The publishing industry has undergone a tremendous period of disruption over the past few years. However, with that disruption comes opportunities to understand audiences through first-party data. In this ‘Passionate About Publishing’ series, we highlight the people driving forward the revolutionary and ever-changing field of advertising, sharing perspectives from around the globe.
Tell us about yourself and your current role.
I’m Danny Zarek, and I’m the Revenue and Product Manager at The Times of Israel. In this position, I’m responsible for programmatic and direct partnerships. My role encompasses staying ahead of the latest changes in the industry and ensuring we’re testing new products that fit our needs.
How did you get started in the publishing industry?
I’ve been in the industry for almost five years; prior to my current position, I worked at a video monetization company in sales. It enabled me to understand the adtech industry from the vendor’s point of view and how the industry is evolving.
What has been the biggest game changer for publishers in the last decade?
It was almost ten years ago when Apple decided to move away from cookies; at the time, it was a shock to the system. Many advertisers and publishers did not plan accordingly, and they lost out on Apple users rather quickly. Another game changer is the direct effect that the current economic downturn is having on publishers’ subscription revenue. When there’s a need to cut back, subscriptions are rather high on the list of discretionary spending.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge or game changer in the next decade?
Within the next decade, I believe there are going to be two major changes. More and more advertisers will respect user privacy and move away from third-party cookies entirely. Another challenge is that subscription models are going to be harder to sustain in a time of economic uncertainty. With the proper planning, support, and testing capabilities, these two changes should not necessarily result in a negative downturn.
What are your thoughts about cookieless advertising?
Without a doubt, it will be difficult for both advertisers and, as a result, publishers to identify, market, and reach their audiences. It’s time the user is in full control of their privacy. At The Times of Israel, we’ve been planning for the decrease in cookies for some time. It’s an opportunity for the industry as a whole to come together and build something great. In each industry, there is a point in time when the industry can move forward in a manner that is respectful and innovative. The adtech industry is there, I believe.
What do you think is the most exciting technology in digital advertising right now?
I’m seeing more users lean towards newsletters than the traditional site of a news-publisher. I believe that offering contextual advertising within a newsletter in a native placement is revolutionary. Not only are you able to gain the highly-engaged users that have actively opted in for a newsletter, advertisers are able to directly reach their audience based on the newsletter category, and then the technology connects the substance of the newsletter to a relevant advertiser.
What made you start working with Quantcast, and what Quantcast solutions have been most beneficial to you?
We were looking for a CMP (Consent Management Platform) provider, and after researching and analyzing the various vendors, we thankfully landed with Quantcast. In my position, I manage 25+ vendors. The speed of response, technical assistance, intuitive dashboard, and overall quality of the product make it a pleasure to work with Quantcast.
We’re currently using the CMP, Quantcast Choice, the Quantcast Platform for publishers, and we tested the Quantcast Platform for marketers.
Together with Quantcast, we have been able to identify and improve on our subscription model by understanding who our subscribers are. As a result, we’ve built campaigns to reach them accordingly on similar sites to provide them with the ability to be introduced to our news, reporting, and updates. The ability to have an immense amount of data at our fingertips is constantly enabling us to recreate campaigns.
The Quantcast Query (a rapid-fire Q&A)
Who is your role model–in the industry or otherwise?
I am a fan of Elon Musk; his ability to inspire people to do good for the good of the environment and the world is remarkable.
What is the best or worst piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
The worst piece of advice I can recall is, “Don’t work so hard that you’ll be noticed; it’s best to stay under the radar.” I wholeheartedly disagree with this; in any position you find yourself in, it’s critical that you work hard and receive credit for what you’re doing.
Finish the sentence: To me, publishing is…
…digital. With Metaverse and VR advertising starting to become ubiquitous everywhere we go, being connected digitally is the way of the world.