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Facebook News Launches in the US - What’s New?

Historically, Facebook’s had a turbulent relationship with the news. That’s putting it lightly. A while back, the tech giant provided users with a shortlist of trending stories from across its network. In 2016, it fired that list’s human curators in an effort to eliminate bias that culminated in its AI circulating fake news instantly. Facebook Instant Articles were great for users but risked stunting the subscription, advertising and recirculation areas many publishers rely upon for revenue. Perhaps most notoriously, in 2018, it introduced its ‘meaningful interactions’ algorithm which prioritised posts by friends and family over publishers. Many titles never recovered and went under. 

Now, Facebook has formally launched Facebook News in the US and hopes this time things will be different. The company has reverted to human curators, who’ll work with algorithms to create, in theory, a well-tailored, personalised news selection. 

Users have a lot of control over what news they’re exposed to. They’re able to react and share (but not comment), and hide articles, titles and topics that they don’t want to see. However, once again, this risks trapping users in an echo chamber of their own views. But of course, having only just launched, its effectiveness remains to be seen.

How do publishers integrate with Facebook News?

If a publication’s audience is large enough, it shouldn’t be tricky to see their content surfaced on Facebook News. Facebook doesn’t describe its criteria specifically, but it factors a publication’s integrity with misinformation, clickbait and engagement bait before including a title in Facebook News. If a user interacts with Facebook News frequently, it transforms from a bookmark to a tab in the app. 

Facebook news tab on phoneFacebook is now testing news video, which is a brand new feature. Also, the company seems to have listened to concerns surrounding the slow disappearance of local news organisations, as it’s introduced a local news section to Facebook News too. It hosts thousands of local and regional publications. As a result, the vast majority of Facebook News’ sources are local and regional titles. 

Still yet to launch on desktop, it’s early days for Facebook News. It appears the company has been reactive and pragmatic since trialling the new feature’s launch in late 2019, and if its team continues to adapt to the changes publishers need, Facebook News could prove to be a very worthwhile venture indeed. Its competition - namely, Apple News and Flipboard - is stiff, but Facebook News has the tools at its disposal to match the performance of its peers. 


Man reading public news display

For Publishers: How to Balance Coronavirus Content With Regular Coverage

It’s entirely possible that your digital publication’s readers are overwhelmed by the volume of news published about the coronavirus crisis. This is to be expected. The number of readers searching for news is four times higher for virus-related stories than other topics, and with developments exponentially increasing in frequency and complexity, who could blame your most loyal readers for feeling overwhelmed by what you publish, let alone everybody else?

News publishers have a duty to cover the crisis at every turn. They may be interested to know that non-Corona related news is still very important. If you offer well-researched, unbiased coverage, then master this balance to ensure yours is a news source prioritised by many. Here’s how and why publishers can master that balance.

Coronavirus news read rate compared to regular content

A study of data from 31 European publishers conducted by What’s New In Publishing revealed that almost 80% of daily readers consume coronavirus-related and non-coronavirus content pretty much equally. It’s not just a marginal trend, either, as the above graph illustrates.

Remarkably, it even illustrates that readers who indicated even a slight divergence from this equilibrium are a fairly significant minority. Those who read over five more coronavirus-related stories than other content barely registered, even when the pandemic was at its most lethal. This is especially noteworthy when we consider that WNIP’s accumulated data set comprised 1.5 billion article reads, due to the sample size.

We advise publishers to hone and refine their recommendations to other stories and their ‘Read this next’ links. These figures imply fatigue after reading coronavirus-related stories, so make sure that unrelated news is easily available to your readers, experiment with the balance, discover what works best and optimise. Readers will return if they associate your site with an experience that while informative, didn’t overwhelm.

With such high numbers of readers finding news through search, it is going to be a battle to make them valuable. As much as making the aforementioned adjustments will up the likelihood of a reader’s return, it can’t guarantee it, not with all the competition from other publishers’ coronavirus coverage.

The amount of readers reading virus-related stories found through direct traffic (links from WhatsApp, email newsletters, etc.) is still four times higher than those reading unrelated content. 

