New Publishing Tech
4 mins read

Q&A: Permutive, using first-party data to boost publisher revenues

Permutive was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in London, with a second office in New York. WNIP met up last year with Permutive’s Co-Founder, Joe Root, but since then the company has considerably evolved its offerings built on edge computing and privacy compliance. WNIP caught up with Aly Nurmohamed, General Manager at Permutive, to find out more…

Can you remind our publisher audience what business problem your company is addressing?

Our DMP gives publishers real-time access to their audience’s behavior so that they can make decisions to better monetize and engage each individual. Publishers can create audience segments that update every second using first-party cookies, so that they can sell targeted, brand-safe advertising to their entire audience with no match rate discrepancies.

The solution also gives publishers valuable insight and information beyond advertising to help shape future commercial, product, and editorial strategies.

We work closely with our publishers on building their first-party strategies, as well as giving them the tools to do so. This is especially important as regulatory and browser changes mean that tracking cookies are increasingly blocked by default – meaning that without an alternative,  audiences in these environments are hidden from them.

Our clients come from across Europe and North America, and include BuzzFeed, Penske, The Guardian, The Economist, Condé Nast International, The Financial Times, and Immediate Media.

Can you give some examples of publishers successfully using your solution?

Immediate Media’s previous DMP needed up to 48 hours to identify those fleeting, transient readers and relied heavily on third-party cookies: far too long to identify them and serve personalized ads. In fact, only around 20% of its audience was known. It wanted a real-time, first-party cookie solution to unlock its valuable audiences and provide advertisers with the scale they needed.

Within months of working with them, the publisher could see 80% coverage of its audience, allowing it to unlock audiences and scale propositions across the business. The result was increased CTR at an average of 132% compared with the incumbent segment, and more than a 100% increase in revenue.

How has your solution evolved since we last spoke to Permutive?

We are currently rolling out improvements in three particular areas: audiences, campaigns and insights.

Regarding audiences, publishers can now respond to RFPs faster and use a broader range of data points. This enables them to build out even more detailed audience narratives that should help them win more briefs.

Secondly, our pre- and post-campaign insights have now been brought to the same level as our audience dashboards, giving customers a new level of insight to help win rebookings and influence the media planning process.

Finally, alongside redesigning insights to be more intuitive to use, we’ve also rebuilt them to allow us to develop insights on the platform much quicker. This has an entire team dedicated to it which will help us evolve new features and functionality throughout the year.

What are other people doing in this space and why?

Since Google announced in January that its Chrome browser would phase out all third-party cookies by the end of 2021, we are seeing a huge amount of innovation in this space. Everybody realizes that the ecosystem of the future will not be built on cookies, but nobody quite knows what that looks like. We – and others – believe that scalable solutions that rely on first-party data, and build on the principles of privacy, are the way forward.

Anonymous users, those that can only be understood by a publisher or used for contextual targeting, will become the largest part of the web and this is where we think the opportunity lies. This is where Permutive is focused and where we provide value to publishers today.

Other providers are looking at authenticated solutions, where users are logged in or have a common identifier, though outside of the walled gardens this will remain just a small part of the web as publishers require a user to be logged in to identify them.

How do you view the future?

Firstly, ad tech will no longer rely as heavily on cross site tracking. As a result, publishers will become more influential, as their data will become the key to advertisers understanding their audiences. The ad tech industry needs to adapt to a world where users’ privacy comes first.

More effort will be put into driving publishers to create more engaging content, and there will be more explicit thought about the value exchange between consumers, publishers and brands. I believe publishers have learnt from the big platforms and are taking more control of their own destiny.

Publishers have been focusing on the power of first-party data for the past couple of years – because they had to. Regulations such as the General Data Protection Act, as well as Apple and Mozilla’s moves to block third-party tracking on their browsers by default meant publishers were the first to feel the pain.

Conversely, there was still enough slack in the system for agencies to move spend to Google Chrome, which is by far the biggest browser by volume. Now that Google’s stance has changed, advertisers and agencies – both in Europe and America have realised that they have finite time to consider the implications of a cookie-less world.

It’s an opportunity for the industry as a whole to press reset and regain the trust and respect of the customer. Privacy must be at the core of every company’s operations – and this new prioritization requires a reset from the way businesses have previously operated.

Thank you.