While 2021 was far from a return to normal, publishers found ways to adapt, innovate and thrive in a rapidly changing environment. To help you keep your business on track in 2022, we're recapping some of last year's biggest tips and resources from Google Ad Manager.
2021 has been a big year for app developers — global consumer spend has reached new heights; expectations around digital security continue to shift; and mobile platforms and regulators are introducing changes to better protect user privacy. These will likely continue to be major themes in 2022, so we’re sharing some monetization strategies to help you drive business growth in a fast-evolving landscape.
Diversify your demand sources to deliver more value
As the industry pivots to real-time bidding, strong demand sources can help you make the most of your unique inventory. Access to a diverse range of buyers in particular can deliver strong effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPMs) for your inventory.
Google AdMob supports many demand sources to help you earn more across real-time bidding and waterfall mediation. The AdMob network includes demand from Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and more than 200 demand-side platforms (DSPs). Soon, we’ll introduce software development kit (SDK) integrations with buyers like Snap to further enhance performance — with more to come in 2022. For direct-sold inventory support, you may want to consider Google Ad Manager.
After mobile game developer Me2Zen saw strong performance from the AdMob network, they decided to move to the AdMob platform. The team adopted both bidding and waterfall mediation and saw a 15% increase in their average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU).
Simplify operations to free up resources
An effective suite of tools to manage operational tasks can save time and help you focus on growth. For example, a robust A/B testing strategy can help you decide what levers to pull to optimize performance with confidence. With AdMob, you can set up an A/B test with a few clicks and get actionable insights to earn more.
Onboarding and testing can be another manual and time-consuming task for developers. With tools like ad inspector, you can test adapter setups, demand sources and more with the shake of your hand — which accelerates the testing process and adds a bit of fun.
RisingWings, a fast-growing casual game company, cut operational costs by 50% and saw ARPDAU increase by 8.7% after switching to AdMob. The team took an integrated approach with in-app ads for all their hybrid games, and built a reliable revenue stream without affecting user retention.
Use data and insights to drive growth
The right insights can uncover new opportunities beyond monetization. A broad understanding of user lifetime value (LTV) can help you refine your user acquisition strategy. And insights on how ads influence user retention can help you optimize total revenue while maintaining a good user experience. With resources like the ads activity report and cohort report available on AdMob, you’ll get a clear picture of ads performance and user LTV. You can then use these insights to find more high-value users through solutions like target return on ad spend (tROAS) for ads revenue.
During the transition to a hybrid model, game developer IGG combined LTV data from AdMob with internal ROI analysis to identify new growth opportunities in their top markets. These insights helped the team double their user base by increasing spend on regional App campaigns.
Apply strong brand safety controls to maintain user trust
As people’s expectations around digital privacy continue to rise, it’s critical to build trust through engaging and brand-appropriate ads. While a meaningful ad experience can complement your app and increase trust, a bad experience can lead to an uninstall or, even worse, a loss of trust in your brand.
To ensure brand safety, your platform should have a high bar for the quality of advertiser demand and provide controls to help you deliver an optimal ad experience. With AdMob, you can block ads from certain categories or specific competitors, or use the Ad review center to review ads flowing through the AdMob network and manually block them if needed. We’ll expand these same ad quality controls to third-party buyers participating in bidding in 2022.
We’ve learned so much in an industry that’s changing faster than ever. As we head into 2022, we look forward to continuing to partner together to shape the future of app monetization.
This month, Google virtually hosted more than 200 publishers at the 2021 Black and Latinx Publishers Summit to discuss how they can grow their businesses using digital advertising. The event featured talks with industry leaders like Local Media Association and CafeMedia on empowering diverse creators, innovating out of a crisis, using analytics to curate content and earning money from sites.
With ad spend predicted to keep rising in 2022, we’re sharing the top seven takeaways from the event to help publishers make the most of this growth.
- Increase your reach through collaborations
Sonny Messiah Jiles and Larry Lee from Local Media Association's Word In Black, a newsroom collaboration of leading Black publishers in the U.S., shared what it means to be in the audience business — not the news business. Reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement, Sonny and Larry noted that the Black press plays a critical role in elevating voices and servicing communities. Collaborations like Word In Black, among others, have proven valuable to publishers looking to grow and serve a niche audience.
