Publishers: Don’t give away the (data) store!

Publishers must act to stop third parties from grabbing audience data about their sites off the Internet and selling advertising on the basis of those measurements, says Paul Hood of UK-based Archant. “Until we stop” this data leakage, publishers will continue fighting a losing battle for online ad revenues, he says at “Harnessing Audience Analytics: an SFN Forum” on Tuesday.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | October 8, 2013

Hood, digital director at the chain of regional dailies, weeklies, and magazines, says the good news is that online display advertising is expected to grow 80 percent in the next two to three years. The bad news is that Google is creating a display ad network from publishers’ inventories – at low yield for the publishers.

Other parties have invested heavily in technology to understand online audiences; publishers have not. Publishers also need to create native ad formats that third parties cannot sell.

They need to read the fine print in the contracts with external audience measurement services. Often, those contracts allow the services to gather data and usurp it for their own ends. Those ends, needless to say, are at complete odds with publishers’ needs to sell advertising at premium rates.

Hood describes a situation in which Archant salespeople were repeatedly turned down in their approaches to potential customers until a critical data leak was blocked. Then the phones started ringing – with the same companies at the other end.

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