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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Real-time data boosts ad revenue for publishers

June 26, 2023 | By Guyanne Lufrano, People & Partnerships – Switchboard Software @switchboardsoft

Today’s fast-paced digital landscape requires publishers to make critical business decisions faster than ever. Over the past several years, as media executives have sought to streamline their operations and optimize advertising revenue, tech-forward media teams have started leaning into data automation to replace cumbersome manual ad ops processes and resolve common data integration pain points.

However, while leveraging automation to address pain points can improve operational efficiency, automation alone is not enough to stay ahead of the competition and drive revenue. To thrive in today’s increasingly competitive market and sail through the macro headwinds putting pressure on revenue from shrinking ad budgets, inflation, and diversification, publishers need the ability to recognize revenue opportunities and act on them in real time. 

Why real-time data matters

Despite the economic challenges publishers are facing, the global digital advertising market is still expected to grow from $178.29 billion in 2022 to $185.17 billion in 2023 and is predicted to reach $209.43 billion by 2027.

Yes, big data can be used for predictive analytics that allow businesses to anticipate future trends and events. However, Real-time data allows businesses to anticipate, act on, and monetize what is trending right now.

Automation is a great starting point. But it is just the beginning of a publisher’s journey towards efficient and profitable operations. With billions of rows of data being gathered from hundreds of disparate sources, data science teams are becoming increasingly overwhelmed trying to report effectively and reliably on this data. And this leaves business teams unable to capitalize on critical revenue opportunities. 

Real-time data analytics driving revenue operations strategies

By leveraging real-time insights, publishers can drive several strategies that generate more advertising revenue faster. 

1. Real-time advertising inventory management

Identifying fluctuations in demand, audience engagement, and ad performance is critical to optimizing ad inventory effectively.  Without real-time insights, publishers may fail to capitalize on peak demand periods or trends, resulting in missed opportunities to generate higher ad revenue, and placements that could have been highly relevant and valuable may go unnoticed or be underutilized.

2. Targeted ad campaigns

Understanding audience’s preferences, behaviors, and interests in the moment enables publishers to deliver highly targeted and relevant ads to their audience. Without this capability, you may be forced to resort to generic or static ad placements, missing out on the chance to engage users with personalized content at premium pricing and lower overall revenue.

3. Competitive pricing strategies

By monitoring market dynamics and competitor activities in real time, publishers can adjust pricing strategies to optimize rates and ad packages while remaining competitive. Without this real-time visibility, you may struggle to stay on top of pricing trends, changing market conditions, or competitor offers and miss opportunities to attract advertisers who are looking for more favorable pricing or packages.

4. Ad performance optimization

Monitoring ad performance metrics allows publishers to make timely adjustments to improve results. By quickly identifying underperforming ads, publishers can optimize placements, targeting, or creatives to enhance engagement and conversions. Without access to real-time data, it may take longer to identify and address underperforming ads. This can result in wasted impressions, lower click-through rates, and decreased revenue potential.

5. Responsive campaign management

Publishers need to be able to respond quickly to shifts in consumer behavior, market trends, or breaking news. By leveraging real-time insights ad campaigns can be adapted and aligned with the evolving needs and interests of your audience. Media execs who struggle to identify emerging opportunities or react swiftly to changing circumstances may miss out on potential revenue gains that could arise from timely and relevant ad placements.

Best practices for optimizing real-time data analytics

Invest in a flexible, scalable, SOC-compliant platform that can support terabyte scale, with hundreds of native connections and the ability to connect to data warehouses, SQL databases, cloud bucket storage & email reports. 

In addition, a platform with an automated data ingestion process (encompassing both 1st party data and 3rd party data) that also automatically monitors for data quality will eliminate the need for less experienced data analysts to do commoditized manual labor and allow your data team to focus on more strategic value-add initiatives.

Build a suite of reports that focus specifically on your KBIs – from information on billable revenue generated and revenue at risk to specific metrics on campaign pacing and impression/click delivery and discrepancies. 

Leveraging automation and channeling real-time data into a single source of truth will allow you to improve targeting and forecasting accuracy, make rapid data-driven decisions, and continually optimize campaign performance in a dynamic environment.

Foster a culture that prioritizes the use of data and encourages employees across divisions to utilize data insights to make critical business decisions. Building a data-driven culture requires buy-in from leadership and organizational communication that reinforces the significance of analytics and empowers their team.

Get real time

Real-time analytics enable effective decision-making and are a crucial element of publishers’ success across content, advertising, and data-driven initiatives. Publishers who can quickly respond to market trends and ever-changing consumer behavior will have a significant advantage in an increasingly crowded media landscape.

But this is only the beginning of a constantly evolving journey. To maintain a competitive position, publishers must stay up-to-date with emerging data management and analytics trends and invest in the right technology and team to help guide their strategy into the next era of digital transformation.

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