- Think of your platform as a business
Showing up and being authentic to yourself, and to your audience, is important. Tomi Akitunde, Vanessa Mota and Jenné Claiborne from CafeMedia’s Remarkable Voices — an eight-week training and mentorship program — spoke about the challenges of feeling confident enough to turn their hobbies into sustainable businesses. For these creators, keeping a list of wins and removing the “perfection” barrier helped keep them grounded and focused.
- Treat your website like your digital piece of real estate
Grow with Google Digital Coach Sandra Garcia shared that, as a small publisher, you are in “the business of you.” She noted that small publishers and business owners can grow their careers by mastering their brands and online presence — including making sure your brand is consistent and up to date across any platforms you’re publishing content on.
- Take advantage of productivity tools
According to The Tilt, content creators spend 30% of their time creating content weekly. The remainder is spent on managing their personal brand, building relationships, selling, marketing and emailing. Using productivity tools like Drive, Gmail and Google Meet to manage emails, calls and documents can help you spend more time on what really matters — creating content.
- Start measuring for better marketing
Getting to know your audience is essential. Eden Hagos from BLACK FOODIE shared how she analyzes her content’s performance to understand what’s resonating with her audience, what channels are driving traffic and where she should invest more time. Tools like Google Analytics can give you insights about your audience and website to help you make strategic business decisions.
- Use emerging platforms to generate leads and test content
Emerging technologies, formats and social networks are a great way to grow your audience and test out new features. Cedric J. Rogers from Culture Genesis shared how his team uses new platforms to grow readership for their main monetized platforms. Rene Alegria and the Mundo Hispanico team also recently tested moving to an infinite scroll on their homepage, which increased time spent on their site by 300%.
- Understand what metrics make up your revenue
Your earnings are a product of your costs-per-click, clickthrough rate and pageviews. Google AdSense and Google Ad Manager have a variety of features — like Auto ads, Auto optimize and manual experiments — to help you learn how to maximize your metrics and increase your earning potential.
If you’d like to explore new platforms and start monetizing today, Google AdSense is a great place to start — it’s easy to use and automatically provides optimal ad formats and sizes for your site. For publishers looking to monetize cross platform or manage direct deals, try out Google Ad Manager.
In this post, we’re sharing top insights from a research report commissioned by Google and published by Deloitte. The report focuses on the evolving ads privacy landscape through the lens of European publishers. We also recently studiedhow publishers in the Americas are turning to first-party data to prepare for the future.
As new privacy regulations emerge, publishers are rethinking their digital ad strategies. To better understand how industry leaders are navigating the shifting landscape and investing in first-party data, Google partnered with Deloitte to speak to 30 publishers and broadcasters across Europe. Today, we’re sharing an overview of what the full report uncovered, including the impact of recent privacy changes on publishers and guidance for a future-proof, privacy-first path forward.
A more private internet
According to industry research, there’s been a steep decline in user trust on the internet — steep enough to spur action. In a recent Ipsos report, 80% of people are concerned about the potential misuse of personal information online, prompting 73% to delete cookies and clear their browsing history and 70% to switch geolocation off when they’re not using it. Regulators and governments around the world are moving online privacy to the top of their agendas, causing leading technology and internet businesses to double down on preparing for a more private web.
Our research also indicates that publishers are generally in support of the new privacy regulations, since it helps them establish a trust-based relationship with customers. But while the industry adjusts to the deprecation of third-party cookies, survey respondents are questioning the impact to open-market programmatic trading.
Lessons from industry leaders
The main lessons in re-strategizing for the new era of online privacy fall into three categories:
Get started on a first-party data journey
Currently, 80% of users give publishers permission to capture and use their information for analytics, marketing and site optimization. But top publishers aren’t looking to gain consent at all costs, especially not at the cost of consumer trust. Instead, they focus on clear communication and transparency about what they’re requesting and why, helping customers make an informed decision.
