Weekly relevant news highlights for Digital Publishers.

The page will be updated again in August; in the meantime, you can follow news highlights on our LinkedIn. Have a good summer holiday time!


Week 27

Media Briefing: How the digital publishing industry has fared so far in 2024

The first six months of 2024 were tumultuous for the media industry. Google initially pursued third-party cookie deprecation but revised its timeline, causing delays in publishers' cookieless targeting tests.

Forbes faced backlash for allegedly operating a made-for-arbitrage subdomain, deepening distrust in the programmatic market. Several publishers, including News Corp and Vox Media, struck lucrative AI licensing deals, though some like The New York Times pursued legal action against AI companies.

BuzzFeed sold Complex Networks to NTWRK to alleviate its debts, reflecting broader financial struggles. Lastly, significant newsroom shake-ups occurred, notably at The Washington Post and The Daily Beast, leading to staff concerns and leadership changes.

IAB Europe’s Environmental Sustainability Glossary

IAB Europe and its Sustainability Standards Committee have developed a glossary of key terms and recommendations to standardise language and ensure consistency and relevance in discussions about sustainability in digital advertising.

Instream Or Out? Why It’s So Hard To Accurately Label Video Inventory

The media industry faces a new controversy over how video inventory is categorised. The Trade Desk recently stopped supporting Yahoo's video inventory, claiming it was mislabeled as instream rather than outstream.

This has sparked broader industry concerns about the mislabeling of video inventory in open auctions. Instream video, which plays with sound and is expected by users, is scarce and often bundled with less desirable outstream inventory.

Mislabeling persists because outstream video fetches lower CPMs compared to instream video, incentivising publishers to mislabel. The Trade Desk's actions underscore the importance of accurate labeling to maintain premium media quality, and some industry experts predict more disputes over these standards in the future.

Digiday+ Research: Are cookie concerns, MFAs holding back publishers’ digital revenue?

The digital landscape for publishers is complex, with ongoing issues like Google's third-party cookie phase-out and the rise of made-for-advertising sites. Many publishers still rely on traditional revenue channels alongside digital ones.

A Digiday+ Research survey found a significant increase in publishers generating most of their revenue from digital channels, rising to 40% this year from 27% in the past two years. Conversely, the percentage relying primarily on traditional channels has decreased to 9% from around 18-19% in previous years.

Despite this shift, a steady proportion of publishers continue to depend equally on both digital and traditional channels, with a slight drop in those relying solely on digital. The survey also highlighted publishers' belief that third-party cookies will persist longer than anticipated and their success in distancing themselves from the controversy surrounding made-for-advertising sites.

After months of testing, Google faces growing pressure to revamp the Privacy Sandbox

Six months after Google began phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome, the alternatives have proven financially detrimental for publishers and advantageous for Google's advertising dominance. Despite the challenges, ad executives continue investing in tech for Google's Privacy Sandbox, aided by Google's increased collaboration and outreach efforts.

Google hired an ad tech veteran to help with partnerships and delayed the cookie phase-out, providing more industry engagement opportunities. Criteo's extensive testing revealed that the Sandbox could significantly harm publisher revenues and increase Google's market share.

Concerns persist about the Sandbox's performance, with issues like site slowdowns and mislabeling of ad inventory. However, the industry remains hopeful for improvements, suggesting enhancements in performance features, audience qualification, and governance optimisations to make the Sandbox viable.

Commission sends preliminary findings to Meta over its “Pay or Consent” model for breach of the Digital Markets Act

The European Commission has informed Meta that its “pay or consent” advertising model likely breaches the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The Commission's preliminary findings suggest that Meta's model forces users to consent to data combination or pay for an ad-free service, without offering an equivalent less personalised option.

This model does not comply with Article 5(2) of the DMA, which requires gatekeepers to provide a consent-free, equivalent alternative. Meta introduced this model in response to EU regulatory changes in November 2023.

The Commission is coordinating with data protection authorities and will conclude its investigation within 12 months. If Meta is found non-compliant, it could face fines up to 20% of its global turnover for repeated infringements and additional remedies for systematic non-compliance.

