Selling the Value: What Publishers Should Be Telling the Buy Side About First-Party Data

Publishers are growing optimistic about the journey down a cookie-less path, but not everyone shares that enthusiasm. Many industry experts cite a gap in education about the value of first-party (1P) data as one reason for advertisers’ reluctance to buy-in.

 “At the end of the day, if advertisers don’t understand the value of adopting first-party data strategies and don’t make it a key part of their campaign targeting and priorities, then it’s not going to go anywhere,” said Rich Calkins, Director of Product Management, OpenX.

During a recent AdMonsters Revenue Strategy Session, Calkins and Jana Meron, SVP, Programmatic & Data Strategy, Insider Inc., shared their views on why this time of testing and iteration around audience data identity is actually exciting.

To get to the exciting part, though, Calkins and Meron agreed that the buy-side first needs to understand that there’s a difference between authenticated users and first-party data.

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Differentiating First-Party Data from Authenticated User Data

Authenticated user data is often mistakenly thought to be synonymous with first-party data, when, in fact, the data captured on the authenticated user is just a single piece of the 1P data puzzle.

By expanding the definition of first-party data to include the behavior of all visitors, publishers can offer advertisers a view of their entire customer base, making it inherently more valuable than when it only represents those who are logging in.

“A lot of readers come to Insider from search or social, and they don’t want to log in. They want to read their article and leave,” said Meron, “Their behaviors on the site – what they read, how long they stay, how long they scroll down the page – are all indicators that are very useful when it comes to helping an advertiser understand the consumer.”

Why the Buy-Side Should Be Excited About Pub 1P Data

First-party data does more than expand the metrics beyond the authenticated user.  According to OpenX, it’s the accurate and secure pathway to the future – and the future starts now:

  • Accuracy & Precision: Nobody has more insight about their users than publishers themselves. Because 1P data is collected directly from the source rather than from an aggregated third party using unknown and unverified categorizing methods, it is more accurate and likely to perform better and more reliably for advertising use cases.
  • Privacy Safe: Given privacy laws, when publishers collect data from their customers, buyers have the peace of mind that they are doing so with explicit consent from the user.
  • Future Proof: In the wake of third-party cookie deprecation, many of the data sources relied upon today will soon be gone. The good news is that third-party cookies are not needed to collect and target first-party data from publishers, however, to reap the full benefits, 1P data collection strategies must start now before the deprecation deadline is reached.
  •   Available Now: There’s a perception in the industry that first-party data cannot be properly segmented or targeted at scale. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many publishers, including a majority of premium publishers, already orchestrate a ton of first-party segments that they use in most (if not all) of their deals.

The world of digital advertising is shifting in front of us, but the move to 1P data should not be seen as a limitation. Rather, like the early days of Google search, it should be seen as an opportunity.

“In 1999, when Google launched search, they didn’t know anything about us. They knew what we were searching for and they knew what we were reading. Those signals were good enough to create one of the most powerful advertising ecosystems in the world,” said Meron.

Join us on Weds, Oct 27, for our Revenue Strategy Session with OpenX, where we’ll cover another alternative that’s been promoted as a post-cookie panacea: contextual data.