Publishers: Stop Waiting For Tech To Save You

Erik Requidan, founder and CEO at Media Tradecraft

The Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Erik Requidan, founder and CEO at Media Tradecraft.

There is a ton of fear and hysteria right now on both the buy side and the sell side, as the death of the third-party cookie nears. Anxiety is increasing for the players who do not have a solid plan, a reliable process or the right people in place to navigate the change. Everyone is waiting for the perfect technology that will replace the cookie and save the day. Who will develop it? What will it be?

But what if I told you there are powerful ways to target audiences that don’t involve technology?

Regardless of when Google pulls the final plug on cookies, there are effective strategies for publishers to consider. They’re not radical, and they don’t even involve a massive investment. No plugins or platforms. Just solid business strategies.

Here are a few ways you can stay ahead of the crumbling cookie – and anything else the ad tech industry throws our way.

Deliver compelling editorial content to grow your audience 

We’ve all heard the tired phrase “content is king” more times than anyone can count, but it’s true. If you’re delivering incredible, compelling content to your audience, they’ll keep coming back – and so will advertisers.

We’ve all seen publishers endeavor to win with click-bait headlines, but that only goes so far for so long. Publishers need to deliver the goods and support great headlines with engaging, informative articles, videos, audio, images and interactive content. And don’t forget about optimizing your content for search engines. It’s the most cost-effective way to find interested consumers for your content.

Build a talent acquisition strategy that includes doers 

Recruiting the right people for nuanced roles like audience targeting can take time and cost money, so having a plan in place is critical. You need people who can see the big picture but are also willing to get their hands dirty. 

It’s not easy to find someone who can be both strategic and tactical. Ideally, you want people who understand where the business is going, can inform your campaigns and plans and also understand your monetization strategy and optimize yield.

Innovate your product

Growth is fueled when publishers continually develop new offerings and update existing capabilities. There are so many ways you can get creative and offer users fresh ways to consume your content and advertisers new ways to engage them. Introduce an app for your audio and video content with new advertising opportunities. Consider ad formats and direct-buy packages that include opportunities across your portfolio of products or sponsored content opportunities. 

Innovation is not only necessary to keep your audience interested and engaged; it is also a great avenue for untapped revenue opportunities.

Solidify your plan forward 

Rather than chasing what other sites have or vendors claim you need, it is important to have a customized plan and long-term vision for your publication. Your users aren’t everyone else’s users, nor is your content everyone else’s content. Your long-term plan must suit your business, so plan carefully and execute flawlessly.

All of this may sound easy, but it’s actually incredibly hard to balance priorities, align stakeholders, onboard tacticians and determine the correct balance of ad tech mechanics. However, for publishers today, future success is less about someone else’s tech and more about a bespoke strategy and custom tech.

And here’s the ugly truth: There’s no silver bullet or holy grail to solve the cookie conundrum. There is no single technology that will save media companies. Instead, it’ll require a solid foundation of people, plans and processes.

Follow Erik Requidan (@Requidan) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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