What Is LiveRamp—A Guide for Publishers

Brock Munro
May 1, 2024
July 15, 2024
What Is LiveRamp—A Guide for Publishers

LiveRamp is a cloud-based data onboarding and data collaboration platform that helps businesses centralize their fragmented customer data to create more accurate audience segments, and achieve better behavioral targeting.

The platform's ability to automate the several processes involved in collating customer data from online and offline sources, mapping data to customer profiles, and uploading it to ad platforms makes it a very useful tool for publishers and advertisers.

In this post we explain what LiveRamp is, how it works, and its various benefits for publishers.

What Is LiveRamp?

LiveRamp is a SaaS company that helps businesses bring their offline and online customer data together in one place to create anonymized user profiles for better ad targeting.

Most online businesses, including digital publishers, typically have their user data scattered across different platforms, and labeled with different identifiers. 

For instance, publishers may store their website visitors’ data in the form of user IDs, and their newsletter or mailing list data in the form of email addresses. 

If the publisher also has customers who buy physical products from them, they may have stored this marketing data using identifiers such as phone numbers. It is entirely possible that several customers may fall into more than one of these data segments, which is to say, a customer may both be a newsletter subscriber and a buyer of physical products.

As a result, it is not uncommon for businesses to have the same customer being referred to by different digital identifiers.

Now to make use of this data for better targeting, publishers have to overcome three challenges:

1. Bring offline customer data such as phone numbers online, and store it together with the online data in a centralized repository.

2. Merge data obtained from different customer touchpoints into a single profile for each person.

3. Upload this to an ad platform of the publisher’s choice.

LiveRamp helps publishers perform all three tasks quickly and efficiently.

Since LiveRamp anonymizes all customer data uploaded to it, it also helps publishers and advertisers remain compliant with data privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA.

How Does LiveRamp Work?

LiveRamp’s working can be broken down into three core functionalities:

1. Data Onboarding

Data onboarding is the process of formatting and uploading customer data onto a platform such as LiveRamp. It requires cleaning and formatting the data, preparing it in a required file format, and then uploading it.

LiveRamp recommends that data be formatted in column-based files not exceeding 50 GB in size.

Once ready, it can be uploaded to LiveRamp using any of the several methods available such as secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) or Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 bucket.

2. Identity Resolution

Identity resolution is the process of resolving customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) lying fragmented across different data sources into a unified view. LiveRamp anonymizes customer data from sources such as email lists, customer relationship management (CRM) software, ad networks, retargeting platforms etc. and assigns unique IDs called RampIDs and AbilitecIDs to them. 

It then presents the data in the form of an identity graph.which connects all the different data points to present a unified and comprehensive picture of customer behavior.

3. Data Activation

Data activation is the process of uploading the resolved and unified data to applications where it can be leveraged to deliver better ad targeting, such as ad platforms. 

When doing so, LiveRamp translates its own identifiers such as RampIDs into platform-specific identifiers such as cookies and mobile device IDs for easier processing by the platform in question. 

Benefits of LiveRamp for Publishers

LiveRamp offers a suite of benefits tailored to meet the needs of publishers. By facilitating more targeted advertising options, enhancing compliance with privacy regulations, and presenting a more complete picture of customer behavior, LiveRamp has become a crucial tool for publishers looking to thrive in a competitive market. Here are some of the key benefits of using LiveRamp for publishers.

1. Targeted Advertising in a Cookieless Environment

LiveRamp’a authenticated traffic solutions allow publishers to match user data with LiveRamp’s RampID in real-time, enabling efficient cookieless targeting. 

Even as this RampID is shared across the programmatic advertising chain, the users’ personally identifiable information (PII) stays safe. This makes LiveRamp a great solution for publishers looking for audience targeting solutions as the death of third-party cookies makes targeted advertising more challenging.

2. Acts as a Consent Management Platform

LiveRamp’s Privacy Manager feature allows publishers to obtain and store their users’ consent to store and manage their data, thus acting as a consent management platform. Additionally, its PreferenceLink feature allows publishers to record users’ consent transactions and store this information, thus creating a full audit trail. This, in turn, ensures full compliance with data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.

LiveRamp also allows publishers to easily customize the contents of the privacy manager.

3. Acts as a Data Marketplace

Publishers can classify the LiveRamp data at their disposal into segments, and put this up for sale on LiveRamp’s data marketplace. Since all personally identifiable information (PII) is anonymized, publishers don’t have to worry about data ethics or compliance concerns with such transactions. Conversely, publishers can also purchase such segment data from other sellers in LiveRamp’s data marketplace for their own use.

The entire process of buying and selling data is as simple as searching the database using a keyword, and uploading the relevant data segment to the LiveRamp storefront.

4. Eliminates the Need for Expensive Integrations

LiveRamp allows publishers to share their data with third-party marketing solutions of their choice without the need for maintaining expensive integrations. 

Publishers can do this by simply selecting the segment they want to transfer, and establishing a connection with the platform of their choice using a connection solution such as Open Authorization (OAuth). LiveRamp provides connection support for over 600 external destinations including Google Cloud, Amazon, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok and more.

Implementing LiveRamp: A Guide for Publishers

Implementing LiveRamp can significantly enhance a publisher's advertising capabilities and data management practices. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help publishers get started with LiveRamp, along with some tips, best practices, and key performance indicators to monitor.

Step-by-Step Implementation

  1. Sign-Up: The first step for publishers is to sign up with LiveRamp. This typically involves contacting LiveRamp’s sales team, discussing your specific needs, and creating an account. During this initial vetting process, LiveRamp will assess your existing data infrastructure and identify the best ways to integrate its services. 

