First-Party Data Reorients Media Sales

Advertisers' increasing reliance on first-party data will materially change the landscape of media planning, buying, and selling.

It will re-establish foundational values that have been downplayed in the programmatic era. And it will eventually put publishers on a level playing field with the walled gardens, according to 68% of advertisers that Advertiser Perceptions interviewed in June.

Even those brands that don't have direct connections to consumers -- such as beer and pharma -- are creating new ways to develop first-party data, from contests and events to giveaways.

As advertisers continue their intensive work in collecting, storing, and organizing their own first-party data, media sellers need to make it possible -- and easy -- for advertisers to capitalize on the intersection of brand and audience data.

The best media brands stand to gain the most. Publishers with high-quality, interest-based content have a relationship with an engaged audience. Publishers know their audience's browsing behavior and can help advertisers reach the right people in the most effective ways.



But they need infrastructure to do it. Some are building, while others are buying and others are partnering with larger firms.

Publishers need to organize their first-party data so advertisers can buy with it. Then publishers need to identify audiences that are relevant to advertisers and make those audiences accessible programmatically using an interoperable ID.

In addition, publishers need to help advertisers understand the effects of their ads on the platform.

To facilitate measurement and insight-gathering, they need to meet advertisers' requirements for data clean rooms — whether by creating their own or partnering with the providers their advertisers work with. This will help advertisers understand precisely how they are integrating brand and audience first-party data.

Once they do these things, publishers will compete with walled gardens on a more level playing field.

Both will be reliant on their own user data — and not on third-party data about those users.

Both will be able to combine their own data and insights about their audiences with advertisers' first-party data to gain the most effectiveness and efficiency for their clients.

And while walled gardens may still have greater scale, high-quality media brands will have tighter and more engaged relationships with and a better understanding of their audiences, what makes them tick, and what advertising messages they will be most receptive to.  

And publishers will once again prioritize high-level, one-to-one selling.

First-party data forces a reset that requires person-to-person selling and setup.

Determining the best way to buy particular audiences dynamically is not an algorithm, at least not at first -- it's people analyzing, explaining, and then executing. And people must redesign the systems so automation can resume on a more transparent basis.  

Advertisers will walk away from publishers that are not prepared because it's easy to buy more advertising in walled gardens, which promise access to user data.

The onus is on publishers to tighten advertisers' connections to known audiences and educate them on how to make more precise, provable buys.

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