Graph of how readers discover coronavirus news

As you can see, internal referrals are lower too. Collectively, these results indicate that readers want material on everything relevant from any source, if it gives them the answer they need. They don’t seem to be sticking with publications because they trust the brand, rather, spreading their search across many to accelerate the retrieval of important information. With that in mind, now may be a good time to assemble a live blog or similar sort of directory, if you’ve got the content to make it worth a reader’s time. What we can take from this is that news publishers perform best when they focus on their audience’s behaviour and their brand identity.


WordPress site on a Macbook screen

How WordPress Publishers Get on Apple News

We’re FlatPlan, the Apple News experts. We integrate publishers of all sizes with Apple News. We produce elegant, brand-true channel and article designs. We work behind the scenes, so editorial teams don’t need to make any changes to their busy workloads or expend any more resource than necessary. While your team works hard, we’ll quietly ensure your publication drives loyal, valuable traffic on Apple News with an onboarding process that’s easy, efficient and painless

Anyone can surface content to Apple News, but this typically requires a time-consuming ‘Apple News Format’ build or limiting output through RSS or basic outputs. Publishers including Mixmag, Kerrang!, The Face and HELLO! prefer a FlatPlan integration, because it eliminates weeks of costly development work and delivers stories to Apple news automatically when published in a way that maximises traffic. Multiple Apple News updates arrive yearly, which FlatPlan closely monitor and capitalise upon whenever it will help you.

If you use FlatPlan for your integration, we’ll create a beautiful, on-brand channel, and article designs that ring true to your publication’s journalistic voice and visual style. When you’re surfacing content to 125 million users, you want to look your best. Here’s an Apple News article by a recent client, The Sportsman:

An Apple News story by The Sportsman with Mathematics article design

Looks good, right? Here’s what The Sportsman had to say about their FlatPlan/Apple News integration:

"As a modern publication with a focus on quality editorial, we had a real need to build strong, loyal audiences, to build our brand. Apple’s audience is sizeable and valuable, and FlatPlan helped us reach that audience in beautifully branded pages that allow our content to shine."

Ross Brown, Editorial Director, The Sportsman

We also offer a custom Apple News footer, unavailable elsewhere. It can be invaluable for driving traffic to a location of your choosing. Our client Creative Review uses theirs to encourage newsletter signups:

Creative Review's Apple News footer by FlatPlan

Here’s what Creative Review had to say about the simplicity of their integration:

As a magazine which writes about the creative industry, we have to be a bit finickity about things like the leading of type and how images sit on a page. I think all of us breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the draft templates designed by Mathematics…they got CR straight away. We think the final templates do full justice to the brilliant photography, film and design work we write about.”

Salonee Gadgil, Digital Content Producer, Creative Review

Now we’ve discussed design, let’s talk tech. WordPress is one of the most widely-used CMS’s on the market, thanks to its simplicity. Creative Review is a WordPress publication. Our other WordPress integrations include Huck and Little White Lies. Luckily, a FlatPlan/WordPress integration with Apple News couldn’t be simpler. Here’s how it works.

How WordPress Publishers Integrate With Apple News Using FlatPlan

All a WordPress publisher has to do is send us their RSS feed or install our free plugin, their brand guidelines, their fonts and their logo. We’ll handle the rest, ensuring your title is Apple News ready. It really is as simple as that. Once your channel’s live, you’ll need only to hit publish in WordPress to surface a story to Apple News.

Once you begin publishing, you’ll be able to capitalise on FlatPlan’s suite of tools. This includes instant analytics notifications and ‘out-of-app’ traffic drivers to convert readers into newsletter subscribers or website visitors.

FlatPlan helps drive the revenues of publishers using WordPress and beyond, inside and out of Apple News. We’ll help you deliver display, native and backfill advertising to your new audience, and use your Apple News channel to drive revenues on your site. 

What are you waiting for? If you’re a digital publication that uses WordPress and would like to capitalise on Apple News’ huge readership, let’s talk


Football match pictured from the corner

How Two New Publishers Found a Huge Apple News Audience

Here at Mathematics, we pride ourselves on our ability to offer specialist growth strategy for publications including The Face, HELLO!, Creative Review and many others. But, we don’t stop at household names. We also love to elevate the status of enthusiastic, young publishing startups. Engaging titles with unique voices are founded constantly, and to them we offer the same comprehensive strategic consultancy. An immensely valuable growth area for publishers of all sizes - and one we specialise in - is Apple News.

