Big Challenges and Big Opportunities For Publishers In 2023

Jan 19, 2023

By Tony Silber

I saw an important report on the 2023 outlook for publishing and ad buying, but it came out after we deployed our December issue of Fox Tales, so I filed it away for this January issue.

It was published on the MediaPost website, and it outlined the concerns publishers are facing this year. Called the 2023 Industry Pulse Report, it was produced by Integral Ad Science in partnership with YouGov based on a survey fielded in October.

Interestingly, the spin on the survey on the Integral Ad Science website was much more optimistic than the MediaPost story, with a headline emphasizing the opportunities for publishers.

“In 2023, industry experts are anticipating even greater advertising opportunities on channels like digital audio, CTV, and mobile,” the report concluded. “But 2023 will also be the year that ads enter a new dimension — 3D ads, gaming, and the rise of the Metaverse are on marketers’ minds as they look to the future.”

Indeed, the report found that publishers feeling bullish about some forms of media, including those mentioned above, but also reflected in these priorities. The percent indicates the respondents who viewed these things as a priority.

  • Digital audio—54%
  • Digital video—50%
  • Social media—48%
  • Mobile—47%
  • Ad-supported streaming apps on CTV or OTT—26%

But let’s dig into MediaPost’s take.

Publishers—and we’re talking about the digital publishing universe here— were asked for their major challenges for 2023. Here are some things they listed and the percentage of respondents who cited them.

  • Decreasing access to consumer data/cookies—40%
  • Choosing and integrating identity systems—36%
  • Monetizing with/without social platforms—32%
  • Maximizing yield—28%
  • Monetizing first-party data—24%
  • Ads delivered alongside risky or misleading content—23%
  • Providing scaled audience extension, minimizing overhead—20%
  • Contextual targeting—19%
  • Poor viewability levels—8%
  • Ad fraud—3%

One thing that stands out is the ongoing concern about the phasing out of cookies by Google. But that’s been ongoing now for several years, and most publishers have developed alternative approaches, usually emphasizing first-party data. But the research also notes that 36% of respondents are focused on selecting and integrating identity systems, the kinds of technologies that convert anonymous visitors to known leads.

Beyond that two concerns stand out: Monetization is first, coming up in three separate bullets. The other is contextual targeting, both in the positive and negative senses. A perennial threat in online advertising is showing up next to risky, misleading, or fake content.

For now, we wait and watch how these things and other play out in the coming months, as inflation and a threat of recession continues to hover over the economy.

Read the full report here.