How Publishers In Control Can Better Serve Advertisers and Consumers

By Jason Webby, CRO North America at Future plc

In recent years, the fracturing of audiences and once-reliable revenue has led to publishers needing to prioritize audience demands while at the same time partnering with technology vendors to optimize their audience segments.

Tech vendors have provided a helpful bridge for publishers to drive revenue, but the publishers that have additionally invested in their own proprietary data and technology can find themselves in an advantageous position when it comes to the seismic changes facing the advertising industry. The tactics that drove adequate CTRs in the past no longer offer the best ways for publishers to understand and sell access to their audiences.

Publishers and media companies that have highly engaged audiences are seeking the best techniques to connect advertisers with high-intent customers. Publishers that have built their own technology stacks are able to maintain greater control over data and operations to better understand and target audiences with the most relevant advertising.

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This ownership has given major publishing companies, like Future, the means to quickly pivot and test new solutions – an ability that has proved particularly useful in today’s privacy-centric online climate. Amid ongoing changes to address consumer privacy concerns and the deprecation of third-party cookies, a publisher with greater independence can more rapidly integrate a range of ID vendors, and more easily work with agencies and clients that are looking for enhanced ways to connect with consumers.

A self-developed technology stack includes more efficient inventory utilization, more effective audience targeting beyond contextual cues, and it makes advertising dollars go further by adapting to buyers’ different purchasing methods.

There can be many learnings from developing a proprietary technology stack – at Future, one highlight has been that we found audiences have more diverse interests than has commonly been appreciated in our industry. Identifying users across their wide range of passions and interests as represented by their activity on our titles allows us to better understand and communicate with our vast and highly engaged audiences.

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While this may seem intuitively obvious, the ability to identify with precision the gamers who are also fitness enthusiasts or the equestrians who are also in the market for a mortgage has opened up a wide range of new opportunities for both our editorial teams and our advertisers.

Coupled with the renewed focus on first party data, a proprietary technology stack can allow publishers to grow the value of their audiences and properties. Due to the deprecation of third party cookies, audience targeting and segmentation for advertisers will grow more difficult by the day, and having more control makes unified targeting more efficient and effective.

Advertisers have seen that by working with publishers that have in-house tech expertise and specialist editorial teams, they are able to make strategic decisions to ensure ads are placed alongside quality, brand safe, trusted content that resonates with their target audience. Whether it’s a frictionless sale through an affiliate link or an unexpected interaction at the perfect moment in the purchase funnel, taken together in the aggregate the efficiencies available through a purpose-built technology stack add up to a foundation for success for both publishers and the advertisers they work with.

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