3 Ways Publishers Should Share Data with Advertisers

Today data insights are a necessity for advertisers. They’ve come to expect data at every stage of the sale. Whether publishers are demonstrating the value of a particular solution pre-sale, or sharing the results of campaigns post-sale, data is an integral part of the sales conversation. At the 2016 Data, Insight & Revenue Summit, Forbes SVP of advertising products & strategy at the time, Ann Marinovich, said, “I think there are so many different factors right now in the advertising landscape, from programmatic to viewability, that data is a requirement now with advertisers. It’s not an option.”

Marinovich spoke alongside Tricia Syed, VP of user marketing & marketing analytics at Penton, and Mark Lewis, VP of IDG Insider & strategic initiatives at IDG Enterprise. They spoke during a panel discussion titled, “Making Data Part of Your Culture.” One of the topics they explored was the important role data plays in the sales process, and the panelists identified 3 ways publishers should be communicating data insights to advertisers.

1. Hone in on Data That’s Most Important to the Advertiser

Simply providing data to advertisers is not enough. Publishers will not help their clients by dumping tables of performance metrics on them. They need to tell a clear and concise story. Even if advertisers think they need every piece of data surrounding a campaign, keep it simple, advised Marinovich. “We don’t have to provide every single data point that someone asks for. We need to answer the question of what they’re really trying to get to and the story that they’re trying to understand.” Syed agreed, “That’s a huge issue. Hours of time are wasted where the advertisers think they need all this information, but they’re not even sure how they’re going to use it.”

2. Focus on Reader Behavior & Identify Opportunities

To tell a compelling story about the data publishers collect, Syed recommended going deeper into the data. She explained that the most valuable metrics go beyond pageview counts. She said that sales reps need to be able to look at user behavior data — how users find content, how long they engage with it, what topics interest them most — to show what the audience looks like and explain where the opportunity is for the advertiser. “I think looking at things like dwell time, scroll depth, and scroll velocity are crucial,” added Marinovich. This type of in-depth analysis elevates the media salesperson to a true data consultant, and that level of service is invaluable in today’s fragmented and complex media industry.

3. Determine the Value of Individual Readers

At IDG, Lewis is diving even deeper into reader behavior data. He and his team are creating a framework to score both visitors and content for the benefit of their advertisers. “We’re looking to develop a score around individual pieces of content and also scores around readers that says, ‘This reader has done these ‘X’ amount of things in the past 30 days. They are a 97 because they dropped a lead; they came back to the site; they’re an email subscriber.’” Lewis added that his team is also trying to apply scoring at the content level. IDG is working to analyze single pieces of content. “We can tell advertisers, ‘Hey, 32% of the people went to that piece of content are high value as we define it.’”

“We know what gets readers in the door, but we really want to understand what keeps them around and what keeps them coming back,” said Lewis. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out with that reader and content score.”

IDG is still in the early days of its scoring program and has not yet rolled out the service to advertisers. But Lewis anticipates that it will become a major part of IDG’s business in the near future.

Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.