Establishing and maintaining close relationships with publishers is crucial to our success at 33Across. Saajan Patel, our Director of Publisher Acquisition understands the specific needs for our publishers and how to service them during challenging times including new GDPR regulations. For this edition of Friday Fives, Saajan breaks down all things publisher-related and explains why traveling to Seoul, South Korea was his best vacation ever.

What do you think advertisers and publishers need to do to be competitive/profitable during the GDPR era?
The most important advice to both advertisers and publishers is to remain informed. Similar to many other changes in ad tech, GDPR will have an adjustment period. It is crucial for all players in the ecosystem to adapt their strategies for compliance. Publishers need to prioritize the importance of consent while advertisers need to understand how data collection has changed. Both should understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel as more players in the industry move quickly to GDPR-friendly strategies.

How should publishers balance working with Facebook and other social media platforms?
Diversification is a great tactic. While Facebook and other platforms can be great tools for publishers to gain a larger audience, we have all seen ongoing issues of publishers getting burned by algorithm changes. Unfortunately, this can expose a publisher to more risk. The best strategy in this market is diversification so that no one social platform can create a significantly large dent into your business. Publishers should also have healthy relationships with their platform partners without becoming over-reliant on them. A sign of a strong brand is one which can engage new users on social platforms but also maintain a loyal user base.

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Saajan Patel–Director of Publisher Acquisition

What can publishers do to remain profitable but also improve their user experience?
The key is to work with a handful of reliable partners who perform well rather than filling their stack with too many partners. In most cases, this will lead to better results. From a user experience perspective, it’s important for publishers to put themselves in the reader’s shoes. Make sure to keep current as the industry takes more measures to protect users through new ad product standards and innovations. For instance, units like the interstitial have seen a decline following the Coalition for Better Ads standards; in its place adopt new user-friendly units which have gained momentum.

How can publishers use data to bring more value to their websites/platforms?
Data is king! Many times publishers focus too much on the bottom line and ignore other data points. Collecting and analyzing all data can be very useful. Combining points like traffic data, revenue data, and user data can lead to greater insights. Many top publishers take numerous factors into consideration when trying to analyze site performance however I think the percentage of publishers who dive into their data is still too low. Using all data is key when trying to maintain a healthy margin business.

What was the best vacation you went on? What made it great?
I went to South Korea for a 3-week vacation in the summer of 2014. We were a group of 5 and spent most of the time exploring Seoul. It was great visiting different parts of the city. Each section had its own culture – food, shopping, historical sites, etc. I have traveled to many countries but the layout of Seoul and its various sections was very unique. The most amazing part was going to so many small local bars and restaurants. Along with the great sites and food, this trip was amazing because of the memories made – everything from long hikes, to great food, to silly stories. It’s a trip I’ll never forget. Seeing the world through different lenses is one of my passions.