Two titles we recently integrated with Apple News are the relaunched The Sportsman and radical science publisher Freethink.

Carrying the weight of its prior reputation as a respected sports newspaper founded in 1865, The Sportsman relaunched as a multi-platform digital title in 2019. The Sportsman “go beyond the game and find the stories that matter”, and we wanted to ensure their distinct access reaches as many readers as possible.

Freethink describes itself as “a platform for the people and ideas that are changing our world”. It’s the team’s job to explain breakthroughs at the vanguard of science and technology in ways everybody can find fascinating.

The Projects

The Sportsman delivers a high-quality mix of news, features and video; a reaction to the fast-moving ‘churnalism’ favoured by some of the sports press. As a multi-platform publication initially unavailable to Apple News readers, it was missing out on a valuable new audience. Because Apple News promotes quality editorial content, The Sportsman was destined to find success from its day of integration. As was Freethink, whose cutting-edge coverage of all things scientific and societal gives them the integrity that Apple News’ editors and algorithms love to promote. Both lacked the bridge to take their content to Apple News readers. Enter FlatPlan.

The Approach

For both publications, integration had to require minimal development resource, with FlatPlan seamlessly handling the gathering of content, conversion of stories and delivery to Apple. We aimed for channels that yield not just traffic, but valuable new audience sources that drive genuine, measurable growth.

The beauty of Apple News is that its combined human and algorithmic curation process reduces bias, so quality editorial content maximises success on the platform. It can be hard to gain visibility when your competitors are as strong as those of The Sportsman and Freethink, whose peers include The Players’ Tribune and New Scientist. But, Apple News surfaces story recommendations to readers made on their in-app interests, so The Sportsman and Freethink are just as likely to appear alongside a big name as any other publisher.

The Results

Apple News’ emphasis on quality saw The Sportsman’s estimated visibility boosted by 117% in the six weeks after we launched its channel. Freethink’s audience has increased by 38% since we launched its Apple News channel. Both channels continue to grow every day.

Here's an elegant, brand-true article by The Sportsman in Apple News:

An Apple News story by The Sportsman with Mathematics article design

And here's one by Freethink:

An Apple News article by Freethink designed by FlatPlanThese titles prove that one needn’t count half the globe as readers to reap rewards from Apple News. Here’s what The Sportsman and Freethink had to say about the integration process:

"As a modern publication with a focus on quality editorial we had a real need to build strong, loyal audiences, building our brand. Apple’s audience is sizeable and valuable, and FlatPlan helped us reach that audience, in beautifully branded pages that allowed our content to shine"

Ross Brown, Editorial Director, The Sportsman

“Thank you for making my life easier. That was one of the easiest and most helpful projects I've worked on with an agency in a long time. We’ve experienced an audience boost of 38% thanks to FlatPlan’s elegant, true-to-brand designs. The fact that we were able to continue with our day-to-day work uninterrupted meant we were able to continue surfacing content at the same rate, expanding our Apple News growth even further.” 

Sean McVey, Chief Marketing Officer, Freethink

If an Apple News integration with FlatPlan sounds interesting, let's talk.


5G network mast above a building

5G: What Publishers Should Know & How to Prepare

At a moment’s thought, 5G is great news for publishers. As any publication that’s optimised its site to reduce load times in the past can testify: people hate waiting. A unilateral guarantee that content arrives quicker and works better can’t hurt. Right? Well, as with all things digital publishing, the proliferation of 5G isn’t so black and white. Here, we’ll examine its upsides, explain what publishers should be wary of, and discuss how digital publishers can ensure they’re ready for 5G.

Early 5G tests predict it may offer as much as 20 times the speed and capacity of today’s wireless internet. And yet, a 2019 Accenture survey revealed uncertainty about the next-generation technology, with nearly three-quarters of recipients saying they need help imagining 5G use cases. To dispel any confusion, then, let’s examine the positive impacts we know 5G will have on the digital publishing landscape.

