In this edition:

  • Improvements continue to Ads plugin
  • Some changes to the help channel
  • Congratulations to new publishers
  • Get Newspack calls on your calendar

Ad options keep growing; support for Broadstreet now integrated

The Newspack Ads team, led by Katie Rethman and Miguel Peixe, continues to add features that add value to the plugin — and in turn should be able to generate more money for publishers. Here’s a rundown of the latest additions from Katie:

New “Add-Ons” section

Newspack Ads uses a few external plugins to enable specific features — Super Cool Ad Inserter (SCAIP for short) and Ad Refresh Control.

SCAIP settings were integrated more natively into Newspack Ads a little while ago, but you had to physically install/activate the SCAIP plugin first before the settings would appear in the Newspack Ads wizard. Now, with the click of the toggle, SCAIP will be auto-installed/activated right from within the wizard.

New with this release is the integration of the Ad Refresh Control plugin. Toggling this will auto-install/activate the plugin and the settings are available in the Settings section.

It allows for tons of granular control, but out of the box it enables an active-view, time-based refresh on all ad units. In other words, when an ad unit is at least 70% within the viewport for at least 30 seconds, it will refresh, generating a highly viewable new ad impression. The goal here is to provide a way to boost ad impressions without the need for adding more ad units to a page, provide a recovery for the loss of impressions typically seen from lazy loading, and increase viewability.

Note that AdSense does not allow their ads to be refreshed, so we’re going to automatically exclude refreshes when AdSense is detected as the advertiser. Refreshing is also not allowed on AMP, so this is an AMP Plus-only feature.

Changes to providers

WordAds and AdSense were removed as providers. If you want to use AdSense, please put a note in the Slack help channel, and we’ll work with you to get the service through Google Ad Manager, where you can take advantage of all our features and controls.

Broadstreet was added!  Here’s what the flow looks like for Broadstreet as a provider:

  • Toggling on Broadstreet will auto-install/activate the Broadstreet plugin.
  • Clicking “configure” will take you to the Broadstreet plugin settings page to input the API key and access token provided by Broadstreet.
  • When the access token is confirmed, you can return to Newspack Ads to configure Placements.
    • Unlike with GAM where you can create the ad units right within Newspack, with Broadstreet, the zone must be created in the Broadstreet UI first and then it will appear in Newspack.
  • Of the Newspack Ad Settings, custom ad label and post ad inserter settings are available for use with Broadstreet. Lazy loading and ad refresh are only available for GAM users.
Header bidding eligibility extended to blocks and widgets

Configuration options for header bidding that previously existed only on global placements has been added to all Newspack Ad blocks and widgets! This was a big one for those manually-placed homepage ad blocks. Here’s what an Ad Block looks like now, if the header bidding variable exists on the site.

Optimizations
  • Better visual representation of ad units within posts and pages. The editor can now also see all of the creative size options that will be eligible to appear.
  • Size mapping strategy on AMP updated to use a better method for calculating the viewport size and creative size eligible to display, specifically for multi-size ad units.

Some modest changes come to help channel

This week we implemented our new support tool, Assist, to the #newspack-help channel!

Although this changes our internal process for managing requests, this will not change how you already post your requests in the #newspack-help channel.

There are a couple of new notifications you will see once your request has been submitted:

  1. Once a Newspack support team member assigns a “ticket” emoji to your request, you will receive a notification from the Assist bot that we have been notified of your request! No next steps necessary, a Newspack team member will respond and help resolve your issue in the message thread as we do currently.
  2. Once your request has been resolved, a Newspack support member will close the request. This will trigger an automated message where you have the option to rate your support experience.

We’ve also provided visuals of this process in our support documentation as well as guidelines for rating support, which we recommend checking out! Thanks so much!


159th Newspack newsroom launched

  • Mbu | A newsroom covering the culture, style and fashion of Uganda.
  • The Clayton Crescent | This nonprofit newsroom was born of a critical need to serve a longtime news desert in the southern suburbs of Atlanta when COVID-19 forced the county paper to lay off nearly all of its tiny reporting staff.
  • El Paso Matters | An independent, member-supported nonprofit news organization focusing on in-depth and investigative journalism covering the El Paso, Juarez border region.

Congratulations to newsroom leaders on your launches in the recent weeks.


Get our regular meetings on your calendar with a couple of clicks

We have a meeting every other Tuesday at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. This is for publishers and developers to get together, but it is by no means mandatory. Most of the meeting is turned over to guest speakers for professional development, or to one of our team members to highlight a major change to the Newspack platform. We use this meeting to update you on business and product developments, as well.

The next meeting is April 19.

And here’s a handy way to get them all on your calendar:

Add event to calendar

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We also hold a 30-minute How To session each Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. We offer a quick look at one topic, block, feature or other useful maneuver. You can see how these work by going here for or small-but-growing library of videos. The password is ilovenews

Add event to calendar

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