20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
3
2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
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2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
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2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

First-party data becomes media’s most important currency

“Many publishers are just starting to think about how they might create a technology stack that smartly and efficiently collects, and effectively uses, first-party data to drive growth in their advertising, subscription, and e-commerce businesses.”

2020 will be a watershed year for global data regulation — and rightfully so, given the recent, egregious invasions into consumers’ privacy.

The maturation of GDPR and launch of CCPA — not to mention the numerous browser and platform updates aimed at putting control over personal data back in the hands of consumers — means ultimately saying goodbye to the third-party cookies that currently underpin the digital advertising ecosystem.

Despite some hand-wringing about the future, the industry’s reliance on third-party data has been hugely problematic. Data inaccuracies and imperfections contribute to the messiness of today’s digital advertising marketplace, which needs to be cleaned up in order to justify continued growth.

A new cookie-less world will present an incredible opportunity to innovate our digital media ecosystem; a new system rebuilt on a sound foundation of quality, first-party data. This shift will not only enable marketers to finally trust the effectiveness of their targeted spends, but will also allow publishers to strengthen relationships with their readers.

Thankfully, many publishers of high-quality and differentiated content are seeing success through consumer subscriptions. As such, collecting first-party data from subscribers should be a bit easier, since we tend to see deeper engagement around high-value paid digital products.

Of course, people aren’t clamoring to fork over detailed personal information for fear that it will be misused or stolen. Ever-present re-targeting of programmatic advertising campaigns across one’s digital experience are wearing thin with consumers and consistent data breaches show that even the largest digital platforms struggle to police their use of data. Thus, publishers will need to reevaluate their relationships with readers as they become more informed and demanding. If readers are to provide data to publishers, they want to know what’s in it for them, how their data will be used, and importantly, that their data will be kept safe.

The good news is that transparency will force a more active and honest dialogue with customers, which is ultimately a good thing. Publishers will be able to show that in exchange for greater personal information, readers can get more value out of the relationship — a more personalized reading, listening or viewing experience, for example.

A massive elephant in the room is that collecting first-party data at scale will be an expensive, resource-intensive effort for the industry. Supporting the technological capacities required to build out the first-party platform — from hiring engineering or data science talent, to rethinking the basic architecture underpinning their digital products — will require substantial investment. Unfortunately, most publishers are not flush with cash, and we will likely see cost-cutting elsewhere to fund these changes.

Many publishers are just starting to think about how they might create a technology stack that smartly and efficiently collects, and effectively uses, first-party data to drive growth in their advertising, subscription, and e-commerce businesses. In 2020, I predict we will see massive investment into first-party data operations across the industry, and early positive results on those efforts that will buoy publishers, advertisers and customers alike.

M. Scott Havens is global head of digital and media distribution for Bloomberg Media.

2020 will be a watershed year for global data regulation — and rightfully so, given the recent, egregious invasions into consumers’ privacy.

The maturation of GDPR and launch of CCPA — not to mention the numerous browser and platform updates aimed at putting control over personal data back in the hands of consumers — means ultimately saying goodbye to the third-party cookies that currently underpin the digital advertising ecosystem.

Despite some hand-wringing about the future, the industry’s reliance on third-party data has been hugely problematic. Data inaccuracies and imperfections contribute to the messiness of today’s digital advertising marketplace, which needs to be cleaned up in order to justify continued growth.

A new cookie-less world will present an incredible opportunity to innovate our digital media ecosystem; a new system rebuilt on a sound foundation of quality, first-party data. This shift will not only enable marketers to finally trust the effectiveness of their targeted spends, but will also allow publishers to strengthen relationships with their readers.

Thankfully, many publishers of high-quality and differentiated content are seeing success through consumer subscriptions. As such, collecting first-party data from subscribers should be a bit easier, since we tend to see deeper engagement around high-value paid digital products.

Of course, people aren’t clamoring to fork over detailed personal information for fear that it will be misused or stolen. Ever-present re-targeting of programmatic advertising campaigns across one’s digital experience are wearing thin with consumers and consistent data breaches show that even the largest digital platforms struggle to police their use of data. Thus, publishers will need to reevaluate their relationships with readers as they become more informed and demanding. If readers are to provide data to publishers, they want to know what’s in it for them, how their data will be used, and importantly, that their data will be kept safe.

The good news is that transparency will force a more active and honest dialogue with customers, which is ultimately a good thing. Publishers will be able to show that in exchange for greater personal information, readers can get more value out of the relationship — a more personalized reading, listening or viewing experience, for example.

A massive elephant in the room is that collecting first-party data at scale will be an expensive, resource-intensive effort for the industry. Supporting the technological capacities required to build out the first-party platform — from hiring engineering or data science talent, to rethinking the basic architecture underpinning their digital products — will require substantial investment. Unfortunately, most publishers are not flush with cash, and we will likely see cost-cutting elsewhere to fund these changes.

Many publishers are just starting to think about how they might create a technology stack that smartly and efficiently collects, and effectively uses, first-party data to drive growth in their advertising, subscription, and e-commerce businesses. In 2020, I predict we will see massive investment into first-party data operations across the industry, and early positive results on those efforts that will buoy publishers, advertisers and customers alike.

M. Scott Havens is global head of digital and media distribution for Bloomberg Media.

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