Don’t Undersell the Importance–and Value–of Your First-Party Data


Don’t miss out on an opportunity to extract more value from the data coming from your own niche websites!

Audience data has become a valuable commodity in the digital advertising ecosystem. Advertisers continue to gobble up “third-party” data from online publications and other websites, which data management platforms (DMPs) collect and aggregate into audience segments that are sold through automated exchanges. BlueKai, one of the leading DMP vendors, has compiled close to 1 billion customer profiles, according to The Economist.

But many niche publishers are ignoring an opportunity to extract more value from the data coming from their own websites. Your community represents a premium audience for the advertisers in the niche you represent. The “first-party” data you collect as these visitors spend time on your website and share information with you is the real gold for audience targeting and other advanced ad products and services.

The programmatic market has forever changed the way advertisers purchase online display advertising–for better or worse. And many publishers are content with simply selling access to the audience data from their own websites. But this approach often results in a pile-up of performance-degrading vendor pixels on the publisher’s website. And very little incremental revenue for the publisher.

And as Jeremy Randol, VP of programmatic sales strategy at Pandora, wrote recently on AdExchanger, ad buyers have raised many questions about the value of programmatic. “Accountability has greatly improved, but marketers and agencies still fret about issues like brand safety, viewability and nonhuman traffic,” Randol writes.

That’s why niche publishers should be exploring ways to turn the deep knowledge they have of their online communities into new products for advertisers, such as targeting and retargeting programs. B2B publishers have an opportunity to integrate retargeting programs with even more lucrative lead-generation and lead-nurturing services.

Audience data puts more meat around the conversations publishers can have with agencies or advertisers. The ability to sell more strategically–with an emphasis on premium services–can help publishers “up-sell” from lower-cost banner or search advertising.

“Our audience and our content are our unique selling proposition,” Eric Schwab, Motor Trend’s EVP of sales and group publisher, told Digiday–“Data is huge for us.”

One thing to keep in mind: Developing a data-based business with sophisticated targeting and retargeting programs takes a lot of work–and a lot of analytical horsepower that many niche publishers don’t have in-house. But if you’re able to carve out a unique product offering in your niche, you just might find that the payoff is well worth the investment.



More about Rob: Rob O’ Regan is a writer, editor and journalist with 822 Media. As a results-driven journalist with extensive experience in digital publishing and content marketing, he helps clients develop high-quality, engaging content that drives results. His current focus is on media, marketing, technology and general business.


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