Tim Geenen, Managing Director, Addressability Europe, LiveRamp 

Regulators are tightening privacy rules, consumers have lost trust in how brands use their data and browsers are blocking the very data that once fuelled personalised and targeted marketing. 

These privacy-based shifts have disrupted the digital marketing landscape, leaving publishers and advertisers in search of ways to responsibly engage with audiences and restore their trust.

The demise of third-party cookies, however, does not mark the end of publishers being able to connect their inventory with marketer data. Instead, it has actually given advertisers the opportunity to both more effectively reach and engage target audiences while also developing authenticated first-party relationships that publishers crave.

First-party relationships allow publishers to take back control of their content to optimise yield and drive increased revenue. This should be welcome news for an industry that has seen its margins squeezed by the technology providers’ “ad tech tax” over the past decade.

Cookie Shift

Central to the successful shift away from cookies has been increased publisher-side transparency and the creation of strong value exchanges. In a privacy-first environment, people have regained control of what happens with their data, exchanging it for a better experience or unique content.

A person might log-in to access exclusive content, site personalisation, premium services or even an email subscription. These authentication strategies have been key to publishers developing a fuller understanding of their audience. This, in turn, adds a huge amount of insight and value for brands and marketers.

As publishers continue to strengthen their authenticated first-party data, being able to collect and manage this information across multiple platforms is increasingly important. Readers have grown accustomed to casually switching between apps, social media platforms, websites multiple times a day. This means that not only does the user experience need to be seamless — something many publishers are already focused on — but that publishers also need to seamlessly connect audience data across all of these touchpoints.

With the privacy landscape changing so quickly, however, delivering safe and transparent application-first solutions that create addressability across multiple platforms can be challenging. This is only further complicated by having to work across different regulations and guidance — such as Apple’s iOS 14.5 and Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which are helping to shape industry standards for privacy-focused, multi-channel addressable solutions. 

Omnichannel Strategies

We’ve become increasingly aware that as the number of online and offline consumer touchpoints has soared, users are more willing than ever before to walk away from digital experiences that aren’t frictionless

Publishers already understand that the way audiences engage with content is often very different between desktop and mobile devices and that the device experience needs to align with an individual user’s needs. But publishers also need to ensure that this process is aligned to their first-party data strategy.

Ultimately, publishers need to encourage their audiences to sign up and feel confident in sharing their data. 

As such, publishers need to work closely with their identity solution providers to ensure that their ad inventory commands the maximum possible engagement across all channels and that individual audience data is as consistent and coherent as possible. It’s also important to understand what techniques are most effective across individual platforms.

For example, are readers more likely to sign up for newsletters on their mobile devices or are they more likely to sign up for exclusive content? Answering these questions requires publishers to try out different techniques and feed the results back into their omnichannel strategy.   

Ultimately, a well-planned omnichannel strategy should focus not just on the strengths of each separate channel, but also on creating the maximum possible synergy between them.

Publishers need to pursue synergy of experience as well as synergy of data across all of their channels. All of the data available at each of the customer journey touchpoints should be synchronised and made available across all channels.

Comprehensiveness is Key

Those publishers that are able to build a comprehensive view of their customers across different devices, as well as in online and offline channels, will be able to provide them with a better user experience.

In 2022, more people are expected to authenticate their data in order to control their preferences as they come to more clearly understand the value exchange. Indeed, 63% of people agree that advertising plays an important role in the open internet. This creates a win-win situation that helps publishers maintain their direct relationships with readers and viewers.

Tying all of this data together is a key step towards strengthening publishers’ relationships with brands and marketers that are interested in their inventory. In fact, our research shows that 63.4% of advertisers would pay more for access to authenticated traffic data.

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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