VRM, and UID and FLoC, Oh My!

How will publishers make money in a cookieless world? Should publishers be worried about UID and FloC? What is VRM and will it bring home revenue?

In a recent AdMonsters webinar with Admiral, publishers discussed the use of VRM (visitor relationship management) and ways publishers can prepare for UID (universal IDs) and FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) now rather than waiting for the last cookie to be sold.

Webinar participants included: Dan Rua, CEO, Admiral; Derek Nicol, VP of Advertising Technologies, ViacomCBS; Kevin Cooper, Senior Vice President, Digital, Boone Newspapers; Arvid Tchivzhel, Managing Director, Mather Economics; and Rob Beeler, Founder & CEO, Beeler.Tech. (Watch the webinar on-demand below.)

WITH THE SUPPORT OF Admiral: The Visitor Relationship Management Company
Admiral maximizes revenues for digital publishers, via adblock recovery, digital subscription growth, privacy consent management, email, social growth and more.

Don’t Hide From the Unavoidable

“We [publishers] need to not be afraid to offer value proposition and ask users in a multitude of ways,” said Cooper. “The reason we got into VRM was we knew things were changing ahead. We knew we couldn’t just sit around; we had to do something. And we work on the things that we can control. I can’t control FLoC or UID or which way the industry is moving, but I can control talking to my audience and I can control having that value proposition with those audiences.”

It’s time for publishers — if they aren’t already doing this — to build viable relationships with website visitors that both allows publishers to earn revenue and makes repeat visitors out of consumers.

“What is visitor relationship management at heart?” asked Rua. “It is really just marketing automation for media publishers. It’s largely been hide behind your website and shoot cute ads that people eyeball. Because of [ad and privacy blockers, GDPR/CCPA privacy consent, a cookieless world], it’s time to reach your hand out and say hello and build some sort of relationship with that visitor and cultivate that relationship, which ultimately cultivates revenue and longevity.”

Do I Want to FLoc?

Depending on what you read, FLoC is either a publisher’s worst nightmare or something they need to work with.

“I think FloC is interesting,” said Nicol. “I think it’s a new currency at scale. There are some benefits there. I think the incremental improvement to publishers is being able to establish a relationship, whether it’s through registration or emails. As a brand, it’s having a set of data that I trust and leveraging that set of data to influence what I’m doing in totality, as opposed to trying to get to one to one, because I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

“I think there are some publishers, especially in Europe, maybe, who have never had as big of an advertising market or it’s been a bit more insular in terms of the obvious target,” added Tchivzhel. “But in the U.S., [the future] is probably going to be some version of FLoC or first-party data. I think the pendulum has swung so far toward subscriptions, inevitably it’s going to swing back a little bit the other way.”

Publishers may have minimal influence over what happens with UIDs and FLoC, but there are additional indirect ways to forge a path there.

“There may not be a lot you can do right now on UID or FLoC,” said Rua. “But if you reg wall and you get that email address right, that turns into newsletters, which turns into traffic, that jumps up ARPU. It opens the door to a higher subscription likelihood. And it is a pathway into UIDs as well. There’s just so much optionality just starting with that one thing to do, get started with reg walls and grow that as much as you can in 2021.”