Data-driven solutions: Charting a better way forward for brands and publishers

publisher robot

Travis Clinger, senior vp of addressability and ecosystem, LiveRamp

Updates to mobile identifiers and browser data privacy policies have become an everyday part of life in the advertising industry. The browsers and device manufacturers have made privacy a competitive differentiator, as consumers have become increasingly concerned over how their data is being used. As an industry, we must approach and adapt to these changes by regaining the trust of the consumer. We need to show we’re committed to enhancing and upholding consumer privacy, while maintaining a free and fair internet. 

Publishers enable the free flow of information and ideas which has defined the internet from the very beginning. This value exchange has historically been powered by the third-party cookie, but that has changed over the past several years, as consumers have not fully understood this exchange or how their data was being used. Their concern caused both regulatory and browser reactions. 

Consequently, publishers and brands alike have had to navigate a hyper-volatile programmatic landscape. While some may find relief in learning that Google has delayed the deprecation of third-party cookies, marketers and publishers shouldn’t see this as a reason to delay embracing post-cookie strategies. Publishers and brands who have already gotten a head start on pivoting to an addressable, cookieless solution should see this time as an opportunity to hone in on building relationships based on trust through first-party data strategies, realizing the benefits of an addressable solution that enables authenticated user experiences. 

Publishers can win with people-based marketing

Data-driven publishers that have built first-party relationships are in a position to leverage their authenticated data to enable marketers to target audiences and measure campaign outcomes with people-based identity. 

Without a transparent, authenticated solution on the open web, brands looking to reach their audiences have been overcompensating for the lack of transparency. Walled gardens have benefited from disproportionate media investments. A recent study with OpenX and Harris Poll found that advertisers allocated 60% of their digital advertising budget toward reaching audiences in walled gardens, with 40% of the budget going to the open web. Yet, consumers spent more time on the open web — 66% — compared to just 34% on the closed platforms. Walled gardens have mastered the art of leveraging their first-party authentications to deliver advertising that works better. Independent publishers have caught on, and the most forward leaning ones are now embracing the tactics formerly enjoyed only by walled gardens.

By leveraging solutions that enable publishers and brands to match identities without the use of cookies or compromising data, renowned publisher Newsweek was able to see results to better plan and execute on advertisers’ marketing campaigns. 

The Newsweek team saw a total lift in eCPM as high as 224%, with an average lift of 52% across all web browsers. Specifically, the team saw a lift of 55% on Google Chrome browsers, and a 93% and 60% lift on Firefox and Safari, respectively. 

Even though Chrome still allows for the use of third-party cookies, Newsweek benefited from an audience lift by leveraging this new ID solution. As both Firefox and Safari no longer enable audience reach with third-party cookies, the lift on both browsers enables a new, more premium channel based on authentications for marketers and advertisers to reach an audience they were not previously able to.

Newsweek’s COO Alvaro Palacios said, “Newsweek has proven through testing that digital media does not need third-party cookies to increase yields and the value of our inventory. This ID solution provides the infrastructure to match our readers with a brand’s customers, for marketing that could be more effective than with third-party cookies.”

Publishers are also seeing higher CPM on mobile devices than with cookieless mobile web inventory — Newsweek achieved a CPM lift of 53% on iOS devices, compared to those who had not implemented this ID solution. Discovery Inc. also saw an average eCPM increase of 44% when utilizing this ID solution across its sites. 

These CPM improvements illustrate the incremental revenue opportunities achieved by leveraging an authenticated solution. As publishers continue to grow their addressable inventory, their revenue will grow too. Brand marketers can now buy inventory activated by authenticated, first-party data to reach more consumers on more channels than ever before — something third-party cookies could never achieve. 

Empowering publishers and brands to reimagine a new ecosystem 

While third-party cookies still exist, for now, a more viable solution is already available that advertisers should take advantage of. For example, 5G is 100 times faster than 4G and provides better connectivity, leading to seamless user experiences. Because of these innovations, 5G has become the preferred connection while 4G still exists. In the same way, authenticated cookieless solutions have become the preferred solution while third-party cookies remain. These authenticated solutions have already proven themselves to be more effective. 

The digital advertising industry constantly balances the sometimes-competing interests of publishers, brands and browsers, but the most proven viable alternatives to third-party cookies benefit brands and publishers equally. Browsers provide a new mechanism for consumer transparency between brands and publishers and are as significant as patrons of a restaurant knowing who supplies the ingredients to their favorite dishes. The authenticated solutions offered by browsers support a healthy value exchange between a brand and publisher. The browser — like the restaurant supplier — is simply a means to an end. The result is an experience that consumers desire. 

To get ahead of changes made by browsers, publishers must own their trusted first-party consumer relationships through authenticated solutions. Publishers succeeding in establishing this trust with their consumers will be able to develop a relationship independent of cookies, improve the user experience and increase yields for publishers and the brands that work with them.

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