Live Ramp article image 1000

People Based Marketing: The Missed Opportunity for Publishers

Published: 21 Oct 2021

This month, LiveRamp partnered with the Association of Publishers (AOP) to hold a roundtable discussing ‘People Based Marketing: The Missed Opportunity for Publishers’.

Over the last few years, brands have increasingly turned to people-based marketing strategies to power their campaigns, however many publishers have lagged behind, acting much slower to tap into their first party data sets. As we enter the cookieless future, this roundtable focused on how publishers can maximise their authenticated data, the importance of creating closer relationships with advertising partners, and why it’s vital that a value exchange is communicated directly to consumers.

Participants included Ryan Afshar, Head of Publishers UK at LiveRamp, Christian Carlsson, Head of Solutions & Platforms at LiveRamp, Eleanor Marshall, Commercial Data Director at Global and Chris Daniels, Chief Revenue Officer at Haymarket Media.

So, what really is people-based marketing?

“People based marketing is one of those terms that we’ve all heard many times, and often it means slightly different things. Simply put, people based marketing happens when a brand or an advertiser has the same definition of a person as a publisher” began Christan Carlsson from LiveRamp. He emphasised that this is important because advertisers want to be sure they are actually targeting the user they’re aiming for, instead of wasting spend on a lookalike.

Ultimately, it’s about having a direct one-to-one relationship with a user. Traditionally, walled gardens have excelled when it comes to people based marketing, with 69% of ad spend currently going towards logged in environments. However, the time internet users spend between the open internet and walled gardens is actually a 50/50 split. Therefore there is a disproportionate media investment going into this closed ecosystem that could be used as effectively through publishers and the open internet.

So, what do publishers need to do to recapture revenue opportunities for the open internet?

Eleanor Marshall from Global thinks it comes down to the value exchange, and because of that Global is in a really strong position to make the most of their authenticated first party data. “We have a direct relationship with our users because of the quality of the premium brands that we have, it’s an engaged and loyal audience who trust us.” In fact, Global recently added a sign in gate for users and were able to add millions more to their database in a few months.

Chris Daniels from Haymarket concurs, adding “the value exchange is the key area that publishers need to focus on”, warning that “if we want to get to a position where we have enough scale to influence brand advertising in the same way that walled gardens do, we really need to consider what we’re bringing to the table for consumers.” First-party relationships flow from value exchanges over time and, if done right, a downstream result is robust, privacy-first, first-party data which is willingly shared by customers, giving brands and publishers a real competitive advantage over their rivals.

So, how can publishers provide people-based marketing?

Ryan Afshar from LiveRamp explains publishers need to have a clear “understanding of who their users are” as it will “undoubtedly help strengthen relationships with brands”. Publishers can achieve visibility into their users through long-term strategies that generate first party relationships. Brands have traditionally done this by providing consumers with mid-funnel experiences that they value, e.g. allowing them to create wish lists, or providing alerts about content on a favourite topic or flagging that an item has become available which the customer has expressed an interest in. If nurtured properly by the brand, the consumer will move to the bottom of the funnel and willingly provide a greater level of first-party data.

There is a lot publishers can do to forge closer partnerships with their audiences and advertising partners, and in turn they have the potential to create an identifier that generates the same scale and revenue as the walled gardens. With major changes impacting how brands and publishers use data to know and serve their customers, it’s clear that building first-party relationships has become a critical foundation of success for brand marketers and publishers to ensure no opportunities are missed.