After reflecting on another unprecedented year (if there even any precedents left at this stage), it’s time to look to the future.
2022. It’s the new 2021!
In all seriousness, this is our year — the year we hoped, and thought, 2021 would be. The year we finally (maybe) bid farewell to this global pandemic and usher in a new era of ad tech.
We’ve officially entered the last full calendar year of third-party cookies. A fundamental shift in the programmatic advertising ecosystem is upon us, and 2022 will determine our future course.
2022: The Year We Take Back Reader Relationships
The 2020s were supposed to be the Decade of Video, but we’ve been there and done that.
With the Universal Player effectively rolled out to the Mediavine community, and video ad revenue soaring as a result, it’s time to hand the reins to a new cause:
Publishers owning their relationships with readers.
For too many years the social networks, the search engines and other giant “walled gardens” (as our industry calls them) have controlled the relationships with our audiences.
In 2022, it’s time we change that.
The only way to change programmatic advertising forever, and for the better, is to wrest back control of these relationships with a new, privacy-centric and transparent approach.
Transparency — about the data we collect from readers, how we use it, how we share it and how we give readers a choice and control in the matter — is the future of the web.
Beyond that, it’s taking web traffic into our own hands.
Readers should be loyal to publishers they support. Publishers should serve their audiences, not be beholden to the whims of cryptic algorithms that could alter or doom a small business at any moment.
Privacy and publisher-reader interconnectivity go hand in hand, and with the end of third-party cookies comes the end of third parties owning that connection.
In the first-party world we’re on the cusp of, it’s up to the publishers to cultivate and maintain these relationships. We know. That sounds daunting, maybe even impossible.
It’s not. Here’s why.
Grow By Mediavine
To be sure, going it alone as an independent publisher would be too formidable for most. But just as Mediavine Ad Management was built to solve this very issue with monetization, Grow follows the same ethos.
Grow is the solution to building lasting relationships with readers, helping you, well, grow your sustainable business and take control of your traffic in a changing ad landscape.
How exactly are we going to do it?
At its core, Grow is a toolkit that lets publishers pick and choose the tools that help them develop their relationship with readers, fostering loyalty and improving user experiences.
Given the overwhelming success of Spotlight Subscribe — both in terms of publisher newsletter growth and driving authenticated traffic — we’re doubling down on Subscribe’s features.
In 2021, we released plenty of new features under the Power Pack branding, but the biggest one is about to drop in early 2022:
Grow is introducing a way for publishers to mark certain content (or blocks, for our Gutenberg friends) of their posts as “Exclusive.”
You get where we’re going with this: In order to see exclusive content, users will be required to log in via Grow and subscribe to a publisher’s newsletter (where applicable by law).
During internal testing, Exclusive Content is leading to increases of 100 percent or more with regard to newsletter signups and even higher gains with authenticated traffic.
We’re confident that in the hands of publishers who know what content is the best fit for this, it will deliver results far better than the best pop-up you’ve ever seen.
In short, it’s a game changer for both newsletter growth and authenticated traffic.
However, we recognize that at this moment, not everyone has a newsletter or is even using Grow to help. And with that in mind, we have an exciting solution that to present to you . . .
So make sure you turn into our Facebook Live on Thursday, January 14th at 1pm Eastern/12pm Central to learn more. That’s right, I’m kicking off Teal Talk in 2022 to discuss this roadmap, so don’t miss it or catch the replay!
But bottom line on newsletters: We want to make sure that 100 percent of Mediavine publishers are running Grow, Subscribe and new tools like Exclusive Content.
We certainly don’t want to let the cost or the difficulty of sending newsletters stand in the way. We’re committed to keeping the barrier for entry low across the board.
But we also recognize if we’re going to change the entire web, it’s going to take more of a collective effort than even 8,600 Mediavine publishers can pull off.
Which brings us to. . .
