Reflections on the State of Publisher Monetization

Thursday, October 20, 2022

We are a month out and time has provided deeper reflections on the conversations and issues at the show. Let’s jump right to Observations along with the Opportunities they present

Q4 Doom?:

Clearly, everyone remains very nervous about Q4 and Q1.  The economy feels lousy and we all know that advertising is a leading indicator for a downturn. 

  • OBSERVATION: Publishers are looking for ways to rationalize the vendors they use to cut costs and stop over paying for features they arent using
  • THE OPPORTUNITY: Identify the vendors that deliver what you need and no more - or make sure your contract value reflects the value you receive, versus paying for s surplus because thats the way the vendor offers their bundle.

Monetization is changing...fast:

For publishers, monetization strategies are becoming narrower and more targeted, thereby more work for less revenue.

  • OBSERVATION:  Header bidding remains a strong force, but the easiest opportunities have been found, and so now it is working around marginal improvements, finding partners that actually have better technology.
    Also, Affiliate revenue strategies continue to grow, but at a slower pace. The layups have been found and more effort is required to deepen the ecom channel as a long term viable item in the publisher revenue portfolio 
  • THE OPPORTUNITY: There is a lot at stake in figuring out how data is going to play within header bidding.
    Adjacent affiliate categories can be developed by partnering with a new breed of content agencies that specialize in affiliate content marketing. They possess the content expertise and pre-negotiated agreements with affiliate companies and partner on a revenue share basis. 

CTV is stil the new black:

Not surprisingly CTV continues to grow, grow, grow, but most publishers are ill equipped to take advantage. 

  • OBSERVATION: There is little first party data, a lack of standardized, quality and consistent contextual signals (this problem isn’t just across CTV inventory either) to target and a lack of understanding and expertise on how to monetize the assets mid-tier  publishers do have
  • THE OPPORTUNITY: Use your quality to increase registrations to increase your first party data and work to get your contextual analysis into Seller Defined Audiences (Growth Code can help here to provision this data into both Open and Deal ID to maximize pricing. 

Data & Identity Woes: 

All but the largest publishers appear to be still be struggling around data and identity and their rightful place in steering the monetization strategy 

  • OBSERVATION: There is no clear Industry game plan. It feels like every vendor is promoting a competing solution: Google PAIR and Floc, Trade Desk UUID 2.0 along with Open Path, LiveRamp (but seeing less of this in all but largest pubs), Amazon TAM - Syncing users in the bid stream.While this is growing in popularity and monetization and extending well beyond Amazon, it requires a level of expertise that is often beyond an independent publishers' capabilities. To boot. DMPs seem to be offering their own data solutions that feel competitive to publishers and their own PMPs (but also can be incremental)
  • THE OPPORTUNITY: Leverage identifiers that you do have (1P pixel, hashed email) and build out the graph of users to include your key attributes like contexts, demographics, etc. WHile this sounds complex, it can be done with relative low lift and minimal tech costs using infrastructure as a service (link to our site). This leads to a key conclusion: Seller Defined Audiences stands to be the next BIG THING for publishers. Its value is not generally well understood and few publishers know how to make it work. (BTW we do this with our publishers today, so contact us to learn more about it)

Did we miss anything? We’d  love to hear your thoughts…

CTA: To learn more about how GrowthCode’s Infrastructure-as-a-service can support your transformation to using data and identity to increase revenue and reduce your costs, click here to schedule time with us

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