10 Thought-Provoking Publisher Revenue Think Tank Takeaways

When it became clear in 2020, that we wouldn’t be able to meet in person for awhile we created more virtual opportunities for Monsters to get together and share ideas.

One way we did this back in June was to virtually recreate Publisher Forum Wednesday Workshops, where we let the attendees “take over” the conference. Three publisher revenue specialists led discussions on getting started with Google Data Studioworkflow hacks; and programmatic video and we published the takeaways here.

Another thing we did is make our Think Tank sessions from PubForum virtual. It’s where we bring together groups of 10-12 director-level-and-up ad ops and rev ops folks for intimate hourlong discussions on a specific topic like consent management, first-party data, and top of everyone’s minds—how to survive the pandemic.

Thanks to the following sponsors for making these happen: DV Publisher Suite, DanAds, Advendio, OneTrust, Permutive, Celtra, and Sovrn.

Below is a summarized list leading to 10 longer executive summaries we captured from those conversations.

10 Thought-provoking Publisher Revenue Think Tank Takeaways

  1. Brand Safety: Tools Will Drive Transparency As fun as it is to joke about blocklists, if we’ve learned anything over the past few months, it’s time publishers stop complaining and laughing over brand safety horror stories. We need tools to get the transparency we need—and truly connect with our counterparts on the buy-side when it comes to brand safety. Read more.
  2. Pubs Extol the Upside of the Pandemic It probably doesn’t seem like there would be an upside to the pandemic for pubs, but when most office employers told their employees to work-from-home following the government-sanctioned stay-at-home orders, publishers briskly began developing revenue diversification strategies and soon realized that with just a few minor adjustments they could actually be highly productive and more efficient. This, even with the challenges that come with mixing the worlds of work and home. Read more.
  3. Media Quality Measurement: Finding Harmony With the Buy Side Instead of complaining about the injustice of it all, this Think Tank had been assembled to develop best practices for easing tensions over brand safety, viewability, and invalid traffic measurement—the key elements of media quality. In discussing their challenges, the publishers in the room realized they needed better avenues to communicate brand safety best practices on a site-level or even campaign basis to advertisers, as well as tools to manage fragmented data coming in from a host of media quality vendors.
  4. You Gotta Sell Self-Serve “Build it and they will come” isn’t going to work for many publishers. Yes, you want that storefront open for someone to buy on their own. But if you’re looking for real revenue gains, self-serve is something you have to sell. Read more.
  5. The Next Phase of Consent We’re now at a stage in the consent management and communication game where pubs can rebuild and strengthen their relationships with their audiences. Why would a publisher only ask for consent for regulatory compliance when they have a prime opportunity to educate customers about the services provided in exchange for data? Read more.
  6. First-Party Data Transformation: Driving Cultural Change As damaging as COVID-19 has been to publishers’ revenues, it has presented them with an opportunity to rethink their business models with a focus on building their first-party data strategies. Publishers are finding themselves in a new world that’s been accelerated by the pandemic, as well as privacy regulations granting consumers more control over their data—and the deprecation of the third-party cookie and IDFA. Read more.
  7. Pandemic Pushes Self-Service Ad Platform Adoption Forward It was slow starting for the self-service ad platform, as buyers were hellbent on using exchanges to cherry-pick their inventory. If buyers could find a seller’s inventory on the open markets, and often for a cheaper price, why would they choose to go to a pub directly? But 2020 is a very different marketplace, largely shaped by how the global Coronavirus pandemic has altered the landscape. In particular, publishers’ sales teams have been focusing on big buys, leaving the occasional smaller buy on the table. Self-service tech is growing as a preferred brand-safe option for capturing that smaller spend, even with thousands of dollars now getting tossed to self-service ad platforms. Read more.
  8. How the Pandemic Got Ad Ops and Sales to Cozy Up Since the pandemic, the relationship between ad ops and sales has become far more collaborative. Now, the two teams are coming together to rethink and revise their processes, client approaches and even their workflows—and often they’re leveraging automation technology to maximize efficiencies.We recently chatted with publishers—at a Think Tank supported by ADvendio—about the transformation happening within their organizations as a result of the pandemic and how it’s impacting the overall sales process. Read more.
  9. Publishers Prep Post-Pandemic Ad Product Evolution As pubs ruminated about how the Pandemic has changed their operations, they also talked about this juncture as a time for being more flexible with advertisers and empathetic to the uncertainty occurring in the marketplace. It’s also a time, they said, for presenting big ideas that win RFPs and deliver on advertisers’ KPIs, with scalability in mind. Read more.
  10. Pubs Want More Financial Assurances From SSPs As we get deeper into Q4, we’re starting to experience a rebound but publishers are still concerned about payments nonetheless. Pubs are looking for assurances (and insurance) from their SSP partners that they won’t be the ones left holding the bag when there’s a default somewhere along the chain that links the relationship between advertiser and publisher. Read more.