Home Publishers CafeMedia Is Using LiveRamps’s Email-Based IDs To Sell Ads

CafeMedia Is Using LiveRamps’s Email-Based IDs To Sell Ads


The third-party cookie is halfway out the door, so CafeMedia is already ushering in its replacement: email-based IDs.

The ad management firm started working with LiveRamp ATS (Authenticated Traffic Solution) eight months ago. ATS scrambles an email address and puts the user’s identity in a secure envelope for SSPs to open and resolve. Buyers then use that ID to programmatically target impressions.

But publishers first need to amass email addresses, and CafeMedia, which represents 3,000 publishers, has been nudging them to do just that.

First, each publisher must consent to being part of the ATS program and update their privacy policy accordingly. Then, they must focus on capturing more email addresses.

“We’ve been saying to our publishers, ‘This is a journey. You might start small, you might start at zero. Then you keep growing and getting better at it,” said CafeMedia Chief Strategy Officer Paul Bannister.

The math works in publishers’ favor: “If you get to 2% of your users that authenticate, they are going to be engaged and become 4% of your traffic, and 8% of your revenue,” Bannister said. Then, the next goal becomes getting 5% of their users to share their email addresses.

The user experience is changing to encourage email sharing. If you’ve visited a blog lately, you might have noticed a pop-up offering not just a newsletter, but access to free travel tips or an e-book related to the bloggers’ expertise.

Small publishers have a lot of opportunity to improve their email capture through these types of tools, Bannister said.

“Ecommerce sites are so far ahead of publishers of all sizes. If you go to an ecommerce site of any size, you get a 10% off coupon for an email. They’ve been very aggressive and purposeful about the best way to create a value exchange for their audience.”

Publishers can offer similar incentives, if they figure out what their audience cares about.

“If I’m on a small blog to read about traveling to Hawaii, what’s the thing that’s going to make me give that email address to that site?” Bannister said.


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Each month, CafeMedia has been onboarding a few hundred publishers to LiveRamp’s ATS.

Another big focus for CafeMedia is gaining proper user consent.

“From a technical and policy perspective, we know there are a lot of problems with how programmatic and digital media worked in the past,” Bannister said. “How do we avoid that, and build things that are truly private for users, and avoid data leakage for publishers?”

The publishers using LiveRamp ATS must update their privacy policy.

CafeMedia is currently applying ATS to a blog’s new subscribers, so existing subscribers won’t have to re-opt into a new policy. “There is a constant flow of capture or recapture – and the vast majority of people have signed up pretty recently,” Bannister said.

And if necessary, CafeMedia can seamlessly update privacy policies across all publishers. For instance, in May, it will need to add a notice from the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA).

Skeptics of email-based IDs cite an inability to scale as well as privacy concerns. LiveRamp SVP and head of publishers Jason White refuted both concerns.

“When I was on the publisher side, the cookie match rate was 30% to 35%. We have to level set that audience match rates are not 100%, and by the time it gets to publishers the total addressable audience is 60% less,” he said.

And LiveRamp’s approach avoids publisher data leakage, he added.

But CafeMedia still faces a third challenge: measuring incrementality.

LiveRamp’s says publishers see a 350% lift in Safari CPMs, along with an overall 20% lift in total CPMS and a 25% improvement in addressable reach after they implement its email-based targeting solution.

CafeMedia’s findings have been in line with LiveRamp’s, Bannister said. But they still haven’t done incrementality testing. People who share their email address with a publisher are likely to be worth more to a publisher anyway. So what’s the incremental lift of using email-based targeting on a loyal, top reader vs. a fly-by visitor?

“We’re all about incrementality, and that’s easy to measure in some cases and hard in others,” he said. “We will be able to home in on the impact, but that’s the layer we haven’t been able to do yet.”

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