The Pros of 5G for Publishers

First, the International Data Corporation expects 190 million 5G smartphones to ship in 2020, “accounting for 14% of total smartphones shipped, which far exceeds the first year of 4G shipments (2010) at 1.3%.” There’s a benefit already: a greatly increased potential audience. The IDC’s current estimate is that global 5G subscriptions will reach 2.6 billion by the end of 2025, at which point 45% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be handled by 5G.

5G subscription forecast by the year 2025

It’s great news for publishers who serve a lot of video content. In 2019, an Opensignal report proved that “5G boosts the maximum real-world download speed by up to 2.7 times 4G users’ top speeds.” The below graph illustrates 5G’s clear speed advantage over 4G in various countries observed in Opensignal’s test.

Graph illustrating 5G's speed advantage over 4G

Opensignal analyses the end-to-end mobile user’s experience, so these results reflect 5G’s real-world usage pretty accurately. 

In 2019, The New York Times announced the launch of a lab in partnership with Verizon that aims to explore 5G’s possibilities for journalism. Not only does the team expect the new technology to have major positive impacts on the performance of its content for the reader, but for the newsroom itself - specifically, how news is gathered. The New York Times is exploring how 5G can help its journalists automatically stream media like HD photos, videos, audio, and even 3D models back to the Newsroom in real-time, as they are captured. 5G, the team expects, will then help bring that rich and immediate journalism to audiences instantly, in whatever form they require.

Content itself will become more sophisticated. We’ll likely see ultra-high-definition downloads and live streaming across multiple devices. The same goes for audio. Publishers will no longer need to tailor video to mobile audiences; rather, they’ll be able to reuse the content they produce for larger screens now they have the speed to deliver it to mobile, and focus on monetisation.

Publisher Concerns Over 5G

When I began writing this article, I initially mentioned speculation that 5G could offer 100 times the speed and capacity of today’s wireless internet. As time’s gone on, that’s come to look like a pretty optimistic figure, but one that gets to the heart of a concern publishers would be wise to consider: that “5G is likely to make things worse before it makes them better - because users’ expectations will be much higher,” as argued by Marketing, Strategy, Emerging Technology & Innovation Consultant, Jeremy Lockhorn. 

It sounds speculative, but as users begin to accept HD movie downloads going from 7 minutes to 6 seconds as the norm, they’re not likely to wait for static pages - and therefore, ads - to load. This will negatively impact a lot of publishers, who won’t convert if they can’t load.

There’s a handful of advertising issues publishers should be wary of. Mass adoption of 5G isn’t exactly imminent, so digital publishers need to be vigorous in understanding what portions of their audience can and can’t receive richer 5G ads. To quote Lynne D Johnson of Admonsters directly: “The adtech ecosystem—the exchanges, the SSPs, the DSPs and the DMPs—will also need an upgrade in order to complete programmatic auctions in the few milliseconds that 5G should be able to deliver ads. Today, the process is just too slow, and users often turn away, which results in lost revenue.”

A downside to the drastically reduced load times that will come with 5G is the temptation for publishers to be overly liberal with the ads they serve. Publishers mustn’t overdo it, as even greater numbers of users will install adblockers.

Publishers with high numbers of partner vendors likely have excessive code and tags built into their site. For them, load time is an even more significant monetisation factor.

How Publishers can Prepare for 5G

The way your readers use their devices will shift, as with the introductions of 3G and 4G. They’ll now have fibre-like performance in their pockets. As such, there’ll be fewer requirements for publishers using video to prepare content specifically for mobile. It may well be that this need is all but eliminated. 

Dramatically reduced load times and higher resolutions mean advertisers and publishers can expect a new range of ad formats and pricing options.

“Getting really granular with retargeting and hypertargeting is possible right now, but the depth of how we can communicate to consumers will expand, and with the expansion, comes more premium options,” said Chris Neff, senior director of innovation at agency The Community, whose clients include Domino’s, General Mills and Converse, in a Digiday article. However, because the hardware that can handle 5G still needs to be developed, Neff added that marketers should expect 5G’s impact on advertising to be minimal in the next year, but that there’s the potential for “massive change” after that.