Week 26

 ​​Ad tech companies vie to fill Oracle’s void after shutdown

Oracle's decision to shut down its advertising business has caused a stir in the ad tech industry, prompting competitors to try to fill the void quickly. The urgency intensified last week when it became evident that Oracle's ad divisions wouldn’t continue operating. This has led to a rapid response from ad tech companies as advertisers, publishers, and vendors scramble to find suitable alternatives to maintain their operations.

Companies like Peer39 and GumGum are actively engaging with former Oracle clients, offering continuity solutions and enticing them with improved contextual advertising features. This industry shift is occurring under tight time constraints, as Oracle plans to close all its ad products by the end of September, forcing market players to make swift decisions.

Privacy Sandbox Testing Results Show Shortfalls to Meet CMA Requirements

Criteo believes the Privacy Sandbox could be a sustainable alternative to third-party cookies if Google meets specific requests, maintains a disciplined rollout schedule, and provides a clear roadmap. Their recommendations, which are non-breaking and easily implementable, cover a wide range of advertising use cases and aim to improve performance, audience qualification, critical functionalities, and governance.

Criteo's testing indicates that without changes, publisher revenues could drop by an average of 60% if third-party cookies are deprecated today. The current version also gives Google a competitive advantage and increases ad load times, impacting user experience and publisher revenue.

Despite these issues, Criteo has invested significant resources in testing and adapting their infrastructure to the Privacy Sandbox, showing its potential value. They urge Google and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority to consider their recommendations to ensure a functional market and healthier publisher ecosystem.

IAB Tech Lab releases final Privacy Sandbox Fit Analysis

In August 2023, IAB Tech Lab formed a Privacy Sandbox Task Force comprising senior leaders with extensive experience in digital media from 65 companies. Their goal was to identify foundational digital advertising use cases and evaluate the feasibility of Chrome Privacy Sandbox APIs. 

The Task Force meticulously reviewed 44 critical advertising use cases, resulting in a 106-page report released for public comment in February 2024. Feedback from the industry led to several updates and changes to the final draft, addressing technical inaccuracies and existing API considerations.

The final Privacy Sandbox Use Case Analysis was released, highlighting significant concerns with the current state of the Privacy Sandbox, particularly its impact on smaller media companies and brands. The Task Force continues to work with Google to improve the Privacy Sandbox’s advertising utility and support publisher monetization, with prioritized feature requests to be published in Q3 2024.

IAB Europe Unveils Key Commitments and Policy Principles for 2024-2029 EU Legislative Term to Drive Inclusive, Safe, and Innovative Future for Digital Europe

IAB Europe has published a paper titled "Towards an Inclusive, Safe, and Innovative Digital Europe," outlining key commitments and policy principles for the 2024-2029 EU legislative term. The paper aims to shape a sustainable and responsible digital advertising ecosystem, emphasising dialogue with policymakers and alignment with EU values such as inclusivity, sustainability, and privacy.

Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe, highlighted the opportunity to build an ad-supported European internet that empowers and protects citizens. The paper commits to responsible advertising practices, combating IP infringement, countering disinformation, and promoting transparency and consumer trust.

IAB Europe calls for coordinated and predictable regulation, innovation in privacy protection, and collaborative industry initiatives. The release underscores digital advertising's role in Europe's digital economy, benefiting consumers, businesses, and society.

Week 25


Ad Net Zero announces global framework to measure media’s carbon emissions

Ad Net Zero (ANZ) has launched its Global Media Sustainability Framework. It sets voluntary standards to measure greenhouse gas emissions across digital, television, print, audio, outdoor, and cinema channels. Developed over 12 months with input from major advertisers, advertising holding companies, media owners, tech firms, and trade bodies, the framework includes initial formulas and tools for efficient emissions data collection.

Supervised by a Climate Science Expert Group, it aims to standardize carbon accounting practices and drive actions to reduce carbon impact in media plans, aligned with ANZ's goals. Initial formulae for TV, digital, and OOH are released first, followed by audio, print, and cinema, alongside enterprise-level data request and disclosure forms. The next phase involves setting up data transfer systems and validating GHG data, with early results expected by Q2 2025.

