Advertising Guest Columns
3 mins read

In a new ad tech landscape, a strong brand and publisher relationship is key

The digital advertising industry is experiencing more change than at any point in its history. Updates to mobile identifiers and browser data privacy policies have become a regular occurrence as consumers become increasingly concerned over how their data is used. This means that as an industry, we must build an ecosystem that regains the trust of the consumer by providing them with more transparency and control. 

Enter: people-based marketing

Although Google has announced a delay in the deprecation of third-party cookies, publishers and brands have already become comfortable with the concept of post-cookie identity and are actively exploring alternatives that work and perform better than cookies. Indeed our research in April 2021 revealed that 78.1% of respondents believe that the loss of third-party cookies will ultimately have a positive impact on their advertising strategy. 

Much of this confidence is being driven by addressable solutions that are rooted in people-based identity, enabling brands and advertisers to have more accurate and detailed information on customer profiles. It also allows publishers to better connect their inventory to marketer first, second, and third-party data. This means that publishers are able to offer marketers a better buying experience whilst also enabling them to target audiences and measure campaign outcomes with people-based identity. 

An additional benefit is that people-based buys are inherently tied to a value exchange that helps build continued trust with consumers. With consumers exerting more control over their data, they exchange their data for content, preferences and services that enhance their experiences, giving publishers and marketers the opportunity to transparently build their relationships. And as we approach addressability without cookies and mobile identifiers, it’s more important than ever to embrace technologies that build and restore trust within the advertising ecosystem. 

Traditionally, large social platforms have excelled when it comes to people-based marketing, with 60% of ad spend currently going towards them. However, the time internet users spend between the open internet and large social platforms is actually a 50/50 split. This means, there is a disproportionate media investment going into this closed ecosystem that could be used as effectively through publishers and the open internet. As a result, many independent publishers are now embracing these tactics to level the playing field. 

As an example, by leveraging solutions that enable publishers and brands to connect or collaborate without the use of cookies or compromising data, a US publisher was able to see results to better plan and execute on advertisers’ marketing campaigns. In doing so, the team saw a total lift in eCPM as high as 224%, with an average lift of 52% across all web browsers. 

Better together

Historically, brands and advertisers have always had strong relationships with the publishers they worked with. But in the past 10 years, the ad tech ecosystem has fragmented this relationship, pushing each other further apart. Now, we must bring both parties closer together again, and closer to the customers they serve. 

This is supported by our research that cited more direct contact with publishers is exactly what advertisers are looking for. When asked if their brand would benefit from a closer relationship with their key target publishers, an overwhelming majority of respondents (84.9%) answered ‘yes’.

To build more direct relationships with brands, publishers must continue building trust with their audiences by clearly communicating the value exchange that occurs when a consumer comes to their site in search of content or a particular experience. This can be achieved by authentication events, such as logging in or signing up for gated content. Crucially, however, publishers will need to tailor experiences to individuals to merit consumers sharing their data in exchange for value – through this, publishers will be able to unlock all-important first-party data.  

Today, brands want to target, understand and measure their audiences as much as possible, and through the use of authenticated first-party data, publishers are able to connect advertisers with their target audiences, whilst consumers can enjoy a personalized internet. This is hugely powerful and will only serve to strengthen the relationship between both parties. 

As we fast approach 2022, there is now an opportunity for publishers to leverage privacy-first, first-party authentications to take back control of the ad buying process, build more profitable collaborations and remind brands about the value of working directly with premium publishers. For consumers, it allows them to have a personalized experience, whilst gaining back control of the data they share. A win-win for all involved.

Ryan Afshar
Head of Publishers, UK at LiveRamp

LiveRamp is a leading data company offering identity resolution that is integrated throughout the digital ecosystem, providing brands and their partners with the foundation for true omnichannel marketing. Its services aim to transform the technology platforms used by its clients into true ‘people-based marketing channels’.