Content publishers can be placed into two major groups: those who have evolved from print publications (newspapers and magazines), and those who were born into the digital era. Though these two types of players are often grouped in the same category, they end up being very different from one another.

They have different skills and pain points, different methods of content creation, and different content marketing strategies. Yet they would both admit that being a content publisher in today’s digital world is no easy task. Here we break down the 10 things keeping content publishers up at night.

1. Catch Me If You Can…

Keeping up with technology changes in the ad tech industry has become a full time task. There have been a few technology shifts in the last couple of years which have had major impacts on content publishing strategies.

The move from desktop to mobile, direct to programmatic advertising, text articles to video-based content and the shift in traffic sources: namely from direct to organic and social.

Technology is changing so quickly that many publishers feel they are getting left behind as the tech battle rages on.

Not only do publishers need to know about every market trend, technological changes and the hottest new solution on the block, they also need to know how to leverage it and connect with their users.

2. The Application Jungle

The ad tech world is probably the most fragmented market in the business world today. There are hundreds of web applications claiming to be the ones that would help you serve ads, target users, optimize ads, monitor ad campaigns, and analyse the different parts of your site.

Every cub is claiming to be a lion and will also claim to amaze you with a revolutionary way to monetize your site. Trying to figure out which applications are worth your time can be very difficult.

3. User Experience is King

Finding the balance between delivering a great user experience and maximizing your revenue is a daily challenge for each site.

You need to find every opportunity for showing ads without creating a poor experience for your users. Yet if users had their way, they wouldn’t see any ads.

Content publishers are constantly struggling to straddle that line.

4. Social Media

Social media offers great opportunities to promote content, but at the same time it also introduces many new challenges.

When an increasing amount of users are exposed to your content from social channels, it’s imperative to take advantage of new offerings created by the social platforms.
The most recent one, Facebook instant articles, promises to deliver a faster and more interactive experience with your content. Yet, they also have created what publishers refer to as ‘walled gardens’- sharing content but keeping it well within the Facebook platform.

5. Monetizing Mobile

In a mobile first world, the challenge of monetizing mobile screens is very much a growing need.

User behaviour and experience on mobile is much different than on desktop- from time spent on site to bounce rate, to consumed content to content format and even to the time of day content is consumed. Mobile real estate is limited, and the number of ads that may be served per impression is smaller.

So essentially, publishers are looking to make the same revenue with less ads- they really need to make an impact.

6. She’s Loosing Control

The publishers know their brand and their audience the best.

With programmatic advertising, the direct communication between the publisher and user is changing. The fear of losing control of what is being served to the end user is a big concern.

7. Revenue Blocking

Ad blocking is becoming more popular than ever before. Latest research indicates that 15-20% of US online users employ some kind of ad blocking tool. Many publishers are starting to feel the hit in revenue and are still undecided as to how exactly to deal with this phenomenon.

8. Fake Traffic

There are a number of tools out there for creating fake traffic and boosting performance with bots. Some extreme cases have been reported to show that sites have been getting even 60% percent of their traffic from these programs.

The programs artificially boost visitor counts, but they don’t help your bottom line since there are no real users to engage with content, click ads or buy products.

9. Diverse Traffic Sources

Many are too eager to announce the death of the Home Page. Although less than only a third of a site’s traffic comes through the home page they represent over 50% of page views.

A large bulk of traffic is coming from social channels, referrals and organic searches. Home page visitors tend to respond with more content, and spend more time on site since they are usually interested in the brand’s style of content.

The task of keeping these casual users on site for longer, increasing their page views and reducing their bounce rate is a major challenge that many publishers are facing and that technology companies are trying to solve.

10. Technical Overload

Page load times can be a real issue when using a wide range of tools to serve, manage, optimize and monitor monetization. In some cases, we witness publishers who can load 40 and even 50 different tags with each page. Such cases usually result in very slow load times- some taking up to 30 seconds for a full load.

The longer the page takes to load, the more likely visitors will leave or not get exposed to the entire page experience, resulting in zero ad revenue.