Home Publishers The NY Post Is Turning First-Party Data Into Direct Deals, With A Little Help From Its Friends

The NY Post Is Turning First-Party Data Into Direct Deals, With A Little Help From Its Friends

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Publishers have heard it countless times: First-party data will be the key to winning ad budgets as third-party cookies disappear.

But data science is complicated, and publisher sales teams need help not only gathering first-party data, but using that data to build audiences that are attractive to advertisers.

The NY Post has been around for over 200 years, so you might assume it has a wealth of proprietary audience data to pull from. But it only started seriously building its first-party data strategy a couple of years ago, said SVP of revenue operations Amanda Gomez.

As part of building that strategy, the NY Post contracted Permutive as its preferred data management platform. Doing so enabled it to pool data insights from its parent company, News Corp.’s, wider network, Gomez said.

The publisher then turned to Prohaska Consulting for advice on monetizing the audience data within Permutive’s platform. Prohaska also helps the NY Post tie that data to users by incentivizing email logins or using alternative IDs.

Adding addressability

For example, the NY Post has been working with Prohaska and Permutive to enhance its sports-focused audience, which has historically been one of its most in-demand audiences, Gomez said. Permutive’s platform can surface insights about which sports content resonates across different fandoms and track which non-sports content appeals to regular sports readers.

Plus, those insights helped the NY Post build its Post Sports+ subscription newsletter offering, which launched in 2021.

Launching more newsletter-focused products was Prohaska’s recommendation, Gomez said. Newsletters provide a reliable method for gathering users’ email addresses and incentivizing these users to log in while browsing a publisher’s content, which had never really been a priority for the NY Post beforehand, she said.

Currently, between 1% and 3% of the NY Post’s audience can be authenticated via an email address or other deterministic identifier, Gomez said, a number it intends to grow.

To that end, it launched the New York Post ID, an IP address-based ID powered by tech vendor Aqfer that tracks users across its properties, even when they’re not logged in. The rollout of this ID has been extensively informed by Prohaska.

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Closer collaboration

By tying behavioral data to its users, the NY Post can build audiences that more effectively hit a buyer’s campaign goals. This enables the publisher’s six-person ad sales team to strategize with advertisers on direct buys.

Ultimately, the main goal of the NY Post’s first-party data strategy is to convert existing open auction programmatic demand to direct business.

Currently, it sells most of its ads through open auction, Gomez said. “We are hoping, as I feel like so many publishers are, that is going to shift more to direct. Open-market CPMs are obviously lower.”

For example, Permutive’s platform ingested user behavior signals from the NY Post’s video content for the first time, Gomez said, creating more data-informed campaign strategies for its Page Six celebrity and entertainment-focused video inventory.

And Permutive’s cross-site integration allows it to receive insights from News Corp.’s ecommerce-focused brands, like Realtor.com, Gomez said. So now, the NY Post’s direct sales team can approach real estate advertisers with the option to retarget users who have browsed Realtor.com listings while they’re reading the NY Post’s content.Comic: Ain't No Party Like A First-Party ... Party

This kind of flexibility, and the collaboration it enables, can drum up repeat business from a loyal pool of buyers. And the publisher can charge more for those data-enriched audiences.

Data-driven direct

Currently, the NY Post’s PMP salesperson sees the most benefit from growing its data-driven advertising capabilities, Gomez said. But the plan is to train its legacy print ad sales teams on how to sell existing advertisers on new digital opportunities.

For example, the direct sales team regularly works with local mom and pop advertisers, which prefer non-targeted, full-day site takeovers because they are similar to print sponsorships, Gomez said. Now, when a buyer contacts the direct sales team about running such a campaign, the salesperson will throw in some targeted digital media as a value add.

And as the NY Post grows its share of direct deals, this should not only increase its potential revenue but also give it more control over its site experience, she said.

Currently, because its monetization leans toward open auction, the publisher has little control over the number of cookies and trackers coming into its site through ad creative.

But if these same placements can be sold through PMP deals, its sales team can have more of a back and forth with buyers about what trackers need to be included. This will also reduce ad creative’s impact on page loading speeds and whether ads actually render before the auction times out.

Based on the success Prohaska and Permutive have had in helping publishers like the NY Post devise first-party data strategies, the two companies will announce Wednesday they’ve combined their monetization capabilities into a more formalized offering accessible to all publishers (provided they have a contract with Permutive).

“With the cookie going away, a lot of publishers weren’t set up for success when it came to our data strategies, and we’re running a million miles an hour [trying to catch up],” Gomez said. “Sometimes it’s good to have outside voices guide you in the right direction.”

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