For 72% of publishers, their biggest worry about using first-party data is privacy legislation. While European privacy compliance efforts are mostly driven at the country level, resulting in varied approaches, a few patterns became apparent during our conversations with publishers. Many publishers are installing better data governance, rolling out privacy-first processes, installing privacy tools or auditing suppliers, among other activities — more can be found on page six of the report.
Build data maturity
Seeing data as a living asset that can be developed through machine learning, as opposed to a static source of insight, is key to achieving data maturity and could help publishers pull ahead. Leaders are also prioritizing access to secure, verified data (often received during the user registration process) and valuable second-party data. Second-party data refers to other organizations’ first-party data bought directly from the source, which can be used to validate an organization’s own first-party data.
Engage with the buy-side
To reach premium cost per thousand (CPMs) and drive higher demand, most publishers create bespoke audiences to trade programmatically, with some publishers achieving results 15 times higher than campaigns without audiences.
Engaging with the buy-side is critical. Many publishers are proactively initiating conversations with agencies and brands, where relevant, to test the impact of third-party cookieless trading on CPM or yield, the effectiveness of their first-party solution and their interest in joint planning for a privacy-centric world. However, publishers feel that parts of the sector aren’t properly preparing for the upcoming privacy changes. This supports recent IAB research, where 40% of marketers claim they aren’t ready.
A privacy-focused future
This is only the beginning of internet regulation, and policies are expected to become even more complex. According to Gartner, 65% of the world will have personal data covered under modern privacy regulation by 2023, up from 10% in 2020.
In light of these regulatory changes, successful publishers are looking for ways to share data across the ecosystem through clean rooms or other privacy-friendly means. Publishers that use first-party and second-party data effectively, and with privacy top of mind, will be able to offer a better, broader set of products to advertisers. This will allow them to invest in content that helps broaden and deepen their relationship with audiences.
In this post, we’re sharing top insights from a research report commissioned by Google and published by Deloitte. The report focuses on how publishers in the Americas are turning to first-party data to prepare for the future. We also recently studiedthe evolving ads privacy landscape through the lens of European publishers.
90% of the North and South American publishers surveyed for our new research believe that online privacy changes are either overdue or coming at the right time. At the same time, as the industry shifts away from third-party cookies to honor people’s increasing preference towards privacy, McKinsey is projecting a meaningful reduction in publishers' collective ad revenues. To offset their potential losses, many of the publishers we spoke with are turning to first-party data because it offers a privacy-forward way to deliver more relevant and engaging ad experiences for their audiences, which are valuable to their advertiser clients.
To help our partners prepare for a privacy-centric future, we worked with Deloitte to interview and survey 35 market-leading publishing, broadcast, e-commerce and telecommunication companies (all referred to here as “publishers”) across the Americas. The findings show how top publishers are prioritizing first-party data to better connect with media buyers and maintain their competitive edge. Below are a few insights from the report.
Setting up for success
80% of the publishers we interviewed claim at least a certain degree of confidence in their ability to source the first-party data they’ll need to thrive in the future. Here’s how they’re doing it.
Grow first-party audiences by adding value
Before gathering first-party data, publishers note that it’s important to get the value exchange right. “We can’t just collect people’s information or say, ‘Come visit our site and sign over your data,’” said one U.S. publisher. “We need to re-legitimize the value exchange and improve the quality of signals gathered from direct interactions with users.”
Creating value starts by delivering the most relevant and compelling content possible for audiences. From there, publishers that have developed strong relationships with their audiences are enticing them to create accounts in exchange for premium content or additional functionality, like sharing, commenting or making purchases.
Manage your audience data more effectively
When discussing how they store user data, several participants mention that they’re turning away from traditional third-party Data Management Platforms (DMPs) and investing in owned and operated Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). “I think that it has almost become a necessity to own the relationship with the customer, own your consumer data platform and own the ways that you connect with third parties,” a U.S. publisher shared.
Our report also uncovered that many publishers are creating first-party identifiers — IDs set by publishers using first-party cookies or users' login data — across their sites or apps. This helps them gain greater insights from each customer touchpoint, and improve the content and ad experience.
