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The great privacy reset is here. Publishers, are you ready to capitalize?

July 20, 2021 | By Michael Ogunjobi, Manager, Customer Success, Americas – Permutive @Permutive

The advertising industry needs to adjust its focus from big tech’s micro-changes to the bigger privacy picture.  

Something is happening at a macro-level that requires more attention than incremental changes and band-aid solutions that we see at the forefront of digital advertising. We are heading towards a great privacy reset. A sharp focus on privacy is pushing everything towards the protection of people’s data and strengthens the requirement for first-party data and closer relationships between publishers, advertisers and their end-users. 

Unfortunately, publishers and advertisers are currently working through a disruptive and chaotic period caused by changing privacy regulations and regular browser announcements. And the results aren’t positive. A study conducted by Permutive in June, surveying 501 senior decision-makers within publishers in the U.S. and U.K., shows that almost three-quarters (74%) of publishers say that browser updates negatively impact advertising business models. And 75% say that privacy regulations are impacting the ability to future-proof advertising revenue. 

There is another way. We need a stable and sustainable foundation for digital advertising that protects publishers’ work, enables advertisers to reach their consumers, and protects people’s privacy and access to information. That approach and solution exists today. It’s an advertising ecosystem built from publishers’ first-party data that prioritizes privacy and protects revenue.   

First-party data drives brand results 

The way media is traded is rapidly changing, shifting fundamentally from third-party cookies and identity to consented first-party data. With this shift towards privacy, first-party data is becoming the new gold standard. This creates an opportunity for publishers to be fairly compensated for their data and improve campaign performance. 

In a recent event, held by Permutive and New Digital Age, publishers pitched their first-party strategies to a panel of agencies. The pitches showed agencies the maturity of publishers’ solutions for advertisers and the impact of first-party data on brand metrics, compared to third-party and publisher averages. 

One publisher was the Guardian, one of the world’s leading English-language news publications that reaches 8.8 million readers daily. The Guardian showed that its first-party data had an average brand lift of 65% and ranked 39% higher on preference and intent metrics. For one particular campaign, the Guardian created a bespoke cohort for luxury furniture brand Rimadesio focused on readers interested in architecture, interiors, art and luxury. The campaign achieved a brand consideration increase of 102% and an intent uplift of 79%. 

Digital Media Services (DMS), the digital arm of Choueiri Group — the leading media representation group in the Middle East – also took part in the event. In a campaign for a telco brand in Iraq aiming to drive awareness of 4G in the nation, DMS created first-party cohorts from data points across its 40-plus sites. 

The campaign resulted in an 85% increase in clickthrough rate, a brand awareness increase of 12% and an ad recall increase of 38%. The agencies who participated, including Starcom, Carat, Mindshare, and Havas, concluded that publishers’ first-party data stands up as a privacy-safe solution for the open web that’s available today. 

Focusing on first-party collection and scale 

Publishers recognize the value of their data as they look to build direct relationships with advertisers. The in-depth-cohort insights they can proactively promote and add in their RFP responses only looks to secure that revenue stream. In our study of the impacts of privacy, consent and browser updates, 80% of publishers say that collecting more first-party data to fuel advertising revenue is a priority.

This is also reflected in buy-side demand for these insights, as almost half (49%) of publishers say their first-party audiences are requested in over 60% of RFPs. Insider, for example, launched its first-party platform, SAGA, in February 2020. The publisher is seeing 400% growth year-over-year with advertisers using Insider’s first-party data for their campaigns. Today, 19-out-of-20 of Insider’s top advertisers are using SAGA.   

An appetite for these audience insights has spurred publishers to collect more behavioral and contextual first-party data and invest in technology to scale first-party data. In fact, according to our research, these are the top two priorities for publishers within the next six months. 

Upside of first-party relationships

The benefits of building privacy-safe direct relationships based on first-party data are many. It adds transparency between the buy and sell-side, first-party data is used to create cohorts that improve campaign performance, and it protects people’s privacy. Plus, it’s a solution that is available today and does not require third-party data or the use of identifiers. 

When publishers and advertisers control their data, they control their fate. Significantly: User privacy is centred, not an afterthought. The great privacy reset is here. Those that don’t take it seriously open themselves up to risk. Publishers are proving that digital advertising can be successful for both themselves and advertisers without using identifiers and third-party cookies, all while increasing revenue and maintaining users’ trust. 

By resetting to protect privacy, publishers and advertisers can build a foundation for digital advertising based on knowledge, understanding and experience and run successful data-driven campaigns without sacrificing privacy for performance.   

About the author

Michael Ogunjobi is Manager, Customer Success, Americas, at Permutive. Michael, and the customer success team, consult with enterprise publishers to enable them to increase their data-driven advertising revenue and make revenue diversification a reality — while keeping user privacy at the heart. Prior to joining Permutive, Michael was Senior Customer Success Manager at Qubit, responsible for product adoption and customer retention. Michael champions the value of publisher first-party data, especially as the industry navigates the impact of data deprecation and identity challenges.

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