- Niche Media Publishing
- The Niche Media Publishing Newsletter: 30 January 2024
The Niche Media Publishing Newsletter: 30 January 2024
Future PLC's Earnings Indictors, Ad Network Benchmarks, Local Media Play
Future PLC's Earnings Indictors, Ad Network Benchmarks, Local Media Play, Niche Media Finds
Welcome to this week's issue of the Niche Media Publishing Newsletter. I’ll get right into it.
Before getting started, this week’s sponsor is… well.. ME.
Our V4M team has some bandwidth to add a few clients, partners, and consultations in Q1.
Services we can help with:
Due Diligence, vetting media deals
Strategic advisory for media plays
Recruiting content writers, editors, AI wranglers, specialists
Monetization optimization, affiliate and placement connections
End to end content production
Alright, let’s get into the topics for this week.
Macro Media Headwinds Start to Hit Home
Revenue is always a lagging indicator, so it’s significant that Future PLC (one of the fortress media conglomerates) is reporting (and forecasting) decline.
Specifically, this quote jumped out at me:
My Take: Between the AI cross-current, post-pandemic flattening, and massive Google shakeups, I’m betting we’ll see more of these stories.
It’s clear that Google’s recent shakeups are having a universal impact, however. Not just on the little outfits.
The fact that the CEO calls this out is incredibly significant
For smaller, indie media, the bloodbath is often immediate, unrelenting, and existential. We don’t get a press release about these. A side effect might be that this public narrative spurs Google to quickly “fix” the SERPs. Here’s to hoping…
That said, as niche media brands we can glean something from reading the forecasts about what these big brands plan to do.
Future plans to segregate their brands into 3 categories:
This might be a useful exercise for all of us to undertake. Even with just ONE media brand, I like to divide my content categories and archetypes into similar categories.
It’s time to take a hard look at which brands and categories of content are delivering the most value AND present the best growth opportunity. For anything that has slim growth prospects, cut bait and cashflow into the brands that do!
Interestingly, their GAS initiation (growth acceleration strategy) seems to suggest two tactical initiatives:
Better monetization. Increasing the revenue per user and growing “engaged users”. It will be interesting to see HOW this is achieved short of just layering more ads on users.
Traffic diversification to social. Sounds a lot like SEO Twitter right now… The challenge with social audiences is that they are ALSO beholden to algo’s just like Google Search, BUT the commercial intent (or commercial engagement) is typically a lot lower.
Google has really kicked the legs out from under the entire media category, with few exceptions.
I’ll be curious to see if Reddit and other search / social channels can rise to seize their opportunity from Google’s ineptitude.
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Who Do You Think You Are, Seriously?
I’m trying to learn more about our audience here, so if you are inclined let us know where you stand. Please vote for what BEST describes you.
Who do you even think you are?
Is Raptive (formerly AdThrive) the Best Ad Network?
I touched on the potentially programmatic “end times” last week, but a timely study from Motion Invest is out comparing all of the top programmatic ad networks by Niche RPM:
Mediavine pays twice as much in certain niches. Raptive outperforms in most others.
Ezoic and adsense never pay more, according to a recent study conducted by Motion Invest.
Wondering which ad network is best for your niche?
Full study here:
— Spencer Haws (@nichepursuits)
Jan 23, 2024
My Take: This confirms my anecdotal evidence that Raptive is the (slight) top dog in the programmatic ad market.
Years ago I asked Mediavine directly about their best categories, as we were deciding where to onboard various brands. Their response was basically a cryptic non-answer, saying that “all of their categories” performed well. Now the word is out!
While this is the most useful data point to date, Motion Invest’s network tends to skew to the smaller site size end, so this may not be fully representative of network earnings per site.
Mediavine has various incentive programs operators, such as their loyalty bonus (annual 1% increase, up to 5% on their rev share), and their Premium and Pro tiers (often up to 90% publisher rev share).
Still, the fact that Raptive is beating MV out of the gate, while still offering a LOWER rev share for publishers, sets a new standard in the industry as to which programmatic partner is “best”.
Personally, I’ve found Raptive to be more accommodating, friendly, and flexible as compared to Mediavine. I even had someone at MV once tell me we had “too many sites” in our portfolio.
The Local Media Opportunity (again)
I’ve been beating this drum for a bit, but there’s a huge opportunity to explore local media plays right now. Newsletters are a great launch strategy for this.
I've found the most untapped, competition-free newsletter niche you can think of.
Still, 2 weeks later, I can't wrap my head around why this isn't a thing yet.
It all started here:
A few weeks ago, I wanted to find something fun to do over the weekend. Yes, I could go to the… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— 🌶 Jens | Newsletter Rebel (@JensLennartsson)
Jan 26, 2024
My Take: It’s clear that there’s 1) demand and 2) lack of supply for good, reliable, and community-building local media.
I’ve looked at local media a LOT, and even operate a few geo-specific sites. The challenge is cracking the monetization nut.
Theoretically, the advertising dollars ARE there. In fact, this is what drove newspapers to be so successful back in the day.
So successful that Warren Buffet got into the business, only recently selling his empire:
The challenge is figuring out how to build a sales model in the digital age to reach these decidedly OFFLINE and digitally skeptical, overworked bunch of local business operators.
There’s no ready-made ad network or “Beehiiv boosts” for this. The folks that CAN solve this monetization side, could build an incredible business.
Quality content should speak for itself, but it’s really difficult to assess AI content at scale without the help of AI detectors.
I’ve known Jon Gilham (the founder) for years and personally have seen Originality.ai adapt and flourish as the leading AI detection tool in content. It’s the most accurate tool in it’s class.
Because of the volume of content we publish, a tool like Originality.ai acts as a sort of metal detector for AI generated content. It picks up on where our editorial teams need to lean in and engage.
If you haven’t given it a try, it’s definitely worth checking out here.
Niche Media Finds This Week
Here are some niche media businesses I’ve found this week that piqued my interest:
HoneymoonAlways.com: This one came across my desk and it’s taken a beating recently with the Google updates, but damn, this is a multimillion dollar revenue site, hiding as a simple blog.
PackHacker.com: I’ll admit to not knowing about this gem before news broker this week that AllGear Digital acquired them. This is the perfect example of why we need a lane for indie media. This level of detail and dedication cannot be found on either Reddit OR USA Today’s latest land grab.
Aspiring Entrepreneurs Summit
I presented last week at the Aspiring Entrepreneurs virtual summit & they’ve released the recordings as a package.
There was a great speakers lineup, including industry friends like Daniel Buetler (Investors Club), Jared Bauman (Niche Pursuits), Dom Wells (Onfolio), Trevor Davis (Duuce Newsletter Marketplace), and Matt Raad (eBusiness Institute).
You can pick up a full recording of the 2-day summit here, if interested.
Here are some other publications I subscribe to, author, or co-sign.
A fun “play by play” journey of a searcher breaking down potential deals. Despite the billing, not all of the deals are in the “home service” category, some good digital ones as well.
If you leverage affiliate relationships in your media business, Affiliate Insider is where I share my in-the-field experience.
Our COO (Amy), publishes an incredibly detailed and thoughtful newsletter for content marketers here:
We also cover the latest MarTech trends and deep dives with a monthly (soon to be weekly) newsletter for B2B operators:
OK, that's it for this week...
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