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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

User privacy and revenue are directly linked for publishers

October 14, 2022 | By Isabella Jenkins, Client Revenue Partner – Permutive @permutive

It seems we’ve entered an era where an increasing ratio of stories on the advertising industry are opining on what new regulations may come to pass or when big tech companies will (or won’t) deprecate third-party cookies. With so much coverage focusing on external pressures, it’s easy to fall into the trap of forgetting what lies at the core of digital advertising: the consumer.

What regulators and big tech alike are providing aren’t, at their essence, constraints on the advertising ecosystem but rather the opportunity for consumers to choose how their data can or cannot be used for digital advertising. And when given that choice, consumers are increasingly acting in ways that protect their own data privacy.

What publishers need to know is that this means advertisers are facing an environment where half of users are browsing in environments that restrict cookies (Safari, Firefox, etc.). Of those who are browsing in Chrome, 40% disable tracking on their own. This leaves only 30% of the open web available for targeting with advertising. As consumer choice grows, so will the percentage of audiences that are traditionally unaddressable.

Luckily, publishers are better equipped than any other part of the ecosystem to directly connect with consumers. Largely, consumers aren’t objecting to their data being used responsibly by the website they’re on or the app they’re in, but rather they’re opting out of being tracked across the internet by adtech or big tech. This means an overwhelming majority of consumers’ data is visible to the publisher alone.

Protecting consumers and revenue alike

The evolution to more responsible marketing practices — where data is secure by design — is primed to benefit publishers. With that, there needs to be a focus on solutions that are grounded in user consent and choice in order for publishers to be able to operate sustainably and protect both their consumers and their revenue.

The right data infrastructure and insights gives publishers 100% addressability and the tools to activate audiences consistently across all media transaction types. This means publishers are uniquely equipped to offer advertisers the opportunity to extend the scale of their own data by partnering directly to activate first-party audiences.

Publishers’ rich audience data enables advertisers to reach high-value audiences with targeted messaging, without infringing on user privacy. This is invaluable to advertisers, helping them to continue reaching consumers with relevant content, even as addressability declines. For example, U.S. News’ first-party audience data allowed its advertisers to see an uplift in engagement of up to two times by activating valuable cohorts.

Further, Bauer Media’s Illuminate offering has been shown to positively affect user perceptions and purchase consideration. Post-campaign research for a leading manufacturer showed a 44% increase in users who said they would be highly likely to buy from that brand, compared to non-exposed.

How publishers benefit from user privacy

It’s clear that the close proximity publishers have to their audiences is transforming the digital advertising ecosystem. What publishers do with this opportunity will redefine how they are able to successfully activate and monetize their users in the future.

We’ve entered an era where publishers are responsible for user privacy practices when it comes to the collection, management, and usage of consumer data. They serve the needs of consumers who are growing increasingly aware of how their data is used as well as advertisers looking to buy across highly addressable publisher inventory.

Fortunately, this ecosystem is also one where publishers will be fairly compensated for the value they create, as they are positioned to provide addressability, relevance, and scale for advertisers. And these advertisers are seeing results.

By working directly with publishers, a global beverage CPG brand course-corrected over-indexing in Chrome, helping solve its addressability problems and reaching double the audience that was previously hidden in Safari. That same campaign was also able to deliver 2.1x the number of impressions served in Safari vs Chrome, which resulted in a 21% lower CPC and a 123% higher CTR compared to the benchmarks.

Publishers and advertisers must work together to restore consumers’ trust in their data privacy. Concern needs to go deeper than worrying about the deprecation of the third-party cookie or simply meeting regulatory compliance. Building consumer trust comes from publishers seeking consent and data solutions that are secure by design.

About the author

Isabella Jenkins is a Client Revenue Partner at Permutive. Isabella supports publishers on new Permutive products and features to ensure their platform use aligns with their data strategies. Isabella has over six years of experience in adtech, previously heading up Client Success at Captify.

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