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Publishers bristle at agencies’ demands for first-party data

Ad agencies using data to retarget publishers’ audiences is nothing new. But multiple publishers have said they’re getting more frequent, onerous demands from ad agencies wanting to get their hands on that audience data.

Of greater concern to publishers is when the agency asks for all the IP addresses of people targeted by a campaign, which would permit the agency to retarget them elsewhere using its data management platform. Increasingly, publishers say, the agencies are asking for permission to use this data in perpetuity.

Publishers said Publicis agencies including Spark and GroupeConnect are the most aggressive, requiring that publishers accept clients’ pixels for campaign analysis and retargeting, but that they’re increasingly getting similar demands from other agencies.

It’s legitimate for the advertiser to use tracking pixels for attribution purposes, following a consumer to understand what led someone to take an action on an ad, said one publisher, speaking anonymously for fear of retribution by agencies.

But “I’m not OK with thinking because you served an ad on our site, you own our audience,” the same publisher said. The other worry is the agency will use the audience data for other clients. This publisher will only agree to let the agency use the audience data for attribution purposes, but that puts the burden on the publisher to keep track, and often the publisher still finds the agency is using the tags for retargeting.

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