Publishers who already have slow page-load times at 4G network speeds should consider that when it comes to page-load times, a poorly executed responsive design can be much worse than a dedicated mobile-optimised site. If they haven’t already, these publishers should seriously consider implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWA). These approaches can both significantly reduce load time, particularly when working together. But, while we’re on advertising, don’t let developments in ad technology encourage you to ramp up advertising to an annoying degree; you don’t want to inadvertently drive a rise in adblocker downloads. 

Accelerated load times will mean more ads served with far more impressive creative (AR, 3D?). AI may finally have a chance to actually help publishers and brands alike increase their revenues with more plentiful consumer data, behavioural insights, and opportunities for personalisation and customisation for users. That could revolutionise user experience.

The uncertainties of 5G will clear over time. Until then, we urge digital publishers to continue improving their current practices while accelerating their interest in 5G markets. In simple terms, 5G’s not something you want to be late on. The gaps unprepared publishers will leave could make space for some pretty seismic disruptions, the likes of which previously unsettled mature industries like entertainment (iTunes and Netflix) and transportation (Uber and Lyft). If 5G becomes the norm, expect to see entire businesses run on it.


Flipboard app interface with red background

Free Flipboard Ebook: How to Multiply Publisher Traffic

At Mathematics, our mission is to ensure the growth of digital publishers, the expansion of their audiences and the multiplication of their revenues. We also strive to guarantee that our clients stay ahead of the curve when it comes to developments in our industry. As such, we’re experts on the myriad distribution platforms digital publishers can use to source valuable and sizeable new audiences.

When the coronavirus crisis became so serious that not a publisher on Earth didn’t see their business models undergo a seismic rotation, we felt compelled to help our industry however we could. First, we produced an article series on the smart ways publishers can monetise now that their standard methods of coverage are unattainable. Now, we’ve produced a free ebook, that packs everything publishers need to know about Flipboard into a one-stop resource. 

Flipboard user on an iPhone

Flipboard has been independently verified as the fourth highest traffic driver for publishers on mobile and tablets, and with the right guidance, it can be a referral machine that bolsters revenues significantly. 

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to download Mathematics’ free ebook, become a Flipboard expert, and begin driving a wealth of untapped traffic to your site.


Apple News+ and Cereal Magazine

Apple Plans Audio Stories for News+: Here's What we Know

Recently, Tim Cook unveiled that Apple News has attained 125 million monthly active users, including Apple News’ paid subscription tier, News+. Despite this, publishers have been curious about what else Apple News can offer. So, Apple has unveiled additional functionality for News+: the tech giant will add audio content to its premium news app. 

What’s happening?

Apple has, over the last few months, been making efforts to attain permission to create audio versions of publishers’ articles for Apple News+.

How is Apple adding audio to News+?

Apple will handle production costs. Apple will reimburse publishers in the same way as it has always reimbursed News+ publishers: 50% of all subscriber revenue is divided between publishers according to how much time News+ users spent with their content over the last 30 days. The articles will be read by actors. 

Why is Apple doing this now?

In a general sense, this focus on audio fits a wider digital publishing trend; over the last few years, demand for audio has grown considerably. Audio articles make content more accessible to the busy reader and have been trialled in-house by the likes of The Atlantic, The Financial Times, The Guardian and more. 

In the past year alone, Google, Spotify and Amazon have all unveiled similar products. Google’s ‘Your News Update’ service for Google Assistant, launched in November, allows publishers to be paid directly. The New York Times even acquired Audm, a company that allows publishers to turn long-form stories into audio, in March.

Of the publishers approached by Apple, some remain skeptical due to concerns over the cost of this convenience. After all, this update is aimed at the busy, commuting News+ user, but it takes longer to dictate a story than it does to read one. But, Apple’s action follows a clear trend in favour of audio, and the involvement of actors represents an enticing USP.

What should publishers be aware of?

Turning an article into audio is technically repurposing. Publications don’t often have contracts with freelancers that allow for work to be repurposed without specific consent or an additional fee. Publishers must consider this. To circumvent this issue, two of the aforementioned publications that Apple has approached will be pitching articles of their choosing to Apple directly, to avoid any issues pertaining to intellectual property.

Apple has yet to confirm a launch date for this feature, but when eventually it is rolled out, we’ll be excited to watch the benefits of this new experience come to life. quashes publisher apprehensions around the usefulness of the platform.