Amazon unveils Ads Relevance, claiming it is no longer reliant on single IDs

Amazon Ads is highlighting the AI capabilities of its demand-side platform at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. On the second day, Amazon unveiled Ad Relevance, which has been in closed beta for two years. This new feature helps advertisers target audiences without third-party cookies, using browsing, shopping, and viewing behaviour signals across Amazon properties.

Brian Tomasette, director of Amazon DSP products, emphasized that their system now relies on machine learning models rather than advertising identifiers. This approach aims to offer media buyers more precise ad opportunities and follows similar strategies by other big tech companies like Google.

Magnite and Spectrum Reach Team Up To Enhance Access to Programmatic Advertising

Magnite and Spectrum Reach have announced an expanded partnership to enhance programmatic advertising access across Spectrum's extensive linear and streaming TV inventory. Spectrum Reach will utilise Magnite's technology to deliver targeted, automated ads in a privacy-focused manner via the Spectrum TV App, which is the highest-rated pay TV streaming app in the U.S.

This partnership allows for real-time bidding on individual ad impressions and offers centralised planning and frequency management across both linear and digital platforms. The collaboration aims to unlock the full potential of programmatic advertising for Spectrum Reach's clients, providing custom advertising solutions and improved campaign strategies through detailed data signals and transparency.

DoubleVerify Wants to Teach the Industry About MFA

DoubleVerify aims to explain its technology and role in the industry. At Cannes Lions, DV announced the DV Transparency Center, offering articles and webinars on topics like made-for-advertising sites and brand safety. 

This follows criticism about DV's handling of MFA sites, and the firm seeks this way to clarify misconceptions about its ad verification capabilities.

Prebid.js 9 is released

The new versions highlights include a new PAAPI interface, featuring publisher component selling and publisher top-level selling. Additionally, there is a new preferred GAM creative, improved alignment with the new IABTL instream definitions, and several changes to consent handling. For more details visit here.

IPG’s Magna: UK adspend growth ‘stronger than expected’

UK leads global ad growth at 12.2% in Magna's forecast, expecting total market to exceed £40bn. Digital pure players surged 21%, while traditional media grew 4%. Full-year projections: digital up 15% (£36.3bn), traditional up 1% (£7.5bn). 

Growth is driven by short-form video, DTC brands, and European e-commerce. Automotive, drinks, finance, telecoms, betting show double-digit growth.

Privacy Sandbox Buyer Report: The Who’s Who of DSP Spending in the Post-Cookie Era

Paul Bannister shared insights on LinkedIn and Twitter about DSP spending with Google's Protected Audience API (PAAPI). Most DSPs are cautiously testing with about 1% of their ad spend in a post-cookie world. Amazon started spending in March, indicating a potential quick pivot. AdRoll and Audigent stand out by fully embracing PAAPI.

Audigent's Component Buyer technology positions them as key players despite not running a DSP. Google's DV360 lags behind AdWords in PAAPI spending, showing the challenge of shifting big advertisers. PAAPI aims to balance targeted ads and privacy by running on-device auctions. Publishers must adapt to new ecosystem, updating Prebid.js and handling an evolving workflow.

Adtech vendors join forces for European Programmatic TV Initiative

A group of leading ad tech platforms, including The Trade Desk, PubMatic, Equativ, Magnite, Cadent, Adform, and The Project X Initiative, have formed the European Programmatic TV Initiative (EPTVI) to address challenges in the fragmented programmatic TV advertising landscape across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Major broadcasters and streaming platforms are also involved.

The initiative aims to create a comprehensive understanding of programmatic TV, establish clear definitions and terminology, identify benefits and challenges, and find solutions to barriers. It will showcase successful campaigns to demonstrate effectiveness and develop a roadmap for programmatic TV in Europe, with a summit and report expected in the autumn.

Week 24

Oracle exits advertising business following revenue falloff

Oracle is exiting the advertising business, with CEO Safra Catz reporting a significant decline in advertising revenue to around $300 million in fiscal 2024, down from $2 billion two years ago. This exit opens up opportunities for other companies in the ad industry, especially as new technologies emerge to replace traditional cookies.

Oracle had built its ad division through several high-cost acquisitions, including Responsys, Datalogix, and Moat. Their challenges included changes in data-sharing policies and stringent regulations like GDPR, which led to the end of its third-party data services in Europe in 2020. Oracle's advertising sector faced additional hurdles from lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny, such as the class-action lawsuit over BlueKai's data-sharing practices.