At this stage, publishers are assigned a login ID, which is usually the email address associated with their LiveRamp account, along with a password.

  1. Data Onboarding and Setup: After signing up, publishers need to onboard their first-party data to LiveRamp. LiveRamp requires that files be formatted in specific ways such as column-based and key-value formats. Also, all files larger than 50GB in size must be either split into multiple files or compressed.

Once ready, files can then be uploaded to LiveRamp using either secure file transfer protocol (SFTP), AWS S3 Bucket, Adobe Realtime CDP, or Google Cloud Storage (GCS) bucket.

  1. Set Up LiveRamp Connect: .The LiveRamp Connect app is the homepage to launch a number of LiveRamp functionalities such as data activation, data segmentation, data distribution, adding new users, and adding new audiences. 

To set up Connect, publishers need to click the Log in to Connect tab from the LiveRamp website and enter their credentials. Once logged in, publishers  can add new users and set their permission levels and access controls.

And that’s it. With these steps, publishers can perform the basic tasks related to data onboarding and data activation with LiveRamp. However, it needs to be noted that LiveRamp is a fairly complex platform, and to make full use of its features, it is best to get in touch with LiveRamp support.

Tips and Best Practices

Here are a few tips for publishers to make sure they get the most out of LiveRamp.

  • Ensure Data Quality: The effectiveness of LiveRamp’s solutions heavily depends on the quality of the data provided. Regularly clean and update your data to maintain its accuracy and relevance.
  • Privacy Compliance: Always prioritize compliance with data privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA. Work closely with LiveRamp to ensure all data handling and processing meets legal standards. Always take your audience’s consent before storing their data.
  • Collaborate on Strategy: Utilize LiveRamp’s expertise to refine your data strategy. Their insights can help you understand your audience better and optimize your targeting strategies.

Metrics and KPIs to Track

When using LiveRamp, publishers should keep track of two sets of metrics—LiveRamp specific metrics, and their own campaign metrics.

1. LiveRamp Metrics

These are statistics which relate to how LiveRamp is storing, processing and mapping customer data with external apps. Some of the key LiveRamp metrics include:

  • File Stats: These are statistics which show how efficiently LiveRamp has resolved and onboarded publisher data. The primary metrics publishers need to track here Recognition Rate and Total RampID Count.
  • Audience Stats: These metrics can be accessed from the Audience tab of the My Company Settings page. These include Unique Records, Active Records, and Top Destinations.
  • Estimated Reach Stats: These statistics give users an idea of the number of devices that can be targeted for a particular audience. They can be accessed from the Audience Segment page, However, they take at least two weeks to populate after data has been activated.

2. Campaign Metrics

These are metrics which may be external to LiveRamp, but help gauge how effectively it is helping publisher’s meet their overall goals. Key campaign metrics include:

  • Ad Revenue Growth: publishers should monitor any changes in ad revenue to assess the direct financial impact of implementing LiveRamp’s solutions.
  • Engagement Rates: Track engagement metrics such as click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates to evaluate the effectiveness of targeted advertising campaigns.
  • Audience Reach Accuracy: Measure how accurately your ads are reaching the intended audience segments. A higher accuracy indicates better targeting and identity resolution.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate the ROI of your campaigns to determine the profitability of your investments in LiveRamp’s services.
  • Data Utilization Efficiency: Assess how effectively your team is using the available data and tools provided by LiveRamp. This can include the speed of data integration and the ease of accessing actionable insights.

Final Thoughts

From enhancing targeted advertising to navigating complex privacy regulations, LiveRamp provides publishers with the tools needed to refine their audience engagement strategies and maximize ad revenue. 

It’s a great solution for publishers looking to maximize their ad revenue while looking for third-party cookies alternatives. It does, however, come with a fair amount of complexity and requires some technical knowhow to get going. LiveRamp is also not the most inexpensive solution in the market, and smaller publishers may not feel very comfortable with this.

Publishers looking for a simpler solution that allows them to go beyond the capabilities of AdSense and GAM, may consider partnering with Publift. Publift offers a bridge to more advanced programmatic solutions, enabling access to additional demand partners, diverse ad formats, superior support, and ultimately, enhanced revenue potential.

Get in touch with us today to understand how we can help you maximize your ad revenue while helping you stay compliant with the latest data privacy regulations.

FAQs

What exactly is LiveRamp and what does it offer to publishers?

LiveRamp is a platform that specializes in identity resolution and data connectivity to provide targeted advertising capabilities in a cookieless environment. LiveRamp works by first allowing publishers to onboard their online and offline data. It then anonymizes this data by assigning it its own identifiers called RampIDs. Finally, it allows publishers to connect this data to any marketing or storage platform of their choice such as a demand side partner (DSP), TikTok, Google Cloud etc.

How does LiveRamp ensure user data privacy and comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA?

To ensure privacy, LiveRamp uses data anonymization and encryption techniques to process and manage user data securely. User data is stripped of any personally identifiable information (PII) and assigned anonymous identifiers called RampIDs. Additionally, LiveRamp also acts as a consent management platform (CMP), and enables publishers to keep a full audit trail of user consent transactions.

Can LiveRamp integrate with existing publisher ad technologies and platforms?

Yes, LiveRamp can seamlessly integrate with existing publisher ad technologies and platforms. This integration is facilitated through LiveRamp’s APIs and custom integration solutions, which are designed to work with a wide range of ad servers, demand-side platforms (DSPs), and other ad tech systems..

How can publishers get started with LiveRamp?

Publishers can get started with LiveRamp by contacting LiveRamp to set up consultation with their team to understand the publisher's current data and advertising infrastructure.

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