, my job is to ensure that I enable that.”

How do you strike a balance between content creation and monetisation?

Arora mentions that monetisation is a subset of what they’re doing.

“Our mission statement is to produce factual credible content that empowers the new borrower through information point of view and knowledge, leading to a progressive idea. Monetisation is a byproduct of the engagement that you generate.”

“We should have ambitious monetisation targets. If you want to grow, then display isn’t the only thing that is going to get you to grow. You have to be more innovative. We have, for instance, added affiliate, gaming, etc.”

You can watch the full panel discussion below:

Event partners include MGID, YuktaMedia, Quintype, Chartbeat and Conscent.ai (bronze partners) and IndiaDotcom Digital (online partner).

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