Magnite Joins Amazon Ads’ Certified Supply Exchange Program

Magnite announced joining Amazon Ads’ Certified Supply Exchange Program. This partnership enhances the efficiency of the supply path, providing buyers streamlined, transparent access to inventory through Amazon’s DSP and enabling sellers to better monetise their offerings.

Magnite's alignment with Amazon also facilitates unique advertising opportunities that leverage Amazon's shopper insights, improving ad targeting and effectiveness. This collaboration represents a significant shift towards more direct and effective media transactions, emphasising the importance of close partnerships in the evolving digital advertising space.

Pixalate Releases Ad Industry’s First Made For Advertising (MFA) Mobile Apps Report: $7.5 Million in Estimated Global Ad Spend Went to Likely MFA Mobile Apps Across Google & Apple App Stores in Q1 2024

Pixalate released its Q1 2024 Made For Advertising (MFA) Ad Spend Report, the first to benchmark MFA trends in mobile apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This report analyses 5.1 million downloadable mobile apps and over 50 billion global open programmatic advertising impressions to assess trends in ad spending on likely MFA mobile apps.

The findings reveal that approximately $7.5 million in open programmatic ad spend was directed towards likely MFA apps, with Google-hosted apps receiving $3.7 million and Apple-hosted apps $1.5 million. A significant 53% of the global open programmatic ad spend on these apps went to developers with private domains, and over half of the ad spend targeted apps in the "Mobile Games" and "Hobbies & Interests" categories.

The report also highlights that non-MFA mobile apps have been available on the app stores about 1.5 times longer than likely MFA apps. This comprehensive analysis provides insights into the scale and specifics of advertising within MFA mobile apps.

Equativ and Sharethrough Merge to Form One of the Largest Global Independent Ad Platforms and Marketplaces

Equativ announced its merger with Sharethrough, forming one of the largest omnichannel ad exchanges aimed at optimising programmatic value and scale. With over 720 employees in 18 countries and a combined net recurring revenue above $200M, the new entity promises to offer an independent alternative to traditional walled gardens, enhancing efficiency and innovation in advertising.

In the first quarter of 2024, Equativ and Sharethrough reported significant growth, driven by strategic partnerships and advancements in curation, CTV, and green media products. The merger leverages their technological assets and global reach to offer a wider range of services including advanced video strategies, user-focused creative enhancements, and sustainable advertising solutions.

Additionally, the combined entity will enhance programmatic advertising transactions and expand addressable solutions, enabling better audience targeting and more transparent dealings. This strategic union positions Equativ and Sharethrough as leading forces in the independent SSP market, poised to reshape the programmatic advertising landscape.

Roku Will Pass More Data In The Bidstream

Roku introduced the Roku Exchange, aimed at creating a direct connection between its advertising supply and programmatic demand. This initiative is designed to ensure that programmatic buyers receive the same data as direct buyers, enhancing transparency and potentially increasing spending with Roku's own DSP.

Roku has integrated this new exchange with various DSPs and SSPs, such as Magnite, to strengthen the connectivity and data flow across its ad network. The Roku Exchange provides programmatic buyers detailed data about ad placements and breaks, similar to what direct buyers receive, although detailed show-level data remains restricted due to privacy concerns.

This is part of Roku's strategy to encourage more programmatic buying by offering enhanced data access, which could reduce advertisers' reliance on third-party DSPs and consolidate more ad spending within Roku’s ecosystem. Roku Exchange plans to include new ad formats like home screen ads and billboard-style units, making advertising on Roku more personalised and integrated.

IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark Report 2023 Reveals Exceptional Strength and Growth of Digital Advertising in Europe

IAB Europe released the 2023 AdEx Benchmark Report, showing a notable 11.1% growth in the European digital advertising market, totaling €96.9 billion. Despite economic and geopolitical challenges, the digital ad sector in Europe remains resilient, outpacing the growth of the U.S. market.

