Zephr Coffee Club #4 - Ad Revenue and User States - April 16, 2020

 

As always, Thursday was a day to get together and exchange knowledge at the Zephr Coffee Club. Thanks to the community and great attendees we had, it was another valuable session with lots of actionable insights. We kicked off the session with Nathaniel Zenou, CEO of Browsi, diving into the different approaches to optimize Ad Inventory.

In order to understand the different approaches a publisher can take, it’s important to clarify that ad revenue is not just one component. Once we break it down, we come to the following classical equation for it.

Advertising revenue = Audience x Ad Inventory x Demand

As we can see, there are multiple points underneath each of the components that publishers can address in order to increase the end result - the advertising revenue. 

Probably now more than ever, we can recognise the fact that resources are limited and we cannot address every area with the same amount of attention. Naturally, this means that there must be a fair bit of planning and prioritising within the business in order to tackle the complexity of the equation.

If all that makes sense so far, once COVID-19 kicked off there was a twist that shook the industry. 

Traffic started going through the roof, the audience was there and was getting bigger and bigger, but the demand for ad spaces started falling down. It was, and still is, an unprecedented situation so naturally, the question is what to do now?

As the buy-side is more picky than ever accompanied with the abundance of supply, in order for ad inventory to succeed, it has to stand out!

A solution to that challenge might be optimising the viewability rate. Nate shared a statistic that explored an ad-placement viewability increase from 40% to 80%. 

Here is how they performed:
40% viewability rate = 456 clicks / 0.22% average of total CTR
80% viewability rate = 2031 clicks / 0.32% average of total CTR

What publishers can do to bridge the gap and increase their viewability rate?

There are 3 key areas we can suggest to invest time in and review. Starting with the UI / UX, this can include A/B testing different ad layouts, sticky placements, adding or removing ads or a website redesign.

It’s important to understand that removing bad placements/low viewability placements that you kept for CPM will help you increase your viewability rate. A single ad having low viewability hurts the overall domain viewability, and if the overall domain viewability is low, it hurts the overall revenue of the business.

Reviewing your tech stack and investing into new solutions to optimise your processes, for example, refreshing ads and improving the site speed might help, as well as lazy loading.

Last but not least, the overall business decisions that you currently have in place can be also reviewed and considered. Is this still the best way going forward? 

As unique formats create unique demand, now it’s the perfect time to get back to the boarding table, engage in your ad inventory and decide what to keep and what to get rid of!

Following up Nathaniel was our very own Scott Howland. He has recently explored in an article the different user states that publishers are observing at the moment. The challenge here is how to move people from unknown to a known & registered state, and then from a known & registered state, to a customer or subscriber. 

It’s been a trendy topic, the crumble of the 3rd party cookie. Safari and Firefox have already implemented this, and as we know, Google are planning to do the same in the next 18 months.

Moving away from the reliance of this model is a crucial aspect for the future and every business, and there are still plenty of unanswered questions on what happens next.

How are you going to move people from unknown to known? For a start, it’s best to think about the things we do know about the anonymous users.

- We know the geolocation
- We know the IP address
- We know the browser type
- We know the referrer

That’s where a personalised user journey can start, even for anonymous users. If it’s a mobile user for example, how can we make that journey frictionless, compared to a chrome user who might have the auto sign in and fill the data more easily? The answer to that may be as simple as showing a different registration form, much lighter and easier to fill.

So how can we leverage these data sets to make a decision? It’s all about understanding these anonymous people, who they are, and where they are coming from. 

An answer here might be the great and humble registration wall, which we are seeing a lot of publishers implementing at the moment. Once we have that basic step in place, we can then start exploring what the users are doing on our website and how we can serve them better.

There are valid concerns, however, that organisations are strategically talking about:

- What will happen if this alienates the user and they leave? 
- How can we do it with the resources we have?
- When should we drop this registration wall?

Here are our 5 top tips to move people from unknown to known:
1. Build, Test and Learn (Not one size fits all!)
2. Leverage Social Sign-In and Passwordless Authentication (Frictionless!)
3. Make Forms Short  (Smaller the form, better the conversion)
4. Personalize the Offerings and Experience (Use data you do know - browser, device, geo etc.)
5. Great Value Proposition (Can be as simple as Newsletter Signup)

 

 

Topics: Coffee Club

   

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