Here's what to look for in a publisher data management solution.
"We want to make sure that we're controlling what happens with data…we want to make sure we control pricing. Control's a very important message. We don't want there to be a cottage industry built on our backs." - Nick Johnson, SVP, NBC Universal
What do publishers really want? It's simple: power and control. In order to survive the ad technology era, publishers need the power to monetize their audiences without relying on third parties, and complete control over how they sell their inventory. In this era of "Big Data," there is a fire hose stream of tremendously valuable information for publishers to take advantage of, such as keyword-based search data, attitudinal survey data, customer-declared data from forms, page-level semantic data, and all the third-party audience data you can shake a stick at.
All of this data (cheap to produce, and ever-cheaper to store) has given rise to companies that can help publishers bring that data together, make sense of it, and use it to their advantage. Currently, ad technology companies have been using the era of data to their advantage, utilizing it to create vertical ad networks, ad exchanges, data exchanges, demand-side platforms (DSPs), and a variety of other smart-sounding acronyms that ultimately purport to help publishers monetize their audiences, but end up monetizing themselves.
Rather than power the ad tech ecosystem, what if data could actually help publishers take back their audiences? If "data is the new gold" as the pundits are saying, then smart publishers should mine it to increase margins, and take control of their audiences back from networks and exchanges. Here are the five things a good data management platform should enable them to do:
It's time for publishers to dig into their data, and start mining it like the valuable commodity it is. Data used to be the handcuffs that kept publishers chained to the ad technology ecosystem, where they grew and hosted a cottage industry of ad tech remoras. The future that is being written now is one of publishers leveraging ad technologies to take back control, so they can understand and manage their own data and have the freedom to sell their inventory for what it is truly worth.
That's a future worth fighting for.
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Chris O'Hara is an ad technology executive, and the author of "Best Practices in Digital Display Media," a contributor to ClickZ, and the author of the new whitepaper "Best Practices in Data Management." He can be reached through his blog at www.chrisohara.com
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