GDPR Effect: FT Pulls Private deals to the Top
GDPR has changed the way we trade media impressions programmatically. From new intermediaries to frameworks, both the buy-side and the sell-side updated their respective technologies and selling/buying strategies to deal with the law.
Last week, Digiday reported the Financial Times’ shift in programmatic strategy and it is substantial, to say the least. The publisher increased its programmatic ad revenue from private deals including programmatic guaranteed and PMP from just 4% to 70% in the span of two years.
This shows the significance of first-party data on your programmatic strategy.
“Lots of publishers will say they have first-party data available, but no one was quite clear on who those people were. Whereas we’re able to show that, for instance, a CEO has declared themselves specifically as such on our site [thanks to subscriptions data].”
– Jessica Barrett, global head of programmatic, FT.
If you’re wondering how the revenue shot from just 4% to 70% in two years, it’s because the publisher stopped selling on OPM (Open marketplaces) completely. If you want to buy ad impressions on the FT, you can either go via PMP or programmatic guaranteed campaigns.
- The subscription-based model of the Financial Times played a major role in this transition. Due to the data stated by its subscribers, the Financial Times was able to show a clear segmentation of its audience to the buyers. This is something that can’t be emulated by anyone.
- Though premium advertisers would like to get into direct relationships with publishers like Financial Times, open ad exchanges still dominate the programmatic ad transactions and cater to millions of publishers and advertisers. As a publisher, you can use OPM to identify opportunities and move your premium impressions to private marketplaces.
First-Party Ad Economy
The entire adtech ecosystem is adapting to fit into the privacy-first era where third-party data and cross-site tracking are becoming increasingly difficult. On one hand, web browsers have started rolling out ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) features and on the other, several states are in the process of passing privacy bills that restrict advertising technologies from collecting user data without proper consent.
Ciaran O’Kane from ExchangeWire wrote an interesting piece listing down his predictions on the industry. Here are the highlights.
IAB consortium launched a couple of frameworks (TCF, Data Transparency Framework, etc) and initiatives (ads.txt, Supply.json, etc) for the industry to deal with the privacy laws and ad fraudsters. However, data watchdogs and regulators (especially, ICO) warned the industry players that the frameworks aren’t compatible with GDPR and should be updated. Besides, Google has yet to become part of TCF.
The author predicts that the disputes will come to an end in the next 12 months. And, we believe so. While the interpretation of the law and getting legitimate consent for all the third-parties remains unsolved, we have a higher chance of finding the middle ground as both the parties (IAB Tech Lab and ICO) are eager to fix the loopholes.
Several publishers including the mid-sized ones have shown interest in first-party data collection and strategy. With the ITP features, advertisers are going blind on Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Brave. Publishers will eventually implement registration walls to build data and use it for content and revenue optimization.
Unified IDs and SSOs
Yet another thing you would’ve noticed over the last few months is the rise of shared IDs or unified IDs. We believe, the industry will end up with more than one Unified ID solution in the next year and the author predicts that SSO will be critical moving forward.
What do we think? We agree with most of the predictions, except one regarding SSO. Considering the fact that the duopoly (or should we include Amazon too?) has put publishers in a zero-sum game, it’s hard for a single sign-on to gain adoption. Furthermore, as publishers are putting their own registration walls for capturing first-party, the scene is quite complicated for SSO.
Moving beyond Third-party Cookies
Several top media companies have invested in technology and first-party data to identify readers and target them across browsers.
“We’re the holders of the [reader] relationship.”
– Chris Guenther, global head of programmatic for News Corp.
News Corp. one of the largest media companies and home to The Wall Street Journal and The Times and The Sun (U.K.) has created a news ID for the readers. As per the source, News Corp. has 590 million anonymized user IDs globally and 100 million de-duplicated IDs in the US. This, in turn, helps the publisher to target readers without third-party cookies.
Each title under the Corp. will have its own DMP and the data from multiple DMPs will be fed to one centralized customer data platform to unify it.
Insider has also spent the last year developing and assigning unique IDs to its readers. The IDs are based on first-party data that provides in-depth reader insights including behavior, interests, and intents.
On top of these, publishers relying on second-party data have also increased in number. For instance, The Ozone Project the alliance b/w The Guardian, The Telegraph, News UK, and Reach, has come up with a common content taxonomy to enable advertisers to contextually target ads across all the sites.
TripAdvisor’s Data Platform
TripAdvisor recently launched its new data platform named TripAdvisor Connect which will help advertisers to target its audience outside the TripAdvisor website and app. With the help of its members’ data, the site will allow advertisers to target the site’s audience on Facebook and Instagram. The company plans to expand this data platform to other media channels too.
“Fueled by deep consumer insights, we can help advertising partners reach, engage and activate new and large high-intent audiences beyond the TripAdvisor website and app. For 10 million highly engaged followers of our brand on sites like Facebook and Instagram, TripAdvisor is a trusted resource and influential part of their decision-making process.”
– Christine Maguire, Vice President, Advertising Revenue, TripAdvisor, Inc.
Talking about the audience, Digiday shared some interesting thoughts from publishing executives on using email for re-engagement. One executive said that the referral program yields high-quality traffic and more than a thousand views a day. Another great insight shared by the executives is that 37% of paid members were free newsletter subscribers first. For a publisher, readers with seven or more sessions per month gave five times more revenue than readers with up to four sessions.
If you know your audience, you can help either relevant advertisers to engage with them or you can do so (for your own purpose) with the help of newsletter or some form of messaging. The first step is to understand your audience, always.
Moments that Matter
Facebook agrees to pay advertisers $40 million over inflated video stats – AdAge.
‘It’s immoral or incompetent’: ad industry skewers Twitter on security data misuse – The Drum.
Publishers pour money into paid marketing for their subscription products – Digiday.
The great unbundling: Why some high-priced strategic ad tech deals could unravel – Digiday.