The report, now including quarterly data, provides comprehensive insights into advertising expenditure across 29 national markets, showing that the largest gains are centralised in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy, which collectively account for 69% of the total spend. Remarkably, digital ad growth in Central and Eastern Europe exceeded the overall European average, with Turkey, Serbia, and Ukraine experiencing significant increases, attributed in part to inflation in these regions.

The report highlights rapid growth in specific ad formats, with video, CTV, and audio advertising seeing substantial increases, driven by strong performance in social media platforms and podcasting. However, growth in the programmatic market is showing signs of maturity, influenced by shifts towards new channels like CTV and retail media, and the industry's adaptation to privacy regulations and the decline of third-party cookies.

Dr. Knapp of IAB Europe remarked that 2023’s robust performance is due to improved economic conditions and renewed confidence among advertisers. IAB Europe’s CEO noted the strong growth in social and video advertising, and the emergence of new impactful channels like audio advertising and retail media.

Apple Is Quietly Replacing SKAdNetwork And PCM With A New Ad Attribution Framework

At the recent Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple introduced a rebranding of its ad attribution frameworks under the new "AdAttributionKit". This framework encompasses both App AdAttributionKit and Web AdAttributionKit, successors to SKAdNetwork and Private Click Measurement respectively.

This move simplifies Apple's privacy-focused ad attribution technologies into a unified framework, although the core functionalities of the original systems remain largely unchanged.The updated framework will now include support for reengagement campaigns, allowing advertisers to track user interactions post-app download, which has been a long-standing request from developers.

Criticism has been directed at Apple's SKAdNetwork for its complexity and limited adoption, with some arguing it hampers ad effectiveness under the guise of privacy preservation. Despite the rebranding, fundamental challenges remain, though Apple is making efforts to enhance its ad measurement tools, as evidenced by the prohibition of fingerprinting techniques in conjunction with the new AdAttributionKit.

 DV Global Insights: 2024 Trends Report

DoubleVerify released their DV Global Insights: 2024 Trends Report, which delves into the data shifts and quality foundations of digital media performance, while offering four regional reports on APAC, EMEA, LATAM, and North America that highlight local election-related trends.

Week 23

US Ad Revenues to Approach $400 Billion This Year

The advertising industry in the United States is expected to see a robust year, with projected revenues nearing $400 billion in 2024, showing a 6.3 percent growth year-over-year, excluding political ads. This upward revision from an earlier forecast of 5.6 percent growth follows a strong first quarter where the market grew by 10.1 percent, surpassing expectations. 

Although the growth is set to slow down in subsequent quarters, with an anticipated 6.7 percent in Q2, 5 percent in Q3, and 4 percent in Q4, the overall outlook remains positive.Despite high-profile events like the Summer Olympics, these are not expected to significantly impact overall advertising spending, which instead tends to redistribute existing budgets.

Digital advertising continues to dominate, capturing a larger market share at the expense of traditional media like TV, print, and outdoor. The shift is particularly notable in national TV advertising, which is experiencing a decline as budgets move towards digital platforms, reflecting a permanent trend away from traditional TV advertising.

Political advertising, while lower than in the first quarter of the 2020 presidential election cycle, is projected to exceed the spending of both 2022 and 2020, with an expected total of $15.1 billion in 2024. This contributes to the total U.S. ad revenue projection for 2024, positioning the industry for sustained growth over the next few years.

IAB Tech Lab Finalizes Data Deletion Request Framework to Streamline Digital Ad Supply Chain Privacy Compliance

IAB Tech Lab has released the final Data Deletion Request Framework, marking a significant development in consumer data privacy within the digital advertising sector. This framework was refined after two extensive public comment periods and includes contributions from major industry players like Google, Roku, and others. 

It provides a standardised method for managing data deletion requests across the digital advertising ecosystem, incorporating measures for validating request origins, confirming requester authenticity, and using cryptographic signatures for secure authentication. The framework supports compliance with existing data privacy laws such as the GDPR and multiple U.S. state privacy laws, aligning with the 'Right to Delete' principle.

 It also prepares the groundwork for future privacy regulations within the advertising technology field. To facilitate widespread adoption, IAB Tech Lab is offering a 90-day implementation period with additional support to help companies integrate the new standards smoothly.

