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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

3 data-based opportunities publishers should be tracking in 2019

December 10, 2018 | By Megan McKenna, VP Marketing—Lotame @JerryMcKenns

Publishers and marketers are increasingly investing in data collection. Some are becoming incredibly sophisticated with their data use but there is still a reservoir of untapped opportunities and many obstacles to overcome. So how will the data scene change for publishers and marketers in 2019?

1. Outsource versus In-House

Many headlines declare a tsunami of in-housing data capabilities but that’s just not the case. Rather, pieces of the stack are starting to reside in-house. In fact, recent research found that almost 80% of publishers and marketers say they would prefer to outsource data strategy and execution. Overall, data strategy development, management and execution require sizable investments in talent and technology – and many organizations simply don’t have the in-house capabilities or infrastructure.

For those we surveyed who don’t collect their own data (31%), a lack of resources and education were the biggest hurdles. One-third (33%) said that they did not “have the internal resources in place to do so,” while 31% said “I don’t know where to even begin.” Another 21% said “I don’t have the tools or technology needed.” Although, we’re seeing outsourcing trend outside of the U.S., the transition to in-house will be slower than everyone says. Given the obstacles, it’s not realistic to believe otherwise.

2. Successful Measurement

When asked how they benchmark data strategy success, more than half (56%) of publishers said an “increase in returning visitors, uniques, and pageviews” was key. This was followed by “optimization of ad inventory” (49%); “increase in advertising spend” (46%); “overall ROI and monetization opportunities” (38%); and “increase in winning non-endemic advertisers” (33%). Publishers are focused on driving traffic and growing audience which has a cascade effect on their ad success and the value they can claim for partners. This year, we’ll continue to see a focus on using data to drive users traffic to the site but also to inform strategies to keep them on the site for longer. Data can help publishers determine what keeps eyeballs on their page. And that understanding, and success, will lead to increase ad revenue.

3. Data Quality

Our research found that one-third of brands and publishers are creating new monetization opportunities by becoming second-party data providers. This speaks to a demand for data quality. This requires organizations to understand where the data is coming from and how reliable it is from the beginning. In the transparency and GDPR era, this is incredibly powerful. In 2019, we expect to see this trend continue. Quality, safe second party data “fills gaps” and addresses campaign opportunities, yielding significant benefits for brands and publishers.

Given publishers’ close customer relationships, they are in a position to collect a great deal of first-party data. Of course, they should use to deliver great experiences. However, when used wisely, data can also support a healthy revenue stream for publishers, big and small. By taking a few additional steps and watching trends, publishers are poised to reap the benefits of data in 2019.

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