• Jefrey Gomez

Google’s 2020 Publisher’s Privacy Playbook: Attain High Growth While Respecting Your Customers

With the inception of social media, OTT platforms, and other video hosting sites, people are consuming more content than ever before. Despite the increased marketing opportunities, sustaining growth and generating adequate revenue has become increasingly challenging, especially because of the disruption brought about by COVID-19.


The issue is heightened by the growing privacy concerns among users. It has made it difficult for publishers to strike a balance between the opportunities created by data-driven approaches and safeguarding their consumers’ privacy, who are nowadays much more cautious and particular about how their data is being used.


With so much at stake, it is necessary that you have a playbook that can guide you on how you can grow your business while protecting your users’ privacy. Thankfully, Google’s 2020 Publisher’s Playbook is there to help you navigate through today’s environment and boost your business without jeopardizing your consumers’ privacy.


Here are the major highlights from the Playbook.


1. Forge Direct Relationships With Your Customers


As users continue embracing newer ways of engagement, payment, and consumption of publisher content, there are an increasingly high number of opportunities for you to create trusted and meaningful relationships with your customers.


The data that is collected from direct interactions with your customers is called first-party data and it can be instrumental in delivering ads and experiences that suit your consumers’ taste. Naturally, your audience expects something in return when they allow you to use their data. Thus, it is crucial that you deliver to them original content that is informative, entertaining, or helpful.


There are various ways that you can use to connect users with your content, while building your own first-party audience data. From beginning paid subscriptions and newsletter programs to deploying reward systems and sending out alerts and notifications via your mobile app, there are plenty of ways for you to gather first-party data from your audience by engaging them with your content.





Upon identifying which of these above strategies you want to deploy, you should prioritize the collection, management, and activation of your data in privacy-centric ways. For this, you can use Subscribe with Google, which is a suite of products that help news publishers build sustainable digital businesses by creating direct customer revenue streams through subscriptions and user retention.


One of the best case studies of successful use of Subscribe with Google is that of a Mexican news publisher, Grupo Reforma, that used Subscribe with Google to boost its conversion rates by a whopping 43%.





When your users subscribe this way, they would no longer have to register their account, memorize new passwords, or enter credit cards. They can simply use their Google account and payment methods to go through with it.


2. Be Flexible in How You Use Data for Your Audience’s Segmentation and Monetization


First-party data is important as it can help you understand your audience and the kind of ads that would resonate with them. You can deliver more meaningful ads for your users by exploring the various ways for using first-party data in a privacy-oriented manner. This will eventually enhance your advertisers’ performance and boost your business’ revenue.


Start by creating a unique and pseudonymous identifier for all your users in your existing databases to activate first-party data in your directly-sold campaigns. You can then assign identifiers to your users in audience platforms like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software or Data Management Platforms (DMP).


Once you have created identifiers, you can use the first-party data to build audience lists according to different segments like demographics, activity history, and content preferences while ensuring that the users’ data remains safe. You can then transfer these segments into your ad management platform for packaging, marketing, and activation.


You can use the Google Ad Manager to create encrypted user IDs and deliver ads to first-party audience segments. You can probably take a leaf out of Condé Nast’s book and learn how they leveraged Google Ad Manager’s Audience Solutions features to create personalized ad experiences for all their consumers.





Also, you can add value to your ad campaigns, make them more effective, and enhance your subscriber conversion rates by understanding how your audience engages with your content, which will provide you with deep insights.


You can use an analytics software like Google Analytics 360 to gain a better understanding of your users’ journey, content consumption trends, and the impact that user behavior has on advertising and other revenue strategies.


One of Indonesia’s largest publishing conglomerates, Kompas Gramedia, used Google Analytics 360, which helped them increase their CPMs by 25%.




Such insights will help you build new audience segments affinity and in-market categories and add value for your advertisers. Also, they will provide you with a clear picture on which users are the most likely to subscribe to your services. Subsequently, it will be easier for you to decide how to promote your services to them.


3. Find & Manage Data in a Privacy-Oriented Manner


After forming direct relationships with your audience and using flexible tools to activate data across your advertising and revenue strategies, you need to incorporate cloud technology and machine learning to organize your data in a better way.


Cloud technology has certain privacy, security, and operational advantages for the storage and organization of large data sets. It encrypts all data by default and sets parameters for who can access the stored information.


However, traditional data warehouses aren’t designed to handle the massive data growth of current times. Also, they are neither cost-effective nor quickly scalable. But with BigQuery, you can address your analytics demands while scaling. It will help you kickstart your modernization and take care of the end-to-end processes like it did for the Spanish newspaper, El País, by reducing its project development time from four to six weeks to three to five weeks.





If you have just started exploring cloud technology, the Data Transfer Service in BigQuery will make it easy for you to adapt to it quickly.


If you have data scientists or analysts in your in-house team, you can use Google Cloud to enhance every aspect of your business. You can combine your first-party data from Google platforms like Ad Manager with data from your external CRMs, DMPs, or other BigQuery databases.


That is what American eCommerce company, Zulily, did to move its data pipeline and big data analytics to Google Cloud. It used BigQuery and Google Cloud Dataproc to enhance real-time decision-making for its customers and over 500 merchants.





This way, you can leverage machine learning and predictive analytics to find new information about your users, which will subsequently help you in optimizing and maximizing the performance of your CPMs.


So, How Will You Ease Growing Privacy-Related Concerns Among Your Consumers?


The growing privacy concerns have rocked every sector, and the advertising industry remains no exception. The changes that will stem from these concerns will have a long-term impact. However, this playbook demonstrates that your business growth and revenue need not come at the expense of user privacy. In fact, the various tools and platforms that publishers have these days have only contributed to creating better business opportunities and nurturing customer relationships through a responsible use of data.


If you want to go deeper into the report for more insights, feel free to download the full report here.

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