Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Looking forward, looking back: Ryan Afshar, Head of Publishers UK, LiveRamp

As we enter H2, NDA asked a number of industry figures about what have been the key developments so far in 2021 and whats to come.

First up it’s Ryan Afshar, Head of Publishers UK for LiveRamp

Ryan Afshar, Head of Publishers UK, LiveRamp

Over the past few years the movement towards increased data privacy has grown due to shifts in consumer mindset, legislation, and changes across the digital advertising landscape. This year, the industry has been preparing for two major developments: the end of third-party cookies with Chrome’s deprecation and the implementation of Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework. Indeed both changes are forcing brands and publishers to reassess the ways in which they reach consumers. 

But these changes have unfolded a massive opportunity. For publishers, they highlight the value of their inventories and unlock new revenue streams which, in turn, will enable marketers to maximise ad spend and addressability. For brands, connecting with authenticated publishers will mean they are able to continue delivering data-driven, personalised experiences, but with a closer relationship to the publisher and ensuring the consumer’s privacy is honored.

Already, a more sustainable set of technologies that tackle the challenges associated with trust, transparency and privacy have emerged and are being implemented. These sustainable strategies rely on first-party user authenticated data based on a trusted value exchange where consumers have consented to share their identity with a publisher. Focusing on strengthening the value exchange can open deeper, people-based marketing capabilities, which are facilitated by authentication tactics such as log-ins and (newsletter) subscriptions. By doing this, publishers can deliver relevant content to their most engaged consumers, maintain addressability at scale and take control of their relationships with both users and advertisers. 

Today, advertisers want to reach consumers based on authenticated identity attributes — supplied actively and with permission — and therefore will pay more for better and more accurate inventory that allows them to generate better ROI, and to increase reach and efficiency, validated by Forrester Consulting in a recent TEI study.  Publishers who invest in learning more about their users and improving their value proposition can offer advertisers first-party activation tied to real people. And whilst there’s a concern about what percentage of a publisher’s traffic should be authenticated, at LiveRamp, we believe that just 10%-30% is sufficient to develop meaning- and impactful campaigns with much greater ROI.

We are already seeing many of the big publishers looking outside the box to build stronger, direct relationships with users. For example this could be by allowing users to read hyper-relevant content and articles, which would normally be gated, in exchange for a few details, such as conducting a short survey that can help publishers build out a profile of readers’ preferences. 

However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to driving authentication – not everything works the same for every publisher. To this end, in the coming months, publishers need to test various authentication strategies, enlisting the same tactics established by customer relationship management (CRM) practices long used to build loyalty on the brand side.

Ultimately, by focusing on leveraging first-party authenticated data, publishers and brands can forge closer, deeper, better relationships leading to better results for everyone.


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