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How Publishers Can Lean Into Ecommerce With First-Party Data

By OpenWeb

For publishers, digital subscriptions and advertising opportunities are always top of mind when it comes to revenue. But diversification is crucial in today’s shape-shifting, hyper-competitive digital landscape — which is why ecommerce has, for many publishers, come to play such an important role.

As discussed earlier, first-party data provides vital insights into user behavior, and feeds publishers hyper-useful targeting information (for listicles, reviews, best-of lists, and product news). And when it comes to ecommerce, these are indispensable advantages.

In this post, we’ll discuss the role that publisher first-party data can play in ecommerce opportunities–through brand collaborations, user personalization, and more.

How Can Publishers Make the Most of Their First-Party Data?

When it comes to ecommerce, there are a number of ways that first-party data can be effectively deployed. Publishers can partner with brands, driving ecommerce through precisely targeted content. They can use first-party data to open their own online stores, selling to an audience they learn more about with each passing day. The opportunities, for those willing to take advantage of them, are endless.

One great example comes from Dennis Publishing, whose sprawling portfolio includes several automotive publications. Using a first-party data strategy, the publisher launched a platform called Autovia, designed to connect readers of automotive content with car brands, dealerships, etc. By creating first-party data content based on their first party data findings, they drastically improved user experiences and content quality. Benefits like that increase user confidence in the platform — which in turn builds consumer trust, and increases the likelihood of a purchase.

Using First-Party Data to Personalize Your Ecommerce Experience

Publishers using first-party data develop closer relationships with users, and learn their likes and dislikes. They can then use that information to create targeted content that ensures engagement and (for the user) a compelling social experience. 

How does this help with ecommerce? Well, let’s take a look at the current shopping landscape. Though we seem, in fits and starts, to be easing out of the pandemic, online shopping nonetheless continues to increase — online holiday shopping, for instance, is set to reach a record of $910 billion in the 2021 season. Now think about your own shopping habits. When you’re looking for the best product (the best blender, or bedframe, or book), where do you turn for insights or recommendations? More often than not, online content: listicles, reviews, ‘best of 2021’ packages, and the like. This kind of content is easy to produce, and serves a number of vital functions, like promoting products and informing customers. But how often does this kind of content miss the mark, due to a lack of user understanding?

Here, first-party data has tremendous advantages. After all, publishers and brands that make use of it have deep reserves of knowledge about their users’ interests and behaviors. Accordingly, they can use that knowledge to drive revenue in any number of ways: affiliate links, their own ecommerce activities, and partnerships with relevant brands. When you can tailor your content to your users’ needs, your odds of generating a sale increase exponentially.

As the ecommerce space evolves, first-party data is set to play an essential role. It offers a direct line to consumer interests and purchasing patterns, and can identify what inspires users to make a purchase in the first place. It allows publishers to produce personalized content that boosts the odds of a purchase (and, accordingly, revenue) significantly. By integrating first-party data strategies with new or extant ecommerce initiatives, publishers can create a fruitful, sales-driving balance of content. It’s a new, exciting opportunity, and it taps into markets that have long gone unexplored.

Interested in learning more? Check out our article on why now is the time to plan your first-party data strategy.

Also, if you have any questions about how publishers can win with first-party data, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Let’s have a conversation.

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