The Trade Desk’s ambitious digital marketing publication, The Current, has begun placing content behind a registration wall. Readers are required to register with TTD’s OpenPass single-sign-on service to unlock portions of content, granting it access to their email address and the ability to track them across other OpenPass sites in the process.
While some content is locked behind a hard registration wall, other stories remain free to read but include prompts asking users to register to gain access to an “unlimited number of its most premium content.” What constitutes “premium” content isn’t clear.
It’s notable that The Current is using OpenPass to power its registration wall. The single-sign-on service offered by TTD lets users gain access to content from participating third-party websites. It’s both a nifty ad for the Trade Desk’s own product – and of course, a way for The Current to gain valuable data on its readers and its audience.
“We’re demonstrating to web-based publishers the simplicity of OpenPass, which does not require a password and enables consumers to opt out at any time,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Using OpenPass on The Current simply represents our commitment to showing how simple an identity and authentication strategy can be for publishers, and we look forward to seeing more publishers adopt OpenPass in the future. We are simply practicing what our teams are preaching to our publishing partners.”
Registration walls – where users have to register with their email address and other information to access content – can be a powerful tool for brand publishers’ efforts to build deep and ongoing relationships with audiences via content. They can help brands learn more about audiences, which can subsequently be used for a variety of uses including, targeting marketing and advertising messages and engaging them via their email inboxes.
Registration walls are now commonly employed by traditional publishers but remain rare among brand publishers. Other examples include Salesforce’s streaming offering, which requires signing in to access. And Think With Google, which features marketing research and digital trends from Google, designed for marketers and strategists, also employs a registration wall.
Data suggest that consumers are increasingly comfortable with exchanging their data in exchange for access to content. A Toolkits survey of 1,007 digital content consumers recently found that half said it would have “no impact on their levels of trust” if a brand asked for an email address in exchange for access to content. For 26%, it would make them trust it more, while for 23%, they would trust it less.
For the Trade Desk, it’s an opportunity to use and demonstrate its technology in preparation for the end of third-party cookies. And operating a publication is perhaps the best way to understand the needs and dynamics of its publisher clients – valuable competitive insight for The Trade Desk.
This piece was updated to clarify that OpenPass does not give TTD a window into user browsing activity across websites.