Maximize Your Monetization While Respecting User Choice

Posted by Asmaa Bentahar on

With today’s increasing regulatory expectations from Data Protection Authorities, publishers are now facing new challenges regarding the user consent of their audience. Maximizing monetization in a context where consumers are given more choices regarding their data can be tricky. And understanding the different solutions that exist to display ads to users that haven’t consented to being tracked is now a priority for publishers to avoid losing a significant amount of their revenue.

At Pubstack, we were able to monitor across our publishers that, on average, 8% of the TCF v2 ad calls have no explicit consent. Although this can vary quite a lot from one publisher to another (from 2.5% to 24%), as a publisher, you should not neglect the amount of non consented ad calls. Luckily, although a consentless auction will always be less valuable, it does not mean that it has no value at all. Generally, its value will be somewhere between 15% to 35% of the value of a Prebid auction with consent. The depreciation of the value of these auctions accounts for an 8% to 10% revenue loss for the publisher, and this figure is bound to rise in the coming years.

On the bright side, there are some ways for publishers to limit the impact of user consent on their monetization. But first, it is important to understand that the negative effect seen on publishers’ revenue is not only due to the users refusing to give their consent. Indeed, while running audits across several publishers, it became clear that CMP misconfigurations were also very common, and they can be dangerous for their revenue as well. There are 3 areas of possible improvement:

  1. Looking out for the CMP misconfigurations that lead to having no consent in the ad call
  2. Optimize the CMP to lower the number of users who deny consent
  3. Monetize the users who refused consent (This can be done by either getting a second chance to get the consent or by finding alternative solutions for refused consent inventory.)


Avoiding misconfigurations in your CMP

During the study that was made across our publishers, we were able to identify a few different cases of misconfiguration that you should absolutely avoid. Here are some of the examples we have witnessed:

  • CMP not plugged into each of the publisher’s sites
  • Prebid being called before the user has the time to register his choice causing a 35% loss of programmatic revenue for the publisher.
  • Major US CMP new release blocking most of the non-EU traffic and resulting in a 100% loss of the publisher’s programmatic revenue on non-EU traffic.

Most of these issues can be fixed easily, but we highly recommend publishers to make sure they are not subject to any of these misconfigurations as they can be harmful.



Optimizing your CMP to lower the opt-out rate

The fact that some CMPs are more efficient than others is not surprising. However, the gap between different CMPs can be impressive. The optimization of a CMP can be done through the consent notice’s title, the consent notice’s format, and the look and feel of the buttons. CMPs with an explanatory title such as “Your privacy is a priority” for example, can help multiply by 3 the consent rate. The format is also a key element of differentiation between CMPs, and some are clearly more effective than others. The consent rate of a Pop-in format CMP is usually between 90% to 98% whereas the consent rate of a banner CMP does not exceed 75%. Finally, the look and feel of the buttons being defined in large part by the colors, make them play a huge role in the CMP’s effectiveness. Having different colors or different styles for the “Refuse” and for the “Agree and close” buttons can double the consent rate of a CMP. Here is an example of an optimized CMP:



Monetize the users who refuse consent

A very straightforward approach would be to use a paywall to turn non-consented users into subscribers. While this can be very effective, there are also some alternative approaches that do not require the user to pay as compensation for the publisher’s revenue loss. Indeed, consent may be required to use cookies and personal data, but it is not required to display advertising. This opens the door to programmatic contextual ads through anonymized bid requests and direct campaigns with no personal data in a scenario where the user refuses consent. There are some solutions available for publishers to monetize this traffic (Google Limited ads from GAM, using a Prebid wrapper to render ads, or using a secondary adserver that does not block ad calls when consent is refused). It is also possible for publishers to plug in additional demand sources such as contextual demand sources (Qwarry, Beop, etc), or to sell direct campaigns targeted specifically on refused consent inventory.

Although the rules have changed in favor of user choice thus making it more complex for publishers to monetize all of their traffic, keep in mind that CMPs are not adblockers and that there is plenty of room for improvement of the monetization of the consent-refused traffic. At Pubstack, we understand that this might be a challenge for some publishers and are ready to help you with all of this!


Catch the recording of our webinar on this subject here.

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