Marketing in Taiwan: Social Media Killed Homepage Advertising

Joey Chung
Co-Founder and CEO
The News Lens

Media consumption patterns are changing, and the notion of prime real estate for advertisers is changing along with it. At Taiwan-based digital news platform The News Lens (TNL), advertisers want access to its 7 million unique monthly visitors and its millennial following in Greater China, but they also want placements that give users a positive experience and put their ads in the right context. Joey Chung, TNL’s co-founder and CEO, spoke with eMarketer’s David Green about how the company works to make its digital ad inventory enticing to advertisers.

eMarketer: Can online news be the spearhead that drives ad budgets away from traditional media and towards digital?

Joey Chung: It’s definitely happening. More advertising revenue is being transferred from legacy media to digital media every year here. But overall, Greater China and the Asian market are still more risk-averse [than other markets]. The people who control marketing budgets know that digital is the future, but most don’t want to be the first to take that step. There’s still a gap between logical understanding and emotional acceptance.

eMarketer: How does TNL break down its revenue?

Chung: Eighty percent is derived from advertising, including banners, native advertising campaigns and direct sponsorships. The other 20% includes things like events and content licensing. As our brand equity grows, more people are willing to pay for our text content, video content and some of our photography.

eMarketer: You recently launched video news content. How have audiences and advertisers responded?

Chung: Video is the future of content. Though videos are much more challenging and expensive to create, in the long term, video advertising has a much higher CPM. You can charge a higher premium. Video consumption will only get bigger and more important.

eMarketer: How do you sell your ad inventory?

Chung: We try to optimize the real estate. We prioritize inventory that can be customized for our clients that delivers a better experience through the integration of video and text. That provides higher satisfaction for the client and a better experience for the readers. Once all of that is used, the excess inventory goes to programmatic—it’s more of the standard banners.

eMarketer: How have your advertising offerings changed throughout the process?

Chung: When we started out three years ago, a lot of clients were most interested in buying the homepage. But now our numbers show that very few people go directly to the homepage since media consumption is intertwined with social media. Newsletters, our apps and article pages—when utilized well—are just as important, if not more important than the homepage. It took some time to educate and show the numbers to our clients.

eMarketer: Does that drive you to create more niche verticals so that advertisers better understand the content they’ll place their creative into?

Chung: Our advertisers will often say, “We like the target audience and demographics, but we don’t want to buy something that’s next to serious news. We don’t want a new product launch right next to some Southeast Asia country corruption probe.” From both a financial and audience standpoint, that’s something we had to consider.

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