LiveRamp Brings In Former ViacomCBS Exec Jason White To Court Publishers

One of LiveRamp’s top priorities is to get publishers to adopt LiveRamp Authenticated Traffic Solutions (ATS) – an email-based identity solution designed to be used in place of third-party cookies. So it brought in former ViacomCBS GM of programmatic Jason White to lead them toward the promised land of authentication, the company said Thursday.

White joined as LiveRamp SVP and head of publishers two weeks ago, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders.

So White, who is used to traveling 70% of the time, has been taking most of his initial meetings with publishers and teammates through video conference (where they can glimpse the great weather in his Southern California home).

But do publishers, dealing with plummeting CPMs and ad spend, have the time or resources to implement LiveRamp ATS?

White says yes.

“CPMs without cookies are pretty anemic. If you can replace those CPMs with a verified, identity-targeted campaign, the revenue gains are significant,” White said.

Publishers can amass email addresses using tactics such as registration walls, newsletters and subscription products, similar to how walled gardens require an email address or phone number to use their service. Then LiveRamp ATS matches that ID with an advertiser’s, which makes ads viewed in Safari and Firefox addressable – a total 40% of all inventory that had previously been invisible.

While at ViacomCBS, White saw the value of user registrations and made addressability a top 2019 priority. Focusing on CBS Sports’ fantasy sports leagues, which require a login, White explored what addressable media using these identifiers would look like. LiveRamp’s solution stood out. “They were head and shoulders, three years ahead of the game,” White said.

LiveRamp wants to win over publishers in the coming year and is drumming up demand by converting ad buyers to IdentityLink, which gives buyers the global frequency capping and precise targeting. And publishers will benefit from the new pipe of ad spend flowing through to LiveRamp ATS.

One external factor that benefits ATS: There’s been a 40% increase in top Comscore publishers using registration walls over the past year, said LiveRamp SVP of addressability and ecosystem Travis Clinger. And the coronavirus pandemic may accelerate that rate. After all, even The New York Times’ free coronavirus coverage required registration to access.

When the pandemic is over, White is betting that publishers who were able to spend time planning for a cookieless future will come out ahead.

“If publishers can get that incremental revenue lift without a lot of resources, we hope that will change outlooks as we go into uncertain times,” White said. LiveRamp is making a similar bet about its overall business: “We look at it as an opportunity – we’ll come out of this stronger.”

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