Apple Has Unveiled Updates to News Publisher

Apple have revealed that they’re rolling out some key updates to their News Publisher tool. Digital publishers, take note. Two of the most important features Apple’s team wished to highlight fall under analytics:

Updates to Analytics

In December 2019, Apple News expanded its mail notifications with a new ‘Good Morning’ daily newsletter, in which it delivers news, analysis and features to users’ inboxes every morning, collating “the best stories from the most trusted sources”. Now, News Publisher’s ‘Discovery Source’ has been updated to include this email newsletter, where applicable. Editorial Events have also been updated to include it, as have Top Stories Notifications, where applicable.

Apple also unveiled a number of updates to various areas of the Apple News back-end. Below, you’ll find those which are the most prescient for digital publishers:

Search Articles by Canonical URL

Apple have made improvements to News’ search functionality by allowing users to search for articles by canonical URL; that is, the article’s URL as it appears on the publisher’s site.

Assign Roles to New Channel Members

Those with the Admin role can now assign a role to a new channel member when the invitation is first sent out. The new user accepts the invitation, and their role is assigned. This should significantly reduce the back and forth between Admins and new channel members, streamlining the process for publishers. 

Manage Users Across Channels

Those with the Admin role can now manage users across all channels through 'All Channels' in the navigation bar.


video camera in profile

COVID-19: How Ad-Funded Publishers Can Adapt - Part 5 - Monetising Video

Recently, we opened a new series of articles on how ad-funded publishers can adapt through the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, we’ve looked at advertising trends, affiliate revenue stream , digital alternatives to print and virtual events in detail. In today’s fifth and final instalment, we’re going to look at how publishers can monetise video without spending a penny.

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast predicts that by 2021:

  • Video will account for 80% of all internet traffic
  • There will be nearly 1.9 billion internet video users
  • They will watch 3 trillion minutes of video per month

With the coronavirus crisis in mind, publishers should note that monetising video content needn’t mean creating it. Rather, many platforms give publishers the power to generate revenue from their own content or content created by the platform. What’s more, many of these platforms offer that functionality for free - either permanently, or as a response to the impacts coronavirus has had on digital publishing. 

There’s a handful of ways for publishers to monetise video content that are reliable both during lockdown and outside of it. Subscription-only video content has proven effective for The Information, the tech news site that’s quickly become the poster boy for subscription revenue. Other publishers are offering bundled video content as a bonus addition to subscription packages. Niche subject matter works best here: if a user has subscribed to a political package, but your data reveals they’ve been enjoying your site’s sports news videos, offer premium sports video content as an add-on. Live events can be incredibly effective for generating subscriptions, as can educational video courses that offer readers detailed information on a specific topic. Elsewhere, YouTube is working on a tool that allows news publishers to sell subscriptions to their owned-and-operated digital properties through their YouTube channels. YouTube plans to begin testing the tool by the end of 2020.

However, some platforms are offering out olive branches to digital publishers as a direct response to the coronavirus crisis. These platforms want to help your publication survive this fallout, and they want to do it using video.

How publishers can monetise their video content for free

Dailymotion

Dailymotion offers publishers their own branded player, and automatically-served ads in three key areas:

  • dailymotion.com and the Dailymotion app
  • publisher partner websites
  • portals, social networks, and search engines.

Publishers are able to drive ad revenue with Dailymotion’s integrated ad capabilities, or sell their own ad inventory using separate monetisation solutions.

Dailymotion also boasts a global catalogue of videos which allow publishers to earn revenue when embedded on-site, and an accompanying suite of revenue-boosting features designed to keep visitors entertained and engaged.

Dailymotion is available for free. Get started.

Brightcove

Brightcove is an industry leader in video hosting, video monetisation and interactivity solutions. With Brightcove, publishers are able to optimise video ad delivery and retain viewers with seamless video ad integration while being flexible with what parts of the platform they choose to use.

During the coronavirus crisis, Brightcove is offering 50 free hours of HD live streaming for 90 days.

Get in touch.

EX.CO

EX.CO enables publishers to serve relevant content and ads to their audiences with EX.CO’s video library and ad demand partners. In light of the coronavirus crisis, EX.CO has extended the length of its free trial to help publishers increase engagement rates and dwell times on their site pages. 