Grow For the World
We’re currently in the process of developing the signup flow and dashboard with some small tweaks to Grow in order to take this thing global.
That’s right: Non-Mediavine publishers will soon be able to run many features of Grow.
While they won’t have access to everything Mediavine publishers receive at launch, we want to make sure all web publishers are able to join us in this revolution.
Taking control of our relationships with readers takes all of us.
When it comes to authenticated traffic (more on that below), we need tens of millions of verified readers. That’s the kind of volume that will move the needle in this industry.
For both Grow and Mediavine publishers, this is a tremendous opportunity. Readers need to recognize and use Grow across the web for us to reach our goal — and even loftier ones for 2023 and beyond.
Ad Offering For Smaller Publishers
The 12 of you who remember Mediavine’s 2021 roadmap may remember that we teased an ad offering for smaller publishers. You got us — we didn’t quite hit that goal.
But there’s a reason.
Grow For the World isn’t just about helping publishers own their relationships; it’s also about enabling more of the web to harness the power of authenticated traffic and first-party data.
That’s why we made the decision to move our offering for small publishers to Grow.
The initial version of Grow for the World will be ad-free, but in the future, we hope to offer many of the Mediavine ad management features you love inside of Grow.
And for publishers with other ad management companies, or handling ads on their own, Grow is still for you.
More exciting announcements about how Grow can help non-Mediavine sites monetize authenticated traffic in the future are in the pipeline. Stay tuned.
You may have already noticed a theme for 2022.
We’ve always said that we’re taking a multi-faceted approach to solving for the end of third-party cookies. This is true, but we’d be lying if we didn’t have a favorite solution:
The idea of publishers and users controlling their own data is the most privacy-oriented and thus, the strongest solution out of all ideas proposed to replace third-party cookies.
Outside of the visible work you see on Grow, Mediavine is working behind the scenes to build the industry’s most robust first-party data solution.
From partnerships with authenticated traffic solutions like Unified ID 2.0 to building our own audience segments, Mediavine is leading this revolution within our industry.
If you’re running Grow today and getting users to log in, you’re participating in all of these experiments in 2022, making you more money even before the cookie crumbles.
So to speak.
2022 is also going to be a big year for the Privacy Sandbox. Just like last year, we plan to be alpha testers of Google’s new version of FLoC — FLEDGE — and any and every bird that takes flight in 2022.
Beyond that, Mediavine has joined the W3C and will take an active role in representing the voice of independent publishers — something sorely lacking in that group.
As for the Privacy Playground, we’ll let you know if and when that becomes operational.
Other Ad Innovations
In addition to everything we’re building in response to third-party cookies, plenty of other ad innovations are also on tap for the next 12 months.
As you saw with InView last year (shown in the animation below), we’re always working on new strategies to ensure Mediavine publishers continue to earn the most revenue per ad.
This year we plan to test more native advertising, launch our new SkyLight ad product and much more.
The goal? For Mediavine publishers to perenially maintain the title of highest-paid content creators.
Our theme framework currently has a remarkable 80% of sites passing Core Web Vitals, but our performance-obsessed team is far from done.
We have more tweaks coming to help boost Trellis‘ numbers even higher.
To the publishers requesting more help customizing the look of your Trellis themes, we hear you. Plenty of things are coming your way soon to help you make your sites even more beautiful.
Behind the scenes, the team is busy working on new features for Create that publishers have requested, including serving size adjustments and tweaks to our nutrition calculation process.
We can’t wait to finally launch some of these new features in 2022.
We’re Just Getting Started
There’s much more coming in ’22, but the year is only a week old, we’re already 1,500 words into this roadmap and we need to leave you wanting more to keep you coming back.
Kidding on the last part, but that’s all for now. Remember, to hear all this and more with actual voices, join us for Teal Talk on Thursday to talk all things Mediavine in 2022.
Thanks for being a part of this community and helping us take on the challenges. It takes all of us, after all. We can reshape the future of the web together, forever.
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