Bulletin photo by Kareya Saleh

Steve Yaeger, vice president and chief marketing officer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, discussed the relationship between advertisements and consumers.

Rapid changes in advertising
requires papers to keep pace

By Lucy Burdge
Bulletin Staff

Ray Faust is excited about the outlook for the digital advertising marketplace.

In his presentation, “The future of media revenue: It’s time to rethink ads,” Faust, vice president of emerging media sales for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, discussed the ways in which he and his team have made huge strides in increasing revenue for publishers.

Speaking to about 40 people Friday, Feb. 19, at the New England Newspaper and Press Association winter convention, Faust explained his techniques for audience monetization, and the changing role of ads in publications.

“We are in a state of opportunity,” Faust said. “There is not a day that goes by without us hearing about new challenges.”

The majority of the audience members indicated by a show of hands that they oversee some form of digital content for their publications. That informal survey exemplified the digital shift media outlets now face.

Faust stressed the dynamic nature of online advertising and the need to keep up with ever-changing demands for publications to survive.

Pointing to his presentation slide detailing a dense advertising strategy, Faust said: “This will all be different tomorrow.”

Faust also emphasized the importance of networking to add people with different skills to your team. His advice is simply to talk to everybody.

“You never know who is going to be able to help you,” Faust said. “We have to be willing to try different things, try different approaches.”

Faust discussed the changing role of ads and innovative methods publishers can use to improve their value as advertising vehicles:

• Performance marketing, which bases payment for ads on their effectiveness in achieving certain goals, including success in selling a product or service.

• Audience distribution, which is taking into account the platforms on which the audience views content.

• Competitive reach, which is the measure of how effective publishers are in delivering results from the ads they publish.

When publishing ads online now, publishers must think about the differences between home-page and article viewing and desktop versus mobile viewing because there are now multiple ways to access content via mobile devices and computers. Because of that, publishers must format their ads differently to fit the layout for different devices. The ultimate goal is to find the most efficient way possible to deliver ads, Faust said.

Faust was joined by the Star Tribune’s vice president and chief marketing officer, Steve Yaeger, who concluded the presentation by explaining the relationship between advertisements and consumers.

Because readers often don’t want to see ads, ad blockers have become popular for online readers.

Yaeger explained the techniques his company has developed to navigate around ad blockers, which include inviting users to subscribe or sign up for the Star Tribune’s email list to receive stories and updates from the Star Tribune in their inboxes. The thinking is that if those with ad blockers sign up for the emails, they will still receive ads in the stories they get in the emails.

Imagining what Yaeger described as an “ad-free future” is about focusing on the consumer, while still being able to make a profit, Yaeger said. That means changing the format of ads with, for example, sponsored content or different, more efficient, ways to display ads.

Faust said: “The value for the reader will take care of itself. As long as the newsroom makes great journalism that is relevant for the market, that (the value) will take care of itself. But everyone is coming after our advertisers.”

Faust said the shift in the way ads will be presented will change, but the strategy will also have to accommodate advertisers and their vision for how their products are promoted.

“So, an ‘ad-free future’ is not the same as an advertiser-free future,” Faust said

‘We are in a state of opportunity. There is not a day that goes by without us hearing about new challenges.’

-- Ray Faust

POSTED 3/31/16


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