The distributed approach makes plenty of sense on paper: Platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat command the kind of attention that few publishers can hope to replicate on their own. BuzzFeed, Quartz and Business Insider, for example, have all invested in this idea to varying degrees, tweaking their content based on the traits and strengths of each platform. In exchange, the platforms themselves get the types of content that will keep readers around. Content is back in demand.
Still, publishers have a few hangups about the new paradigm. Here are four:
Dorth Raphaely, gm, Bleacher Report: Publishers have limited resources to invest in what’s new.
“Say we have a piece of content and we put it on our site, on Vine, on Snapchat. Each time we put it somewhere new, we have to format and cut it a little differently and think about how that content fits on each platform. And all of that takes time. You have to be able to prioritize which platforms are going to be the most impactful. A part of my job is guarding my team from distractions and make sure they’re doing the things where there is a big opportunity. Sometimes we’re wrong.”
Steven Belser, svp production, NowThis: Data.
“Data can be an issue. Facebook gives us a significant level of data, but something like Instagram doesn’t really have any real viable data for publishers outside of the standard engagement metrics. The same thing goes for publishers who are distributing content through Snapchat via the ‘Stories’ feature, which doesn’t have the same data or analytics as publisher that is distributing directly through Discover. I can see how it can be daunting to not have that level of transparency.
“Still, if you’re serious about the distributed model, there’s still a lot of data to form valid conclusions about your audience. It might not be as robust as some pubs would like, but it’s there.”