It’s become an all too common balance in the publisher world; focusing on the short-term initiatives to meet short-term revenue goals, all while keeping one eye on the horizon and ensuring their business is built to endure the next decade. While we’ve all said “next year is THE year” before, 2024 brings its own set of challenges as well as an escalation of existing pressures. Publishers must therefore tackle planning and strategy for next year in a way they seldom have before.
2024 will be a defining year for publishers
The pressures publishers have been dealing with on an ongoing basis will persist:
- Ad revenue levels are in flux as the UK economy contends with a persistent cost-of-living crisis.
- Amidst this, GDPR and data privacy requirements continue to evolve.
- As Meta and other walled gardens place less emphasis on news content, social media referral inventory is in a downward spiral.
And, perhaps the biggest change on the cards: in the second half of 2024, the third-party cookie will finally fully come to an end, as Chrome becomes the final browser to deprecate it.
This is alongside unforeseeable obstacles that may pop up for publishers. For example, search giants including Google continue to integrate Generative AI into their products, with the goal of streamlining how quickly users find and access information, thus removing the need for them to click through to sites that produce much of the content. It’s expected this will impact the number of unique users and pageviews that publishers will generate, creating additional pressures on publishers to drive revenue.
But at the same time, the solutions and opportunities available to publishers continue to expand. Cutting-edge solutions, like data collaboration, offer a multitude of benefits to forward-looking publishers with advanced data strategies.
Why solving 2024 will be hard for many publishers
Starting during the peaks of COVID, market confidence and predictability took a huge hit. Publishers, already battered by years of headwinds, were forced to focus more on immediate revenue targets. Naturally, this led to an endemic state of short-term thinking, which has been hard to shake off: with so much to solve here and now, how are publishers supposed to think about sustainable solutions that will carry them through the next year, much less the next five years?
However, the trends that we’ve highlighted are not going anywhere. Regulators in Europe continue to advocate vigorously on behalf of consumer privacy., and against the monopolisation of data by the walled gardens. Recent battlegrounds like IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework and the Digital Markets Act are a testament that the regulatory landscape is still evolving. Publishers must ensure they are taking the necessary steps to keep up with the pace of change. Major browsers’ changes also parallel this arc towards consumer protections, with Apple’s Private Relay and Privacy Manifest being some of the latest examples of major browser updates that cater to consumers’ increased preference for privacy. As an industry, we must embrace these privacy changes and help make the internet more transparent and consumer friendly.
Publishers must think about these longer-term trends when developing their strategies, to ensure that they’re set up for success in the long term. While all of the pressures mentioned continue to have publishers on the hot seat, some – like third-party cookie deprecation in Chrome – will be a system-level shock that will make it clear which publishers are faring 2024 the best, and which are setting themselves up best for long-term success.
Publishers already have the playbook for how to win in 2024 – and beyond
One of the foundational solutions that publishers can add to their toolkits is developing an authenticated identity strategy. Gone are the days of chasing pure scale, which led in part to the rise of third-party signals and the loss of transparency for consumers, among other things. While authenticated identity will not reach 100% scale across the ecosystem, the higher value of authenticated users helps to make this a sustainable strategy for publishers.
Developing an authenticated identity strategy ensures that publishers can provide addressability – even beyond the end of third-party signals – and capture marketers’ people-based budgets, which command greater values in exchange for marketing to scalable audiences. (Just take a look at retail media for an example of brands’ hunger to invest in these strategies.)
Furthermore, authenticated identity hinges on trusted, transparent value exchanges with consumers. This helps shift the ecosystem towards consumers being able to control their data and preferences, when they choose to share it in exchange for value and services. Consumers controlling their data, and how it is used, is also in line with the direction in which privacy regulations and browser measures are steering the market.
Publishers can further scale their authenticated identity strategies by ensuring interoperability and connectivity across the ecosystem, such as with Display & Video 360’s Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation (PAIR). PAIR enables publishers and advertisers to run relevant ads leveraging their first-party audiences, without relying on third-party cookies, and can be enabled through LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS), including by all of LiveRamp’s publisher partners in Europe. For ATS publishers, PAIR is an easily-enabled add-on module that can be enabled at no cost, enabling DV360 to access your authenticated inventory beyond third-party cookie deprecation and other signal loss. Adding PAIR and other interoperable solutions will make an immediate impact helping you to capture marketing budgets through a critical Q4, but also in 2024 and beyond.
Finally, dot your ‘I’s and cross your ‘T’s: publishers should ensure that their adtech pipes are up-to-date to maximise their revenue from programmatic. In addition to the capabilities enabled by authenticated identity solutions, publishers should keep their adtech stack up-to-date with the latest versions, including upgrading to Prebid version 8, to benefit from the updated controls available to publishers. As part of this upgrade, they should also ensure the PAIR userID module is activated to future-proof DV360 revenue.
Make 2024 your year
Publishers have the toolkits that they’ll need to navigate 2024 – and beyond – successfully. While we carry on helping our current partners and customers reap the benefits of authenticated identity and the post-signal future, we’re excited to begin working with those who are just now joining us.
If you’re just getting started on your journey to authenticated identity, reach out to [email protected] today.