Solutions Partner

Investing in audience development solidifies Freestar’s position of true publisher partner


As a news organization (or really any content site), there’s never been a better time to invest in audience development.  Leading ad monetization provider, Freestar, is doing just that. Traditionally, publishers come to us for ad technology, advanced yield specialists and white glove customer service. We’ve added a layer of audience expertise to maximize publisher revenue from both ad optimizations and traffic strategies.

During the pandemic, publishers saw an increased traffic volume brought on by people who were home more often, using the internet. As those numbers began to normalize, we noticed a genuine interest in publishers wanting to find, nurture and increase the value of their audience.

Add to it the growing concerns from advertisers on campaign executions reaching intended audiences, the push to first-party data and Google’s preparation of an enhanced analytics platform with GA4, and there’s never been more attention on the digital audience.

“Investing in talented audience development experts is what separates Freestar and shows our commitment to our #publisherfirst mindset,” says David Freedman, founder of Freestar.

For advertisers, audience refers to the highly targeted humans who lay eyes on their creatives. Publisher audience refers to the way in which a user reaches a brand or website, but they’re more related than you might think. With Freestar’s combined expertise of ad technology, and our latest added-value audience development solution, publishers are already seeing results.

All audiences are not created equal

Assisting publishers with an intentional traffic strategy, increasing the audience with value and letting go of those without is our secondary approach to increasing a publisher’s ad revenue.

True audience development is a long game and much of our beginning approach after launching audience development at Freestar was basic education. Many of our publisher partners launched sites 20 years ago, and — if SEO has never been a priority — that’s pure opportunity.

What makes an audience valuable

The most valuable digital audience knows exactly what they’re searching for. The intent of this user is strong and the likelihood that they consume multiple pages and stay on the site for long periods of time with authentic interest are desirable qualities for advertisers, especially if contextually targeting.

From the publisher’s side, competition is so steep that — in order to find a customer via an organic channel — site quality and content quality must be exceptionally high. Increasing site quality, improving UX and finding an editorial strategy that can work in their favor would be some of the first steps we take in trying to increase organic search audience. Pinterest fits into that bucket, as well, as it’s much more of a visual search engine than it is a social media platform.

Less valuable audiences tend to appear more haphazardly, landing on a site by chance. There is a higher amount of them accessing content on a mobile device, scrolling fast and moving on. Advertisers are less interested in impatient users who are just browsing the web at leisure. That said, there is still value in creating unique and engaging content that users mindlessly consume.

Repeat visitors are highly desirable to both publisher and advertiser. To succeed with this audience, it’s imperative to create customer brand loyalty through consistency, and with a product or service that engages with unique messaging and voice. Newsletter programs, push notifications or direct traffic tend to drive a high number of return users.

How data informs audience strategy

To monetize content in the most effective and efficient way, it isn’t as simple as creating more content that works and less of what doesn’t. At Freestar, we equip publishers with the data they need to make informed content decisions that can directly impact revenue, such as page-level CPMs, impressions, pageviews and trending topic insights.

Many Freestar publishers also take advantage of our one-on-one traffic consultations, monthly group sessions or attend bi-weekly Office Hours for ongoing strategy planning.

If you’re interested in learning more about Freestar services, we’d love to hear from you! You can reach us at