63% of Publishers Concerned about Decline in Referral Traffic from Social; TikTok Introduces Ad Performance Updates; OpenAI States NYT Lawsuit is “Without Merit” 

On today’s ExchangeWire digest: 63% of Publishers Concerned about Decline in Referral Traffic from Social; TikTok Introduces Ad Performance Updates; OpenAI States NYT Lawsuit is “Without Merit”...

Publishers are concerned about the sharp decline in referral traffic from social media, finds the Reuters Institute, in its latest research study: Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions for 2024. As a result, 77% of publisher respondents say they plan to focus their efforts on their own direct channels this year. Many publishers (+64 net score) plan to create more video next year, and around half will be making more use of podcasts, as they aim to lean into the areas providing the most audience and advertiser growth.

Many publishers also plan to drive effort into Whatsapp this year, following the platform’s launch of functionalities which allow brands to create broadcast channels – publishers such as the New York Times have already amassed millions of followers through this functionality.

Taking a closer look at the world of social media, TikTok is introducing new options for marketers. The video platform is updating its Marketing Partners Program with the launch of two new partner specialties: Cross-Channel and Lift. As stated by the video platform: “Partners can contextualise and provide greater insight into TikTok ad performance using specialised measurement methods to meet advertisers needs.”

Cross-Channel Partners will analyse the impact of TikTok ads across various marketing touchpoints before a purchase is made; Lift partners will measure the incremental impact of TikTok advertising. These updates will make it easier for TikTok advertisers to get assistance regarding data tracking and attributing campaign performance. 

Last month, the New York Times took legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement over using the publisher’s content to train its gen AI models. On Tuesday, OpenAI published a public response, stating: “The New York Times lawsuit is without merit.” The company maintains that training AI models using publicly available internet materials is fair use, a belief which – it points out – is supported by academics, library associations, and leading companies, among others. OpenAI also states that the publisher “is not telling the full story”. Both parties had been in communication regarding a partnership; OpenAI claims that learning about the lawsuit “came as a surprise and disappointment”. 

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