Oreos are Good, Especially The Audience Layer

Photo of an Oreo cookie on a white table.

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Doug Weaver wrote a great piece today titled The New Oreo, Part 3: The Audience Layer.

“Anyone mildly plugged into digital advertising in 2010 can’t possibly ignore the noise and energy around audience buying.

There are many people in our industry who can go a lot deeper on this topic than I…”

I’ll attempt to take it a bit “deeper” but will do so around his 4 premises.

  1. It’s a Different Marketplace: “Audience buying is happening, and it is going to happen more”, but today, the market is not transparent. There are many companies out there that can sell your data for a price (and if not tied to media its probably much less), but what value are you getting other than a new, arguably small revenue stream? Are you learning about data strategies for your own organization? Are you learning about audience data collection, segmentation and optimization? If you’re going to invest time and effort in a new partnership, understand how the “data” company can make you smarter and affect your business in a meaningful way. One that adds long term value. Remember what ad networks did to your business?
  2. Create a Trading Desk: “Segregating and centralizing the audience selling activity inside your organization is a good idea. Keep your ‘page sellers’ focused on selling the value of placement. Let your specialists manage the relationships and requests from DSPs and interact with your optimizers.” I would take this one step further..in the opposite direction. Publisher that can take the lead and sell audiences on top of their placement should see increased CPM rates and differentiation from their competitors. If this is where the market is heading, might as well start understanding it now.
  3. Demand See-Through Tags: If a company is tagging your site, you should not only understand who pays the freight, but you should have some visibility into the actual shipment. Simply put, you are entitled for more insights other than just a paycheck.
  4. If You’re a Data Enabler, Get Paid for It: Publishers should absolutely get paid for their data, but they should work to optimize the use of that data by looking at and leveraging the individual behaviors as well as applying that data towards multiple revenue streams. Companies that can offer revenue streams for media and data, using the same data source, can help the publisher over the long haul in establishing a meaningful, multifaceted business.

(Disclosure: The post can also be found at Lotame Learnings. Lotame is my current employer)

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  • http://greghills.com greghills

    If I were a publisher, I'd monetize data not by selling it independently, but by passing the audience data through on ad calls to increase eCPM. That way publishers have more control, they wouldn't need see-through tags, and they could just disallow bids from specific advertisers to avoid channel conflict.

  • http://danreich.com danreich

    Agreed, data tied to media is more effective.

    In your instance, what would you say to agencies looking to buy data from a
    high value pub (or set of pubs) but use that data on cheap inventory (e.g.
    exchanges)?

  • http://danreich.com danreich

    Agreed, data tied to media is more effective.

    In your instance, what would you say to agencies looking to buy data from a
    high value pub (or set of pubs) but use that data on cheap inventory (e.g.
    exchanges)?

  • http://greghills.com greghills

    Agencies are used to getting added value for sponsorships or even traditional buys. Agencies should start asking for added value in the form of cookie-based audience data rather than the ROS impressions they might otherwise get. The agency's optimized display group will be able to action that data across the exchanges. The agency could also ask that the added value be fulfilled by targeting a cookie pool that the agency provides, e.g. visitors to the client site.

    I've noticed the misperception among publishers that optimized display and agency trading desk are trying to take over site direct buying. We're not. There's less sales channel conflict between direct sales and 2nd channel inventory than you might think. Agency trading desks strive to work collaboratively with the direct site buyers by sharing information on audiences and sites that work well.

    Clients often ask which sites are performing well in optimized display, so that they can do a direct buy. If I were a publisher, I'd ask to sit down with the optimized display team and the site direct team at the same time.

    In the same way that pubs have gotten used to selling 360 degree sponsorships to a brand's print, TV, and digital team, they should start selling 360 digital sponsorships that get take both optimized display and site direct dollars. Integrated is better, for both sides of the table.