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3 Trends US Publishers Should Be Prepared For

Digiday’s publishing summit was due to happen this week in Colorado so we sat down with our BD team to find out what they think the top three publishing trends in the US are that would have dominated discussions at the event.

1. The Death of the Cookie Will Direct Next Steps

Google’s announcement that it would phase out support for 3rd-party cookies on Chrome in two years’ time has sent all of digital advertising into an existential spiral. Publishers face a major problem as they’ll lose the primary way advertisers target their audiences. If the results of Safari and Firefox restrictions are any indication, steep drops in CPMs (in the 30-40% range) could be fast approaching. Luckily the industry at large is working on solutions.

The most important solution is for publishers to harness the potency of their own 1st-party audience data. How to not only create and expose audience segments to advertisers but also sell them (preferably via some form of guarantee ie. audience/programmatic) will be a hot topic for sure.

Revenue diversification will also be a core focus, with publishers discussing the merits of pay-/free-walls and additional content like newsletters and podcasts. “These options not only boost revenue but also open up new channels for capturing identity in a cookieless world,” said Luca Bozzo, Platform Growth Strategy Manager at Unruly. “It’s only feasible if you’ve got scale like the Wall Street Journal. For smaller sites, there are single-sign-on options like BritePool, conglomerates like The Ozone Project, or unified ID solutions like LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution.”

2. Top-level impact of CCPA on publishers

When we first heard of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), we immediately thought of the effect the GDPR had on companies. While opt-in rates via GDPR were quite high, the rollout of consent management was confusing and often misleading for consumers who were presented with various user interfaces and had content hidden behind ‘consent’.

We’re already seeing the same behavior surface with respect to CCPA. An IAPP and OneTrust poll recently found 80% of respondents expect to be compliant by the enforcement date (July 1, 2020), but the various interpretations of the law — specifically what the ‘sale’ of data entails — make it unclear what ‘compliance’ actually looks like. According to a recent Digiday report, some publishers prominently display opt-out icons, while others claim that they don’t ‘sell’ user data.

Needless to say, debates over interpretations and implementations of the law will remain a hot topic for at least the first half of 2020. “Publishers are feeling the pressure on their monetization tactics,” said Ming Comey, Business Development Associate at Unruly. “But with more states working on similar legislation, it’s only reasonable that we unite around a standard for compliance.”

3. CTV’s Walking… but will It run?

Connected TV isn’t a shiny new toy anymore, but that doesn’t mean innovation will stop. The CTV boom that started in 2017/18 brought a huge influx of inventory into the ecosystem and off the back of that, connectivity between players throughout the supply chain. This is still ongoing, but players are now trying to fill in the gaping holes with new advancements.

For publishers, diving into video creation creates a worthwhile revenue stream and they are doubling down on development as well as outlets to share that content.

The largest gap with this device is in targeting and attribution. CTV doesn’t have to struggle with cookie issues, but being able to target and report in the same way as a web/mobile app will complete the last piece of the programmatic pie. It’ll also unlock the ability to do full-funnel integrated marketing across all devices, allowing the true vision of programmatic (reaching the right person on the right medium at the right time) to emerge.

There are still other opportunities around dynamic creatives and new format development but as we can see with things like the fragmentation of streaming services, this space is only getting started!

Get in touch or book a virtual meeting with our dedicated business development team to learn more.