Audience monetization strategies built around consented first-party audience data continue to increase in popularity at media and publishing companies today. And it's easy to see why.
Browser changes designed to protect consumers' privacy are making third-party cookies irrelevant. And uncertainties over the accuracy, completeness, and origins of third-party data make it an unreliable resource for businesses in media and publishing and beyond.
The diminishing value of third-party cookies and data makes accumulating first-party audience data — for readers, subscribers, listeners, and viewers — all the more vital for media and publishing companies.
First-party data isn't just the premier resource to guide these organizations' audience engagement efforts, though. It's also an invaluable asset media and publishing companies can leverage to generate more revenue in 2021 and the years ahead.
Audience monetization: A revenue and growth driver in media and publishing
Traditional means of generating revenue (e.g., selling ad space, generating subscriptions) will remain vital to media and publishing companies' business growth in 2021 and beyond.
But, due to the disruption and uncertainty caused COVID-19, reliance on ad sales and subscription models is no longer enough for many of these businesses to sustain growth.
Nearly nine in 10 (88%) publishing executives said they "expect to miss their business goals this year due to the outbreak," according to a 2020 Digiday poll. Meanwhile, 85% of these executives noted they project to see ad revenue drop until the pandemic ends.
One increasingly popular solution to this widespread problem is audience monetization (a.k.a. data monetization).
Collecting and unifying first-party data is one thing, though. Building scalable, streamlined audience monetization models — and, in turn, entirely new revenue streams — is another.
Many media and publishing companies are using customer data platforms (CDP) like BlueConic to unify their first-party data and use those insights to better understand and engage with individuals as they move across their distinct customer journeys.
But building a first-party data management strategy built around a CDP like BlueConic also enables these businesses to generate more revenue from their audience data in other, non-traditional ways: from offering new digital products and experiences to developing second-party data relationships with other organizations.
Leveraging your data to aid ad partners is another viable monetization avenue.
BlueConic customer News Press & Gazette Company has monetized its first-party audience data by helping advertising partners serve highly relevant, timely ads to its readers.
The publication showed readers interested in travel homepage ads with vacation- and wildlife-themed images. This then drove traffic to advertisers’ sponsored content.
Serving custom-tailored ads to individuals based on their unique (and recent) interests, preferences, and behaviors led to a significantly higher click-through rate for ad partners.
Leveraging first-party data to develop an audience monetization strategy
The sheer number of audience monetization strategies continues to grow.
But the key to succeeding with these strategies is to utilize a CDP like BlueConic in which you can unify your data and make that data available to all business users who require access: user experience, digital products, and data science, among others.
First-party data is only useful when it's dynamically stored in persistent profiles and democratized across your entire organization (e.g., marketing, digital products, etc.).
In other words, you need a single customer view to succeed with audience monetization.
And such a view is what a CDP like BlueConic offers media and publishing businesses.
In addition to serving more timely and relevant ads, like the aforementioned New Press & Gazette Company, here are two other key ways media and publishing companies can monetize their first-party audience data and create recurring revenue streams with our CDP.
Promote premium content to unengaged individuals.
Whether it's a new video series, special report/guide, VIP newsletter, or virtual event, media and publishing organizations that use BlueConic can increase engagement with unengaged individuals by delivering custom-tailored, individualized messaging to them that promotes the aforementioned content.
For instance, these media and publishing companies can segment people who haven't visited with their site or used their app in a while (e.g., 30-plus days).
Then, they can orchestrate lifecycle messaging solely intended for said segment to entice them to reengage and, eventually, pay for access to the premium content in question.
Sell custom-built audience segments to advertisers.
Media and publishing companies can also package segments of highly engaged individuals based on a combination of audience attributes stored in their BlueConic profiles (e.g., high recency and frequency scores) and sell them to advertising partners.
Thanks to the consent management functionality in our CDP, media and publishing organizations that implement this kind of audience monetization program can also automatically include or exclude readers from specific segments based on their real-time consent status (i.e., opted in or out of data use).
This type of first-party audience data could be enticing to a number of companies — many of whom may be willing to spend a considerable amount of money to obtain and utilize it.
Using a CDP to monetize your audience data and transform your business
At the end of the day, any audience monetization efforts executed by your business need to tie into a larger transformation initiative — and one driven by a CDP like BlueConic.
As our eBrief for media and publishing companies outlines, effective business transformation today — the kind that helps them not only survive down periods like 2020, but also thrive during and after them — requires technology that enables them to:
Readily access audience data for real-time, one-to-one, cross-channel activation
Efficiently analyze and model audience data and connect it to their other tools
Increase agility, resiliency, and operational efficiency throughout the business
Adapt to sudden market changes and take advantage of new data opportunities
With the market likely to remain volatile for the foreseeable future, making the most of your first-party audience data — through traditional engagement methods (e.g., targeted advertising) and innovative audience monetization approaches — is your best bet to not only withstand the near-term uncertainty, but also ensure long-term growth.
As BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach recently wrote for CMSWire:
"In 2021, look for companies across industries — from media and publishing to retail and financial services — to look for new, innovative ways to leverage their first-party data assets to diversify their revenue."
And our customer data platform is the tech organizations in these industries — including and especially media and publishing — will use to extract the most value from their data.
Download our business transformation eBrief today to learn how you can monetize your data, improve your audience engagement, and accelerate your growth.