Does Audience or Content Drive Monetization?

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Roberto Fernández del Castillo of UBER Mexico hosts the El Heraldo de México Stage to discuss a goal all brands, agencies, and creatives struggle with regularly: Monetizing Content.

Monetization is the “art and science” of bringing quality content in front of a large enough audience that advertisers will start paying for it, agree both Diana Ramírez of Twitter and Juan Pablo Munevar of ADSTREAM. In the rush to monetization, the end-user can be forgotten. If the content is poor quality or does not consider the end-user, then there is no audience, and brands won’t pay for lack of audience. Meanwhile, it is the brands advertising that pays for the great “free” content for the audience, making good content, brands, and monetization all connected. Within the 3 ways to monetize content, such as subscriptions, advertising, or enabling ecommerce, the end-user must be served, adds Naren Nath of MetaRail.

Roberto asks if quality content of audience should be built up first. Content and audience both take a lot of investment, with 90% of the content on the internet being created in the last 2 years. Naren says figuring out a monetization strategy before investing in either the audience of the content is more important. Juan disagrees saying the content and the audience should be developed at the same time, citing YouTube’s content and audience, and curating the content by the creatives is key, by keeping the audience in mind.

While the impression of content is that it is free to the audience, the truth is it is costing someone either time, product, or money. Eric Tourtel of Teads states that the idea that content is free is wrong, and that it is the responsibility of agencies and creatives to teach the audience to respect the makers of content, and the makers’ needs for a living wage. Eric thinks that making pre-rolls and pop-up ads or insisting on subscriptions must be done because nothing is free. Advertising pays for televised sports, for journalism, movies, and for content. The death of advertising means the death of these industries. Being a hot topic, Naren counters saying that the mass use of ad-blockers is, in a sense, the world’s biggest protest, and it’s against advertising.

Perhaps more of a compromising idea is key. Using the example of JP Morgan, Roberto suggests advertising works if the audience is curated for the brand. Saturating hundreds of thousands of websites with ads didn’t work for JP Morgan, but when they cut the amount of websites they advertised on by a fraction, and curated those sites to align with the ideals and audience of JP Morgan, they found the campaign to be more successful. Roberto says there will be more “white-listing and black-listing” in that ad-blockers will continue to be used, but advertisers also will hand-pick where they want to advertise in order to curate their audience. Roberto adds that an important component of audience curation is that no brand wants to see their campaign pop-up next to a terrorist video.

The panel’s ending advice to the Advertising Week audience is to: educate yourself on the industry, don’t be afraid to experiment, focus on good content curated to your users’ wants/needs, use technology to automate leaving more time for creativity, and ultimately have a business model plan around the monetization to keep focus.

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