JP/Politikens Hus accounts for more than 50% of time spent with commercial news media in Denmark — a crucial statistic the company aims to leverage in growing its digital advertising revenue. Dorthe Bjerregaard-Knudsen, the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, told INMA European News Media Conference participants that Politikens Hus is fighting back against the dominance of technology in its value chain.

“We have realised a lot of what is actually going on in that digital economy is not in our best interest and is not in the best interest of our digital advertisers,” Bjerregaard-Knudsen said.

Dorthe Bjerregaard-Knudsen, executive vice president and chief operating officer at JP/Politikens Hus, explains how the company is focused on transparency, safety, and effect with his ad partners.
Dorthe Bjerregaard-Knudsen, executive vice president and chief operating officer at JP/Politikens Hus, explains how the company is focused on transparency, safety, and effect with his ad partners.

As a premium publisher, Politikens Hus delivers better context, attention, and time spent than large, international companies competing for Denmark’s digital ad spend. To achieve better results in the market, Bjerregaard-Knudsen said the company is focusing on three areas to prove its value to potential ad partners: transparency, safety, and effect.

Now that the fascination with technology and what it can do for ad sales has cooled, publishers need to evaluate where middle men have entered into their value chains. Transparency can increase awareness around premium publishers’ ad inventory value.

“Advertisers are waking up, but they need more transparency,” she said. “We also, as publishers, need to fight for the transparency. We need to make advertisers aware of the fact that all inventory, according to which system they enter through the market, looks differently.”

The market is heavily influenced by what Google is selling, but Bjerregaard-Knudsen said it is important to remember Google is not just a tech company but a media house.

“What I hear from the buy side is that it is a remarkable amount of inventory that they are being offered, and it is remarkable how much of that Google inventory actually wins the auctions,” she said. “And we have no transparency into that.”

Brand safety for many advertisers is a matter of taste, Bjerregaard-Knudsen said. But when it comes to safety on a broader scale, publishers should embrace the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR’s implementation may be the greatest gift publishers have been given in the past couple of years, she said. Asking for user consent passes a safety net to publishers’ ad partners.

“And that means advertisers can come to our sites and do their targeting on safe, legal grounds,” she said.

By focusing on effect, Politikens Hus is really aligning its KPIs across its business, Bjerregaard-Knudsen said. Building loyal traffic joins the editorial and advertising sides of the business under the same goal, addressing the issue of attention scarcity. User attention is invaluable to advertisers.

“We’re not just focused on traffic, traffic from whereever we can get it. We’re focused on loyal traffic,” she said. “When they come to our site, they have actually decided to spend time to engage with our content. They are in a different mindset than when they flip through the random feed of Facebook.”

Viewability is not the sole criteria to base ad prices on, Bjerregaard-Knudsen said. Attention can give advertisers better results, and a good proxy for measuring attention is time spent.

An eye-tracking study from Lumen found 78% of viewable ads do not get viewed. A different study done by Politikens Hus with Group M analysed ad viewablilty and user action at a local level. The study found premium Danish publishers have higher interaction rates with their ads, despite a smaller scale of viewability. Another study from Group M found quality exposure with premium publishers is 42% more cost effective than other platforms.

Based on these studies, Bjerregaard-Knudsen said publishers need to prove to advertisers the time spent and attention they earn, combined with more precise audience data offers a more cost-effective option than the big, international players.