The Evolution Of Yahoo Backstage One Year After Its Debut

Yahoo DSP launched Backstage nearly a year ago, offering a direct-to-publisher connection that sidesteps traditional programmatic supply chains like SSPs, in response to the SPO trend. This innovation has seen significant uptake, with 82% of advertisers using Yahoo DSP having tried Backstage, driven by the desire for a more direct access to publisher inventory, particularly beneficial in the competitive CTV market.

eBay, for instance, has utilised Backstage extensively, delivering over 10 million ad impressions at significantly lower CPMs than non-Backstage channels, while also achieving better performance metrics such as a higher attention rating. Backstage not only offers cost benefits by eliminating middlemen and reducing ad spend but also allows advertisers like eBay to target specific demographics more effectively, leveraging partnerships with platforms like Tubi and FuboTV.

The platform is designed to provide flexibility and high fidelity in data targeting, thanks to Yahoo's direct relationships with publishers, which simplifies the data taxonomy compared to traditional SSP-created PMPs. Over the past year, Yahoo has refined Backstage's offerings, including publisher mix adjustments and the addition of targeted PMPs, aligning with market demands and ensuring the exclusion of low-quality sites.

The cases for and against The Trade Desk’s Top 100 List

The Trade Desk (TDD) recently released a list of the top 100 sites it buys from, causing no surprise but confirming its significant influence in the market. This action, while strategic and seemingly routine for The Trade Desk, has stirred concerns among publishers about the company's control over advertising dollars.

On one side, The Trade Desk's maneuvers are seen as smart and strategic, emphasising its efforts to serve advertisers by promoting quality inventory and advocating for principles like consent and first-party data. This includes initiatives like unified ID 2.0, OpenPath, and OpenPass, aimed at enhancing the buying process and ensuring fair compensation for media owners.

However, these efforts are not without controversy, as they challenge the existing dynamics and press publishers to adapt, potentially risking their business if they cannot compete effectively. Critics argue that The Trade Desk's dominance could lead to a lack of diversity in the ad tech landscape, pointing to the absence of major media entities like Netflix from its top list and questioning the company's methodology and intentions.

This dominance is viewed by some as TTD leveraging its position to dictate terms and consolidate control over how ad dollars are spent, potentially marginalising other ad tech platforms and reducing publishers' negotiation power. TTDs’s actions can be interpreted as self-serving, aiming to centralise control and benefit primarily its advertisers, sometimes at the expense of publishers and other ad tech entities.

Week 22

Digiday+ Research: Publishers continue to rely on programmatic revenue, despite recent issues

Programmatic marketing continues to be a critical revenue stream for publishers, despite its challenges, as highlighted by Digiday's research which shows that a significant portion of publishers still rely heavily on programmatic ads for income. The research indicates that 82% of publishers reported earning at least a small portion of their revenue from programmatic ads as of early 2024, though this is a slight decrease from previous surveys.

Notably, one-third of publishers surveyed mentioned that programmatic ads constitute a large or very large part of their revenue, underlining the channel's importance despite a slight decline in its overall usage among publishers. Future projections are optimistic, with over half of the publishers planning to focus significantly on enhancing their programmatic business in the upcoming months.

Revenue from programmatic ads is largely derived from the open market, which remains stable, whereas revenue from direct-sold programmatic ads has seen a decline. The increase in publishers reporting no revenue from direct-sold and open market programmatic ads could signal growing issues within the programmatic sector.

Google’s post-cookie ad tech glitch—recent issue raises industry question

Google's Privacy Sandbox faced a temporary glitch that halted ad operations and raised concerns about future vulnerabilities. The issue, which lasted about 16 hours, involved the failure of critical APIs within Google Chrome, causing some publishers to experience a temporary stop in ad activity and revenue flow.

Although the glitch was promptly resolved by Google, it underscored potential risks associated with the heavy reliance on the Privacy Sandbox for ad auctions directly within the browser. The incident highlighted the inherent risks in software, with implications for the digital advertising industry if such outages become common, especially as the platform is intended to handle a significant volume of ad transactions.

In response to the outage and broader concerns, there are discussions about developing alternative solutions, such as "trusted execution environments" (TEEs), to decentralise ad functions and reduce dependency on Chrome. This approach could help mitigate risks and improve accountability by distributing responsibilities across different platforms and technologies.

