In this exclusive “Masters of Media” series, Integral Ad Science (IAS) speaks to the Movers and Shakers of the APAC advertising industry, on all matters digital.
Tori Benzie is the Head of Strategic Partnerships at News Corp where she is in charge of developing commercial opportunities and strategic initiatives to drive new and existing revenue from the company’s data partnerships. In this installment of Masters of Media, Tori shares more about herself and her views on the shifts happening in the industry.
IAS: Tell us about your professional journey, Tori.
Tori: Like so many people I didn’t intend to work in Media, I just fell into it!
After studying a degree in Music, I spent the first few years of my career working in the music industry both in the UK and in Australia, but I quickly realised that the future of music was digital, and I felt compelled to go out and broaden my knowledge in that area. Of course, once I joined the digital media industry, I realised I loved it, and I never left!
I started on the publisher side at both Telstra MediaSmart and Nova, and I then went on to spend five years at MCN (now known as Foxtel Media) where I was Head of the Digital Integration team.
Three years ago I was offered the opportunity to work at News Corp Australia in a role developing data capabilities for the News Connect platform and I jumped at the chance. As the Head of Strategic Partnerships in the Client Product Strategy team, the purpose of my role is to grow and identify new revenue opportunities outside of existing lines of business using data.
IAS: With brands moving away from keywords to contextual how is News Corp approaching this shift?
Tori: Contextual advertising is certainly not new, but we expect it to have a resurgence in the coming years. Contextual advertising’s importance in digital media saw a decline when behavioural advertising started to take off – but the privacy-first nature of the medium is very likely to make it an important part of the media mix when the third party cookie is deprecated.
Contextual technology has also improved immensely. Keyword targeting has been replaced by deep semantic targeting – due to the fact that advanced algorithms can now read and understand the content of a page in the same way as a human can.
As a News publisher with a strong focus on producing quality content, we are excited about these advancements as we know contextual targeting works. We know that people have a higher recall of brands and products when those brands are integrated with content they are highly engaged in.
IAS: First-party data is even more valuable than before. How are publishers optimising their first-party data to create value for advertisers?
Tori: There has never been a more important time for publishers and advertisers to optimise their first party data. First party data is key because it enables marketers to have transparent, meaningful conversations with customers that persist beyond a single transaction.
It is important to note that even when the third party cookie is retired, it won’t prohibit advertisers from being able to access the rich datasets that Publishers offer.
At News we have been investing heavily in our first party data for many years; the sheer strength and breadth of the News portfolio across verticals such as Food and Travel means we are able to provide advertisers with an enormous array of targeting options.
For those advertisers that are building their own first party data strategies, we give them the ability to match their customers securely against our own News first party data – enabling them to target, gain more insights, and/or find new customers at scale.
For advertisers who are still building their first party data strategies, they can access News Connect, one of the strongest and richest commercial datasets in the market, based on the collection of over two billion monthly data points from News Corp Australia websites and apps, as well as from partnerships. With 15 key partners – including Near, flybuys, Qantas Red Planet, realestate.com.au, Fox Sports, productreview.com.au, smrtr, TEG and more – News Connect offers more than 2,700 segments enabling marketers to target any audience they wish.
IAS: How is News Corp preparing for the deprecation of the cookies and what role does it see contextual play?
Tori: Despite Google delaying the deprecation of the third party cookie until 2022, we believe this is the time for publishers to test and learn alternative solutions, not a time to relax.
Unfortunately there is no silver bullet in response to the changing landscape, and we expect publishers and advertisers to test and implement multiple solutions in response.
As contextual advertising does not rely on past user behaviour, it is a very strong option in being able to future proof audience targeting – as it is both privacy centric and can operate in an ID-less environment. Unfortunately however, the lack of ID will make it more challenging to manage campaign frequency and sequential messaging when inventory is bought on the open web.
As such, we see contextual targeting as an important part of the mix but not the only solution publishers and advertisers will adopt in the post third party cookie world.
IAS: New Corp Australia was first to market with the innovative effective cost per hour (ecph), what prompted this approach, and how has it impacted advertisers’ performance?
Tori: That’s right! In a genuine Australian first, clients can trade on attention with News Corp Australia. Last year we launched the opportunity to trade targeted campaigns on a cost-per-hour exposure model. Only impressions verified by IAS as in-view for five seconds or more contribute to the hours-guarantee – so we have brought together high value audiences, with our highest quality display impressions to deliver a game-changing trading solution. When KAYO added Targeted Time in View (TTIV) to their campaign, TTIV generated 32,000 hours of attention, and led to a 142% increase in registrations. These are powerful results when you consider registrations fell by 90% when Kayo concluded their TTIV campaign.
IAS: What’s your favourite book/podcast/movie and why?
Tori: I am currently loving the second season of the TV series Ted Lasso. Not only is it uplifting and heartwarming, which is a lovely change from the pandemic lockdown depression we are all suffering from, it also demonstrates some great lessons in leadership – how to develop high performing teams, and how important it is to foster a positive culture in the workplace.
IAS: What is your advice to the fresh talent in the industry?
Tori: My advice to new starters in the industry is to encourage them to put up their hands and get as much experience in different areas of the industry as possible. The industry is constantly changing and an employee is most valuable when they can be adaptable – through having different skills and perspectives.