Who is Archant?
Archant is a media company dedicated to enhancing the lives and businesses of the communities they serve through outstanding content, service, and expertise. As one of the UK’s largest publishers with a reach of over 12 million digital readers every month, Archant taps into a wide source of customer data. As a publisher, Archant provides highly relevant, powerful, and engaging spaces for regional and national advertising agencies and brands to connect with customers.
Archant’s monetization strategy has added complexity due to the myriad of privacy laws and varying guidance when it comes to consent and preference management, which is fundamental to Archant’s monetization strategy. Ad revenue allows Archant to fund their newsroom and provide quality content to their audience at no cost. Consent management allows publishers to unlock the ability to serve relevant advertisements to their audience.
For this monetization strategy to be mutually beneficial for consumers, publishers, and advertisers alike, Archant needed to partner with innovative software providers that were privacy-conscious, forward-thinking and could understand the concerns of all parties. This led them to partner with OneTrust PreferenceChoice and Carbon RMP.
OneTrust PreferenceChoice’s platform enables marketers and publishers to drive transparent user experiences, and build trust while complying with 100s of global data privacy regulations. Carbon RMP is an end-to-end revenue management platform (RMP) that unlocks the complex relationship between audience, content, and revenue to make the interaction more profitable.
The Key to Consent Is a Transparent CMP
The first obstacle Archant faced was their ability to capture consent effectively. Before leveraging OneTrust PreferenceChoice’s Consent Management Platform (CMP), their method for capturing consent had limited customization, formatting, and restrictive messaging. “[After] moving to OneTrust, we are now easily able to customize our CMP to capture more informed consent because of it,” said Ryan Cousins, Product and Platform Director, Archant.
A CMP acts as the gateway for website visitors setting the tone for the user’s experience before any ads are served. There are a couple of things publishers can do to ensure that the user will have a positive experience. When it comes to effectively capturing consent messaging is critical. By communicating the value exchange and the importance a publisher places on a visitor’s privacy in a clear message a publisher can significantly increase opt-in rates.
The OneTrust PreferenceChoice CMP helps publishers maximize opt-in rates in several ways beyond messaging, including customizing UI elements and displaying consent options based on a user’s region and device. For instance, publishers can store the user consent and preferences based on a unique identifier, creating a single view of the customer, and apply it across devices for a more seamless experience. Combining PreferenceChoice’s optimization and A/B testing enables continuous measurement and iteration to enhance the user experience and maximize opt-in rates.
Closing the Loop: Maximizing Revenue
If consent allows a publisher to unlock and tailor the user experience, the next step is ensuring that relevant ads are served to the right visitors. The second challenge Archant was up against was their ability to effectively monetize their audience based on the consent collected through their CMP, which is where Carbon’s platform comes in to measure, manage, and monetize audiences in real-time.
“We delay our ads until consent is obtained. We decide which ad campaigns to serve once we’ve received consent. This allows us to go a step beyond determining which campaign a visitor will be served but to make sure we are serving a message that really resonates with the visitor,” said Ryan.
Carbon provides support to publishers in several ways. The first is assisting publishers with first-party data capture to help them better understand and segment their audience. Through data science driven automation, Carbon’s data categorization increases the quantity and quality of publishers’ first party assets, whereas with many DMPs (Data Management Platforms) categorization is a manual, time consuming task. At the same time as automatically categorizing audiences, Carbon RMP still allows publishers to segment their audience further manually if they choose.
“Historically, there has been a disconnect for publishers with siloed views of consent, audience, context and revenue performance. We combine all that data into “Revenue DNA” for a publisher to help deliver well targeted and performant ads. Carbon understands the audience well enough to increase relevance for the audience leading to higher engagement which helps advertisers meet their campaign goals and creates a more relevant experience for the consumer,” said David Snocken, Vice President Partnerships, Carbon RMP.
Measuring the value of consent
In order to highlight the disparity between the value of consented versus unconsented audiences, Archant used Carbon’s revenue analytics feature to extract & analyze the average eCPMs (effective cost per thousand) across a typical 7-day period. On average their unconsented audiences attracted an average eCPM on Archant’s network of £0.34; whilst the average eCPM for a consented audience was £1.40 – 4x the value. When taking those consented audiences further, segmenting them into audiences for delivering direct campaigns, the blended eCPM rose further to £3.12 – 9x the value.
Exploring performance from the consumer’s perspective, Archant also analyzed adCTR (Ad Click Through Rate) figures as a proxy for engagement i.e. If a visitor finds it irrelevant, they won’t click. Archant’s CTRs for non-targeted ads (i.e. those without consent) averaged at 0.30%; whilst CTRs for targeted impressions – which rely on consent for profiling purposes – averaged 60% higher at 0.50% CTR, proving that good quality targeting results in a better experience for the consumer and supports that value exchange. Similarly, Archant measured a significant increase in viewability as a result of relevant targeting e.g., a standard MPU achieved 40% higher viewability for consented users vs unconsented overall.
These numbers show the demonstrable increase of value that is achievable through garnering consent from online audiences, which makes it imperative to drive trust and education of the value exchange. If publishers can grow audience engagement through improved user experiences this will result in more rich and robust audiences. then they can deliver even higher CPMs at the same time! A win for all stakeholders.
While the publishing industry has a long way to go before transparency becomes the norm rather than the exception when it comes to user experience, Archant in collaboration with OneTrust PreferenceChoice and Carbon is raising the bar in this regard. Through this collaboration, this trio has shown that the relationship between the publisher, advertiser, and consumer can be mutually beneficial.