Reader Consent Benefits Your Business Way More Than You Think

Sovrn Publisher Advocate // March 13, 2019

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Publishers who don’t pass a consent string to their European Economic Area (EEA) readers are missing out on money—it’s that simple. Based on our own data, we’ve seen EEA yield increase by 41% or more—up to 91%—among those publishers passing a consent string.

A consent string is the ID given to an ad tech vendor to denote consent status. GDPR presents six different legal bases for data processing, of which one is consent. Processing data based on consent requires an opt-in consent string, and once a reader has given their consent through a publisher’s CMP, that information then makes its way through the ad ecosystem to participating vendors. Participating buyers are those who are looking for and respect the consent signal—both in terms of the legal data processing categories, and for them as a vendor. What this means is that a consent string makes your inventory more valuable, which drives up bid prices and improves yield.

Data privacy has dominated headlines since before the implementation of GDPR, and all publishers would do well to take note. Nevertheless, some publishers are still struggling with the decision to pass a consent string to their readers. If you’re in a similar position, we’ve created an easy flow chart to help you with the choice:

As you can see, consent matters for more than GDPR compliance. According to eMarketer, Data Privacy is the number one concern in 2019, and the IAS Industry Pulse says that 60% of brands and agencies also see data privacy as the biggest challenge they face in digital advertising in 2019. That’s borne out in what we’ve seen internally, as well: demand partners are moving away from buying inventory without a consent string.

Adzerk tells us that adoption of a Consent Management Platform (CMP)—which allows publishers to establish legal consent for data processing—continues to increase (Sovrn offers a free CMP, as do a number of other companies). This shows that top publishers are aware of both the opportunities presented by moving to consent, as well as of buy-side concerns about managing data privacy.

One added benefit for publishers moving towards consent adoption is that it protects the reader base that publishers have worked hard to grow. A loyal audience base trusts a publisher’s content. By adopting consent, publishers provide an extra element of integrity—respecting a reader’s right to privacy. These user experience-based benefits are easy to overlook, but high-quality publishers who are focused on a positive reader experience can provide a better ad experience when their readers give consent for targeted advertising.

And finally, tackling the issue of privacy and consent now better prepares publishers for the discussions of the future. Privacy policies similar to GDPR are in discussion around the globe, including in the US. While we can’t predict the future, it’s clear that discussions of user privacy will continue to dominate headlines and meetings around the globe. In this case, we believe that it’s in publishers’ best interests to be proactive rather than reactive. GDPR isn’t an outlier, and preparing now gives publishers the best chance to avoid any blips in future revenue due to new regulations.

Of course, if all of that isn’t enough to sway you, remember this: adopting a CMP could make you a lot more money.

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