The sale of sponsored editorial is up, significantly, across almost all big name publishers. This is amazing, but there is a paradox. Despite the success, there are visible cracks in the foundation. Competition and unsuccessful campaigns are driving unusually low renewal rates. The average advertiser buying has just a 33% renewal rate.
Below is a case study of a prominent publisher. They doubled their sales of sponsored editorial in one year, a major success by all measures! But if we look back at their first year clients, and see what happened in year two, the results are sobering. While 71% did return to buy sponsored editorial, only 43% returned to the original publisher. And 29% stopped buying the format entirely – over an entire year.
The takeaway: As the market becomes more saturated and matures, incredible emphasis should be placed on winning the renewal. The best publishers today enjoy 90% renewal rates, creating a cash machine. They establish and demand campaign objectives in advance. They test that the objectives are met. We observe also that those publishers with the longest campaign flights (6+ months) have much higher renewal rates.