‘In Conversations With…’ is a LiveRamp series where we bring together leading voices in the industry and ask them to share their thoughts on identity, data transparency, addressability, and why they love working in this constantly evolving realm of marketing, advertising, media, and tech.
In the newest edition of ‘In Conversations With…’, Christopher Blok, Enterprise Sales, ANZ at LiveRamp and Colm Dolan, CEO and Founder of Publift, a publisher monetisation platform that works with small and mid-sized publishers (SMPs) across Australia, discuss the unique challenges SMPs are encountering across the country, and how to best rebuild a trusted ecosystem rooted in consumer privacy.
Having known each other for quite a while, Chris and Colm have a shared, long-standing love of data. Colm, a self-confessed ‘tech nerd’, loves to explore how efficient use of data can solve his clients’ problems, and Chris is excited by all things programmatic and data driven.
Here, they discuss LiveRamp and Publift’s partnership and joint mission to bring true, people-based addressability to SMPs, including the importance of cutting edge adtech to ensure publishers are set up for the new user privacy-first era.
CB: Can you describe how the Publift and LiveRamp partnership began?
CD: Well, Chris, we’ve known each other for quite a while so it was interesting to chat about ways Publift could offer a viable solution to our clients as an alternative to cookies. The death of the cookie had been something Brock Munro, our product manager, was interested in and we are very conscious of the effect a cookieless world could have on our network of publishers, especially since we’ve seen first-hand the drop in revenue from Safari and Firefox, which have blocked third-party cookies by default for some time now.
CB: As the industry faces a push to uphold the ethical use of data, how do you think we can best rebuild a trusted ecosystem rooted in consumer privacy?
CD: I think it revolves around education. We need to educate the public on how publishers make money (and why it’s necessary). For example, spending all your browsing time on Facebook means they take all the revenue. Publift’s view is that the government needs to give grants to local content creators and e-commerce platforms to build their own infrastructure. Additionally, both businesses and customers need to understand the role of consent in digital marketing.
We work with a stable of SMPs, including Concrete Playground, NRL, Man of Many, Weatherzone, and The New Daily. It is our job to continue to give these publishers a voice, and develop solutions and strategies that sustain their business now and into the future.
CB: What is the role of Australian SMPs in delivering quality news and content?
CD: Small and medium-sized publishers play a critical role in creating a rich media landscape that delivers a diverse range of quality news, views, and content to Australians.
Smaller independent journalism plays a key role in providing unbiased opinions on issues that are impacting the public. Essential stories are sometimes missed in the sensationalism that is mainstream media.
We also work with transactional sites — sites where you get information to go about your daily business, whether that be the weather, a pay calculator, coupon sites, finance, software diagnostics tool, or puzzles, etc. These publishers make up well over half of our overall customer portfolio and provide exceptional user experience and content that makes daily life easier.
CB: What challenges are Australia’s SMPs up against compared to larger publishers in the current market?
CD: SMPs generally have fewer resources and less expertise in rolling out ad technology. They are coming up against the big publishers that possibly have agency deals and long-lasting agency relationships. Additionally, SMPs often are unsure of what direction to go in terms of adtech adoption and strategy.
These publishers don’t have the benefits of a huge ad ops team, which is where we come in, to help ensure they are leveraging the right technology and solutions. However, we do believe that being a smaller publisher can be beneficial, particularly in this period of flux within the industry.
SMPs generally don’t have to go through as much of an approval process as the larger players and are able to adopt and test new technologies with relative ease. This allows them to stay nimble and focus on delivering premium content to what is often a loyal and dedicated audience. Bigger publishers often take longer to embrace cutting edge martech simply because their size can mean they aren’t able to move with as much agility as SMPs.
CB: With the imminent deprecation of digital marketing staples like third-party cookies and Apple’s IDFA, how can publishers maintain, grow, and optimise addressable inventory?
CD: Solutions like LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS) allow SMPs to maintain addressability across all devices and browsers, which enables us to more easily monetize that inventory. ATS allows publishers to connect consented audience with advertiser demand for addressable, cookieless inventory across the open Internet.
Additionally, the ability for ATS to deploy directly into Prebid streamlines the integration for us. Our publishers get instant access through our tag wherever they ingest their own user data, and then suppliers such as Magnite, Index Exchange, and PubMatic can easily access these segments. This will make an immediate impact on revenue and provide marketers with the ability to reach more targeted users.