Here we are, at the end of 2020. If you’re reading this, it means we made it!
For the past few years I’ve handled our wrap-up blog posts to reminisce over Mediavine highlights for the past year.
And while there’s no denying that there have been real moments of difficulty and tragedy, there have also been moments of triumph in 2020.
Soon, Eric will map out where we’re going in 2021, and it’s a post you won’t want to miss.
But today I’d like to focus on the triumphs we’ve had together in 2020, to remind ourselves of the good work that came out of this year, all aimed at ensuring Mediavine publishers are ahead of the curve when it comes to the trifecta of user experience, site speed and income from advertising.
Thanks goes first to our incredibly hard-working staff and the passionate publishers we work with.
This unprecedented year brought with it an unprecedented number of applications for Mediavine’s full-service ad management, along with major growth. We launched nearly 2200 new sites in 2020. We’ve also grown internally, adding 30 new Mediavine team members to our roster.
Remotely training new employees to help content creators build sustainable businesses in the face of a global pandemic is not something I ever could’ve predicted we’d do, but every single human working at and with Mediavine rose to the occasion, and that is worth celebrating.
We’ve relished seeing our publishers take the lemons this year has given them and make lemonade by listening to their audiences, digging into their analytics and creating evergreen content that speaks to the moment. We highlighted some of this inspiring work in our Content During Covid case study series.
But also, let’s be real: This year has made it impossible for some of us to do any of our traditional work. Not only did the travel industry completely shut down, lots of Mediavine publishers also became unexpected educators for their children. We relied on the expertise of the Mediavine team and our publishers to create content like our Teal Talk episodes Surviving Quarantine With Kids and Work From Home Wellness.
The dedication of our teams and our publishers throughout this year has been one of the majorly joyous things to look back on. One step in front of the other, we’ve reached some incredible milestones in 2020.
We’ve gathered the highlights for you, in case you’re like me, and wondering how 2020 is the same year in which Harry and Meghan left the royal family and there was a nationwide toilet paper shortage. What a year!
The Mediavine founders have collectively been doing their own brand of SEO for more than a decade. While we've always been happy to share our knowledge on this topic, this year our CEO Eric Hochberger decided it was time to lay out point-by-point how to tackle SEO with Mediavine's methods.
If you haven't checked the series out yet, you're missing out. Eric breaks it down in easy-to-understand chunks that'll have even the most seasoned blogger rethinking some strategies.
The effects of COVID-19 on the entire world cannot be understated. Inspired by a request from Mediavine publisher and travel blogger Laurence Norah to donate his unused ad space to COVID-19 education efforts, we launched PSAs less than three weeks from Laurence's original request. It was the ask that has launched a thousand ships, as they say.
Since launch in March 2020, we have added the following campaigns:
We Stand With You to combat social injustice
Cookies for Kids' Cancer to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research
Operation Gratitude to encourage letter-writing and care-package giving for military service members and first responders
A partnership with the Ad Council, resulting in campaigns for High Blood Pressure awareness, Teen Suicide Prevention, Alzheimer's Awareness, Empowering Girls in STEM, and Texting & Driving Prevention
We continue to expand our PSA program and will announce more about this in 2021.
Mediavine has always held close ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion in how we run our company. As Co-Founder Steve Marsi says in this post, "We are exponentially better for the diversity, equality and inclusion within our company."
George Floyd's murder put in stark relief for us how much work is still to be done, and that we could no longer simply run on those ideals - we needed to state them out loud for our publishers and employees to know unequivocally that We Stand With You.
Launching our second PSA option, with ad creatives made by Black artists, so that publishers could join us in this message is one of the most important things we've done in 2020.
Not just a pretty face, the new Mediavine Dashboard has a whole lot going for it under the hood, including the addition of page-level reporting.
Each blog post, homepage, landing page, etc., on a given website experiences differences in ad performance, so the ability to easily note these variances and use the data to your advantage to improve popular posts, or push traffic to posts that have the highest RPMs, is a game-changer.
Our Teal Talk episode, Make Dashboard 2.0 Work For You, has incredible tips from our CEO Eric Hochberger and our Director of Publisher Support Heather Tullos.
BidShield is our proprietary technology to mitigate risks on every auction that takes place on a Mediavine publisher's ad inventory. It makes a proprietary adjustment in the bid response, which is then applied to incoming bids.
This accomplishes two goals: First, it will give companies with a lower risk factor a bidding advantage. This, in turn, will help shift money to more financially stable companies. Riskier companies will win fewer auctions, therefore lowering the overall risk to our company and publishers.
