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How Publishers Are Navigating the Post-Consumer (r)Evolution

December 29, 2020  •  By: Renee Chemel

consumer evolution

It seems like every year, there’s a new “new normal” for publishers and marketers to contend with. But let’s be real. If any year deserves the honor of shifting the landscape and shepherding in a new normal, it’s 2020.

Consumer behavior is undergoing a “(r)evolution” like we’ve never seen before. And it’s not just because of the pandemic. Even before COVID, e-commerce was surging and touchpoints were fragmenting, causing publishers and brands to reevaluate how they drive engagement and deliver customer experiences. This year just sped up some of those processes, creating what Harvard Business Review calls “the next-normal consumer,” who works remotely, shops online, and consumes more content.

As we look ahead to 2021, businesses are tasked with reaching this evolved consumer in innovative ways by adjusting old strategies and building new ones.

No pressure!

That’s why we’re sharing some choice tips from publishers across the industry about how they’re adjusting to this new normal of consumer behavior and preparing for even bigger changes in the years to come.

Here’s what they have to say:

1. Dominick Miserandino, CEO, Inquisitr

“It amazes me now the diversification that is coming amongst each publisher. It used to be a show of basically Google/Facebook. That’s it. Now I have many publishers that are diversified to the point where you have 12-15 different strategies. I think that’s honestly the biggest difference I’ve seen in 25 years … I don’t think it’s any longer ‘The Google Show,’ which is a good thing.”

2. Karen Eccles, senior director of commercial innovation, The Telegraph

“[Contextual advertising is] changing the conversation. Now it’s about deeper, richer partnerships with advertisers and how we can work together to support the power of their audience. It’s about moving from third-party to first-party and from anonymous to known audiences. It’s an opportunity that sits squarely under our reader-first, subscriber-first strategy.”

3. Eric Svenson, vice president of marketing, Newsy

“Our email open rates are climbing, click-throughs are growing. That might be because of this homebody world we’re living in, where people are maybe more likely to be at home in the morning when our newsletter comes out and have the time and interest to look at it.”

4. Jeff Litvak, CEO, Adweek

“The penalties [of user privacy issues] are going to come. There hasn’t been a lot of action [during the pandemic] but we can expect more. Every company needs to know what is happening in [California’s recently approved consumer privacy law] Prop 24, what data we can collect and how we can share it.”

5. John McNerney, director of platforms, Verizon Media, ANZ

“2021 will be the year of measurement that proves ad effectiveness for marketing dollars, particularly with platforms that can provide transparent supply-chains as future-proofed cookieless solutions become status-quo.”

6. Jeff Kupietzky, CEO, PowerInbox

“You have to start taking a multichannel view of your customer. If all you ever saw was their interest level on one channel, you’ll miss that that’s not the same individual that accesses your content on mobile when they’re commuting, tablet when they’re relaxing, and desktop when they’re at work … You need something that’s persistent and consistent. Let’s just say an email address. And if that email address is used in those multiple channels, you can start forming a more complete picture of that user.”

Hear more from Jeff about email in this video:

7. Pete Spande, publisher & CRO, Insider, Inc.

“A data divide emerges. Historically, publishers have not built strong data products and ceded much of that ground to ad tech and platforms. The changing landscape (both technical and regulatory) provides an opportunity for publishers to regain ground ceded in the past 15 years.”

8. Debra Fleenor, founder & CEO, Adapex

“It’s very fragmented, and publishers are having to be more cognizant of: where are they coming from and what am I showing them? … And what do you do with that? How do we target the message there and match it with what we’re gonna see on the site? And how do we syndicate? It’s a lot more complicated than it used to be. You can’t just have a homepage or a landing page anymore. You’ve got to really personalize the content based on where they’re coming from, including personalizing the ad experience.”

9. Mark Inskip, CEO UK & Ireland, Kantar (Media Division)

“In 2021 we can expect to see more and more teams across the industry forcing their existing data to work harder to inform investment decisions. Rather than drowning in a data lake, the focus will be on distilling down data into meaningful sets which can be easily managed and – even better – pooled with other sources to provide richer, more impactful insights.” 

10. Yanay Sela, CMO, SeekingAlpha

“I’m not concerned at all. I’m actually excited. I think there are a couple of things happening that expedited what would’ve taken us publishers maybe 5-10 years to get to … You hear a lot of people who would have never paid for an app or subscription, and you see them starting subscriptions and acknowledging that paying for content that is verified or quality … I think this trend is only going to increase. I think people are going to be a lot more mindful — like they’re more mindful about what they put in their bodies to eat — about the content that they consume. All in all, I think it’s a good thing.”

Want to hear more from industry experts about the post-consumer (r)evolution? Check out our roundtable discussion on-demand, here.

Be (r)evolutionary

Don’t just join the post-consumer (r)evolution. Lead it by taking ownership of your data and building the engagement strategies you need to reach audiences with the right content.

PowerInbox gives publishers the tools they need to do just that. Our all-in-one platform empowers you to deliver personalized experiences in real time based on known consumer behaviors. We also use first-party identifiers like the email address so you can track and target audiences in privacy-safe ways across their favorite channels. That way, you can build trust in this brave new world of advertising and uncover valuable opportunities to drive revenue and engagement.


Ready to get started? Reach out today to learn how.

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