Get in touch.

Rocketium

Rocketium enables brands and marketers to build easily customisable video content in its own video creation tool. Publishers will get a great deal of use out of the functionality which allows them to convert articles to videos in minutes and automate this process using their RSS feed.

Get started.

As tough as COVID-19 will be on publishing, we hope it will prove to be no more than a bump in the road. The above companies are thankfully doing their bit to ensure that our industry survives and thrives, and we recommend taking a look at what they have to offer.


Red and white lifebuoy

Free Revenue Drivers & Analytics Tools for Digital Publishers

To put it bluntly, digital publishing is undergoing some pretty seismic upheavals during the COVID-19 crisis. Thankfully, many platforms are doing everything in their power to assist digital publishers through this difficult time. Recently, Digiday launched its ‘Publisher Partner Coalition’, described as “a group of solutions providers offering great terms, no-fee access to products and services and more to publishers in need.”

Digiday’s full resource is extremely comprehensive and valuable, but here’s a shortlist of some of our favourite offers: 

Our favourite product offers for digital publishers in this time of crisis

Browsi

For two months, Browsi is offering its services for free to new publishers. Its AI leverages over 100 data points to automatically improve ad inventory, optimise viewability and more great tools to help publishers increase inventory and raise revenues.

AAX

AAX helps publishers unlock a new revenue stream in their ad-blocked traffic. The platform will waive its share of the revenue for the first three months for all publishers signed up before May 31. There are no other fees. 

Video Intelligence

Video Intelligence is offering all publishers of its stories an ad-free feed of content from its broadcast partners, allowing publishers to present their readers with reliable, unbiased information.

Confiant

Confiant is offering an extension on its free trial (now 90 days) to help as many new publishers as possible ensure their ad inventory is protected.

Parse.ly

Up until May 31, Parse.ly is offering its Content Conversions premium feature for free, allowing any publishers to receive detailed insights into how their content is helping them achieve their goals as a publisher, at no cost.

GumGum

GumGum will offer a free Verity analysis to publishers to allow them to gauge the brand safety of their coronavirus-related content. The analysis scours any submitted page and returns insights including IAB categories, prominent keywords, brand safety threats, page sentiment, and major events. GumGum will also provide a summary which reveals publishers' top 'safe' pages and IAB categories, designed to help them work around coronavirus-focused advertiser blocklists.

System1

System1 provides search solutions to some of the largest publishers in the world. Partnered with Google, Bing and Yahoo, they consistently generate meaningful revenue for publishers. They also focus on audience growth, helping publishers profitably grow new audiences through paid marketing, and they partner with leading companies to provide lead generation and incremental commerce opportunities. Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, System1 is offering 100% revenue share for the first three months to new publishers that meet their organic traffic requirements.

Reelgood

Reelgood have made their Publishers' Widget tool freely available, which allows users to watch content on any streaming service with one click. Beneficial for UX, the widget also lets publishers earn additional revenue via affiliate codes when a user subscribes, rents or buys, and lets publishers start ranking for 'where to watch' search queries.

Sovrn

Sovrn will offer the first 30 days of usage free to new publishers who sign up for its //Signal or //Commerce product lines. Both are effective, hands-off ways to generate supplementary revenue via automatically monetised links and automatic reloading of valuable ad units for brand new ad inventory, high viewability scores, and high CPMs.

Remixd

Remixd allows publishers to create audio articles instantly and effortlessly, making content more accessible and opening digital and on-demand audio revenue that was previously inaccessible. Remixd offers audio article and playlist pages, push notifications and newsletter support at no out-of-pocket cost to the publisher. They’re currently waiving their setup fee.

Action Button

Action Button gives publishers the power to present users with elegant, bold action cards, from which users can choose to donate, volunteer, send emails or tweets to policymakers, register to vote, sign petitions and much more. Action Button is offering new publishers button campaigns for their sites with revenue share waived in their favour for the first three months.

As tough as COVID-19 will be on publishing, we hope this will prove to be no more than a bump in the road. The above platforms are all offering publishers solutions to some of the most pertinent crises they can face during the crisis. We hope this shortlist is useful.