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The Importance of The Open Web for Publishers

Updated: May 9, 2023

Digital publishers continue to feel increased pressure to manage consumer privacy choices and consent with new CCPA requirements in the U.S. and GDPR in the EU. Couple this with the impending deprecation of third-party cookies and monetizing their platforms are becoming increasingly more complicated. In these industry shifts, the value of publishers’ first-party data will give publishers both more control and more accountability. It also offers more opportunity for publishers to leverage and monetize their audience data, their platforms, and content.

Opportunities and Challenges

Publishing and the digital marketing ecosystem with user privacy restrictions and the extinction of third-party cookies will bring both new opportunities and challenges for todays publishers. The obvious winners will be those companies that own and control large amounts of authenticated data and the bigger publishers that manage that user data, make alliances, and access actionable data in scale.  Many small- and mid-sized publishers will struggle to remain relevant and profitable. Content is not free to produce and without the means to monetize their platforms, many publishers will not be able to continue be relevant in today's ecosystem. In this shifting environment, publishers should actively advocate for an open web. The shared goal should be preserving the internet as an open web for rich, diverse experiences provided by multiple platforms. Now more than ever, the open web has become essential to support the free flow of content, communication, commerce, and competition. With the unique voices of individual publishers ensure that all points of view are available.

Preserving the Web as An Open Platform

Today consumers depend on the open web as a primary means of accessing news, communicating with each other, engaging with politics, conducting business, and consuming entertainment. Any individual, business, or charitable organization can participate in global conversations regardless of their wealth, background, or geographical location.

What Is the Open Web?

An open web is by and for all its users, not select gatekeepers. An open web means positive progress for:

  1. A more informed public

  2. Better tools for publishers to respect privacy choices

  3. More opportunities to learn and connect with others

  4. The ability to all publishers who want to participate to monetize their platforms

The open web supports diverse publishers, audiences, and the relevant content audiences are looking for.  The open web also allows those unique publishers a way to be paid for the platforms and content they contribute.

Who Pays for The Open Web?

Marketers depend on cross-publisher IDs to quantify and optimize the performance of their ads across the open web. With the end of third-party cookies, marketers will not be able to get these identifiers. Marketers will receive a lower return from their advertising, which translates to lower CPMs and revenue for publishers. Publishers need alternative ways to get actionable user data in scale without contravening the prevailing regulations.

Marketers and publishers need to find new ways to work together so consumers have their rights protected and receive better products, content, and services through free-market competition.

Monetization Avenues Through the Open Web

The absence of third-party cookies could benefit publishers who enjoy large, engaged audiences. Moving forward, publishers should focus on authenticating their audiences by offering a clear value exchange for registration in a privacy complaint environment. Smaller players who do not collect authenticated first-party data will most likely struggle as their user experience becomes less personalized and their ad revenue further declines.

Alliances and Partnerships Have Become Critical

For small- and medium-sized publishers, forming helpful partnerships, alliances, and shared solutions will be critical. Actionable and discoverable audience data is the key to staying relevant. What is clear is that there is a need to develop smart partnerships and come to the market with some scale.

So far, there is no clear winner in sight in the race to replace third-party cookies although there are many potential solutions in the race. As a publisher, your only sustainable approach is to authenticate your first-party data in a privacy-compliant environment to make it actionable and discoverable. Also working with other stakeholders in the digital ad ecosystem and promoting the OPEN WEB.  Otherwise, ad-spends will simply be pushed toward premium publishers as ad campaigns that target huge chunks of the market become difficult to measure and attribute.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, fueling the open web by bringing together in scale allows all publishers to display more relevant, personalized, and at-scale ads to their unique audiences. whether they are served through a traditional ad server, an in-house ad platform, or with an ad server API solution. Without fueling the open web, publishers’ CPMs will decrease significantly while allowing the larger publishers and wall gardens control over ad tech dollars.

Do you have any questions about open web and content monetization?  Schedule a meeting with our Adzapier team today. We can help you leverage your data while respecting user privacy preferences in a post-cookie world!

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