Spirited Media has decided to downplay site-direct ads in favor of events, consulting and other membership programs. I think this is smart, in the long run.
Part of the reason we needed that longer runway was that success in display advertising in early 2017 led us to plan for revenue goals we didn’t achieve. We had other challenges, too — we’ve never spent money on marketing, and relied on all-organic traffic, which left us subject to the whims of algorithms that determine how often our articles get seen. So our sales staff wasn’t given the best conditions to operate in, and, all things considered, did pretty well. But it became clear to us that chasing advertising dollars — which has never been our primary revenue source — wasn’t producing a very good ROI for us.
Its gotta be enormously difficult to compete against FB, Google, Amazon and some of the ad exchanges to get on media plans. But, in the long run, great brands are, essentially, community builders, especially media brands.