Today's column is written by Jeff Hirsch, President and CEO, AudienceScience.
A publisher that invests heavily in developing quality, valuable content correspondingly creates two primary assets that advertisers demand. The one we have grown most familiar with is space, or inventory. The one that is growing in value exponentially is their audience, expressed as data.
For years, publishers have spent countless hours and resources developing strategies around maximizing yield on their inventory. Sales programs are developed, third party technologies are deployed, sales channels are developed... all in the hopes of hitting the elusive 100% sold out bar. There are untold stories of publishers leveraging third parties, such as ad networks, to help fill their unsold space, and all the success stories and time bombs that have gone along with that strategy.
It is now time for publishers to thoughtfully develop strategies around their audiences. Publishers need to ask themselves: How will I leverage my own audience? Should I make my data/audience available to third parties? If I do make my audience available, how do I do so in a manner to maximize ROI including minimizing channel conflict? What third party model will work best for me? What technology with enable me to execute my plan?
We have seen a mad rush to make audience data available. In many cases, this has been done without forethought and with the hopes of significant monetary return. It is time to stop and make a plan. When developing their plan publishers should first get a comprehensive view of who has access to their data and how they use it. It is imperative to ensure that each partner is operating in their best interests. Knowing who their partners are and how they are using their data is key. There are many tools that allow you to look at what pixels are on your pages, and a publisher should absolutely know who has access and this includes pixels in ad creative. Once it is understood who has access to your data, it is time to take control. Do you have agreements in place with
each pixel owner? If there are not clear guidelines as to data rights, you should make them clear now.
Publishers have many technology choices and should consider the best way to manage their assets. Integrated audience platforms that enable publishers to maximize the value and yield of all inventory by leveraging audience based targeting offer publishers the ability to maintain control of their audiences. In this fragmented world, ultimate control is essential. These platforms allow publishers to create unlimited scale through access to additional online and offline data to further monetization their audiences. Integrated audience platforms are essential to help publishers successfully protect their data, expand upon it, and execute their plan.