Our Publisher Members identified Data, as a key area for action in 2017.
Our first workshop showed an increasing appetite amongst members for cross publisher data partnerships, as well as agreement to create a separate specialist working group for GDPR.
Dennis, Global, ESI, Haymarket and many more publishers are now actively involved in data partnerships and exploring further opportunities to partner. Putting scale and high value audiences together gives advertisers increased reach, more effective campaign strategies and better ROI. Global partnered with Haymarket to allow advertisers to target auto intenders whilst they were near dealer locations, and to add scale to the valuable Haymarket auto audience. The result: a substantially increased budget and improved ROI.
The AOP has encouraged this process of “data dating” through our data workshops, at our Commercial
Steering Group and by ongoing discussion and introduction. There are challenges involved in identifying partners, agreeing contractual terms and finding fair commercial terms but the results have proven the opportunity this strategy offers to publishers. If you want to get involved and find out more about how these partnerships have worked, just let us know.
The next step is for more publishers to come together. Why? Because the competition is a long way out in front. Facebook and Google have redefined the data offering to Advertisers by offering deep consumer insight, with precisely targeted audiences, at scale and with string ROI attribution. This is the key reason that they take 65% of all ad revenue and realistically, as individual publishers it is hard to compete - the entities that are competing are all agency and adtech side, through products like Xaxis Turbine and Radium One.
Acknowledging but momentarily setting aside the many and complex competitive threats that publishers represent to each other, if we decided to address what is probably the bigger problem, represented by the big platforms, what could be achieved collectively?
Achieving competitive scale
No single publisher can approach the scale of Facebook 40m uniques (Comscore) or Google 46m but combined? Consider this: AOP Member de duped reach is on excess of 42m uniques.
Our members provide an environment where every interest, professional or personal is signalled in the consumption of premium content
Precision + scale leads to consumer insight
Let’s consider a key vertical: automotive. AOP has Publisher Members who can define the exact set of models a user is researching, whether they are researching finance and when they come in and out of market but those publishers lack the scale and out-of-market user connection to be able to deliver the volume and brand/sales combination a top tier advertiser needs. If we combine the reach of mass news publications, we can begin to get closer to the advertiser need. We can go further by combining special and broad interests to identify professional interests, life-stage and personal interests to a point where we could deliver true insight into a Client’s current and potential customers.
This approach relies on two key elements
Buy side technology and client outcome signals lead to attribution
It is now clear that the technology exists to deliver the steps previously discussed but also, if a client is willing to share outcome tracking, to deliver sophisticated attribution that goes way upstream from the last click. When this more holistic approach to attribution is applied, there is a large shift in budget towards earlier communication events that build the pool of prospects rather than last click events which most current
attribution models favour. The resulting movement of budgets upstream will strongly favour premium publishers because our environment is where so many interests are pursued and shaped.
Premium Publisher Data offers a unique proposition
Our environment is the go-to place where many millions of people get informed, get entertained and support, explore and develop their passions, professions and purposes. Any brand that wants to communicate with customers and prospects when and where their ideas and decisions are shaped must select the premium publisher environment.
What are the benefits of this approach?
Buy-side leaders indicate that this sort of initiative will be received with open arms by the industry, thus creating a clear partnership opportunity to drive the service rapidly and iteratively forward. The AOP is investigating the opportunity to bring more publishers into flexible data partnerships so that we can lead with consumer insight to deliver, scale, precision and attribution. Any such initiative would have to allow flexible partnership and participation models so the question is now, how can we move this forward?
With competition for ad revenue almost wholly driven by the quality of data, AOP believes that, at some point in the future, a Collective Publisher data product will be a familiar part of the landscape. Publishers need resources, time and technology to explore the benefits whilst managing the complexities of competitive interests and delivering significantly enhanced value to advertisers. It seems clear that large parts of the adtech and agency side are on a route to creating just this type of product (Xaxis Turbine is purely premium publisher based data, GroupM are attempting to push publishers to come
together collectively) and so the question is not whether this will happen but how will publishers participate?
AOP has celebrated and encouraged the process of publishers coming together to create data partnerships and along the way we are seeing some of the challenges being solved.
We could summarise those challenges as;
- On what basis and for what reasons should I be
working with my competitors?
- How can I share data legally (GDPR, PECR)?
- How can I protect my data?
- How do we fairly divide revenues generated?
- What is the goal of combining data? Insight, scale, precision targeting or better attribution?
- How do we pitch the combined offer?
- What is the role of the agency or players from the wider adtech world?
- What technology to create and deliver the
- How and what to invest?
Of course, all of these questions become more complex as more partners join a group.
AOP believes the exploration of this opportunity could do with more resource and investment so that Publishers can take greater control and greater benefit from the collective product (however it may be structured) the market is clearly going to deliver.
Google DNI funding remains an opportunity and the wealth of agency and adtech interest in developing this idea also creates many options for partnership. The ball is in the Premium Publishers court.