Connecting audiences with media buyers
The majority of publishers surveyed are optimistic about how privacy changes will impact their relationships with media buyers. 75% believe these changes will shift power from media buyers to media sellers, who have long, established relationships with people who visit their sites and apps.
According to the report, publishers are activating their first-party data with media buyers in a variety of ways. They’re selling audience segments based on contextual signals in exchanges. They’re creating encrypted identifiers specific to their sites, and using those to reach individuals either through the programmatic auction or direct deals. Some publishers are also using data clean rooms, where both the publisher and advertiser provide identifiers to match a set of users that meet the advertiser’s needs.
But before you activate your data, it’s important to first understand your privacy approach. How publishers sell their inventory in the future will depend on key things like their level of access to first-party data, the sophistication of their data technology and how much they trust a third party with their first-party data.
Achieving results with first-party data
According to the report, 70% of publishers believe that first-party data will provide a significant advantage in the future. Keeping in mind that the benefits of first-party data extend into marketing and management decision-making, the research identified a few ways leading partners are using first-party data to maintain a competitive ads business.
Build more accurate audiences
Most publishers shared that they are focused on using first-party data and machine learning to build audience cohorts based on the content users consume across their sites.
Establish more direct relationships
More than 60% of the players Deloitte surveyed describe a move away from the programmatic auction to more direct forms of trading — like Programmatic Guaranteed — to drive yield.
Discover new sources of revenue
First-party data can serve as the foundation for entirely new businesses — especially for publishers who benefit from an inherent advantage in capturing first-party data, like telcos and commerce players. Some of the examples shared include loyalty programs and even a credit card offering.
Navigating the road ahead, together
The landscapes across both advertising technology and legislation are shifting daily. To help make sense of the changes and take advantage of emerging opportunities, 50% of the publishers surveyed are partnering closely with technology providers. And while many are forming a privacy-first strategy to thrive in today’s market, savvy publishers are building adaptable plans to succeed in tomorrow’s.
These are just a sample of the insights available in our new study. To learn more, download the full report or watch the webinar presented by the report’s lead author, Patrick Ugeux, Associate Partner at Deloitte.
PubCast is a podcast featuring the stories of website creators and app developers who turned their passions into profit with help from Google. In our second season of the series, you’ll hear from small business founders across the globe sharing how they launched their digital businesses and navigated challenges like the pandemic. Using AdSense, Ad Manager and AdMob to earn ad revenue, these businesses create free content, tools and resources that contribute to a thriving, open internet.
You can listen to the miniseries on the [email protected] podcast channel — just look for PubCast in the episode title — or anywhere you find podcasts.
Check out our Season 2 episodes:
- Jessica Rovello | Building your favorite games and a thriving digital business: Jessica Rovello is the CEO and Co-Founder of Arkadium, a game development company that has built hundreds of games enjoyed on over 800 million devices worldwide. Arkadium has been voted one of Inc. Magazine's best places to work and takes an employee-centric approach to growth.
- Dennis Littley | Helping the world create restaurant-quality food at home: Chef Dennis Littley got his start as a classically trained chef, and kindled his passion for teaching by creating a culinary program at the high school he worked at. Now, Chef Dennis works full time on his food and travel site, Ask Chef Dennis, helping people create restaurant-quality meals at home.
- Christeen Skinner | Bringing astrology online and building an audience from zero: Christeen Skinner is the Director of City Scopes, an astrology-focused company founded in 1998 in London. The company has grown to offer a variety of resources, like astrology sites, training courses, books and more. Christeen now focuses her time on expanding into other areas, such as using astrology to try to predict financial outcomes.
- Paul Husbands | Amplifying Caribbean artists on the world stage: Paul Husbands is the CEO and Founder of Selecta Charts, a first-of-its-kind music streaming platform for Caribbean artists. Since its launch, Selecta Charts has drawn thousands of listeners and propelled hundreds of artists to new heights.
