Let’s begin this 2023 preview post by addressing the elephant in the room:
December 2022 was soft, or underwhelming, compared to previous years.
Moreover, January 2023 is down as well compared to January 2022.
These are facts, but if you’re looking for gloom and doom predictions for the next 12 months, you’ve come to the wrong blog post and guy.
Despite many factors well beyond our control, we’re confident that 2023 will be a strong year at Mediavine, even if it isn’t for the industry or world economy.
Why? Let’s look at where the digital advertising ecosystem is headed, and how Mediavine is positioned to tackle the most important challenges.
2023: The Year of Privacy
While Google punted third-party cookie depreciation until 2024, privacy is still very much the theme of this year and beyond.
The era of privacy is upon us and it’s bigger than Google. In 2023, five U.S. states will join our friends in the EU in enacting their own privacy laws.
(Aside: Can you imagine something bigger than Google? We’ll ask ChatGPT about it when it catches up beyond 2021 data.)
I’ll leave the specifics of the latest privacy requirements for another post, but know this: All of these changes are a good thing for publishers.
Consumers and regulators have spoken. The era of third-party data is coming to an end, even if Google punts again (and again).
In the absence of opaque third-party data collection, publishers are in a unique position to transparently work with their readers to serve personalized ads.
It’s actually an incredible time to be a publisher, and in order to help you adapt and flourish in this new era, Mediavine is taking a number of important steps.
Meet Our General Counsel
Mark 2023 down in history as the first time you should be excited about lawyers.
Jamie Lieberman, who comes with 17 years of legal experience, is heading Mediavine’s new legal team as Sr. Vice President and General Counsel.
Jamie and team are here to help Mediavine and its publishers navigate a changing privacy landscape, ensuring that all of your sites — and our ads — remain compliant.
Again, where some companies see upheaval and fear, we see opportunity.
When the EU’s GDPR was first unveiled, many websites simply shut down ads rather than become compliant due to the perceived burden.
Meanwhile, Mediavine publishers saw higher CPMs in Europe because we embraced this challenge instead of ignoring it or hiding from it.
Which leads me to ….
Our Consent Management Platform
In 2018, Mediavine prepared for GDPR by launching its own Consent Management Platform (CMP). You know, those pop-ups throughout the world that ask for reader consent to collect data, which we all just click agree to?
Building our own CMP was a big undertaking, as we had no blueprint back then, but it was the right investment: Mediavine now runs the second-largest CMP on the Internet.
Some saw, and maybe still see, the CMP as an annoying pop-up. We see it as a critical advantage. (Are you seeing a theme here?)
As the Mediavine CMP adapts to the latest IAB standards (i.e., Global Privacy Platform, for the ad tech acronym nerds out there), we will use our technology to remain compliant in the U.S., Canada, EU and beyond.
Continuing to monetize traffic from these countries in a privacy-compliant way is a good thing, but the potential is much greater than that.
With the CMP, we’re obtaining explicit consent to serve personalized ads to users. This, when paired with the ability to collect first-party data via a framework like Grow, represents a remarkable opportunity for our publishers to band together as a first-party collective.
As the top (and pretty much only) complete first-party data solution for independent publishers, Mediavine websites running Grow are uniquely set up to own this Year of Privacy.
Grow was built for publishers to band together as a collective unit, with the goal of generating enough authenticated traffic and first-party data to not only replace revenue potentially lost by the demise of third party cookies, but also to earn more than ever before.
With Grow, publishers can maximize their earning potential today, while cookies still exist, and into the future, whenever they go extinct.
It’s a really exciting vision, but it’s going to take serious work — from all of us.
Publishers will need to invest their time implementing and forging tighter relationships with their readers through Grow. Mediavine will continue to invest in Grow itself to make sure it offers the features publishers need to make this value exchange work.
To that end, on the heels of our incredible new Grow search experience, we’ll be launching Automailer, which we believe has the potential to revolutionize the newsletter as we know it.
Just like Universal Player allows publishers to earn video CPMs without creating original video content, Automailer will allow all publishers — even those without huge newsletters at present — to utilize Grow and its numerous beloved features, such as Spotlight Subscribe.
Many additional features are on the road map this year, all driven by one guiding principle: Helping you, the publisher, form a better relationship with your reader.
Put another way, can you get them to consent to personalized ads and keep them coming back? (You can see where CMPs and the overall shift toward a privacy-centric web are good things!)
Even better? Grow is just part of Mediavine’s broader efforts to ensure that publishers not only adapt to a shifting landscape, but emerge stronger as a result.
Independent and Stronger Together
There are two types of people in the world: those who embrace continuous change and the potential value it brings, and those who fear change and what it takes away.
There are two types of companies in the world: those which are independently owned and operated, and serve the needs of their customers first, and those dependent on outside investors whose interests and potential returns take priority.
The people at Mediavine, from the founders on down, have always been the types to embrace the most difficult changes and challenges, build solutions that make sense for our customers, our industry and ourselves, and emerge stronger year after year.
As an independent business with no outside funding, our success depends on our customers’ success. Mediavine is committed to this incredible community and to solving problems for the long haul, shaping our ecosystem to help us all stay independent and successful.
As the only Internet Giant and ad management company that’s still operated independently, everything we do is in service of you, our publishers.
We know that in the current state of the economy and the world, 2023 may seem uncertain and turbulent at times. But you have this commitment from Mediavine.
At our core, we want the same thing we’ve always wanted, which is to make sure the web remains like all of us — independent, inclusive, diverse and free.
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