Congratulations Nick Ascheim of NBC News. You get this. Loyalty is the new royalty ads-wise and it’s time to get selling…

“We stand today as a publishing industry, bruised by our own scale-ian pursuits, and still in search of a sustainable digital business model to call our own. As the fourth era of the Digital Age dawns, I believe there is a way. Scale still seduces, but there is hope in something even more basic than big numbers: loyalty.

Nick Ascheim, Viewpoint, Digiday, 06.04.18

Back at the start of 2017, I wrote this – extolling the virtues of loyalty and locality as an advertising metric.

“Wherein lies lasting advertiser value? In volume – or in loyalty, locality and passion? Change is afoot,” ran the headline, the point being that after 12 years worth of hard graft as first editor and then publisher of MyFootballWriter, between the inimitable Gary (Gowers) and myself we have built a passionate, engaged and highly loyal readership.

To whom you now sell to, locally.

Based on those exact attributes.

Or rather the amount of time people are willing to give up to read your content.

It is the one metric I prize above all others. Time spent. Average time on site.

Time is such a precious resource. Particularly in a web/Internet setting. People surf and roam at will; flit from here to there in an instant.

So to be able to command their attention for on average three minutes plus is a huge achievement in today’s world of drive-by eyeballs.

All of which is a long way of saying how much I enjoyed this Viewpoint piece on Digiday today.

Quite made my Friday. Congrats to Nick Ascheim, SVP of NBC News Digital.

“Viewpoint: Loyalty, not view counts, should be publishers’ new goal,” ran his headline, as he hammered the same point home.

Chasing volume is a mug’s game wherein the only winner is Wall Street, Facebook and Google.

“Since the advent of digital news, publishers have pursued scale, a strategy premised on a big assumption: If lots of people consume your content, you will always make lots of money. But that assumption is wrong. To succeed today, content publishers and brands need to shift focus from scale to loyalty and engagement…”

And who are more loyal – well, most of the time – and engaged than sports fans?

But Nick’s piece is worth quoting at length, because it bangs so many familiar nails on the head.

They have adopted loyalty as their ‘North Star’; their guiding Light. Volume takes a back seat to quality.

“We’ve done this by judging success not in video starts or unique views, but in the return frequency of our visitors and in the quantity of content they consume during a single visit…

…and the time they, therefore, spend consuming said quality content.

At some point in the none too distant future, we are going to set Addiply live on MyFootballWriter.

Sell around the three minutes, forty-one seconds (3:41) that your average punter spent per visit on MFW last month; as evidenced in the pic above.

What is Addiply?

This. Where you are now. The People’s Ad Network. Not Wall Street’s.

And that’s what we will encourage people to sell against – time spent, not volumes delivered.

But then we have another trick up our sleeve. Locality. Something we share with 000s of hyperlocal publishers out there.

Because just as sports breeds loyalty, so does locality. I love my neighborhood, my block, my village, my town, my suburb.

News of which I will return to, time and time again.

The final kicker? In a post GDPR age, I don’t need to suck anyone’s data out of their hands by way of a Location Management Platform to tell me the vast bulk of MFW/NorwichCity readers will be both local and loyal to Norwich.

That I can take as a given. A no-brainer.

Which is why Nick is sooooooo on the right track. Loyalty is the new royalty when it comes to advertising.

Volume is so last year.

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