Helping Premium Publishers Level The Playing Field


One of the featured topics from the latest Internet trend analysis by American venture capitalist Mary Meeker was the continuing trend of Facebook and Google owning the significant majority of digital advertising growth. Publishers who rely on advertising as their major revenue stream feel a good deal of pain from this, especially those with a legacy in print media who are seeing those ad revenues dry up faster than digital can replace them.

The Facebook and Google ‘duopoly’ often dominates media schedules for three key reasons:

  1. The scale of their audiences
  2. The extent of first party data available for targeting
  3. The ease with which campaigns can be transacted and executed

In the UK, the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is leading an initiative to help its premium publisher members compete for budgets by embracing these new market dynamics rather than being hindered by them. At last week’s AOP Data Forum in London, the idea of a premium publisher collective was debated, which would be aided by technology partners. The exploratory discussion delved into what the collective could look like and how various data partners would be able to help publishers strengthen their joint data proposition by:

  1. Demonstrating the combined reach and engagement of audiences across all AOP members
  2. Showing how a combined understanding of the AOP member first party data could offer significant depth in understanding audience lifestyles, interests and motivations
  3. Delivering data sharing in a risk-free and privacy compliant manner

DataXu’s contribution to the proposed framework is around unleashing the scale and value of AOP member audiences through our OneView technology. By overlaying AOP member graphs (essentially each member’s understanding of audiences and the devices those individuals or households use), and enriching this with insight from market-leading identity management vendors like LiveRamp, the publisher collective would be able to sell audiences at greater scale and more value than any individual AOP member would be able to. It is Essential to this approach is that each member knows their data is never aggregated, and never gets transferred to any other organization.

As we move towards the implementation of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May 2018, understanding how data gets used, and that the technology exists to permission only data with the appropriate consent, AOP members can be confident that their collaboration is compliant with the law.

Publisher collectives have existed for some time in varying guises, but collaboration is now more vital than ever given the prevailing dynamics around digital ad spending. Having this collaboration live in an environment beyond the Data Management Platform (DMP), in the realm of real-time campaign execution, gives the AOP’s premium publisher membership the best chance of leveling the playing field with the duopoly. In the event that this initiative moves ahead, it would enable players outside of the duopoly to attract the budgets from the buy-side (that DataXu typically represents) that their audience scale and insight deserve.