- Horatiu Boeriu | From zero to millions: How BMW Blog drove to journalistic success: Horatiu Boeriu is the CEO and Founder of BMW Blog, a Chicago-based website dedicated to automotive journalism with a focus on the BMW brand. Horatiu transformed his website from a passion project into a respected media outlet in the car industry, and has grown his audience to several million car enthusiasts.
Are you a digital business owner who uses AdSense, AdMob or Ad Manager, and want to be featured on PubCast? Fill out our feedback form, including your contact information and a few sentences about your business.
And if you’re interested in learning how to earn money from your site or app, check out how Google AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager can help.
Curious how the Privacy Sandbox will keep people’s data private?
In the second episode of our Publisher Privacy Q&A video series, we simplify how the technology behind the Privacy Sandbox works and how its solutions incorporate tested privacy practices into online advertising. We also explore how Chrome is designing new capabilities to help advertisers reach their audiences in more privacy-forward ways, and why we believe these solutions will last for the long term.
Questions covered in episode 2:
- How will the Privacy Sandbox solutions keep people’s data private?
- How will the Privacy Sandbox impact my advertisers?
- Will Privacy Sandbox solutions last?
Stay tuned for the third Publisher Privacy Q&A episode coming in January 2022. In the meantime, check out episode 1 of this series, and the Privacy Sandbox website for more information and the latest timeline on solution development, testing and releases.
It’s no secret that the digital advertising ecosystem is evolving. And at the center of all that change is user privacy. The way that publishers, advertisers and technology providers handle and activate user data is being reconsidered and reimagined to more effectively protect people’s personal information online.
Web developers and technology providers are leading open-source initiatives like the Privacy Sandbox to address this challenge. But other areas of investment, like first-party data, are largely being driven by publishers and brands who are uniquely positioned to establish and deepen direct relationships with the people who love their content, products or services.
As we’ve shared in the past, we believe first-party data is poised to play an important role in the future of digital advertising. That's why we're launching new features that will make it easier for our publishing partners to maintain direct relationships important to their businesses and scale the use of their first-party data in ways that meet people’s expectations for data protection.
Activating first-party data in the programmatic auction
Today, we are launching new functionality that enables publishers to share Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs) — pseudonymized first-party identifiers that are created and controlled by publishers — with Google’s programmatic demand. By helping publishers expand the use of their first-party identifiers to more transaction types, like the Open Auction, our partners will be able to show ads that are more relevant to their audiences, which will increase the value of their programmatic inventory.
In our initial experiments, we observed that Beta partners experienced an increase of 15% or more in programmatic auction revenue when passing PPIDs in inventory without other identifiers.1
“By partnering with Google to test PPID for programmatic demand, we’ve seen significant revenue improvements in browsers where third-party cookies are not available. With the wealth of powerful first-party data Hearst Magazines generates in facilitating commerce activity from our sites, we’re excited by this progress and look forward to seeing what solutions Ad Manager builds to help publishers navigate today's privacy environment.”
Vice President of Programmatic Monetization & Operations, Hearst Magazines
"At Pelmorex, finding privacy-first solutions is an important part of our long-term monetization strategy. That's why we recently partnered with Ad Manager to test PPID for programmatic. The ability to bring our own data to the auction offers the potential to increase the value of our programmatic inventory now and in the future when third-party cookies are fully phased out."
Head of Monetization & Programmatic, Pelmorex Corp, The Weather Network
Before sharing PPIDs with Google demand, Ad Manager turns them into per-publisher partitioned IDs, so users cannot be identified across other publishers’ sites and apps. Then Google Ads and Display & Video 360 aggregate the anonymized data from participating publishers to help build audience segments. Using these segments, advertisers can programmatically deliver relevant ads on publishers’ sites and apps based on first-party data. In addition to helping publishers earn more revenue in the auction, the data also unlocks core functionality for advertisers, like cross-device reach, frequency management, and creative optimization in programmatic inventory without third-party cookies or other identifiers present.
It’s important to note that advertisers using segments built with PPIDs will not have visibility into underlying user data or the IDs themselves, and because PPIDs are unique to each publisher, there is no way to match identifiers or create profiles across sites.
