Paywalls Suspended; Ads...Genetically Modified

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Paywalls Suspended

The desperation for up-to-the-minute news about Hurricane Sandy persuaded the NYTimes.com and WSJ.com to suspend their respective paywalls by Monday. Poynter Institute’s Julie Moos has the rundown of other papers that have put the paywall aside, at least for the moment. Read it. As we noted last week, the NY Times Co. reported that while paid digital subscribers were up 11 percent, digital revenue from ads were down slightly. While the company denies a connection, executives did attribute some of the decline to programmatic buying. Could the turning off of the digital meter generate better traffic and, in turn, higher ad revenues? Time will tell.

Ad-Supported Activism

Facebook ads are playing into the battle over California’s Proposition 37 in an interesting way. Ali Partovi, who has supported the ballot initiative to label GMO (Genetically Modified) foods, writes for TechCrunch, “The Prop 37 team had already cultivated a vibrant fan community on Facebook, which made all the difference. I helped start a promotion encouraging these fans to speak out for GMO labeling in their own words, and asking them to use the new ‘Promoted Posts’ feature, where anybody can pay $7 to increase the visibility of what they say... The ads are literally the voices of ordinary people.  Our most effective ad units are not clever slogans or graphics, but fan comments.” It’s a tactic straight out of the content marketing playbook, but instead of just writing the ad copy, supporters buy the ad spots as well. Read more.

Get on the Mobile Train

In a 30,000-foot snapshot of the mobile ad space, New York Times reporter Claire Cain Miller describes familiar challenges such as low prices, “fat fingers” syndrome, and trackability. But there’s momentum as well. Starwoods worked with Google on click-to-call ads. “After running these ads, Starwood Hotels’ mobile bookings grew 20 percent in a month,” Miller writes. Read more.

Gawker’s Sponsored Snark

Okay, okay, Gawker isn’t as snarky as it once was. But the site’s content still has some bite and it looks like marketers are interested in working with Gawker on creating custom content (or “collaborative content” as the piece above says we should call it now). “All of our brand partners are attempting to get their story across to our readers in the most authentic manner possible,” Ray Wert, Gawker’s executive director for content told Digiday’s Josh Sternberg. “And they come to us to tell that story because we know how to authentically talk to our audience. Read more.

The Mobile eCPM Gap

There is a "widening gap" between the average eCPM of the United States, countries in Asia Pacific and Europe, and the rest of the world, reports Clickz’s Matt Kapko, citing stats from Norway’s Opera Software. Average eCPMs in the U.S. reached $1.37, ahead of the global average of $1.31 during the third quarter. "Google's Android devices continued to underperform against their iOS counterparts, but still captured nearly 25.7 percent of traffic," Kapko writes. Read more.

But Wait. There’s More!

 

 

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