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Expanding to EMEA? Follow These 3 Publisher Strategies for Success

Ryan Rakover, May 4, 2021


“You’re in Paris now. I’m sure we can find you something better than peanut butter.” Emily in Paris, Netflix 


It’s easy for us to make the same mistakes as Emily – relying on what’s familiar. But when taking your brand and content into a new market, you need confidence, resilience, and an honest dose of self-evaluation.

Knowing what made you successful in the first place is essential but identifying new challenges and having a strategy to overcome them is critical for survival.

As a publisher, you know you need to be acutely aware of changing data laws, cultural differences, and languages to adapt to your new market of the 27 member states in the European Union and the UK. Publisher responsibilities, content, and cultural norms can all quickly enter into your road map. When preparing to leap across the pond to start doing business in England and the entire EMEA region, three critical strategies must be at the forefront of your thinking. 

Adapting your publishing business to another region comes with its challenges, but it’s a much less daunting task if you are prepared. This post will help you set your business up for success by pointing out three EMEA-specific aspects of publishing you probably aren’t aware of. 

Just as you set up your team and technology stack to reflect the market you’re currently in, you’ll need to reevaluate and readjust your business strategy to match the demands, regulations, and requirements of other regions.

User Consent Laws & CMP

User Consent Laws & CMP


California has led the way in the US with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA, CPRA). However, the US lacks federal-level consumer data privacy and data security laws, leaving each state to define its laws.

This is the process in the US: as more states pass data laws, the Federal government will begin to match those efforts.

In the meantime, publisher responsibility for data in the US is a growing endeavor, still in its defining stages. 

That means that publishers are often unprepared to enter the EMEA region. The first issue you need to address right away is to ensure that your publishing business is GDPR compliant. The best approach is to task someone in your organization (ideally a lawyer) with ensuring that all data collected is done so under the consent of EU GDPR and UK GDPR, respectively, depending on your users. 

Consent compliance can seem like a bigger task than it is, after consulting with your legal counsel, the next step is to select a Cookie Consent Management Platform (CMP) that works best for your data needs and gives the most straightforward choices to your users.

There are many partners out there to choose from, and each offers different advantages. The key is to have a CMP and present your users with clear choices. 


Rethink Your AdTech Solutions

DSPs and advertisers behave differently across regions, and what you have come to expect from those in the US might not directly translate once you expand to EMEA. Even across European countries, rates and demand vary, sometimes drastically.

To help determine your inventory’s value, try experimenting with one domain (if you have multiple domains) or with only a small section of your site.

Running experiments will help your team develop a deeper understanding of each local market and its demand. Finding the sweet spot comes down to testing price floors in your ad server. Have your team raise and lower the floor until they find an eCPM and fill rate that is both tolerable and profitable, keeping in mind that you may not achieve the same rates as in the US. Don’t be discouraged by this; you can still achieve healthy revenues and turn a profit.

Adjust Your Sales Strategy

mcm Google partner


The biggest agencies operate internationally, but like most global companies, they have local teams and experts in place to handle country or region-specific sales. If you are already working with these prominent players in the US, leverage your contacts there to get a head start in EMEA.

Alternatively, you can build strong relationships with smaller, local agencies that are responsible for sizable budgets. These agencies are deeply rooted in local culture and consumer behavior and can maximize your efforts as they can operate more like a big fish in a small pond. To establish the worth of your digital properties and demonstrate a valuable opportunity for advertisers, prepare compelling case studies that prove you understand your audience and have high engagement rates.


A Final Thought

Remember that you are investing in a new market, and trial and error are part of the game, whether that’s experimenting with new tech platforms, ad servers, pricing, or partners. A little patience is needed before launching with full force. Fragmented national markets and cultural differences make expanding to EMEA a little challenging, but it is infinitely more manageable when armed with the right tools and strategies.

If you are ready to venture into international waters, reach out to us and we’ll help you set sail, making sure you have all the provisions you need.


Ryan Rakover is the head of our Trust and Safety efforts at Total Media. One of the things Ryan enjoys the most in his role as a Publisher’s strategic partner is the challenge of bringing policy from a place of rules and standards to delivering solutions to clients to improve their client’s bottom line.  Find Ryan on LinkedIn or reach him by email at ryan(at)totalmediasolutions(dot)com.