This is part one in a series that discusses how publishers – faced with siloed audience analytics, revenue reporting and audience data management tools – need to get a complete picture to effectively manage revenue and performance.  Here we specifically look at the need to have a consolidated, single source of truth for your audience, context and revenue insights.

This quote from one of the greatest business management thinkers of all time epitomises the importance of real-time & transparent analytics for online publishers.  If you don’t know what channels, ad types, content and audiences are (or aren’t) driving your revenue – in real-time – then it’s impossible to know what can be improved and how you can improve it.

To Drucker’s point; is the publishing industry measuring their revenue accurately, rather than relying on inconsistent, siloed, or policy adjusted data that fails to be delivered in real-time?

The industry: Siloed attempts to separate the inseparable

Measuring audiences is more than just impressions, clicks and pageviews – though these do form part of the picture.  Measuring audiences is the combination of a number of elements:

Audience

What does my audience look like? Audience analytics involve understanding users’ demographics, technographics, interests, and the brands they engage with.  It’s critical to classify these various signals accurately within a detailed taxonomy to produce actionable insights, build more comprehensive segments, and activate more effective yield optimisation.

Context (content)

What is my audience doing? What content are they engaging with and how are they engaging with it? Understanding context relies on accurate content and sentiment classification as well as data points such as location, language, device, source, and then translating this data into real-time insights around content value, trending content, and trending audiences.

Revenue

Who is bidding on my audience? What is my audience worth in real-time?  Understanding revenue stems from bid analytics, yield reporting and real-time revenue insights; with the layering of audience data to understand revenue within the context of the users driving that revenue.

Currently, solutions that address these topics are independent of each other, and buy-side solutions have very little incentive to provide publishers with fully transparent and unmanaged data. As such, publishers need to perform complex and laborious data consolidation exercises to try and piece together the data they’re looking for.  Even when successfully piecing those insights together, they often fail to make that data real-time and actionable which makes it difficult to optimise their revenue operations effectively.

We need to recognise that audience, context and revenue are inextricable, and together make up the DNA of publishers’ performance and yield operations.  Together they provide a holistic view of how they’re generating revenue from which they can draw a seamless roadmap from audience analytics, to audience segmentation, right through to yield management.

Decode your revenue DNA

In order to efficiently & effectively improve yields it’s critical to bring audience, context and revenue together in real-time.  Granular user level data has become very important to publishers regardless of their monetisation model (ads, subscriptions or otherwise), because how they treat each impression in the first instance as well as proceeding instances can make a huge difference to their margins.

For instance; an impression yielding a $12CPM should be treated differently to an impression that yields a $3CPM; but perhaps more importantly is identifying why those 2 impressions yielded different CPMs.  That’s where the combination of revenue analytics and audience analytics comes in.

Audience Analytics establishes who your audience is, what they’re engaging in, and how they’re engaging with that content, and should answer questions such as:

  • How do my buyers value my audiences, editorial and context?
  • What do my customers look like? 
  • What content and brands are they engaged with?
  • What is their scored levels of intent towards that content and brand?
  • How does that compare with my other audiences?

Revenue analytics establishes the value of your audiences ascribed by advertisers, SSPs and DSPs to your audience, in context, and in real-time. These insights enable publishers to:

  • Understand each source of revenue in real-time.
  • Understand how each buyer performs and values their content & audiences.
  • Track their most valuable audience segments, content, and content sources.
  • Divert resources to the most valuable and highest performing areas.

By combining these elements of analytics we can unlock real-time intelligent and actionable insights to indicate which audiences, content, and sources are driving engagement and revenue to then optimise audience creation and yield management.

What Drucker would say now?

  • Holistic: If you can’t measure audience value and revenue within the context of your inventory, then you’re not getting the full picture.
  • Real-time: If you can’t measure it in real-time, then you can’t react to opportunities in-the-moment, as your audience is engaging.
  • Actionable: If you can’t translate data into immediate action, then you’re not using your data effectively to extract maximum potential.

In the part two of the Publisher Revenue Series we discuss how publishers can connect their audience & revenue analytics to their audience data management tools in order to align their interests to the continued generation & optimisation of revenue.