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Protecting Revenue Via a Responsible Web

Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
Vahe Arabian

Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

Edited by Andrew Kemp
Andrew Kemp

Andrew joined the State of Digital Publishing team in 2021, bringing with him more than a decade and a half of editorial experience in B2B publishing. His career has spanned the technology, natural resources, financ…Read more

Protecting Revenue Via a Responsible Web

Brendan Farrell has more than a decade of experience in adtech and publishing. Currently, he leads Permutive’s North American customer success team, transforming and evolving...Read more

Brendan Farrell, Manager – Customer Success, Permutive

As platforms and regulations increasingly limit the collection of traditional third-party cookies, consumers are becoming more vocal about how their data is being used. Concerns over hyper-personalized advertising have resulted in a shift away from the traditional value exchange on which publishers rely.

Whether it’s spurred by public sentiment or government regulation, opting out of personalized advertising is becoming increasingly popular. Our research shows that up to 55% of users in Europe are hitting Google’s recent addition of a “reject all” button. When a user hits “reject all”, traditional digital advertising, and everything that powers it, stops working.

Right now, regulatory agencies only require publishers to seek consent in Italy and Spain. If we look a year or so into the future, we anticipate this to be the case throughout Europe. If we take the long view, this will likely play a role in upcoming US regulations as well.

But prioritizing consumers’ data privacy doesn’t mean the option to effectively monetize content disappears. With privacy-forward solutions that allow publishers to activate their full audiences, publishers can efficiently capitalize on the value they create — all while being regulatory-compliant and responsible with consumers’ personal data.

Publishers’ First-Party Data Is Unique

Publishers are in the unique position of being able to acquire insights about their users — based on the actions they take on their platforms — rather than relying solely on authenticated data, such as email addresses. Publishers can collect a wealth of valuable first-party data using:

  • behavioral signals (e.g. time of day, clicks, scrolling, video engagement) gathered when a user browses a web page
  • contextual data (e.g. locations searched, description, topics, keywords) through the content being consumed and metadata
  • declared data (e.g. purpose of visiting, industry, or preferences about certain topics or content) provided directly to a publisher by users and subscribers

This rich first-party data can then be used to group users into Publisher Cohorts, which publishers are already in a position to offer to advertisers.

Cohorts are built from publishers’ first-party data within the publishers’ environment, offering privacy-first targeting, as users’ IDs are not tied to an ad request in the bidstream. Publishers can also place users into multiple relevant cohorts, widening the scope for advertisers.

With the right technology at their disposal, publishers can recognize 100% of their audiences — across all browsers — in the moment. They can also match and model advertisers’ first-party data, allowing advertisers to reach consumers based on their interests. The result is responsible addressability at scale.

When we look toward the future of advertising, it’s publishers that have a one-to-one relationship with their users. As advertisers look for accurate and trustworthy data sources, they need to connect with those that hold a relationship with the end user.

As a result, we’ll see more direct relationships between advertisers and publishers, and adtech will become an enabler of this collaboration rather than an intermediary, allowing publishers to build not just sustainable businesses, but flourishing ones.

A More Responsible Web

These relationships reverberate beyond addressability.

While the open web has supercharged the growth of programmatic advertising, publishers have endured the commoditization of their data, their audiences’ data leaking (eroding consumer trust) and middleman economics.

Direct relationships with advertisers have alleviated a lot of these challenges, but to further safeguard against regulatory changes and broken consumer trust, publishers — and their advertisers — can benefit from a more responsible web.

A responsible web is where consent and data security are foundational and publishers are fairly compensated for the value they create. In this new ecosystem, built on top of consented data and collected by first-parties, publishers are empowered to responsibly monetize audiences.

Being part of a more responsible web is not just about more than adhering to the latest regulations: it’s about developing a stance of empathy toward consumers — one that also protects and amplifies revenue.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and ideas expressed in this post belong to the author/s and do not necessarily reflect those held by State of Digital Publishing.

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