UK publisher alliance looks to support global advertising growth

Ozone Project
Via Unsplash

The Ozone Project, an advertising and audience platform owned and operated by an alliance of leading UK news publishers, has ambitions to be a ‘safe haven’ for premium publishers of all sizes and across all markets. The group recently restated its plans to offer technology and services to help publishers grow their own ads businesses.

  • Formed in the UK by The Guardian, News UK and The Telegraph in 2018, The Ozone Project is a brand-safe, fraud-free digital advertising marketplace. It offers advertisers a single point of access to ‘the most trusted, best loved and brand-safe publisher brands in the UK, reaching 99% of the UK population every month – across 250+ premium domains.
  • With unique publisher-owned data from 12 publisher groups at its heart, the network seeks to offer audiences at scale. Its mission for advertisers is to deliver the targeting and convenience of the largest social platforms, but with the safety and transparency of premium publishers through a mix of technology and service provision.
  • The Ozone Project’s cloud-based technology helps publishers take control over how their inventory is sold, and prevent their first-party data leaking out into the open web. Its services support ad-funded publishers in making money from markets where they don’t have a sales presence.
Programmatic evolution

The Ozone Project, initially seen as a UK enterprise designed to sell digital advertising for the country’s leading publishers, has developed as an international solution to the problems with the ad-tech ecosystem.

  • According to Danny Spears, COO at The Ozone Project, the evolution of programmatic advertising over the last 10 years or so has exposed publisher inventory and data to third parties on the open market. He told Digiday:

That data is then taken to market by those intermediaries in competition with the publishers themselves. There’s a big need for compliance and controls around those data assets.

  • Ozone’s SaaS technology introduces a permission-based identifier – The Ozone ID – to increase the addressability of inventory and make it easier for advertisers to bid on more inventory. Keeping services server-side moves technical integrations off the publisher’s page.
  • It also lets publishers use historical auction data to understand how to package their impressions to increase ad yield and bid frequency. And by highlighting the ad-tech vendors that actually generate revenue, it cuts down the need to send impressions to multiple ad tech vendors.
Advertising sales

Until recently The Ozone Project’s technology hadn’t been made available to publishers worldwide, but there are now 15 publishers outside the U.K. using the consortium’s technology.

Previously, Ozone Project publishers have used the service to monetize traffic in non-core markets. But now, smaller publishers without a programmatic advertising team can use The Ozone Project team as an alternative service for managing bids.

The Ozone Project’s team can manage any inventory that is not sold directly by a publisher. They do this by managing auctions through header bidding and Google’s ad exchange, looking at both bids before returning the best bid for the publisher.

After winning ‘Technology Company of the Year’ at the 2022 Media Leaders Awards, Spears told award organiser Mediatel:

We’ve seen greatest uptake from small to mid-sized publishers needing cost-effective, low resource revenue management.

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