Publishers Need Better Ad Tech To Compete With Google, Facebook

A high percentage of publishers -- 80% -- say they cannot complete with Google or Facebook without better ad targeting technology, and 40% admit they see stagnant or shrinking digital advertising revenue for a variety of reasons. 

Kathy Menis, SVP of marketing at Signal, attributes the high percentage to fierce competition in the digital publishing world. "Just last week, Google announced a custom audience solution similar to Facebook's and Twitter's," she says. "Publishers know they need to evolve to keep up, and are thinking about ways to offer real-time, people-based marketing to advertisers to boost ad revenue."

Data from Signal's report -- conducted by Econsultancy, Digital Publishing Increasing Advertising Value through Data and Identity -- suggests that 53% of publishers do not have the technology to target consumers across multiple devices.



Yet, 45% say the capabilities to target by live intent data remains the highest priority.

The findings, which concluded in September 2015, analyze how digital publishers plan to capture their share of advertising budgets, how they plan to increase premium ad space, and where they plan to invest during the next 12 to 24 months. About 127 at the manager level or above responded, with more than 95% from North America.

Publishers agree they see the opportunity to increase CPMs by improving their ability to recognize cross-device consumers, utilize in-the-moment intent data, and import advertisers' first-party offline and online data, per Menis. "This will enable them to generate unique inventory and help advertisers reach addressable audiences without trapping advertiser data, a distinct advantage over walled gardens," she says.

About 79% of publishers say they lose data by allowing users to sign in with a universal login from Google, Facebook, Twitter and others.

Some 80% of those surveyed agree that their ability to compete depends on being able to target individuals to attract advertisers. Interestingly, publishers see a solution in data sharing, Menis says. Some 80% of survey respondents see growth in combining data with trusted partners to offer custom audiences on a larger scale than what they can do alone.

Slow and disconnected technology underpins many challenges. "Resolving identity across devices, creating customized audiences with first-party data, and targeting addressable audiences based on live intent all depend on an effective technology platform that powers real-time, people-based marketing," Menis says.

Targeting becomes impossible when technology doesn't work across channels and devices, becomes dependent on cookies that expire or can be deleted, or is slowed by batch processing.

8 comments about "Publishers Need Better Ad Tech To Compete With Google, Facebook".
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  1. Jay Stevens from the Rubicon Project, October 7, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.

    This is exactly why they are starting to come together to form cooperatives.  Collaborating on data assets, leveraging collective reach, and using automated systems to sell audiences and inventory more efficiently. 

  2. Travis Sherman from Kochava, October 7, 2015 at 7:18 p.m.


  3. Matt Harada from sovrn, October 7, 2015 at 8:06 p.m.

    Only 80%? I'd guess that the other 20% are vastly underestimating the power of Google and Facebook's data.  Particulary mid-sized and small publishers need to band together to have a chance of benefiting from value of their data.

  4. David Mcmurtrie from Google Media Platforms EMEA, October 8, 2015 at 4:59 a.m.

    DFP/AdX is a completely open platform and Publishers have the ability to target across device, manage their own data, seamlessly overlay third party data, extend their reach through DBM and form alliances to achieve scale. Our Advertising solutions work for the benefit of the digital advertising industry as a whole.

  5. Sean Fulton from ONEcount, October 8, 2015 at 10:26 a.m.

    Excellent article. I would urge readers to check out the ONEcount DMP platform (, which is designed to provide the same tech stack that Google and Facebook have been developing, but with a publisher-specific focus.

    Every issue raised in this article has been addressed by the ONEcount platform, from integrating with leading fulfillment vendors for seamless data migration, to sophisticated banner and targeting solutions that allow publishers to deliver a premium advertiser experience. We've even integrated social login by tying a user's social credentials to a ONEcount identity, allowing media brands to provide social sign-on and single-sign-on across properties while still maintaining a sophisticated user profile

    I'm pleased to see MediaPost raising an issue that we have been working hard to address!

  6. Matt Prohaska from Prohaska Consulting, October 8, 2015 at 6:42 p.m.

    To Jay's point, this is part of why we have 4 potential sell-side co-ops helping publishers/trade groups build out in US & EU, similar to the 8 already established around the world. Exchanges/DMPs are much better setup than the quadarantOne days to handle the logistics. That digital ad spend pie chart has two really big slices taken out already and it's not trending yet that they are giving back any share of wallet...

  7. Michael Snow from Intermarkets, Inc, October 9, 2015 at 2:22 p.m.

    Someday publishers will realize that trying to compete with Google and Facebook is no win situation.  Unless pubs stop giving them content, it's a bridge to nowhere.  Consortiums sound great until everyone realizes they all have their own agenda.  Hopefully my random musings are incorrect, and the two large giants become two smaller giants.  A bigger piece of the pie for everyone.

  8. Anni Paul from BoscoSystems, October 31, 2015 at 10:46 a.m.

    There's plenty of amazing ad tech and ad tech providers aout there today. You just have to know where to look.

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