Cookie Fail? BuzzFeed Calls It A Win For Its Data Studio ‘Lighthouse’

BuzzFeed LighthouseThe majority of BuzzFeed’s ad deals – 65% –  now use its first-party data to target ads. And the publisher also provides data matching, insights and optimization powered by data from its 104 million monthly users.

To make these data capabilities easier for advertisers to access, BuzzFeed is collecting them into one product, dubbed Lighthouse. The offering will span both BuzzFeed and recently acquired HuffPost content.

When advertisers work with BuzzFeed, sellers give them an option to choose from a selection of data capabilities from Lighthouse that will best meet the marketer’s needs.

“Nothing we do will be one-size-fits-all,” said Ken Blom, SVP of ad strategy and partnerships.

For example, some of BuzzFeed’s largest clients have been doing two-way data transfers with the publisher, in the “clean room” style popularized by walled gardens. If a marketer matches its customer base with BuzzFeed’s, they can find out what kind of content its audience gravitates toward. So far, it’s mostly huge clients that take this approach.

Content-driven insights can also help a marketer home in on its target audience. A streaming service working with BuzzFeed first cast a wide net. BuzzFeed found two-thirds of those engaging with the streaming service’s brand were female, 70% were cord cutters and 60% read articles about comedy shows and memes, all meaningful insights that help with ad targeting, optimization and creative messaging.

When it runs a campaign, BuzzFeed will analyze signals it gets from the ad placement, viewability and engagement – and optimize accordingly. Like walled gardens, it can also place a conversion pixel on the purchase page of an ecommerce brand’s site, and help brands understand what kind of content their customers like (or even what type of content drives conversions).

BuzzFeed is also using its data to optimize campaigns. One CPG client drove 15% more awareness and a 5% increase in purchase intent after BuzzFeed found a cohort of people who were reading similar content at the same time of day in similar geographic areas and zeroed in on that additional audience. BuzzFeed applied the same targeting to the work it did with the brand on social media, and performance ticked up off-site too.

In another iteration, a retail client improved its click-through rate 8X after negatively targeting 15 different behavioral and contextual signals.

To power some of its audience gathering and optimization, BuzzFeed uses Permutive, a tech it became an early adopter of almost two years ago.

“Where we see a lot of success is with the ad ops team and social distribution team taking the insights from first-party and third-party data signals and making them… activate-able,” said Dave Pond, head of media strategy and operations at BuzzFeed.

Marketers end up with efficient campaigns, but also often increase their scale by finding new cohorts of audiences to target based on content consumption behavior.

BuzzFeed’s use of browsing behaviors to improve ad outcomes comes as Google prepares to phase out that technology. Soon, marketers may only be able to access those insights and optimize on them with individual publishers – like BuzzFeed.

“We’re all dealing with the same constraints and roadblocks,” Blom said, like the loss of measurement that follows the absence of third-party cookies. With products like Lighthouse, BuzzFeed is building a foundation to “help clients with their cookieless future.”

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