What Does "Multichannel" Mean for Publishers?

Feb 28, 2014

Article ImageOver the past year a number of buzzwords have captured the attention of marketers and publishers. Programmatic. RTB. Native advertising. Many of these buzzwords are fleeting in nature or confusing for the layperson. But one industry term perfectly encapsulates the future of digital publishing monetization: multichannel.

As publishers yearn for new revenue streams and seek to stem the tide of advertising revenue, it is becoming increasingly clear that putting all of your eggs into a single media channel basket isn't sustainable. It leaves publishers vulnerable to the fleeting nature of media consumers and of advertisers who are constantly seeking the next big thing.

What is needed is a more nuanced, advanced approach to monetization. Multichannel is that solution.

Multichannel isn't just a buzzword; it is the future of digital publishing monetization. Publishers should begin to utilize multichannel monetization strategies in order to optimize content across the most relevant media channels, properties, and devices. As consumers spend more of their Internet lives online and on tablet devices the lines between display, mobile, search, etc. are getting blurred. Therefore, a single-channel approach to content monetization is becoming less relevant and, crucially, less beneficial to publishers.

Let's examine how publishers can best utilize a multichannel approach to mitigate their digital monetization challenges.

The Multichannel Advantage for Publishers

The average person now accesses online content from multiple devices and within multiple media channels and is exposed to even more media property types within. From email to a search query to a social network, people are consuming more media now than ever before and from more devices and across more media channels than in the past.

This multiplicity of media consumption requires a more sophisticated approach by publishers in order to effectively and efficiently monetize their advertising inventory. Publishers need to approach their digital monetization strategies in exactly the same manner as advertisers now approach their online marketing: multichannel.

As the proverbial walls separating display, search, mobile, etc. crumble advertisers are increasingly seeking ways to reach target audiences across all types of online media, not just a single dedicated channel. Budgets that were previously split between off- and online marketing opportunities are now being split between web, mobile, video, email, content locking, social, etc. This requires publishers to incorporate a multichannel monetization solution that meets both advertiser demand and consumers' preference for "any device, anywhere" media consumption.

Advertisers have quickly leaped into the multichannel (sometimes referred to as "omnichannel") approach to performance marketing. In 2013, there was a 137% global increase in brands that advertised across multiple digital channels (mobile, display, social, and video), according to the new Q3 2013 Digital Audience Report from Turn. 

Publishers need to catch up with this growing demand in multichannel advertising in order to take advantage of some key monetization opportunities.

Here are three ways publishers can benefit from utilizing a multichannel approach to their monetization strategy.

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

One of the longstanding challenges that we see many publishers facing is the increasing need to use multiple advertising partners or ad networks in order to achieve their varied monetization goals. Not only are publishers often forced to work with multiple providers just to fill their traditional display inventory, they now need to work with additional partners for other monetization solutions.

The added complexity of new media properties requires publishers to find an advertising partner that can help them consolidate efforts - one contract, one point of contact and, most importantly, a single, holistic monetization strategy that puts the user first. By building a multichannel monetization strategy, publishers can ensure the right balance of each monetization property can be maximized but not overpower the other, and maintain the all-important user experience.

Economies of Scale

A multichannel ad partner delivers significant economies of scale for most publishers. This is done through several means, including enhancing existing relationships with advertisers and expanding ad budgets to other media property types.  The key is to find the right advertising partner that has a large, geographically and vertically diverse pool of advertiser demand. This partner should provide the publisher with key expertise across multiple media channels (not just verticals) and be able to execute consistently stronger results. 

Mitigating Risks

In an increasingly fractured media landscape, one in which consumers are fickle and jump from site to site, it's a bad strategy to have all of your traffic monetization options in one basket (display banners, for example). A multichannel monetization strategy will provide the needed diversity of advertiser demand and monetization opportunities (banners, email, video, etc.) necessary to diversify your risk without the unnecessary complexity of managing tens of relationships with providers.

Think of it this way: Quite often, one media channel (say, video pre-rolls) will work great for your site, while another (perhaps display banners) will be cooling down due to time of year, holidays, etc. If you are working with three different advertising partners for each of those media channels and you want to cut back on display ads for a while to increase pre-rolls and capitalize on the peak, that's multiple contracts you will need to renegotiate and multiple partner relationships you risk damaging. A multichannel approach to site monetization will enable you to seamlessly orchestrate the different media properties on your site without risk, harm or nuisance to your valued users and business partnerships.

Moreover, the multichannel provider, seeing your entire media spread, will unbiasedly be able to proactively offer you the best solution at any given time to manage your entire portfolio in order to increase the entire revenue value, not just a sliver of it.

New revenue streams arise all the time. Taking advantage of these opportunities is crucial to maximizing the value of your site's traffic. A multichannel approach to your digital monetization strategy will ensure a thorough and balanced spread of ads across media channels, devices and properties that is sensitive to your most important asset: your users.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)