The long and short of it: You will always be paid. On time and in full. We guarantee it.
These two WordPress plugins began their Mediavine journey in late 2019 with our acquisition of Social Pug, a premiere social sharing plugin.
Since then, we've put lots of engineering efforts and hours into making them not just one of the most popular, but fastest and most user-friendly offerings of this type of plugin that you could ask for.
Development is ongoing, with a nice long roadmap helped along with suggestions from savvy, dialed-in publishers that are helping us improve this plugin daily.
Did you know it takes more than a year to plan a large conference for content creators? When the pandemic began and events the world over began to get cancelled, we were more than nine months into planning our 5th Mediavine conference in Baltimore, MD.
When it became clear we must cancel our event, an idea formed. We've been hosting our weekly Summer of Live Facebook series successfully for the past two years... what if we used that block of time to deliver the same content we would have offered in person in Baltimore?
Luckily, Director of Marketing Jenny Guy was game and so were all our speakers! Our 3rd Summer of Live was more successful than ever before, chock full of all the actionable tips and inspiration you would have found at our in-person conference, and without the cost of travel and accommodation.
While we've missed seeing your faces more than ever, we're so glad we were able to make lemons out of lemonade and still bring you time with all those fantastic speakers - many of them Mediavine publishers like you.
We told you in in January about Google Chrome's efforts to join other browsers in the ecosystem to phase out the collection of third-party cookies. That means in order not to lose a substantial amount of advertising income, web publishers must embrace solutions to collect first-party data.
Enter Grow.me, our platform solution to gathering that data for our more than 8,000 publishers while also improving the value proposition of readers being logged in to access additional features that keep them engaged with your content.
Grow.me has grown (sorry, I had to) by leaps and bounds over 2020 through important integrations with industry partners and development around publisher feedback to make the product better. Still very much in beta, Grow.me is going to become the platform YOU want it to be, but we need your feedback to do it.
If you haven't already, enable Grow.me today and start collecting first-party data today. It's ALWAYS going to be more valuable than third-party data, so you can boost your earnings now by using it today, and you'll be in a fantastic position when cookiepocolypse finally comes to pass.
We have a running joke behind the scenes at Mediavine that it doesn't matter where we are or what we're talking about, someone in the audience will ask about Trellis.
Since we announced our intention to build a WordPress framework, excitement has been building, and while we may chuckle about it, we're also just so grateful that the community has embraced our efforts here, and just really really want to use Trellis on their site too!
As we've reached each carefully planned phase of the beta roadmap, we've taken feedback and lessons learned seriously and decided to switch gears and make sure that our open beta became a more controlled one so that the service and experience each of you has come to expect from Mediavine is also your experience in launching Trellis on your site.
Trellis is live on nearly a thousand sites now, and we've yet to see a site that didn't see increased traffic, increased viewability and increased time on site. We're so excited to open it up into even wider beta in 2021!
2020 has been a year of reckoning when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion. There's so much work to be done — on every front.
The ad industry is taking a good hard look at itself and recognizing that their ad budgets could definitely be more equitably distributed to websites owned by people of color.
Adding new Dashboard options to help us identify minority publishers (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women-owned) allows us to advocate for equity behind-the-scenes with our advertising partners.
Especially when the vast majority of Private Marketplace deals and digital advertising spend in general currently goes to the top trafficked publishers, which are predominantly non-minority owned, economic disparity in the supply chain among minority-owned businesses relays into under-monetization of those publishers.
We pledge to do everything we can to increase equity in this space.
One of our most requested features is finally in your hands! You can create a customized list of videos from those that you’ve uploaded to your Mediavine Dashboard and they will play in the order you list.
You’ll be eligible to serve another ad in between each video, just like you can with the Up Next feature, potentially generating significant video revenue.
That's not all! Mediavine Video Player SEO optimizations are in full effect. You can output ItemList schema.org for multiple videos, making you eligible for potential Video Carousel placement in Google search results. Win, win, win. Decade of video, indeed.
We first launched Verity, the brand name that covers GumGum's contextual advertising product, in 2019. In 2020, we've doubled down on our commitment to leading the charge at embracing contextual advertising.
With third-party cookies going away sooner rather than later, the more ways you can provide an advertiser to find relevant audiences, the better. Verity does that in spades, using the content of your article to match advertisers with readers in a privacy-centric way.
