Data Monetization in the Era of ID Deprecation: Best Practices to Pivot and Evolve Your Data Strategy

Publishers looking to bolster their data monetization goals in a cookieless environment must examine their unique composition of data signals to determine the best solutions. 

With ID deprecation well underway and consumer privacy legislation on the rise, publishers face more complex obstacles than ever before. Yet the consumer expectation for personalization remains, as does the extreme competition for engaged eyes and ears. 

When it comes to evolving data monetization, publishers are positioned at various levels of sophistication and preparedness. Notably, each publisher possesses a unique composition of data signals. While some are blessed with substantial strong quality 1P signals, others rely more heavily on cookie-based identity, with limited access to alternative identifiers. Given these diverse circumstances, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Nonetheless, there are best practices and levers of control you can employ to shift your strategy and mitigate risk.

The pivotal question emerges: What is the optimal place to start, and what are the best practices for privacy forward data monetization?

First and Foremost, Visibility is Key

A critical place to start is with a thorough understanding of the data signals you have in your arsenal and the data solutions you’ve been selling. Many publishers I’ve spoken with have a significant blind spot when it comes to understanding their data signals and data solutions. You’ll want to understand what percentage of your overall revenue is data-enhanced or has associated targeting. 

Ask yourselves: 

  • Of the data I’m monetizing, how does it break out by data source 1P/2P/3P? For 3P, what is the breakout of that partnership share? 
  • How does what I’m selling break out by different sales channels so that I understand who’s buying? 
  • What about margin and sell-through against these audiences, and how are the patterns changing over time?

Eliminating this informational blind spot is critical to understanding the associated risks and opportunities, as well as enabling the planning of a successful pivot. This tangible data will also be helpful for internal stakeholder understanding and garnering support for subsequent resourcing.

Understand & Prioritize Demand

Likely, you won’t be able to find or create alternative solutions for every audience that once visited your properties. Therefore, it’s imperative to use your analytics and market-facing resources to understand and prioritize demand commensurate with the revenue opportunity. This way, you can best harness your time and resources for the audiences to drive the most data-enhanced revenue.

Diversified Solutions. Play to Your Strengths 

As I previously stated, there is no singular solution for any given publisher, so tactics will vary from publisher to publisher. Thus, the critical question surfaces: Are you maximizing the existing signals and capabilities and creating new signals and solutions?

First Party Data. You knew this was coming. We can answer in unison that 1P strategy has to be an area of focus, but what steps are you taking to maximize the impact of your 1P assets? Pep talk — this is data that’s differentiated to you, isn’t commoditized (hopefully), and is within your control to be of solid quality and lasting. Evaluate and consider all the declared, observed, and inferred data sets at your disposal. Are you leveraging them to create desirable solutions? Are there opportunities for you to develop panel-based offerings and modeled solutions? Always remember the relationship between scale and precision to develop offerings that will adequately map to your client’s needs and KPIs.

Not every publisher’s business is well poised for a login. Having a logged-in user creates immense opportunities for 1P offerings. Remember that logged-in doesn’t mean a paywall, nor must it be required or offered for an entire user base. There are many best practices a publisher can utilize to increase a user’s likelihood of logging in. It comes down to value exchange and whether or not you reward users properly for the information you want them to share. 

Ask yourselves: 

  • What is your primary asset that might be valuable to exchange? 
  • Is there early access to information, premium features, events, trials, etc.? 
  • Is there a subset of your audience that would be highly receptive to a login invitation? 
  • What cuts of your audience or questions might you want to test? 

To succeed in this capacity, you’ll want proper value exchange and to make the login process as frictionless as possible.

Contextual. Contextual solutions have many benefits, and increasingly, marketers are seeking these offerings. Absent reliance on individual identifiers, contextual solutions are privacy-forward and offer efficient real-time adjacency to content of interest. Contextual offerings should be low-hanging fruit for every publisher to explore and create aligned to customer needs.

2P Data. Marketer use of their 1P assets has been steadily growing for years. Brands have been making strides in increasing these data sets and their sophistication in practical use. Having the technology, process, and business guidelines in place to partner with marketers in this way will open up revenue for publishers.

Data Collaboration. Data Clean Room solutions have the potential for privacy-safe data collaboration and many clean rooms support use cases for activation, data enrichment, as well as measurement. Initially slower than expected adoption, marketers, pubs, and agencies are increasingly evaluating Data Clean Rooms. They also open up the possibilities for increased insights-based selling, particularly for publishers who don’t have their own proprietary insights tools.

ID Solution Testing. Given the many ID solutions available in the market, there is potential for enabling cross-device audience reach. Evaluating and testing these solutions is another lever for publishers to flex amidst declining identifiers to garner scale and performance potentially.

Packaging & Pricing. In addition to better leveraging existing assets and creating new solutions, consider your packaging and pricing efforts. 

Ask yourselves: 

  • Are your data offerings structured optimally and priced to yield maximum market value? 
  • Are you allowing customers to buy your most premium targets without minimum spend requirements or media commitments that will make their media efforts more impactful?

Sales Enablement & Commercialization

The evolution of your offering will only be as good as your ability to communicate and sell through these changes to your buyer. Be sure your evolving data strategy is also effectively commercialized and communicated to sales. You can’t overstate the complexity of these changes, so you’ll want to be thorough in your rollout to sellers and those on the front lines. 

Remember that these challenges are industry-wide and not unique to any given publisher. Continue to hone reporting mechanisms and put the proper market feedback loop in place so that you can monitor your progress, improve, and drive replicable wins.