This is how Scripps and Tribune are making money using Facebook

By The Local Media Association

News companies are making money from Facebook and two of them shared their successes during a session at Media Transformation on Wednesday.

Steve Baron, Head of Product (Digital) at Tribune Broadcasting and Tom Sly, Vice President Business Development, E.W. Scripps Company presented their takeaways.

Scripps has a lifestyle brand called Simplemost that’s delivering about 25 million visitors a month. And they have developed a proprietary content testing and optimization process to help build on their revenue opportunities while still following advertising guidelines and best practices from Facebook.

Sly said the organization measures each story that is published for KPIs in the article’s reach, CTR and engagement. If the story hits certain marks, it continues “down the funnel for revenue optimization.”

Sly shared that there is a revenue meter that appears at each story and they are using a formula based on what Facebook has established as their advertising guidelines to decide how much copy should be in the story to help maximize RPM and the advertising opportunity.

The results have been good. When they decide to post an article to Instant Articles, the revenue on the page is performing typically better than the revenue on the page of their mobile site.

What Tribune is doing

Baron talked about a variety of ways Tribune was driving revenue through Facebook. Here are a few:

• Articles to Facebook: Tribune is posting about 50,000 articles a month online with about half of those articles going to Facebook.  Baron said their True Anthem AI posts from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. during unstaffed hours and is helping drive a fair amount of engagement. He encouraged others to look at similar tools or to consider just scheduling more content between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

• Instant Articles: Baron suggested only creating Instant Articles for stories that are longer than a few paragraphs. He suggested using the auto-ad placement feature for all advertising units which he suggested media companies should hard code in place. He said Facebook’s call-to-action feature can help gain new Facebook fans and to collect user email addresses.

• Handshake posts: He said advertisers needed to become comfortable with this new way of paying for posts and understand the metrics they are getting. There is no revenue share with Facebook to do this.

• Making money with Facebook: Baron said the easiest way to make money with Facebook is through their Audience Network of Instant Articles. And the hardest, he said was through playing the “arbitrage game.” And the most potential he said is from mid-roll video ads.