From the introduction of the metaverse to Elon’s Twitter takeover, 2022 has been a year for the books. Media giants worked overtime to make major platform changes, publishers zeroed in on short-form and shoppable content, and audio reemerged as a viable medium—and these are just a few things that were happening while revenue remained rocky quarter over quarter. So after assessing the results from this year, it’s no surprise that publishers aren’t feeling too confident about an uptick in revenue this year.

Last winter, 86% of publisher pros reported that they expected an increase in revenue, but this number has since dropped to 51%. According to Digiday+ Research’s 2022 survey, a third of respondents said they expect revenues to stay the same in 2023. Despite the potential changes afoot, publishers have a lot to look forward to—and a lot of industry shifts to anticipate. So to ring in the new year, let’s recount the ways the industry changed for the better.

Audio Features on Social Were Introduced

At first, they may have appeared to dwindle from the media landscape altogether but this year audio features proved to be an effective tool for audience reach. While Clubhouse struggled to gain traction as a social network, Twitter Spaces edged to the front of the audio initiative sphere. Twitter has been making adjustments to put Spaces in its own separate tab which divides audio broadcasts into topics, mimicking a podcast layout. This will create a more seamless search experience for users interested in exploring different types of auditory content. Plus, users are able to share, host, and schedule Spaces—a helpful tool for online creators or brands looking to attract a larger following. With the backing of one of the top social platforms, Spaces may be able to pull through as a leading aspect of the user experience. (Now that’s something burgeoning brands can get behind.)

Television Advertising Surged

The streaming market was prosperous this year in the video and television domain. Streaming services like Netflix played were a considerable component in adding to watch time lead on a month-over-month basis, with a 10.2% increase in November. Although YouTube pulled ahead of Netflix as the top watch-time platform, 38.2% of streaming services accounted for total TV usage. As per Nielsen’s The Gauge viewership report, viewer growth is on the rise for streaming giants, which prompted Netflix to venture into advertising with an ad-supported tier. Disney+ also got on board with this new ad wave shortly before Netflix’s launch. It’s evident that connected TV presents a promising advertising avenue for marketers seeking additional inventory. This, supplemented with the ability to measure campaigns in near-real-time, will open up the creative ad field for publishers.

The Programmatic Advertising Market Expanded

As ad inventory dwindled after the political season, marketers searched for new ways to generate revenue and stumbled across a winning market. Programmatic advertising was on the rise this year, and the market has the projected growth to match it. A report released by Technavio found that the market size is expected to reach 314.26 billion USD from 2021 to 2026—and the open auction segment is set to be the largest contributor to this growth. This shift in how ad buying is typically done benefits marketers greatly. Not only will it allow them to assess available inventory and bid accordingly, but it will also help them find the best prices available. During the forecast period, North America will lead the spend market, an exciting projection for publishers based in the U.S. This was a year of reassessing targeted spend and probing for higher profits, much of which was succeeded through programmatic advertising. Over the course of Q1 through Q3, programmatic ads accounted for 52% of their ad revenue by the end of Q3, an 11% jump from the beginning quarter. Direct-sold ad focus may be a thing of the past, especially since publishers may soon see a future where all buying is programmatic. In the meantime, the industry can look forward to a profitable (and programmatic-heavy) 2023.

Long-Form Content Had A Revamp

The widespread acclaim of 15-second, reel-formatted content across top social platforms was no surprise to anyone keeping up with industry trends this past year. With TikTok usage skyrocketing thanks to Gen Z’s social natives, and those looking for a different way to consume information, the platform acted as a “one-stop shop” for adults and teens alike. This created a fresh opportunity for marketers looking to tap into a new audience hungry for quick content. So what did they do? Took a chance to trick the users whose attention spans are hard to maintain. Creators on TikTok started to disguise long-form content as short-form videos by breaking down information into multi-part series. By stretching out content, users kept coming back for more, and engagement was as high as ever. Brands would be wise to continue to reimagine storytelling and ending videos on a cliffhanger if they want their audiences to keep clicking.

With these industry changes afoot, there are a few different ways publishers can focus their efforts in 2023. Having options is important, especially for those that want to revitalize their content for their audiences. Decisions, decisions…but with these four themes to draw from, making a game plan should prove easy for publishers eager to start the year off on the right foot.