Commentary

Email Underpins Publisher Efforts To Collect First-Party Data

Newspaper publisher Gannetthas a goal of increasing digital subscriptions 10-fold in the next five years, a necessary step in offsetting declines in revenue from print advertising.

Not only can the company build a stable source of revenue, but it also can parlay the first-party data collected from consumers to offer advertisers improved targeting among its network of publications.

First-party data has become more valuable for publishers and advertisers as consumers grow more wary about privacy. Technology companies such as Google and Apple have responded with measures that will limit online audience tracking. They have also been criticized for wielding too much power in the digital marketplace.
Early next year, Google plans to end support for third-party cookies, a common tracking technology, in its popular Chrome browser. Apple this year will start notifying its customers when apps want access to identifiers on its devices. Few are expected to provide consent to sharing that information.
The loss of tracking technologies will pressure publishers that depend on revenue from retargeted ads, but they still have an opportunity to harness the value in their other data sources. About 29% of publishers said email is their most important digital asset to replace third-party cookies, according to a survey by marketing platform LiveIntent.
“Publishers are realizing the power of their email assets -- it's the first-party, logged-in audience," Nick Dujnic, vice president of marketing at LiveIntent, said in an interview. He added that email can "drive both immediate revenue, and is a cornerstone of addressability and identity resolution.”
In addition, 25% of publishers cited first-party data as most important in trying to replace third-party cookies, while 22% support Universal ID 2.0, a privacy-enabled tracking technology backed by The Trade Desk, the survey found. Universal ID has gained support among companies such as TV ratings company Nielsen, video ad-serving platform SpotX and marketing data software firm LiveRamp.
The primacy of email suggests many publishers recognize the importance of direct access to consumers and the need to protect those trusting relationships with readers.

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