Native Ad Market, Millennial News Sites, Google’s Voice-Controlled Audio News Feed, Folio 100, InDesign Tip

Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news, stories of interest, and tips for media industry pros. Check out these posts on why native advertising is stagnating but still poised for growth, what’s behind the failure of millennial-focused news sites, Google’s new voice-controlled smart speaker news feed, the Folio 100 event in New York, and more.

  • Greenhouse imageNative advertising, a trend media companies jumped on a few years back as the big tech companies began siphoning off their digital ad revenue, is leveling off, reports Digital Content Next, with only 11% of advertisers now using the format. Part of the reason for that is cost and lack of clear-cut metrics. But, the report says, there are advantages: Research shows native gets a higher click-through rate, and younger generations say they trust branded content more than display advertising. That means, despite the need for some improvements and greater efficiencies, the native ad market has room to grow, the article says.
  • In the not-so-distant past, digital media publishers went whole hog on the idea that they had to reinvent the way they deliver news to satisfy millennial audiences, with a heavy reliance on video and cross-platform sharing. But, as Digiday reports, that strategy is now sinking many of those VC-funded millennial news sites, including Mic, which recently pretty much gutted operations and was then sold to Bustle. The reasons are numerous, including Facebook’s decision to throttle back traffic, a focus on maximizing reach over building community, and lack of revenue diversity. The article adds, however, that “execution errors” aside, millennial news sites “do deserve credit for spurring [the old guard] to modernize their advertising and distribution operations.” (Read this Vanity Fair article for more on the topic.)
  • “News on smart speakers is not living up to the promise of what it could be,” says Google’s Liz Gannes—news briefings are too long, too repetitive, and too rigid, with few options to customize content, according to a recent survey. As such, Google is stepping in with a more personalized, voice-controlled audio news feed, “combining Google News with the interactivity and voice experience of Google Assistant,” Gannes says. Nieman Lab reports the search giant worked with 130 publishers to “build a prototype of a news radio station that customers can control, using voice to skip stories, go back, or stop and dive further into a given topic.”
  • Industry luminaries gathered at the Folio 100 event in New York to honor 2018’s top “innovators, entrepreneurial thinkers, and industry disruptors,” recognizing the “tangible impact they’ve had in their jobs, on their companies and brands, or on the industry at large.” The list included C-suite figures as well as senior executives and content creators. One of the honorees, Meredith President Doug Olson, told the gathering, “We had a really good year last year, but I promise you, the best is yet to come.”

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Photo: Digital Content Next

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Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.