This article first appeared on MarTech Series
Today’s most successful online publishers are operating according to a fundamental business truth: You have to spend money to make money. For publishers, this increasingly means investing in paid promotions of their content in order to find new audiences and the revenue that comes with them.
Paid traffic has emerged as the most efficient means of growing an audience in the publishing realm. However, as more premium publishers catch on to the value of paid content distribution, too many of them are stopping short when it comes to driving the greatest possible return on investment from their paid traffic.
Stopping Short on ROI
Publishers with great content—from Forbes to The Washington Post—are realizing that directing visitors to their sites through paid content promotion can prove quite profitable. But they’re also realizing that these promotions can’t just be one-shot deals; in order to keep a steady traffic stream to a publication, paid content promotion needs to be an always-on effort.
Still, many publishers are failing to properly understand the nuances of how their new traffic is boosting their bottom lines. This type of understanding is absolutely essential if publishers are going to make the most of their investment in content promotion. Getting to the necessary level of detail requires not just a revenue attribution solution, but one with real-time predictive capabilities that can discern the potential value of each individual new visitor, and the ability to manage the traffic toward maximum profitability.
Understanding Visitor Value to Refine Spend
Most publishers start out with a static prediction regarding the value of each visitor’s visit, and that value becomes enshrined in the publisher’s target cost-per-click (CPC) for paid promotions. Often this value—and the resulting target CPC—is based on and adjusted according to aggregate reports of revenue parameters. One of the problems is that these reports aren’t delivered in real-time; they’re hours—if not days or weeks—old. In addition, publishers are rarely able to connect the revenue data to the campaign that drove the traffic. As a result, they can’t stop non-profitable campaigns or invest more into the profitable ones.
Establishing target CPCs based on outdated aggregate revenue data does not recognize the true worth of each visitor visit. One of the main reasons is that the value of a targeted visitor fluctuates throughout the day, depending on many considerations. Factors including geography, time of day, device, operating system and others greatly influence how deeply a person is willing to engage with a publication’s content, ultimately affecting the value of that visitor.
If publishers don’t have a real-time understanding of the value of a visitor, it’s virtually impossible to optimize their paid content promotions for maximum ROI. In some cases, outdated aggregate data might lead publishers to pay too much to attract visitors with little overall value. On the other hand, the same data can cause publishers to miss out on opportunities because they’re under-investing in acquiring a certain type of lucrative visitor.
If publishers want to find a sustainable path to profitability, they need a real-time revenue attribution solution with predictive capabilities that can understand the true value of a visitor and adjust ad bids accordingly.
Anything less means leaving money on the table!!!