You might think that all a publisher needs is an advertiser. As a matter of fact, one cannot exist without the other. However a situation like the current one has shown that what we thought to be true may have just been just an illusion. Our certainties, our solid logic, the right way to do things… Everything has transformed into doubt and possibilities and here is the first and only obvious conclusion so far: there are many ways in which things can happen.
And this is good. This is exactly the mindset that allows publishers to face their current issues in creative ways that would ultimately imply evolution. It is no mystery to anyone that one the biggest concerns amongst publishers right now is the fact that some advertisers are delaying payments to agencies as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on their activities. This is pushing publishers to restructure their own teams in many different ways. The most common one is dedicating more resources to their sales activities. Trying to enlarge their current clients list whilst building a stronger, more manageable, direct relationship with them does not seem like a bad decision, but it can also be very challenging.
Time and resources are key
One question that immediately arises is: can most publishers in such a difficult situation increase their efforts on the client acquisition and management front? It requires less resources to keep clients than to look for new ones, but right now, times are especially tough. News companies, for instance, are seeing 88% of ad campaigns canceled (according to the IAB) and most publishers predict that they will finish the quarter approximately 35% down on forecasts.
Also, diversification and scalability are key to reduce risks like the ones they are facing right now, meaning not just delayed payments, but also brand-safety issues and drastic reductions in affiliate referral rates. Another factor that cannot go unnoticed is time. It is urgent to react and revert the situation and building or restructuring entire sales departments to strengthen relationships with their current advertisers and look for new ones is not a quick process.
Could new partnerships help publishers?
Technological solutions able to create a stable and rich environment for publishers to work could be key for many companies to overcome the current challenges. These new partnerships could become the most effective asset to shorten the path between advertisers and publishers, allowing both to increase agility, trust and safety and solving the issues of diversification and scale for publishers. Not to mention that they would save the incredible amount of time and effort required to (re-)build an entire salesforce.
Considering all possible alternatives means opening the door to new partnerships. External inputs, ideas, knowledge and technology might work as the fuel publishers need to keep going or even as a float that anyone would be happy to grab when times are extraordinarily hard to navigate.