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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

How publishers can take advantage of the holiday spending boom

November 14, 2022 | By Jessica Werner, Senior Director, Publisher Development – ID5 @ID5_io

Despite a looming recession, this holiday season looks bright for marketers and consumers alike. And there are definitely opportunities for publishers. A third of marketers plan to ramp up promotional efforts between now and December. On the consumer side, forecasts point toward spending upwards of $150 billion worldwide on Black Friday alone, with holiday online sales climbing 3% year over year. For publishers eager to sell valuable holiday inventory, Q4 2022 presents an opportunity to capitalize on retail’s biggest season.

2022 has also seen the continued expansion of Universal Identifiers, data clean rooms, and other cookieless targeting solutions that support privacy-compliant identity-driven advertising. Privacy concerns have led marketers to embrace these technologies to keep consumers’ information safe while ensuring they have access to the latest targeted product offerings. 

At the forefront of these developments is cookie-less advertising. As much as 40% of mobile web traffic is unaddressable without cookie-less solutions, making their adoption an urgent opportunity to expand the impact of marketing efforts. 

To take advantage of strong consumer tailwinds building up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond, now is the time for publishers to amplify their marketing efforts with the latest in privacy-friendly, identity-driven targeting. 

Strike deals to capitalize on high demand

Q4 is the time of year when advertisers will be most eager to buy, and publishers most eager to sell. In addition, the quarter offers a unique opportunity for publishers to leverage their inventory to meet the pent-up demand of a post-pandemic economy. These circumstances come with benefits for both parties.

Brand marketers will be looking to hit their annual goals during a quarter when a large percentage of their sales are expected to come through. Retailers will have valuable inventory they need to offload before the season ends. These pressures incentivize deal-making and could help publishers snag highly valuable direct deals that could turn into lasting relationships with advertisers.

Publishers can accelerate deals and stand out from the competition by taking measures to capitalize on higher ad spend during the holiday season. For example, they may try out media formats that they would generally avoid, such as sticky ad footers that better capture audience attention. Publishers may also consider packaging custom audiences, day parts, or ad products to lure brands. By laying out how they can help advertisers hit their year-end goals, publishers can benefit from this holiday season and beyond. 

Use first-party data and transparent metrics to stand out

Some marketers are facing tighter budgets given uncertain economic conditions. On the positive side, challenging times shine a light on measurable, cost-effective and privacy-friendly marketing tactics and channels. Digital media companies with first-party audience relationships and metrics have the opportunity to make the case that they offer this channel — in which case, concerns about marketing spend could become a business driver and competitive differentiator.

The key to standing out in the ad market is for publishers to make the most of the information available to them. Equip advertisers with the tools to accurately analyze results, proving to their CFO and other internal stakeholders that spending with your company is part of a strategy that drives meaningful ROI. Also, make the case that effective advertising is not just about reaching audiences at scale; it’s about reaching them in the high-quality, trusted environments that publishers provide.

Plus, if economic conditions do lead to a decrease in ad spend, there are benefits to some brands pulling back. In the past, aggressive organizations have gained lasting market share by getting in front of customers when rivals fled. In the event of mixed economic messages this holiday season, publishers who can make this case to advertisers will be the most prepared to succeed.

Experiment with cookieless audience targeting 

New anti-tracking rules and regulations are an opportunity for publishers to get ahead in digital advertising. First-party data sets them up to provide audience targeting and analytics around content themes. Solutions like creative data partnerships, data clean rooms, and identity recognition can help scale offerings. These tools can allow publishers to be their own best advocates, helping advertisers target audiences in the market for their products, consensually measure impact across channels, and prove ROI. 

Importantly, these solutions are not only available to digital media companies that focus on fulfilling programmatic demand. Organizations that focus on direct sales – which are enjoying a resurgence given the increased value of first-party audiences – can also incorporate identity-driven targeting and cross-platform measurement into their ad products. 

With regulations like the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) taking effect in the new year, now is the time to start testing solutions and take advantage of the forecasted spending boom in Q4. Publishers can prepare by arming themselves with the tools to help advertisers understand the impact of their dollars. If they do that, they’ll be able to maximize the value of their rich content and first-party audiences while earning the Q4 budgets advertisers are eager to spend. And they’ll get ahead of competitors who will be scrambling to get compliant for the CPRA in January.

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