Publishers Bolster Mobile Efforts with Outside Data

Study finds 85% use at least one third-party source

Content publishers are taking the shift to mobile seriously, and allocating advertising inventory and resources accordingly.

New figures from Digiday and location data service Factual revealed that 87% of US publishers surveyed had increased the amount of inventory made available to mobile channels this year. The vast majority also indicted that customer engagement levels were highest on mobile apps, outdoing both desktop environments and the mobile web.

But how can publishers improve their ability to effectively target mobile users? One obvious answer lies in generating more detailed data profiles.

Almost all publishers are already collecting first-party data on users, according to the study. But nearly eight in 10 of those polled feel that their ability to scale insights gleaned from first-party data is constrained by the very nature of its limited scope.

For example, such data doesn't provide any information about a user's past purchase behavior, or location over time.

However, the majority of publishers are working to expand their users' data profiles by augmenting their own information with third-party data. In fact, 85% of publishers said they used at least one third-party data provider.

Still, Digiday and Factual found that most publishers are limiting their use of third-party data. More than 60% said they used just one third-party data provider, while just 14% used three or more.

The study noted that one reason publishers might be hesitant to build out their third-party data usage is cost—relying on first-party data is just cheaper.

But publishers with tight wallets might be doing themselves a disservice in the long run. eMarketer estimates that US adults will spend an average of 197.02 minutes per day with mobile devices in 2017, accounting for more than a quarter of time spent with any media.

And those figures are expected to grow. By 2019, eMarketer projects that average will increase to 215.57 minutes per day.

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