Audience segments created using PPIDs will only be made available in programmatic auctions when there are no other identifiers present. This means that PPIDs will have no impact on publishers’ programmatic inventory where third-party cookies or other identifiers are still provided. Additionally, PPIDs passed to Ad Manager cannot contain personal information or device IDs and Google has no visibility or access to the underlying data.
Supporting publishers’ direct relationships
We understand that publishers often work directly with many third-party buying partners — Authorized Buyers and Open Bidders — across the ecosystem to maximize the value of their inventory. That’s why we’ve long supported these trusted, direct relationships between publishers and buyers, and built solutions to help our partners monetize in the best way for their businesses.
In March, we shared that we are building a new feature to enable publishers to securely share encrypted signals with Authorized Buyers and Open Bidders via Ad Manager. We've since made progress based on feedback from our partners, and in the coming months, we’ll onboard additional Beta partners and increase the functionality to include app and video inventory. We’re also continuing to make workflow improvements in the Ad Manager dashboard, including troubleshooting tools and controls to make it easier for publishers and their partners to use the feature. Our goal is to make encrypted signals available to all publishers and their Authorized Buyer and Open Bidder partners in 2022.
Similar to how PPIDs are used to pass first-party data to Google’s programmatic demand, encrypted signals from publishers will allow publishers to share their data directly with other trusted buyers. Publishers who opt to use this feature will have full control over what data is passed and which bidders receive the signals. Ad Manager will only route the signals on behalf of the publisher and will not be able to read the signals.
Investing in first-party data is a privacy-forward way that publishers can increase the value of their programmatic inventory now and in the future. Given the feedback we’ve heard from partners, we have prioritized this product area and will continue to develop features that empower publishers with the data and identity tools they need to prepare and grow their businesses.
1. Google Ad Manager Internal Data, August 2021
A few years ago, we introduced the Policy center in Ad Manager, AdMob and AdSense to provide publishers with a single, centralized hub to review and monitor policy violations and appeals. This helps ensure they have the information they need to monetize their inventory and remain policy compliant.
Starting today, our Policy center has a brand new look. As part of this update, we’re introducing new features — like the ability to report the number of ad requests affected by policy issues, and advanced filters that are designed to help you better understand, prioritize and resolve issues.
Improved account health summary
The new and improved account health summary now provides a quick overview of the total number of sites and apps with issues, highlighting the number of issues that are a “Must fix.” This can help publishers better prioritize the issues that require their attention. The account health summary also shows the impact on ads serving for any given page where ads have been disabled or restricted.
We have added more robust filtering and search capabilities across the issue table, which lists current issues waiting to be resolved in the Policy Center. Publishers can now filter the tables using single or multiple columns, such as all issues reported on a given date that are a “Must fix.” A list of issues can also be downloaded as a CSV file for a filtered view.
Comprehensive issue table
Issues across sites and apps are now part of a single issue table, so Ad Manager publishers have a more comprehensive view of issues across their inventory. We have also introduced a new aggregate column — “Ad requests - last 7 days” — to help publishers understand the impact of each issue and prioritize them accordingly. The full table can now be sorted by column.
We're bringing more changes to help you solve issues faster, including enabling screenshots of issues in the Policy center. This will help you pinpoint exactly where the issue is, and give you the context to fix it quickly.
To learn more about the Policy center, check out our Inside the Policy center video series.
Every day, our global teams field questions from publishers seeking to learn more about privacy topics like the end of support for third-party cookies and the Privacy Sandbox.
To help partners stay current on these topics and more, we’ve created a new publisher privacy video series that addresses questions we hear most often. Each episode will be brief – five minutes or less – and will be released every few months to keep partners informed about new developments.
The first episode of the series is designed to provide a base level of understanding around ads privacy before we dive into deeper or more timely topics.
Questions answered in episode 1:
Stay tuned for the second Publisher Privacy Q&A episode coming in October. In episode 2 we’ll take a much closer look at how the Privacy Sandbox protects user privacy and what publishers and advertisers will be able to do with it.