Data: It’s not All or Nothing

Over the last week at MIXX, OPS, and the JD Power Automotive Internet Roundtable, I’ve heard some consistent feedback from publishers. When conversation turns to transacting on data, clients quickly assume they need to play one role – buyer or seller. And in equal measure, the entire marketplace is unclear to most. In the light of day, it’s really not so complicated.

Marketplaces are spaces where buyers and sellers interact to exchange value. We often think of vendors in a market with consumers purchasing goods. But on a more fundamental level, everyone plays both roles in some fashion. For example, a baker would buy flour and sell bread. Even in our office roles, companies pay for talent and sell the products of that talent to other companies or individuals. So it makes sense that the data market would follow suit.

Data owners very frequently tell me they represent a premium brand and couldn’t consider selling their data. The fact that they have premium aspects to their site isn’t in question. However, when taking a more nuanced look at their portfolio of options, it becomes clear that their site isn’t a collection of “Premium” and “Non-Premium” content, rather it’s a spectrum that spans the common to the rare. If you apply the same concepts of yield management that have been refined over the last few years, interesting revenue opportunities emerge. If the goal is to maximize revenue in every opportunity using multiple levers, putting a portion of the targeting up for sale via alternate sales channels can make sense. When a target is truly scarce, creating additional sales channels might erode some of the pricing premiums that target enjoys, so a publisher may not offer that to the larger marketplace. For other targets, additional sales channels equates to additional revenue.

Building on this concept, no site has the full scope of data it would like. So to fill in any gaps, many publishers have begun to buy data. This could be data to augment similar content or interest areas on the site or complementary data such as demographic data that the site may simply not have access to. And coming full circle, adding such data can make premium offerings more premium.

Lastly, privacy and access control are at the heart of a good data strategy (more on that next week). Depending on the data, it may be desirable to have only certain buyers access the products a publisher has to sell. Users also need to be in control, so if they wish to manage some or all of their data, they should be able to do so in a clear and effective manner.

As publisher strategies evolve beyond simple ‘all or nothing’ approaches, it’s important to have the right technology and service partner to help you maximize your opportunity.

About Benjamin Reid
GM Data Marketing Solutions for eXelate

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