Publishers Are Bifurcating: Programmatic Changes Impact Brand Interactions

It seems as if everything in the the world these days has bifurcated: Brexit or remain, nationalist or globalist. As it relates to digital advertising, it's Google and Facebook vs. the rest. But outside of those rather dramatic and depressing trends, there is a transformational and encouraging dynamic in publishing.

Online media ad buying and selling as we know it is on the cusp of bifurcation. 

The banner ad has been around for over 20 years and has been the primary source of online ad revenue for publishers. But the banner has not been without its challenges, such as lower user engagement and revenue erosion (when treated as a commodity), the latter driven in part by the oversupply in the market and the growth of programmatic advertising.

However, publishers’ concerns on selling programmatically are about to change. Two important trends are yielding this transformation.

First, and most importantly, data is changing the way publishers interact with brands, making the relationship between the two much more strategic and performance-driven. Second, this data, combined with high-value inventory, such as native ads, is pushing publishers to reimagine their go-to market strategies through new high-touch, premium product offerings.



They include account-based marketing (ABM), advanced data targeting solutions, integration between online and offline, and custom content delivered natively.

Data aligned to technology powers programmatic media. This year has seen a lot of debate around brand safety, viewability and fraud. Rightly so. This has only added momentum to the fastest-growing category of programmatic media; the move to premium environments via either guaranteed /direct deals or PMPs. 

This development will only accelerate as the demand and supply side are embracing the opportunities it brings. This will account for roughly half of the traditional digital revenue stream of publishers.

ABM, for example, solves a major hurdle for B2B brands, which is how to target and identify users that have a propensity to engage with their brand. They help advertisers carve out audience segments, based on their own key account criteria, coupled with various degrees of intent.

A publisher can segment these key audiences for a client and develop a series of highly engaging content deliverables that can be personalized, based on the analysis of the individual content needs of the audience that constitutes the segment.

This turns the relationship with the client into a much more consultative experience. It allows the publisher to dive deeper into their data sets to see what resonates with audiences, what gaps need to be filled, and how to target them through tools like targeted email and social/native placements.

This move away from the traditional run of site to a sophisticated and single-source solution. Data, insights, content, delivery and performance KPIs bundled into a single solution is precisely what premium publishers have been championing for some time.

This category will account for the remainder of digital revenue streams, not a complete 50-50 ratio, but a broad bifurcation. The impact will be dramatic. Publishers that embrace the dynamic and more sophisticated solutions for clients, rooted in data, can deliver brand-safe, engaging environments.

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