How to Close the Content Monetization Gap in 2017

By Chris Hart
Feb 7, 2017

With 2017 well underway, publishers of all types continue to grapple with the problem of monetization, combined with increased competition for consumer attention and an ever-growing number of third-party distribution platforms.


How To Close The Content Monetization Gap In 2017

Smart publishers will make their content work harder with efficient and effective distribution strategies.

Reporting on members’ results for the first half of 2016, Digital Content Next’s 2017 Distributed Content Revenue Benchmark Report found that publishers have been disappointed in the incremental revenue generated on third party platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Publishers typically receive only 14 percent of their total revenue directly from distribution platforms.

What do publishers need to do to make money this year? Over the next few weeks, I’ll cover three of the most important issues that will be crucial to publishers’ monetization efforts in 2017:

1 – Video, video, video.

Digital video consumption continues to grow. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, it accounted for 70 percent of all global consumer internet traffic in 2015. Everyone loves to watch video.

But the big question for publishers is how to monetize their video – especially when it’s distributed by third parties. Video has the highest monetization potential of all content types, garnering two to three times higher CPMs than display ads. While TV and cable companies are succeeding in monetizing content through advertising on over-the-top platforms, according to Digital Content Next, other content publishers have significant challenges, especially on Facebook.

In future posts, I’ll discuss Facebook in much more detail.

2 – Continuing fragmentation of distribution platforms.

Yes, publishers need to diversify their traffic sources, but that’s not easy. Audiences are changing faster than ever, while new platforms such as messaging are growing in importance.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger together have four times the number of active users than the next-biggest network, China’s QQ, according to Statista. But what’s really interesting about that chart is that it ranks 21 different global social networks. That’s a lot of different properties for publishers to try to understand.

On each network, different types of content are more likely to be engaged with and shared. Publishers need to test and analyze how different content types—and individual pieces of content—perform on each channel in order to make the best decisions about prioritizing and resourcing.

3 – Drive for more content puts more strain on publisher resources.

Creating good content is one job that can’t be outsourced to algorithms today. The creative process requires a human brain. At the same time, the pressure to output more and more content in a variety of formats on several different distribution platforms leads to severe resource constraints for publishers.

To address this, you should investigate automating content distribution. Ideally, content distribution should be done programmatically and algorithmically, in the same way that the adtech industry has automated the scheduling and insertion of display ads. That will free up social-media teams to do more of the high-value work necessary to create great content and grow an audience in this fragmented media landscape.


To stay on top of the shifts in media consumption and channel usage, publishers need to automate as many of the non-creative aspects of their content distribution as they can so their teams can focus on creating brilliant content that we’ll be eager to consume.

Tweet: From video to distribution, here are the 3 ways smart publishers are monetizing their content.

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