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How Quartz Media is preparing to thrive in a world without 3rd-party cookies while respecting customer privacy

Quartz leverages first-party data to improve the end-to-end customer experience during a fundamental shift in the advertising industry

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All in all, working with Twilio Segment has given us the chance to be proactive about data privacy changes. What could have been a mad scramble to get around the changes actually set us up for success by offering a better experience for our readers and advertisers.

Daniel Alvarez, Chief Product Officer at Quartz

Challenge

The digital advertising industry is in the middle of a fundamental shift. From global data privacy regulations to major initiatives changing how users are tracked and targeted online, Quartz Media knew it needed to invest in a customer-centric data privacy strategy that would differentiate its brand from the competition; and meet its needs as a publisher, the needs of its advertising partners to drive campaign efficiency, and the needs of its readers for relevant and timely content.

Solution

Quartz implemented Twilio Segment as the foundation of its customer data infrastructure to double down on first-party data and make it easy to exercise good data practices. By using Twilio Segment and having all customer data clean and automatically inline with user specifications, Quartz is able to create more relevant experiences while respecting user privacy. 


Quartz (qz.com) is a digital-first media publisher offering global business news and insights for a new generation of business leaders. Based in New York, the company focuses on delivering valuable global business content to users and advertisers across digital devices. 

Quartz’s primary business model has been based on advertising revenue, but the digital advertising industry is in the middle of a fundamental shift. From global data privacy regulations to major initiatives changing how users are tracked and targeted online, Quartz knew it needed to invest in a customer-centric data privacy strategy that would differentiate its brand from the competition. 

To do this, Quartz invested in Twilio Segment’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) to double down on first-party data. Twilio Segment enables Quartz to collect, clean, and control first-party customer data, while delivering more customer-centric experiences and more effective advertising opportunities. This has allowed Quartz to get in front of major advertising changes and stay ahead of the competition. 

Quartz needed a proactive approach to the changing privacy landscape 

The data privacy landscape is changing rapidly, and regulatory bodies and global companies are responding with new initiatives that significantly impact the digital advertising industry. Data privacy regulations like GPDR and CCPA give individuals greater control over their personal data and outline data privacy rules that businesses must adhere to. Plus, the world’s most influential companies have announced significant changes to protect users’ privacy; Apple iOS 14 mandates that apps request permission to track users, and Google announced that it would phase out individual tracking and third-party cookies. 

These changes have made consumers more aware than ever of their data being collected and used, dramatically impacting how publishers like Quartz generate revenue through advertising. This has accelerated the need for Quartz to design a system that respects users’ privacy and provides value in return for their data. Quartz’ Chief Product Officer, Daniel Alvarez, explains: 

“We had to rethink the advertising revenue model, and to do it in a future-proof way. It had to be customer-centric. We also had to think about what our value prop was to customers and to advertisers.” 

It was clear the company needed a new strategy that could meet its needs as a publisher, the needs of its advertising partners to drive campaign efficiency, and the needs of its readers for relevant and timely content. Quartz needed to invest in the infrastructure necessary to make customer data protection a priority and leverage the power of first-party data to deliver more tailored user and advertiser experiences. 

Quartz implements Twilio Segment to invest in sophisticated first-party data strategies 

Quartz implemented Twilio Segment to double down on first-party data strategies, make it easy to exercise good data practices, and create more engaging digital experiences. Twilio Segment is the foundation of its customer data infrastructure that collects, cleans, controls, and activates customer data from within a centralized platform. Daniel explains their decision to invest in Twilio Segment: 

“We needed a system where we could solve the needs of our advertising partners, our readers, and still solve our needs of hiring great journalists to produce great content – and Twilio Segment does that for us.” 

Twilio Segment also enables Quartz to capture customer and behavioral site data across devices and sources, consolidate that data into a central repository, and use that data to stand out through personalized experiences. Twilio Segment also enables Quartz to build privacy directly into its product by implementing tools that automate consent management, enforce privacy policies, help detect, block, and manage personal data according to user’s specifications, and streamline regulatory compliance. Quartz is now able to build highly engaging digital experiences leveraging first-party data, while respecting consumer privacy and standing out from the competition.

Quartz creates more tailored experiences for readers while respecting user privacy 

By using Twilio Segment and having all customer data clean and automatically inline with user specifications, Quartz is able to create more relevant experiences while respecting user privacy. With Twilio Segment, the team uses trusted, consented first-party data to deliver more relevant content to user segments. Daniel explains: 

“With Twilio Segment Personas, we get a single view of the customer across our email platforms, our mobile app, our website, and other customer contact systems, so we were able to easily create segments based on customer preferences like: favorite author, favorite topic, stuff they are interested in, and what drives them to come back and read more.” 

Leveraging the audience segments the team has built in Twilio Segment, Quartz can create and deliver more engaging content and formats and feed this data to their recommendation engine. Daniel elaborates: 

“We are working on all sorts of ways to create value for readers that are willing to share their information with us. We want to know how we can make it feel equitable for them. What new experiences and benefits can we unlock for users if we know their job title – perhaps it is customized content, or perhaps it is a more out of the box idea like invitations to exclusive round table sessions with industry leaders. We want to make a reader feel like they shared information we need, it is safe, and they are getting value from that behavior.” 

From ambitious new editorial projects, to new content formats, to focused content for specific audience segments, Quartz is able to use first-party data to deliver the content and experiences readers want. 

Quartz creates more effective and more respectful advertising opportunities 

Twilio Segment enables Quartz to improve not only the readers’ experience, but the advertiser experience as well. With access to advanced customer insights and behavioral data, Quartz can create more engaging, and thus cost-effective advertising opportunities. Daniel describes this opportunity: 

“We are building content packages we know will attract the right kind of readers so our advertisers are still reaching their target audience, but they are not only doing it with banner ads, but in a fully immersive experience. We are using context targeting to sell tailored packages based on an advertiser’s preferred audience. Twilio Segment enables us to prove that readers want the content so advertisers will have cost efficiencies rather than serving up ads that may or may not be relevant to the audience.”

Ultimately, moving away from third-party cookies has created extra value for Quartz’s advertisers and users by creating higher quality, more relevant, more engaging, and more respectful advertising opportunities.

Quartz delivers better user and advertiser experiences while respecting user privacy

Quartz set an ambitious goal to meet and exceed the needs of its readers for relevant content, the needs of its advertisers for campaign efficiency, and its needs as a publisher and business to stay competitive – and the company has achieved this goal with Twilio Segment. 

Quartz is now able to achieve highly engaging user and advertiser experiences while respecting consumer privacy. Focusing on first-party data allows Quartz to deliver extremely relevant experiences that builds trust with customers, creates more effective advertising, and sets the company apart from the competition. 

What’s next? Quartz is focused on constantly improving its first-party data strategies to ensure transparency and improve the value users receive from the data they’ve shared. Daniel explains: “In the future, we’d like to show them what kind of data we have (for example, job title because they gave it to us), and what data we have shared (only the fact they are a decision maker at their company).”

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