Bloomberg Media just turned off third-party ads on its site. But as it shuts the door to open-market programmatic, Bloomberg is opening a first-party data advertising platform.
The business media giant described the change as part of a broader evolution in how online advertising works.
“The reason we chose to make this investment is because consumers, platforms and regulators are all indicating that the way we’ve typically done business in online advertising is not the way we are going to do it in the future,” Bloomberg Chief Digital Officer Julia Beizer told AdExchanger.
Dubbed “Audience Accelerator,” the tool was built in house. Bloomberg created its own data lake with information about its 450,000 subscribers and 5 million registered users. The publisher uses that data for its own targeting algorithms and lookalike modeling. A few advertisers have already run test campaigns using the data.
The Bloomberg audience data in its data lake includes self-identified info, such as job title, industry and seniority, along with people’s reading habits, and can be used to target ads on Bloomberg’s sites and for post-campaign analytics. Registered users, not just subscribers, are prompted to share this kind of information before they view content.
One sticking point, according to Bloomberg, is that the publisher won’t collect data if it isn’t used to improve the user experience with their products.
The number-one way to reduce subscriber churn is to ensure people read the content they’re paying for and use their subscription, Beizer said. So Bloomberg originally built its first-party data platform from the perspective of a marketer itself, intent on using data to personalize content.
“Our first use case was how to optimize the subscription business,” she said.
Self-reported career information also makes for better content recommendations.
Because Bloomberg covers a lot of news territory, readers often can’t easily find what they’re looking for or don’t know Bloomberg might cover a topic they’re interested in. One person in a focus group was clueless that Bloomberg covered real estate in depth, for instance, Beizer said.
Bloomberg also has details that help it personalize content for business subscribers. C-suite execs like to read about goings-on in other C-suites, while people starting out in their careers care more about content that helps them grow professionally.
Advertisers can use this self-reported data to tailor campaigns or understand who they’re reaching. And Bloomberg plans to extend its first-party data-based targeting from the web – right now it’s just Bloomberg.com and the networks of sites – to its numerous FAST channels.
With so many major publishers launching a first-party data platform in the past few years, the details of each can blur together. For Beizer, what makes Bloomberg’s product distinct is its audience, a strong business-based connection that attracts high-net-worth individuals and people in power.
If the media world is dividing into the “data haves and the data have nots,” it’s a change that could have a negative impact for the overall information economy, Beizer notes.
But marketers also need to move from using third-party data to working with publishers directly before they’re forced into such a change.
“The more marketers see the value of going direct to publisher for the types of insights and solutions that we as publishers have, that’s overall better for journalism and the media industry,” Beizer said.