Publishers: Stop saying you’re sitting on a mountain of data

In a conversation with a publisher, they told us they were disappointed that less than 10 percent of advertisers they worked with asked for an audience validation report at the end of a campaign. “They work so hard defining and buying audiences,” said the publisher, “but then they rarely follow-up to see if we actually delivered the audience we said we could.”

Two things leapt to mind:

  1. Shame on the Advertiser: The publisher is right. Advertisers are leaving value on the table if they don’t ask their publishing partners for a post-campaign audience report. That report can lead to what Scott Messer at Leaf Group calls a moment of “Affirmation or Discovery”; either confirm you reached the audience you wanted and they behaved as expected or your original hypothesis didn’t turn out, and you’re presented with the opportunity to discover insights (or even new audiences) for your campaign.
  2. Shame on the Publisher: Publishers have been lamenting not getting credit or being paid for the full value for their audience and data for years. If publishers have access to data that can better prove the value of their audience, they should be aggressively selling that to advertisers, even if 90 percent of them are not asking for it. Yes, it is more work for the publisher and resources are scarce, but saying you’re “sitting on a mountain of data” adds no value if you can’t extract the relevant bits and share it with advertisers.

Data is the new oil

Many publishers are aware of the role audience data can play in facilitating if not fueling conversations with potential advertisers or sponsors of branded content. For those publishers, the data challenge shifts to:

  • How do I get accurate, granular data that advertisers will find useful?
  • How do I distribute the tools to extract audience insights to my sellers, and integrate this process into the pre-sales workflow?
  • How do I scale the development and reporting of audience data and insights so that it isn’t such a drain on my resources (and I can easily provide it to the 90 percent of advertisers who don’t ask me for it)?

One publisher who is making that transition is CNN. They’ve incorporated Quantcast Measure Enterprise into their Audience Insight Measurement (AIM) data-offering that helps them identify and measure success with an audience for pre- and post-campaign sales activities.

“It’s not enough any more to go into an agency or a client and say to them ‘we have an audience of business-decision makers that is X amount, come and spend with us,’” says Stelios Tourikis, Digital Director, UK & Western Europe, CNN. “They want to know who those business decision makers are, what defines them, what likes/dislikes they have, say outside of business. That helps us build out the story of who these individuals are.”

To learn more about how CNN is using audience data to fuel their pre- and post-sales conversations with advertisers, watch these videos: