Direct sold ads continue to grow

New research from Digiday suggests publishers’ pandemic-driven revenue diversification is being dialled back with ads largely dominating. 63% of publishers now claim that direct sold ads are a “large” part of their revenue, a significant change from 38% 12 months ago. Subscriptions (24%), programmatic ads (39%) and affiliate (13%) were the other streams to see mid-pandemic growth but have since returned to just above Q1 2020 levels.

Looking at revenue streams publishers describe as “moderate” portions of revenue there’s growth for direct sold (62% in Q3 2020 to 76% in Q3 2021), video ads (47 to 56%) and affiliate commerce (12 to 30%). With direct sold ads likely to continue growth with the prioritisation of first party data strategies, it’s important to remember that by ensuring interoperability through universal IDs, contextual and modelled solutions publishers can open up their inventory further to new revenue opportunities.

Post-Covid traffic challenges

Research from Parsely/Digiday has revealed sites with the smallest audiences have seen the steepest falls in traffic, and whilst this represents a big challenge it goes hand-in-hand with the quest for more first party data too.  Traffic was down across Parsely’s network by 10% in the first half of 2021 versus the same time in 2020; but for sites with <1m monthly pageviews it was down 40%.  At the other end of the spectrum, sites with >10m monthly pageviews saw significant gains e.g. direct traffic up 79% and search up 49%.

“Fewer visitors might mean more valuable, more engaged ones, as well as just healthier relationships with advertising, with Facebook.”

Kelsey Arendt, data analysis lead at Parsely

Understanding audiences, their engagement and how that translates into revenues set within the context of where that traffic has come from is critical for optimisation.  This is why Carbon’s revenue analytics provide deeper insights into the traffic sources, audiences, content, etc driving that revenue.

Japan favouring contextual?

Japan’s moves to bring in more targeting restrictions is seeing a number of large advertisers moving away from cookie-based approaches.  In April 2022 a new data protection law – similar to GDPR – will come into effect in Japan and whilst that is partly driving a shift away from cookies, some Japanese companies are finding that contextual advertising can be as and sometimes more effective than ads based on user data.  It’s one to watch given that publishers need to align their offerings with how advertisers want to buy – whether that’s specific IDs, contextual or otherwise.

It remains to be seen just how much of the advertising pie contextual will take, but there’s no doubt that it’s a key ingredient, which is why it’s part of Carbon’s agnostic approach to future proofing identity.  Our NLP/contextual modelling processes extract the meaningful content of an article, which is identified and labelled based on the IAB Taxonomy 2.2 and our custom brand and keywords, then scored by our proprietary algorithms.  As a result, publishers can provide brand relevant, contextual targeting to their buyers, whilst retaining the value of their ad inventory and providing a better user experience.

Amazon’s growing ads business

Amazon’s ad business almost doubled last quarter as it’s “other” category – which is primarily advertising – grew to $7.9bn.  Growing demand to advertise with Amazon will fuel Amazon Publisher Services too as publishers look to align with buyers.  Amazon fine for data misuse this week reportedly relates to data processing in its ad business, which could pose some concerns though they’re appealing against the decision.

New issue for FLEDGE

Google’s Privacy Sandbox timeline may have been released recently but there is still issues to overcome, even with their flagship solutions.  As reported in The Register there’s potential for web attackers to create code on webpages that use Google’s FLEDGE remarketing proposal to track users across different sites.  Google has acknowledged this potential fingerprinting issue that they’ll need to resolve with testing of FLEDGE scheduled to start in Q4 this year.

Continued support for UID2

IPG is to act as a closed operator for UID2 meaning that they will match their CRM data with UID2 inside its own cloud infrastructure.  Doing this will enable them to keep first party data in-house, whilst using UID2 in conjunction with audiences generated on the open web.  Then, Acxiom can connect that data to UID2 as it builds first-party graphs for clients to ensure accuracy and safety.

Another company to recently announce UID2 as one of their preferred was Nielsen, who have also unveiled their cookieless approach for audience measurement in the US.  Nielsen’s approach aims to cover both authenticated – using first party, UID2 and select demographic labels – and unauthenticated web traffic using a combination of machine learning with contextual data signals.

Stay up to date

Simply sign up to our Identity 101 newsletter below and we’ll only use it to send you news & updates on the upcoming changes to identity in publishing.

Schedule a chat

Want to discuss your identity, audience and monetisation strategy with one of our experts? Schedule a call using the Calendly link below.

Carbon is now part of Magnite.