New Data: Publishers Look to Harness Real-Time, People-Based Marketing to Compete with Walled Gardens

More than 90% of publishers surveyed say that creating custom audiences with first-party advertiser data and targeting with live intent would boost ad rates

Chicago – October 6, 2015 – In order to compete for ad spend with companies like Google and Facebook, 80% of digital publishers say they need better data-driven capabilities to help advertisers target their customers at scale, according to a report released today by Econsultancy and Signal, the global leader in real-time people-based marketing.

While digital display advertising is growing at about 20% annually, ad revenues for the vast majority of digital publishers aren’t keeping pace, and are even stagnant or shrinking for many, the report found.

“Digital publishers are competing with Internet behemoths that can deliver large audiences to advertisers,” said Mike Sands, CEO, Signal. “This leaves publishers with a stark choice: let their ad inventories become a commodity, or leverage data in innovative new ways to offer advertisers unique, high-value, targeted audiences.”

Publishers in the survey overwhelmingly agreed that they see the opportunity to turn the tide by improving their ability to recognize cross-device consumers, utilize in-the-moment intent data, and import first-party advertiser data to generate unique inventory and help brands reach addressable custom audiences.

Targeting with a combination of advertiser data and intent data are top capabilities that publishers surveyed agreed would help deliver significantly higher value audiences, and ultimately drive more ad revenue. Specifically, survey respondents reported the following:

  • 96% say it would be valuable to offer an advertiser the ability to identify customers and real-time signals to target with live intent data – that is, to deliver media that is relevant to what a visitor is interested in at that moment.
  • 88% say connecting visitor identity across devices and platforms would add a CPM premium.
  • 93% say it would be valuable to import first-party data from advertisers or partners to instantly build out custom segments of known customers and provide contextually relevant ads.
  • 80% say they will add new data capabilities – including mobile capabilities – for cross-device identity, live intent targeting, and the use of advertiser data in the next 12-24 months.

“Providing advertisers with the ability to target addressable customers in real-time presents some of most impactful opportunities for publishers today,” said Sands. “However, this also represents a huge challenge for publishers. Intent data is highly valuable, but must be acted on instantly to truly capitalize on the data by targeting customers who are in market for an advertiser’s products.”

While publishers understand the value of cross-device identity resolution and live-intent targeting, they struggle to deliver these capabilities due to slow and disconnected technology and the inability to scale. The biggest challenges reported are:

  • Cross-device identity: 46% of respondents say they aren’t confident in their ID technology, and less than half say they can resolve identity across devices and platforms, including mobile.
  • Speed: 1 in 2 respondents say their targeting capabilities are hampered by slow technology, and only 41% can target by live intent.
  • Customized audiences: Just 4 in 10 say they have the ability to leverage advertisers’ first-party data to create and target custom audiences.
  • Scale: 1 in 3 publishers surveyed say they have insufficient scale to recognize individuals online and across channels, but 84% see growth in combining data with partners.

“With the Signal Platform, publishers like Yahoo! Japan are offering these capabilities to advertisers. The platform takes less than 50 milliseconds from data collection to connection, and can onboard 1 million records in less than 30 minutes rather than days – key capabilities for real-time people-based marketing at scale,” Sands said.

To download the complete report, “Digital Publishing: Increasing Advertiser Value Through Data and Identity,” visit here.

About Signal

Signal is the global leader in real-time people-based marketing. With one platform, Signal’s integrated technology combines data collection, persistent identification, data onboarding and media activation for real-time cross-channel engagement. By leveraging Signal’s platform, brands and publishers gain immediate knowledge of buyers, access to high quality audiences and a simplified activation process to engage consumers within minutes of recognition.

Today, Signal’s technology runs on more than 45,000 digital properties in 158 countries. The platform facilitates billions of data requests monthly, supporting top brands around the world that generate more than $1.5 trillion in commerce, including Allstate, Audi, Crate & Barrel, JetBlue Airways, Starcom MediaVest Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and many more.

Signal has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including being named the third-fastest growing software company in the country, and the 51st-fastest growing company overall, on the 2015 Inc. 5000 list. Visit to learn more and follow Signal on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Media Contact


Kari Brownsberger


Originally published October 06, 2015

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