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Implementing a Data-Driven Approach to Ad Revenue Optimization

Data Driven Approach

At the center of every sophisticated advertising program, you’ll find data. A data-driven approach to ad revenue optimization is the only way to make the smartest buying and selling decisions. The power to collect data points takes the guesswork out of display advertising. With the right information in hand, publishers can feel confident in their approach to direct digital advertising sales.

While the benefits of data are something we can all agree on, the tactics or methods that we use when implementing a data-driven approach to ad revenue optimization are a bit murkier.

We know that data has helped thousands of digital publishers more effectively sell advertising on their websites and mobile platforms. It’s also helped advertisers feel more confident running larger-scale campaigns, knowing that their ads are reaching targeted audiences during pre-determined periods of time.

Where local publishers can sometimes struggle is in deciding how to implement a data driven approach. How do you know which metrics are most important or how to collect the details that are most relevant to your advertisers? Which platforms or technology partners should you work with? There is such a thing as too much information. Publishers can quickly become overwhelmed with all the data being generated by their campaigns and being spit out at them by sophisticated ad management software.

Before you try to implement a new ad revenue optimization strategy on your own, it’s a good idea to take a step back and ask yourself what you’re hoping to use data to achieve. Some common examples include:

  • Client education
  • Greater ROI for advertisers
  • Higher click-through rates
  • Increased consumer conversions

Each of these goals can be realized using analytics and data. Publishers will often use data to track how their advertisers’ goals are being achieved. This information can present a road map, of sorts, that helps publishers better serve the needs of advertisers. In turn, that makes advertising on the publisher’s website more lucrative, and it drives up ad rates.

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The more value advertisers get from your website, the higher the premium you can charge. The single best way to increase value is by implementing a data-driven approach.

If you’re not using data to optimize the campaigns on your website right now, then there’s a good chance your advertisers are getting that information elsewhere. That’s bad news for you. As the publisher, you want to be a one-stop shop for advertisers. When advertisers have all of their needs met in one place, they are less likely to stray to other publications or advertising channels. Your goal should be to keep advertisers close, and you’re on your way to building a profitable advertising program with loyal clients when you implement a data-driven approach to ad revenue optimization.

Optimizing Programmatic Revenue

Up until this point, we’ve focused primarily on using data to improve client relationships. With the right data in hand, publishers can adjust campaigns to optimize performance. That impacts clients, who are achieving greater ROI from their existing campaigns. The benefit to publishers in those cases is less direct.

Programmatic revenue solutions offer a more direct connection between data and ad revenue optimization. Implementing a data-driven approach should give you insights into how you can optimize your own website to maximize ad revenue. For example, how much should you be selling space for on your website? When should you start saving ad spaces for programmatic offerings?

Broadstreet’s new programmatic program, SideStreet, was designed to help hyperlocal news publishers generate more revenue from unfilled inventory. It’s used by publishers at all ends of the spectrum, from novices to highly-sophisticated organizations. However, it’s clear that publishers get the most benefit from programs like SideStreet when they are being used as part of a larger data driven approach.

You need data to measure performance and compare the revenue generated by different programs. Are you generating more revenue by selling to clients directly or by running programmatic advertising on your website? How much revenue are you bringing in from native advertising? Are your sponsored programs cannibalizing any of the other initiatives you have going on?

Connecting data to programmatic sales can strengthen relationships between publishers and brands. With applied data, publishers can identify what their audiences are engaging with and where there are areas for improvement. In these situations, data provides an opportunity to get more effective in the way you harness programmatic advertising and other strategies, like targeting audiences and social placements.

The Local Publisher’s Advantage

The ability to quickly pivot and optimize direct digital advertising sales has long been one of the biggest advantages for local publishers. Whether they are looking at programmatic tools like SideStreet, Google AdWords, Facebook, or their own direct digital advertising programs, there is a distinct advantage when publishers lean into data for ad revenue optimization.

Direct advertising data management is a key component in the local publisher’s stack. With the right data in hand, publishers can quickly optimize campaigns to reach the advertiser’s desired readers based on any number of demographic factors. Publishers who’ve opted to take the data driven approach to display advertising can target readers based on demographic factors, including:

  • Interests
  • Location
  • Language
  • Preferred topics, like sports or weather

Once you have the ability to target your readers based on those demographic factors, you can charge advertisers a premium to access those features. This is just another example of how you can use data to drive the value of your direct digital advertising program, which leads to more loyal clients and a higher revenue.

Technology Partners

All of the examples mentioned above only work with the right software in place. Publishers can’t expect to target readers based on demographic variables or implement variable pricing structures without the right data to back them up. That data is only available to publishers using certain ad managers and analytics tools.

Reports, like the kind provided by Broadstreet, are useful tools as you begin investing more heavily into your data-driven approach. Reports are how you present all of the data you have collected to your advertiser clients.

Google Analytics is also a popular tool among digital publishers. However, there is usually some level of discrepancy between Google Analytics and other reporting tools. When that occurs, it’s usually because of how a page is structured.

Effective salespeople need to have complete confidence in the figures they are giving to clients, and not all ad managers spit out data with the same accuracy. Not only should publishers be confident in the number of clicks ads are receiving on their websites, but they should also have insights into what percentage of those clicks are coming from real people compared to web robots. How many of those clicks came from people in the same geographical area as the advertiser? With the right data, that’s easy to find out.

Most ad platforms don’t offer reliable metrics as a standard, so publishers who are looking at implementing more data in their direct digital advertising programs sometimes struggle with authenticity and reliability. Broadstreet stands behind its data. Publishers using Broadstreet’s platform get detailed information about where clicks originated, down to the city and zip code levels. That gives publishers a way to provide advertisers with authentic, legitimate data, and it serves as another value-add for anyone looking to win over more clients.

If you’re looking at taking a more data-driven approach to advertising by adopting a new advertising platform, consider whether the platform you’re choosing offers these features:

  • Deep Metrics Tracking
  • Analytics
  • Custom Ad Metrics
  • Automated Report Generation
  • Audience Geotargeting
  • Keyword Targeting

To learn more about how to integrate data into your existing advertising program, contact Broadstreet Ads.

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