Using third-party provides audience insights to shape content, product offerings

By Philippe Guay


New York, United States


No doubt a lot of you have looked into enhanced audience insights.

The process is always the same: You touch base with an account representative, and she shows you how much insight and data she can deliver on your audience. She takes you through the thousands of insights, custom surveys, and data points to help you address your users in impactful and resonating ways.

Your eyes go wide with possibilities and then the ball drops: It costs how much?

Audience measurement platforms like Nielsen and Comscore cost tens of thousands of dollars per year, and dedicated data management platforms (DMPs) can easily run in the six figures. Custom surveys and research projects are also options, but they are equally as costly and only give you a snapshot of your users.

So, the question becomes, how do you get to know your audience while not breaking the bank?

Determining ROI on audience measurements is tough. Publishers need to understand their audience to develop a content strategy. What’s more, advertisers are willing to pay higher CPMs if they can segment their dollars by audience behaviours, purchase triggers, habits, and more. Using a DMP could satisfy both needs but, as stated above, the cost can be extremely prohibitive. 

All is not lost though. Many publishers use third-party content providers to reduce operational costs while enhancing user experience. But there is another advantage many publishers don’t think to leverage — their audience insights.

Consider these insights:

As an example, here’s a snapshot of an audience viewing an entertainment-related video we delivered to one of our publishing partners. You can see the audience is health-conscious, enjoys being outdoors, and has a high interest in the stock market.

What could you do with information like this from a third-party content provider? You could actively pivot your sales focus to more health-conscious products, resulting in a higher CPM because you know your clients would be reaching a more receptive consumer. You would also know which content would have the highest chance of conversion on your newsletters and social media channels. You could also push up a business- or stock market-related story on your home page, reducing bounce rate and ensuring a longer time on site. Or you could create specific content aligning with your audience’s top interests and hobbies, then sell a full sponsorship to related clients.

Any third-party content provider with an audience measurement platform should be able to provide these insights to help you shape both your content and sales offerings. It should also be a question you raise when looking for new content providers for your publication.

Everything you’ve heard about advanced audience insights is true. They will provide a massive opportunity to learn about your users, allowing you to leverage that into better content and more revenue. The one thing you don’t have to believe is that it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg.

About Philippe Guay

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