Oh friends. If you knew the odyssey it was to bring the new, improved Mediavine.com to you, well, you'd probably understand why sometimes we get a little teary showing our new baby off.
There are so many great features to our site. It's built Trellis under the hood and a custom-built child theme over top. We like to think it's a perfect example of what's possible - you don't have to stick with the Mediavine-provided child themes, though I really do love Wisteria.
Read our post to know more about each of the custom-built features we packed into our new site and get excited thinking about what's possible for yours!
Two years ago we debuted the Content Upgrade Challenge to roaring success. Bloggers working with Mediavine and those who aren't have used the tips and tricks it contains to improve their content, site speed and monetization.
While many things remain a constant truth - like using bigger fonts makes for a better reading experience and better earnings thanks to readers being on site longer - there are all new ways to audit yourself and review data thanks to the features added to our new and improved Dashboard.
If you haven't yet checked out the Content Upgrade Challenge update, now's the time. Don't just optimize in Q3 and 4. There's more money to be made all year 'round - even in Q1.
If I could rank our joyous moments of 2020, this one would come out right at the top of the list. For the second year in a row, we won more awards than any other Google Certified Publishing Partner at their annual summit.
Honored for both Highest Health Score (100% for 49 weeks out of 49 weeks) and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Driver for our efforts internally and externally to make sure both employees and publishers are certain of our commitment to all three, we couldn't be more proud.
As I said earlier, Grow.me is the future of first-party data in advertising. But just as importantly, we have to build a product that entices your readers to save, favorite, bookmark, like and share - all while logged in. Recommended Content is one of the ways we're doing that.
Not only is it going to keep readers engaged with your site - showing them other posts that they will like based on their saved favorites - it should lead to additional pageviews per session and more money in your pocket. And when they share that content to their network of friends? Bonus round!
There are partners, and then there are partners. Mediavine is very lucky to partner with many of the biggest names in the industry, like Google and The Trade Desk.
TTD created Unified 2.0, technology to protect users’ personal information through hashing and encryption to ensure secure transmission and Mediavine is the first publisher with a live, active integration with UID 2.0.
With third-party cookies ceasing to exist, publishers who’ve been authenticated and synced with UID 2.0 won’t see a revenue decline. In fact, publishers with UID 2.0 authenticated traffic will make more in a post-cookie world, and that's why this is a HUGE deal for Mediavine and a HUGE deal for your bottom line.
Partnerships like this are going to ensure we're okay when cookies cease to exist as they do today.
We don't like to brag (too much), but being ahead of the curve is a company hallmark of Mediavine.
Server-to-Server Header Bidding (S2S) is the newest evolution in ad serving technology, and although Mediavine has been moving toward S2S for the past year and a half, S2S will become the industry standard by 2022.
S2S is faster, more powerful and more lucrative for publishers. While our competitors in the programmatic industry are beginning to dip their toes in the S2S water, we’re excited to announce that we’ve built our own custom OpenRTB server, known as the Mediavine Exchange, and that Mediavine and our partners will be fully S2S in 2021.
The Mediavine Exchange, and all our ad partners fully transacting on it in 2021, puts Mediavine a full 2 years ahead of the rest of the industry. This directly translates to faster ads and more money for Mediavine publishers.
Ending the year on the highest of high notes, Mediavine received quite the honor from Business Insider, one of the largest publications on the web devoted to business news.
What got us the nod? Our commitment to solving publisher-side problems like collecting first-party data with Grow.me, building ad technology that doesn't slow down websites and BidShield, the technology that protects you from risk.
And we're just getting started. Like we always say: Ads are just the beginning.
That’s our 2020 Year in Review! It’s incredible to think of everything that’s happened this year, along with a global pandemic and economic shutdown.
One last big thing worth mentioning is our brand-spanking-new newsletter, launched to replace our quarterly update missive of old. It’s aimed at publishers of all niches and sizes, whether you’re working with us as your ad management company or not, so please subscribe if you haven’t already!
We’re filling it with content relevant to growing your business, whether you’ve been at this 10 minutes or 10 years, so please don’t miss it.
I suppose it’s a wonderful thing that Mediavine employees and publishers alike were working remotely long before it was the it thing, making us uniquely positioned to take 2020 in our stride, keeping the hustle moving right along.
Look at all of us being trendsetters in our pajamas!
On a serious note, we know that this year has been difficult in ways none of us could ever have imagined, but we hope that you know getting to work with MVPs every day is what keeps us going, this year and every other year.
It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of your business story. Just wait ’til you see what’s next.