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Beyond Target Audience: 4 Other Factors for Choosing Publishers to Spend With

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The modern digital media landscape gives brand marketers a virtually endless number of options when it comes to choosing the right outlets for reaching consumers. Most advertisers focus on the target audience when choosing which publishers to spend with, making sure that their audience demographics and behaviors align.

While that’s certainly a priority, it’s not the only factor advertisers should consider. Consumer expectations have changed dramatically in the era of Big Data, social media, and fake news. Consumers are holding both publishers and brands to a higher standard when it comes to getting what they want, when they want it and how they want it.

That means brand marketers must look beyond just matching their target audience when choosing advertising partners. Here are four other factors that matter:

1. Targeting Beyond Cookies

While companies have been using cookies for years, GDPR and similar regulations have made consumers much more aware of data collection and usage. This may have contributed to a newfound fear around cookies: 62% of online users say they’re concerned about how companies use the data they collect. While that’s one problem, the truth is, cookies aren’t terribly reliable anyway. About one-fourth of digital users share their device with another individual, which means the digital trail that cookies follow becomes a mishmash of those users’ collective behavior. For advertisers, that means publishers who rely on cookies for ad targeting may be delivering completely irrelevant ads to users. Not to mention, Google plans to phase out cookies for its Chrome browser, which adds to their growing ineffectiveness.

Instead, publishers who target subscribers based on a known user profile built around an email address can deliver much more precise audience targeting for advertisers. Email addresses are very rarely ever shared, work across devices, and provide the ideal primary identifier by which to track user behavior.

Now, instead of an approximation of what a user is interested in, publishers can tie interest and behaviors to a specific individual and use that data to deliver more precisely targeted ads. For brands, this ensures ad buys get spent on exactly the audience members you’re trying to reach, rather than ones who are close enough.

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2. Priority on Personalization

Thanks to the likes of Amazon and Netflix, consumers expect a highly personalized online experience across every site they visit. It’s no surprise that they expect personalized product recommendations, but also just as important, half say they also want to see ads that are personalized to their online behavior and interests. Publishers who can’t offer precise personalization not only risk alienating audiences with irrelevant ads, but also risk not being able to deliver the quality impressions that brands need to maximize their investment. 

Partnering with publishers that prioritize precise ad personalization helps to refine brand marketers’ audience and optimize ROI on ad spend. Not only are the ads more relevant, and therefore more likely to entice click-throughs, they also elicit a higher perception of a reputation for the publisher and the advertiser.

Site visitors see that both parties “get” them—they understand and cater to their interests and desires, which builds stronger rapport.

3. Multichannel Approach

Most publishers operate robust online advertising programs, and many even offer a sponsored email distribution opportunity that allows brands to sponsor an e-newsletter send. But audiences have become multimedia consumers—they get news and information from websites, email, social media, push notifications, and more. Therefore, publishers must become multimedia distributors, with content and advertising programs that reach people over whatever channel they prefer.

In fact, adoption of push notifications is growing quickly with 72% of online consumers saying they opt-in to push notifications—up 10% from those who subscribed last year. Nearly 60% also say they’d like to see push notification ads based on something they’ve recently viewed.

Brands should consider working with publishers who take an innovative, multi-channel approach to engage with subscribers. It not only shows that they understand their audience’s diverse consumption habits, but it also gives brand marketers an opportunity to position their message in front of a wider audience.

Consider partnering with publishers who offer personalized email advertising opportunities in which the ads are delivered dynamically to subscribers based on their unique user profile, interests and behaviors, and who offer emerging new channel opportunities such as push notification and even ads within mobile newsreader apps.

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4. Trust Matters

Trust is an extremely valuable commodity, and it’s in short supply with many consumers. With fake news and social media rumors, consumers have become skeptical of media in virtually every form. That should be extremely concerning to brand advertisers considering that 64% of consumers are more likely to click on an ad if it appears on a site they trust.

When it comes to email engagement, 60% will click on an ad in an email if it’s relevant to their interests, but even more—nearly 70%—say they’ll click an email ad if they trust the sender.

This notion of conveyed trust—that trust in the publisher translates to trust in the advertiser—is a crucial factor for brand marketers. Partnering with publishers that subscribers feel they can rely on for accurate information and data security can have a huge impact on click-thru behavior.  

Developing a successful advertising partnership with online publishers is all about finding the right fit. But beyond audience targeting, there must also be alignment when it comes to vision, innovation, and reputation. Consumers are expecting more from media outlets and brands when it comes to personalization, trust, and serving their needs.

By forging partnerships based on these criteria, both advertisers and publishers can drive higher engagement and revenue, while still giving consumers the content and experiences they want.

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