Findings from the Association of Online Publishers’ flagship census show programmatic is driving recruitment for UK publishers, alongside a focus on more ‘traditional’ roles including editorial and business development
London, UK, 1 April 2015: The latest figures from the Association of Online Publishers’ seventh Organisation Census reveal publishers are optimistic the industry will grow in 2015, with 71% of respondents expecting to recruit additional staff – the highest percentage seen since the survey began in 2003.
The rise in programmatic trading means it is now a key investment area for publishers in terms of recruitment and skills development. However, it also remains the most difficult area in which to recruit. This year publishers also expect to recruit more ‘traditional’ roles, such as editorial and content creation, audience development, and business development.
The study, which provides a snapshot of the UK’s leading publishing companies, shows the majority of publishers (94%) are committed to growing their overall investments in technology (up from 89% in 2014). Most publishers (96%) are aiming to increase their investment in data (up from 89% in 2014), followed by responsive design at 85% (up from 76% in 2014). Video consumed on mobile is identified as a higher priority investment than video on desktop, cited by 73% and 68% of publishers respectively.
Additionally, four-fifths of UK publishers (82%) are experiencing major mobile traffic increases year-on-year in line with changing consumer behaviour. Publishers project average ad revenue growth of 19% in 2015 ¬– a third of which is likely to come from mobile and tablet. The greatest shift in revenue priorities for publishers in the next 12 months is native advertising, with nearly two-thirds (63%) citing it as a priority, just behind programmatic at 70%. Overall, 77% of publishers still view direct sales as the top priority for the next year.
For the first time in the history of the Organisation Census, publishers have named viewable impressions and programmatic trading as the top two challenges facing them in the year ahead. The need to migrate to a digital-first approach as well as monetising subscribers and registered users are also highlighted as key focuses for publishers.
Tim Cain, Managing Director, AOP, commented: “The 2015 Organisation Census paints a positive picture for the online publishing industry in terms of investment, recruitment, and revenue growth. Challenges around advertising stem primarily from technology, and we will continue to work alongside other industry bodies to support the position of premium publishers in the UK.”
Respondents to the AOP Organisation Census represent 1,700 digital media brands and have combined online revenues in the region of £1bn. AOP’s seventh annual Organisation Census aims to help provide understanding around the position of the industry and allows AOP members benchmark their own business performance and status against the wider market. The report covers a wide range of topics including the shape of growth, key areas of recruitment and skills development, investment in development and technology, commercial revenues and priorities, and overall challenges to development for publishers.