If CTV was the key buzzword in online advertising in 2020, customer data is definitely taking the leading role in 2021, forcing publishers to develop their efficient, data-driven strategies fast. 

Blame it on the continuously updating privacy regulations, or the dooming deprecation of third-party cookies (and yes, we get that you already know much more about the life of birds than ever, thanks to the FLoC, DOVEKEY and other relative proposals), but 2021 is the year, when the digital advertising industry is buzzing about “customer data.”

Data-driven marketing & data-driven insights; zero-party data, second-party data, and certainly the king & queen of all data, which everyone craves for  – the first-party data,  – all of these terms have been in the focus of heated discussions and team roundtables in many publishers’ meeting rooms within the past 12 months. 

The reason is obvious. Like it or not, but heading closer to 2022, an efficient first-party strategy has become a MUST for quality publishers, wishing to sustain their advertising revenue growth in the months to come. And as the clock is ticking, it’s high time to really get a grip. 

Check out a brief AdPlayer.Pro guide for publishers of editorial inventory on how to develop an effective first-party data strategy.

1. Evaluate your First-Party Data Stack

As numerous experts have been repeating lately, first-party data goes far beyond your audience logins and emails (hashed or not). Centered around control and consent, the fact is, first-party customer data segments may also include first-party cookies and third-party IDs (e.g. Unified ID 2.0), along with website activity & engagement data. 

Namely, the latter segment itself is also rather broad, as it encompasses both the views, clicks and assigned conversions, as well as subscription data (including the subscription purchase details, too). 

Well, the first essential task a publisher needs to handle is to evaluate the real scope of legally obtained customer data, accessible to them. 

The second task is to figure out whether their data access is actually usable (whether & how easy it is to extract the stored data from the database for anonymization, analysis and further use for ad matching/targeting purposes), and how the data is being activated, when necessary.

The third, yet equally important publisher’s task is to evaluate whether and how well their first-party data is being integrated in their existing monetization strategy.

Simply put, it’s crucial to determine whether Demand partners are aware of the publisher’s first-party data activation capabilities, and if so, whether and how they’re utilizing these data segments for audience targeting (i.e. behavioral / contextual targeting and retargeting) purposes.

2. Find Growth Areas for Data Acquisition, Activation & Monetization

In case the amount of first-party data a publisher currently utilizes is minimal, it’s the right time to find growth opportunities both in terms of new data acquisition, its activation, and certainly, monetization.

  • Need to acquire more data segments? Run a survey (e.g. using NPS tools) or measure CSAT to get more info on your audience loyalty, preferences, subscription intent, and much more. 
  • Need to activate customer data easier? Consider using a customer data platform (CDP), or even building your own one in-house, if you have enough financial and operational resources to do it fast, and do it well, of course.
  • Wish to take more advantage from your first-party data, while monetizing editorial inventory with premium advertisers, e.g. in the outstream segment? Contact your top-tier direct Demand partners to find out what they’re looking for and implement required changes/adjustments, accordingly.

Tip! If you’re monezing inventory programmatically, don’t forget to implement the first-party data module support during your next Prebid update.