Today, giant platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest, and large media companies like Disney, Hearst, and Comcast capture the lion’s share of advertiser spending and online attention.
We believe in a future where independent creators become the most valuable and important part of digital media.
It takes the right investment and innovation and support to build a creator-first future. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing for over a decade and will continue doing this year.
We’ve hired over 300 amazing team members, built a rapidly growing direct sales team, and developed so many ways to better help our creators operate across their businesses in audience, revenue, and business solutions.
So here’s what that looks like for 2023:
Revenue solutions: advertising and beyond
2023 is going to be big, folks. While advertiser spending overall may continue to feel the impact of challenging economic conditions, we’re focused on so many ways to offset that to bring you the highest RPMs possible – from innovations in the way we run ads for our creators to massive new opportunities from direct sales to expansions into additional revenue streams.
The ad code that powers year-over-year improvements
The optimization and testing we do with our ad code improved RPMs for our creators by over 15% in 2022 alone. In 2023, our team will continue to build and test innovations to make you more revenue, and land new deals with ad tech companies to bring increased unique demand to our community.
Some of these improvements will be visible, like new, higher-CPM ad formats and faster ad load times, but many of them will be “under the hood” – driving higher RPMs behind the scenes, like better auction dynamics and bid flooring to maximize auction bids and bringing on more, privacy-friendly identity partners to make your site visitors even more valuable to advertisers.
Growing direct sales in a major way
We’ve brought on two incredible leaders from one of the largest media companies to grow our sales team that works directly with advertisers to at least 40 people this year, bringing our creators unique ad campaigns where advertisers spend 2-3x more.
But it’s so much more than ads… The best brands in the world want to work with our creators in new ways (think custom content or social sponsorships), and we’ll be developing all sorts of special programs in the future.
The end of cookies
We can’t talk about 2023 revenue without talking about third-party cookies. Assuming Google doesn’t delay things any further, this will be the last year the ad industry has third-party cookies. So while we and our partners still rely on that technology, this is the year to invest heavily in new technologies and ways to drive revenue without third-party cookies.
Email addresses and first-party data will be one part of this – that’s where Slickstream, which will be available to all of our creators for free, comes in.
The future of advertising relies on so much more than email addresses, however. Google’s Privacy Sandbox system is Google’s primary set of new technologies to replace cookies and we’re major contributors to this technology. We’re the only ad management company directly partnering with the Google Chrome team to beta test and build new functionality.
Direct sales will also be a huge hedge against the end of third-party cookies, as we develop new (and privacy-conscious ways) to help major marketers access the users they want to reach, at scale.
New revenue streams
We love advertising; we admit it! But we see so much opportunity to help our creators earn their fair share in other ways and diversify revenue streams, so we’ve brought on world-class leaders in areas from affiliate commerce to “fan-funded” revenue streams like subscriptions, e-commerce solutions, branded merchandise, experiences, and more.
As we’ve explored the affiliate space, we’ve found that many affiliate providers aren’t set up well to work with independent creators, and brands who use affiliate marketing don’t always want to negotiate deals with smaller companies. We see so many ways we can help our creators tap into this revenue stream in simpler, more beneficial ways, with better deals than any single creator can get on their own. Stay tuned!
Audience solutions: attracting and engaging site visitors
Our creators have access to free, industry-leading, AI-driven content tools like Topic and Content Ideas and visitor engagement and first-party data solution Slickstream. Bring new visitors to your site, then engage with those visitors and turn them into valuable subscribers.
Throughout 2023 we’ll continue to introduce major innovations to help you grow your audience more effectively to increase pageviews per visitor and time on site.
Not only is it important to attract an audience – it’s critical to engage that audience more deeply. Get ready for lots of exciting ways to grow these metrics this year.
SEO and Content Optimization
We’ll be helping our creators with keyword research and site-specific data and insights you don’t need to be an SEO wizard to comprehend, so you can focus your time on the best opportunities to drive traffic to your site through new and updated content.
And we’re delivering new ways for you to engage with your visitors and to turn visitors into subscribers with Slickstream – supercharged login options to increase your subscriber counts, gated content functionality that gives visitors more reasons to become subscribers, and integrations with popular plug-ins that will help drive up your percentage of identified visitors and RPMs.
Business solutions: your “secret back office”
We know how much it takes to run your business – our creators wear dozens of hats from CEO to content strategist to videographer to website tech to hiring manager. We love doing whatever we can to make your job easier.
Better tools and reporting
From fresh ways to help you manage and monetize your library of video content to deeper page-level reporting that gives you exactly the intel you need to know what actions to take, to a better user experience when you’re using our dashboard and easier ways to manage multiple sites, we’re bringing you improved tools and reporting to run your business.
Access to new resources and solutions
In 2023, we’re focused on ensuring our creators have access to the tools, resources, and education needed to grow their businesses and succeed in an ever-changing digital world. From engaging and growing your audience to diversifying your revenue streams to structuring your business operations, we are your partner. We’re excited to work with you and help take your business to the next level.
Your advocate in a complicated digital world
From privacy concerns to third-party cookies to the explosion of AI-generated content, we have your back in a world that’s not friendly to independent creators and publishers.
We’re here to amplify your voice, represent your concerns, and advocate for our creators in industry groups, legislative processes, and other places where decisions that fundamentally impact your business are being made.
You can see this happening in our work with the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Tech Lab, from reshaping video advertising standards in a way that’s best for our creators to developing the Global Privacy Platform standard (and becoming the first company to implement it!) so you can make sure you’re always compliant with privacy regulations.
When it comes to ChatGPT, AI, and related technological developments, we see exciting ways we can leverage the scale of our community and make moves to protect creators’ interests. More coming soon!
Beyond all of that… there’s even more big news in the works we are so excited to share more about soon.
2023 is going to be a year of exciting growth and milestones for our creators as we grow well beyond our 300-person team to bring you the opportunities you deserve.
Buckle in for an incredible ride!