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Audience Extension: The Pros and Cons

August 17, 2015

For publishers looking to scale advertising campaigns, “off-property” campaign delivery (a.k.a. “audience extension”) represents a huge potential opportunity. But beware, very few things in the world of data and digital media come without an opportunity cost, and “off-property” campaign delivery is no exception. If you don’t understand this technique then it could end up doing more damage than good, so be sure to weigh up the pro’s and con’s before committing.

What Does Off-Property Targeting Mean?

Most online publishers simply activate media campaign across their owned and operated properties (websites/apps etc.), but some online publishers also choose to extend their campaigns outside of their owned and operated properties by using their own demand side platforms to target their proprietary data across external inventory sources. This is often referred to as audience extension or “off-property” campaign delivery.

The Pros of Audience Extension

There are various benefits to using off property campaign delivery from the point of view of the publisher and the advertiser:

Scale Against Valuable Audiences

Often the most valuable audiences are the smallest audiences and a lack of scale can cripple any attempt to target these audiences effectively. Audience extension is a great technique to target really niche audiences and deliver effectively.

High Sell-Through Rates

When a publisher has a high sell-through rate across their owned and operated properties, audience extension is a great way to open up inventory and take on more campaigns at a higher value.

High Performance

When utilizing “off-property” campaign delivery, most publishers will typically use a DSP to target their own first-party data in an open exchange environment. As a result of the inventory mix, this method can ultimately result in much lower CPM’s, higher reach and better overall performance. This is a particularly attractive option for direct response campaigns, where mid-flight optimization across large inventory sources (manual and automated) often comes into play.


The Cons of Audience Extension

“Off-property” campaign delivery isn’t a silver bullet, and there are some serious considerations when positioning this technique to the market:


Buyers in today’s market, whether they are an agency or advertiser, are rightly cautious around where there advertising is placed. By taking on the responsibility of running advertising off-property, you are also taking responsibility for the quality, transparency and safety of the inventory you acquire on the buyer’s behalf. Can you provide a full site list on request, do you operate white and blacklists, can you target or optimise based on brand safety, viewability etc.

Management Resource

Most DSP’s are self-serve platforms, alongside the DMP’s which provide the targeted audience segments to the DSP. If a publisher decides to activate “off-property” they will require resource to manage and optimize campaigns in order to drive performance and troubleshoot any integration or delivery issues. This can be a full time job in and of itself, which is a hard lesson to learn when you are half way through activating an “off-property” campaign for your largest account.

Audience Over Environment

Positioning “off-property” campaign delivery can be a very delicate procedure, and there is always a risk that over time the buyer may perceive the audience and data offered as being superior and/or independent to the environment. For some publishers this is not an issue at all, but for some publishers focused on the promotion of their owned and operated properties, this could create a false economy whereby buyers simply seek data and not context.


Introducing Lotame Syndicate

There is an alternative to “off property” campaign delivery whereby a publisher is able to syndicate, via the Lotame DMP, their first-party data to a buyer for them to activate and target on their own behalf. We call this Lotame Syndicate, and it allows publishers to create private data marketplaces with their buyers. Publishers set their own commercial terms and permissions, and share whatever first-party data they choose, with whichever buyer, for however long they like.

The buyer then takes responsibility for the targeting of that data, and the quality and transparency of the inventory they buy. They are able to create campaigns using a publisher syndicated data within the framework of their standard campaign set-up (whitelists, blacklists, brand safety filters, viewability and fraud protection etc.), the publisher need not manage any of the activation process, which saves on manpower and internal resource.


By Miles Pritchard – Global Head, Agency & Marketer Solutions, Lotame
Original can be found on LinkedIn here