SODP Dispatch - 13 October 2023

Social media – a wasteland for publishers, a guide to holiday season strategies for publishers + more, and more tips and news for digital publishers

Happy Friday!

Today, let’s discuss the discovery avenues publishers have available to them – namely social media networks and search engines – and whether it’s time to look for new channels.

Our managing editor, Andrew Kemp, discusses this subject in his weekly Editor’s Note column:

Since writing about Google News Showcase early last year, I’ve been pondering the difficult position publishers find themselves in concerning Meta and Google.

Publishers rely heavily on social media networks and search engines to help them reach new audiences. At the same time, the publishing industry has locked horns with Meta and Google, claiming they share stories without fair compensation. Admittedly, it is an incredibly distilled summary of their disagreement, but a fair one, I’d say.

Both tech giants have been increasingly noisy in refuting these allegations in recent years, with Meta’s skirmish with the Australian government in early 2021 a sign that the social media giant was in a position to escalate the matter.

Meta has been open about its belief that news isn’t a big enough piece of its business to justify being corralled into paying publishers for it. Indeed, the media network’s reported pivot away from news in July 2022 underscored this point.

And yet, new figures reported this month illuminate precisely how detrimental this impact has been on publishing traffic.



The digital publishing industry has grown in leaps and bounds since the first document was digitized slightly more than half a century ago.

Since Project Gutenberg released a digital version of the US Declaration of Independence in 1971, the digital publishing market’s value grew to $186.8 billion in 2022 and is projected to climb to $367.2 billion by 2030.

The sector has grown rapidly thanks to widespread internet adoption, with nearly two-thirds of the global population actively online. It now encompasses ebooks, music, video, audio, news, video games, mobile apps and more.

The digital revolution has made accessing content more effortless and leveled the content creation playing field. There are many tools designed for digital publishers that enable rapid content design, creation and distribution.

With these tools and the proper editorial workflow, individual content creators can just as quickly publish online as a commercial operation, allowing them to build up large followings.

But what is digital publishing? And how does digital publishing work? Let’s dive in.



Check out Publift’s guide to holiday season strategies for publishers – from content ideas to tips for ad operations. Learn more

Find keyword ideas based on a broad keyword using QuestionDB. Learn more


We are excited to announce that after the successful first run in September of the News SEO Playbook course, we have just launched two new cohorts to kick off in November!

  • Cohort 1 is for those in the APAC time zones

  • Cohort 2 is for those in the Europe/Americas time zones

Here is the review of the course by one of the students in the September cohort:

I believe this is a fundamental course for anyone who wants to delve into the complex world of SEO for News. Although my specialty is technical SEO, several technical nuances specific to news were clarified during the sessions and in the supplementary materials. In addition, I would highlight the playbooks. They are fundamental tools for a more strategic vision of news content production. Finally, I can now say that I have a more strategic vision of what needs to be done, monitored, and discussed with the interdisciplinary teams (UX, IT, devs, journalists, editors, and the data team).

Mikael, Content Strategist, BeInCrypto

Registration for the November cohorts is now open. Those who register by October 18th can claim a 10% discount using code NOVEARLYBIRD at check-out. 


How does news fare amid the sea of content that washes over a typical TikTok user? In this research, 60 bots were programmed with varying levels of news interest and were collectively served up more than 6,500 videos – just 6 could be classified as news. Read more

Google-Extended, the new standalone product token, to tell Google through your robots.txt to not use your site content for Bard and Vertex AI and other AI projects does not work for the AI-answers and snapshots provided in the Search Generative Experience. Read more

The BBC blocks OpenAI and Common Crawl from scraping its data, but plans to explore using generative AI for research, production, and personalized experiences. Read more

At Newsday, restaurant coverage is driving new digital subscriptions. Read more

Instagram head says Threads is ‘not going to amplify news on the platform’. Read more

Google has published new documentation for the GA4 Data Redaction feature that prevents accidentally sending personally identifiable information (PII) to Google. This makes it easier to conform to privacy laws and Google’s own policies. Read more