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‘No silver bullet’: Publishers shifting to consumer revenue mull new vendor problem

by Max Willens

As publishers continue to pivot toward consumer revenue, there’s been an uptick in the number of vendors pitching their ability to help companies capture consumer revenue.

But the rise of consumer revenue hasn’t spawned a horde of third-party businesses the way digital advertising’s rise did with ad tech. Many publishers are still making do with tools that were built for other industries or for the ad-supported part of their business. That’s because advertising still drives their business, and subscriptions are unlikely to attract a tidal wave of venture capital that might wash up a perfect solution for publishers.

“There certainly is a healthy number of solutions available, but the landscape is still fragmented and does not contain a silver bullet,” said Scott Messer, VP and General Manager at Leaf Group, parent of ad-driven publishers like Livestrong.com and consumer revenue-focused businesses like Society6. “Even if a solution is multifaceted, it still probably doesn’t plug into the rest of your stack or CMS, which means having yet another dashboard. That is fine if consumer revenue is your primary focus, but diversified publishers are still looking for tighter integrations.”

Over the past year, the number of services available to publishers looking to get into consumer revenue has grown. The number of companies that identify themselves as customer data platforms, or CDPs, has more than doubled to 52 from January 2017 to January 2018, according to the CDP Institute…

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