Email will save publishing. So says Adam Berkowitz, chief of staff for LiveIntent, a company that places advertising in email newsletters.
“Emails have gone from being a vehicle to being a fulcrum for identity and marketing,” Berkowitz argues. “Email will be the future of first-party data, and the ads within email allow traditional publishers to have their cake and eat it, too.”
That’s a big claim. But Berkowitz contends that email provides publishers with the features and functions of a walled garden,
By itself, email exists outside walled goods like Facebook and Google—people opt in directly with the sender, without the middleman. Also, there is no user-generated content, and the advertisers’ brands are safe, Berkowitz explains
That may explain why publishers are investing in email newsletters and hiring top editors to run them. They’re also building first-party troves in preparation for the demise of third-party cookies next year.
Berkowitz should know: LiveIntent serves such titles as The New York Times and Washington Post.
But it’s not just publishers: LiveIntent also works with retailers and other brands that send content via email.
“The publishers are no longer solely traditional media organizations,” Berkowitz says. “Retail media networks have begun to do the same thing.”
In business for about 12 years, LiveIntent has 210 employees and offices in New York, Copenhagen and Berlin.
It has a certain purview. How are publications doing?
“The capabilities are moving at faster speeds,” he says. “The most surprising thing is that it is bringing together ad and marketing departments. The biggest challenge is siloing within a publication or a brand’s own organization.”
The email address is both valuable and durable, Berkowitz continues. “When used with propensity models, it can fuel dynamic paywalls by showing how often emails are opened and how likely the person is to subscribe.”
Are publishers making any mistakes?
Yes. "The biggest issue is they give their best inventory willy-nilly to the walled gardens. They don’t understand they have a direct relationship with their readers," says Berkowitz.
He adds, “Some publishers aren’t aggressive enough in creating a strong newsletter program.”
But many are waking up to it. They realize that email newsletters containing advertising provide “an annuity publications can’t afford to ignore,” Berkowitz concludes.