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Episode 05: Feeding Online Appetites in 2017
“There’s a huge hunger for political and news content.”
Sachin and Andrew reflect on assumptions the digital media industry made about 2017, including predictions about distributed content, video, and political news, and see what the data says about how trends really played out. They discuss a report from Facebook about how spending time on social media impacts us, the new Chrome ad-blocker, Storify shutting down, and their personal takes on 2018 predictions.
Industry news that caught our attention:
0:53 – Facebook study about whether spending time on social media is bad for us.
3:44 – Facebook is fighting “engagement bait.”
5:17 – Chrome is rolling out an ad blocker in February
9:48 – Storify is shutting down its free product.
Data that held our attention:
11:39 – Distributed content played an important strategic role for publishers trying to grow and monetize audiences. AMP in particular saw growth in 2017, even from sites like Reddit and LinkedIn.
“I think distributed content’s here to stay…. AMP has actually gone a little bit farther that I even realized. It’s getting used by Reddit and LinkedIn pretty regularly… [and] Twitter has gone all-in on AMP.” —Andrew Montalenti
15:49 – Assumption: Everyone will pivot to video and text content will die. Reality: Not so much.
“I would say that you can’t count video out but it certainly didn’t change the nature of how people consumed content in 2017. We even saw that long-form content was super strong in terms of engaging individuals.” —Sachin Kamdar
20:35 – The 2016 election raised concerns about trust in media, but data suggests readers embraced digital media: there’s a hunger for political content and high engagement with politics and local news stories.
“I have to say, this is one of the big surprises of the year to me. I think that if you’d come out of the election, you might have thought, ‘Okay, we’ve got a president who really doesn’t like the mainstream media. We’ve got a bunch of political supporters who have created their own media ecosystem to understand truth and information.’ And so you would think that the reaction would be a complete erosion of the press or something. But I think what actually happened is the opposite.” —Andrew Montalenti
24:35 – A closer look at the data behind the stories driving the digital news cycle in 2017 shows the high volume of page views for articles about Trump.
+1 or -1? Quick takes on 2018 predictions:
27:25 – 2018 will see business model shifts and diversification. (Digiday)
29:27 – “2018 will be Augmented Reality’s break-out year in terms of mass adoption.” (TechCrunch)
31:45 – “Audio podcasts will continue to astound in terms of both scale and counter-programming success.” (TechCrunch)
- Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?, David Ginsberg and Moira Burke, Facebook
- News Feed FYI: Fighting Engagement Bait on Facebook, Henry Silverman and Lin Huang, Facebook
- The Facebook whistleblower wave, Sara Fischer, Axios
- Google’s long-awaited Chrome ad blocker coming February 2018, Sara Fischer, Axios
- Former Mozilla CEO raises $35M in under 30 seconds for his browser startup Brave, Jon Russell, TechCrunch
- Storify’s standalone service is shutting down next year, Brian Heater, TechCrunch
- AMP referrals to publishers are increasing, and not just from Google, Clare Carr, Digital Content Next
- Aren’t you glad you adopted AMP? Google referrals up 17% on the year with AMP traffic., Clare Carr, Parse.ly
- Checking Your Assumptions: Data Behind Post Types, Allie VanNest, Parse.ly
- Pivoting to video: It’s not one size fits all, Clare Carr, Digital Content Next
- The Trump Bump of Readership, Clare Carr, Parse.ly
- 2017: The strange, scary and superlative, in 11 charts, Rani Molla, Recode
- The pivot to reality for digital media, Lucia Moses, Digiday
- Ten predictions for digital media in 2018, Peter Csathy, TechCrunch
This episode was recorded on December 26, 2017.