Publishers, who are no strangers to change, have shown to be more than up to the task of meeting pandemic-driven digital demand. Large and small companies alike have moved quickly in the previous year to respond to the continually high demand for more diversified online content, and they've reaped the benefits, with 92 percent reporting digital growth and Q3 sales totalling over £149 million in the UK alone.

Until 2022, maintaining the correct combination of great audience experience, strong monetization, and performance will need constant adjustments, as well as the use of smart technologies to help each publisher identify the most sustainable path forward. We've gathered a variety of industry perspectives on what 2022 could hold for publishers.

More than just advertising

In 2022, the media sector will see the acceleration of a trend that has already begun: the shift away from pure-play ad monetisation and toward new revenue sources, such as subscriptions. Media firms across all industries – from OTT/streaming and gaming to publishing, education, and music – will continue to rely on subscription services as the primary income stream in order to re-define their relationship with audiences and generate worldwide revenues.

Consider Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and XBOX, all of which are thriving subscription businesses. The Guardian, as an early adopter in the publishing industry, is already ahead of the curve. Members will have access to exclusive content such as conversations, debates, and interviews, as well as customer-centric services such as holiday requests, suspensions, and fast upgrades, through these programmes. They will allow publishers to improve the user experience while also bringing in new revenue streams.

For third-party cookie loss, the ecosystem need more comprehensive solutions.

Third-party cookies are being phased out, however this does not imply that third-party data is being phased out as well. Third-party data will continue to exist because the alternatives that would emerge in its absence are unaffordable for smaller publishers. For publishers who don't have enough data to scale, first-party data or contextual targeting can't be the answer. Contextual data is only useful within one's own domain, which is insufficient for tiny publishers.

Furthermore, we anticipate that marketers would be less likely to connect with smaller websites than with larger ones. Smaller publishers appear to have been ignored by the industry, as they promote ideas that will not benefit them, rather than solutions that will benefit everyone. We anticipate that the voices of small, independent publishers will be heard more in the coming year.

Readers will influence content more than ever

Many firms have already begun to take a more customer-centric approach, placing the requirements of their customers at the forefront of their operations. The same strategy has altered the digital publishing scene, with digital publishers paying more attention than ever before to their readers' interests and preferences. Digital publishers have begun gathering vital information about what their audience wants to read through surveys and quizzes. The more relevant information they gather, the better they'll be able to determine which stories they should focus on. As a result, digital publishers' content strategies will shift to meet the requirements of their users.The New York Times, for example, has already begun to use demographic data to communicate with its readership. To better understand their audience and offer more relevant material, the digital publisher built an online form to collect information such as their readers' age, gender, and occupation.

Publishers embracing machine learning and AI

The potential to create dynamic, tailored, and engaging content experiences has always been one of the advantages of digital. We anticipate to see increased use of AI and machine learning technology in the publishing business as the Covid epidemic fuels digital change in all parts of our life. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, 86 % of organisations surveyed believe AI technology is “becoming mainstream.” AI is rapidly being used by businesses in areas such as supply chain management, productivity, and service delivery. AI has already entered the publishing world and it’s expected to become more profound. The benefits of AI and machine learning for the publishers are Automated text analysis, Content translations, Content personalization, Automated formatting, Contracts and rights, etc.

The Rise of Mobile device

The need for more accessibility has resulted in the development of smarter, more advanced mobile devices that will soon be as capable as desktop computers. With 6.64 billion smartphone in the market 84 percent of people owning a smartphone, mobile now accounts for half of all internet usage. People's love for mobile devices has created the need for mobile-optimized websites across different devices. Take a look at how individuals behave when reading the news to get a sense of how serious this trend is. According to statistics, 39 percent of individuals prefer to acquire their news via a tablet device rather than watching TV or reading the newspaper. Let's not forget about commuters who will use their cell phones and tablets to pass the time by reading various kinds of material.

If you're a digital publisher who hasn't considered mobile-optimization, you might be missing out on a lot of traffic. The greater the number of individuals who choose mobile devices, the greater the necessity for mobile optimization. As a result, you must now more than ever prioritise mobile-first visitors, choosing mobile-friendly and responsive pages for a better reading experience. Adopting this trend will provide you with the resources you need to increase content engagement and even re-market to your audience via push notifications.

Rise of the Frictionless payment

 Despite the fact that publishers provide digital subscriptions, the majority of readers do not convert into paying customers.The user experience is rife with friction: users must create a separate account with the publisher, and the purchase procedure necessitates inputting more personal information as well as credit card information. As seen by the data, the majority of people either do not begin or quit the checkout process halfway through. Thus publishers are moving to Frictionless payments. Frictionless payments relate to online and offline checkout procedures that remove or reduce the obstacles to purchase. Simply said, they make purchasing and selling easy for both the consumer and the seller, reducing churn and shopping cart abandonment while raising revenue and enhancing customer experience.A checkout procedure should meet at least some — if not all — of the following requirements to be called a Frictionless payment:

  • It eliminates or reduces waiting time
  • It enables for a quicker checkout.
  • It cuts down on the number of steps needed to finish the checkout process
  • It appears to be an organic element of the client experience. It reduces the customer’s cognitive strain (e.g. by reducing the number of PIN codes to remember)

That concludes our discussion. The year 2022 is shaping up to be a huge one for the publishing sector, but it's still unclear how these trends will play out. Will subscriptions eventually supplant the old ad income model? In 2022, how will new technologies and platforms, such as AI, affect publishers? How will the industry be affected by the enormous changes in third-party cookie usage?

We've done our best to express ourselves in this post, but what are your thoughts? Please let us know if you find any additional 2022 trends or believe we missed something. Best wishes for the new year to everyone!