Authored by: Jordan Bitterman, CMO, TripleLift
The Paradox of Journalism in the Age of Corona
So much of human existence right now feels like a giant unknown. We are in the midst of a global health scare the likes of which nobody currently alive has ever experienced. There simply aren’t any parallels.
We do know this, however: there are people and industries that are critical to our ability to navigate this crisis. Doctors, nurses and hospital workers are helping us care for the sick. Farmers, warehouse workers and grocery clerks are ensuring the proper functioning of our food supply.
Yet, perhaps one of the most critical jobs right now – important and oftentimes dangerous work to help us survive and thrive through this pandemic – is being done by journalists.
News gathering organizations are reporting from the frontlines, wading through an endless and fast moving ocean of information — all in the interest of keeping us informed. In times like these, journalism has never been more important for the proper functioning of society. Who else will separate fact from fiction, speak truth to power and provide important context to arm us with the insights needed to make decisions that keep ourselves and our families safe?
Still: news publishers are facing a ‘crisis within the crisis.’ Consumer demand for the news has never been higher, but advertiser demand for those impressions has fallen off precipitously. Traffic to news sites is up 57% since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, but CPMs are down 20% in that same timeframe. In a world of supply and demand, this shouldn’t make sense. But, there’s a straight-forward answer as to why this is happening and a simple solution to address it.
Monetization has fallen due in large part to the decision by some very large brands to steer clear of the news category entirely. Many of those advertisers simply do not want the message association, so they are blacklisting Covid-19 content or the news category entirely. There are a number of studies that show brands actually get a lift from running ads adjacent to news, but it has become conventional wisdom – false as it may be – that news content is undesirable content.
While this pandemic is an unpleasant story, without the support of brands, news won’t be able to properly function through this period and will be forever changed moving forward. Choking off this category isn’t helping anyone.
Your Advertising Dollars Can Do Double Duty
Investing in quality news content at a time when it’s being consumed at peak levels not only makes business sense – driving reach and achieving ROI at reasonable CPMs – but it also funds an important pillar of society. Your brand can be associated with that support.
Put simply: brands have the opportunity to reach their objectives while playing a role in the survival of journalism.
TripleLift has created a curated package of impressions to help brands position themselves thoughtfully within the world’s most respected news content. Attributes of this package include:
- Focus on Premium News Publishers. Run exclusively on publishers that deliver properly gathered and edited news to society. Publishers including: The New York Times, BBC, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, CNN, Vox and San Francisco Chronicle.
- 100% Direct Inventory. All of the inventory comes directly from publishers. Zero impressions are resold — all publisher spend goes to the publishers.
- KPIs Delivered…In Your Required Timeframe. Packages designed to meet ROI expectation and easily activated on a single deal ID.
- Low CPMs. Take advantage of all-time low CPMs for premium news content.
- Positive Association. Society needs the news category needs right now, and the news category needs advertisers. By participating in #HelpJournalism, brands and agencies will be making positive change by simply spending their ad dollars wisely. After all, this could be a good news story in more ways than one.
Update June 4, 2020
GroupM is the first holding company to join the effort, and has signed more than a dozen of its clients to the program, focusing on 600 multicultural and local news sites. “This topic is of great importance to us,” John Montgomery, executive vice president of global brand safety at GroupM told MediaPost, “Journalism is essential to the proper functioning of society, especially at a time when there is a great threat to the health and financial wellbeing of almost everyone on Earth. Imagine, not having essential news reporting during the Great Depression or on 9/11. That’s what’s at risk right now.”
Since the Help Journalism curated deal is based on individual deal IDs, any agency or brand wanting to participate can do so in a way that makes sense to them. Media buyers can be as broad or as surgical as they would like. If a marketer wants to direct news spend to a particular region of the US, a particular European country or even against a specific set of news publications – large or small – we can allocate dollars accordingly.