Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Technology Publishers

How SPH is adopting social display to bolster revenue potentially lost to social networks


By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

August 8, 2019 | 5 min read

Singapore Press Holdings, like many traditional publishers, is seeking new ways to make money from its digital channels. The Singapore publishing giant has recently sought the help of Polar to implement a new ad format for social display, which allows brands to embed their social ads into the SPH display units.


How SPH is adopting social display to bolster revenue potentially lost to social networks

The idea behind the ad format is that advertisers get additional reach from social display spend, while the publisher has an easier proposition to sell into brands that are spending a lot elsewhere in the digital ecosystem.

Speaking to The Drum, SPH head of strategy and innovation, integrated marketing Yang Hui Cheng, explains that the social display model is currently appealing to both publishers and advertisers.

What has the impact of social channels been on premium publisher digital spend?

Publishers globally have been affected by spending shifting to digital channels, SPH is no different but our investment in quality content and providing diversified offering including consideration of more social channels as part of the digital mix will become more important.

Why is this a challenge for publishers?

There was a strong belief that readers come directly to the site based on familiarity and habits. Some parts remain true while new segments and habits mean that consumption of news has gone more agnostic. We are fighting with not just share of mind but share of access and convenience in new norms. New norms positively include social channels.

How can a business like Polar help?

To advertisers who are already on our social pages, Polar is a protracted offering for the ad campaigns with unclouded mechanics, high engagement rates and overall campaign beneficial as part of advertisers social campaigns.

In recent campaigns such as the Great Singapore Sales and credit cards promotion, aside from high views rates, CTRs are double of normal campaigns.

What have you learned?

The old adage that customers don’t know what they want until you show them. In this context, to definitely consider more comprehensive metrics beyond hard metrics that advertisers are used to. i.e. Clicks, impressions and ROI but also soft value propositions i.e. ease of implementation, safety, deeper attention metrics.

In Polar’s case, we've learned that clients spend significant budgets on social creatives and that by taking these and running them on premium sites we can deliver over 1% CTR and 9+ seconds in view. One of our best-performing products!

How will this change the implication of social spend on publishers in the future?

Brands are clearly concerned by the activities of social networks around brand safety and feed fatigue. Social Display gives them the opportunity to negate this issue and run beautiful social creatives in trusted, brand-safe, engaged and contextually relevant environments.

Reinventing ourselves to accelerating changes is part of SPH's future-proofing.

The Drum will be looking in-depth at topics including publisher innovation at the upcoming Programmatic Punch APAC event in Singapore in October.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Technology Publishers

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