Fred Marthoz
Apr 9, 2019

What real-time data can do for publishers

There’s no data like real-time data to uncover new opportunities.

(Source: Shutterstock)
(Source: Shutterstock)

Advertisers are keenly aware of the power of personalization everywhere. Personalized digital ads deliver up to 3x the consumer engagement of non-personalized ads. Some 69% of marketers say personalization is their top priority.

But just as marketers can develop messaging for one-to-one communications, publishers, too, can customize their content to win over new readers and keep their interest intact. Doing so requires access to real-time data. This report by Forrester Research found that 67% of publishers believed real-time data was important to their efforts, but only 27% of publishers said they received such data.

Let’s take a look at how publishers acquire new readers. A reader might stumble on an interesting headline on Twitter and then realize that they like The Economist. After some consideration, they might even want to become a subscriber.

When the reader first visits the site, the publisher may have just one opportunity to win over a reader by making the experience personalized, relevant and engaging. That requires real-time data that’s segmented into actionable audiences for content and ad personalization on the first interaction. Tailored content always leads to better-informed decisions and a better user experience.

It's time publishers caught up to marketers on the personalization front. Here are three ways that real-time data can impact APAC publishers’ bottom lines.

1. Push for more engagement, time-on-site and retention

It’s never easy to convert readers into subscribers, but real-time data can help publishers create the best experiences possible to boost their odds. For example, take this scenario: Behavioral data shows a visitor to your site has been shopping for a new bicycle, so you show them an ad for a Fuji Sportif 2.5 Bike. Sounds great, right? The problem is, the consumer just bought that bike offline, so it’s a wasted impression. The advertiser’s not happy and neither’s the reader as it’s an example of clumsy targeting.

What's the lesson here for publishers? Most are obsessive about watching their metrics in real-time to see which content is catching on with users. Real-time tools can recommend articles to a reader based on their profile. Publishers can experiment to see the right number of articles that convert readers to subscribers. But editorial is only one part of the equation. Ads that are relevant and in a preferred format can enhance the reader’s experience, too. Real-time data adds another layer of relevance.

2. Reinforce programmatic revenues

For any publisher the formula for increased revenues is simple: more readers means more revenues. By capturing their interest on the first visit, publishers can create new revenue opportunities. Understanding who those readers are is also important. For example, a luxury cosmetics brand might want to target upscale consumers for a holiday push. A publisher might realize that 15% of its audience fits that description. Since advertisers pay higher CPMs to reach such audiences, publishers can significantly increase their rates. Publishers can also create personalized content to increase time spent and encourage such readers to return.

3. Expand and increase audience size

To increase their audiences, publishers can utilize real-time data. Personalized content can increase engagement, which in turn, can boost content sharing. But that’s not all; publishers can also use their first-party data to target content at lookalike audiences who have a higher likelihood to engage with it. Such publishers are using real-time data to target lookalike audiences at scale. Real-time adds another layer to such targeting. For instance, if a potential reader has a strong interest in financial news, then a publisher can leverage breaking news on that topic in a sponsored post aimed at that reader.

The evidence and opportunities for using real-time data are overwhelming and it’s time that publishers adapt their strategies to fast catch-up with marketers on the personalization front. And publishers who aren’t making full use of real-time data in a timely manner will be at a disadvantage.


Fred Marthoz is managing director for Southeast Asia with Lotame.

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