Publishers’ H1 pulse check on ad spend in digital media

After a dip in spending last year, sectors like technology, finance, insurance, and retail have shown signs of recovery in digital advertising with publishers in the first half of this year. Technology, in particular, has seen a resurgence in ad spending, partly driven by increased interest in branded content and social video offerings, with an emphasis on AI advancements.

While technology ad spend has increased by 7% in H1 2024, healthcare and pharma have displayed mixed signals; some publishers have noted growth through custom events and social video ads, although overall spending in this sector has decreased by 18%. The finance sector has a more moderate recovery, maintaining steady levels of spending compared to last year, with a slight increase of 11% in ad spending over the first four months of 2024.

In contrast, retail and apparel sectors have shown positive trends, with apparel ad spending up by 18%, even though retail saw a 4% decrease. Despite a strong performance last year, the travel sector has faced a significant downturn, with a 21% decline in ad spending, yet it remains a strong category for branded video content and continues to attract interest from advertisers planning for the summer travel season.

A brand safety watchdog wants to galvanize ad tech vendors to save publishers from MFA classification

Publishers affiliated with the Brand Safety Institute (BSI) are actively engaging with major measurement firms to better understand and navigate the classification of content as MFA. The goal is to develop a "publisher portal" that would aid publishers in avoiding wrongful MFA classification by providing insights into how entities like DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science assess websites.

This initiative arises amid concerns that current industry guidelines are being manipulated by fraudsters, adversely affecting legitimate publishers. Recent reports have highlighted the significant financial losses due to MFA websites, estimated at up to $10 billion annually, underscoring the urgency of refining these evaluation processes.

Additionally, the discussions include improving transparency and communication between publishers and measurement vendors to prevent legitimate content from being unfairly penalised. The effort is moving towards creating a proof-of-concept for the portal by the end of the year, with ongoing discussions about how to manage and protect the sensitive data it will involve. 

The Trade Desk Unveils the Sellers and Publishers Report – a Biannual Review of Open Internet Trends

The Trade Desk has released "The Sellers and Publishers Report," revealing that the top 500 digital publishers generate about 50% of advertising revenue, prized for their quality and efficiency. Consumer trends have shifted, with 61% of online time now spent on the open internet, surpassing time within Big Tech walled gardens, propelled by the rise of streaming TV and digital audio.

The report indicates a decline in the dominance of platforms like Facebook and Google in digital ad spending, as the open internet becomes the preferred venue for engaging content such as movies, TV shows, and sports. It also details the top 100 global advertising publishers, selected based on criteria that demonstrate their appeal to advertisers, showcasing the strength of streaming, audio, and various content platforms.

The Trade Desk’s ‘premium internet’ shift stirs concerns among publishers over ad dollar allocation

The Trade Desk's CEO Jeff Green recently shifted to advocating for the "premium internet," characterised by high-quality ad inventories and user consent, stirring concern among publishers about potential ad dollar reallocation. Publishers fear that TTD's new stance might necessitate large volumes of logged-in users due to its reliance on UID 2.0 for programmatic ad targeting without third-party cookies.

This has led to anxiety among publishers who struggle to collect sufficient email addresses for UID 2.0 integration, fearing it may undermine their data control and benefit TTD at their expense. Despite publisher apprehensions, TTD claims that having 5-10% of their audience authenticated is sufficient to remain competitive, introducing solutions like OpenPass to facilitate user login and authentication.

However, publishers are concerned about the increasing control TTD might exert over their ad operations, especially as the company expands its capabilities within the sell-side of the ad market. As TTD continues to push for high-quality advertising outside of traditional "walled gardens," publishers must navigate the balance between cooperation and maintaining control over their own digital environments.

IAB Europe's Virtual Programmatic Day H1 2024

The Virtual Programmatic Day is set to gather industry experts on June 6th to discuss the latest trends and challenges in Europe's programmatic trading, including Privacy Sandbox and new ecosystem developments. 

Week 21

Inside The New York Times’ plans to correlate attention levels to other metrics

The New York Times is focusing on attention advertising, developing proprietary metrics and recently partnering with Adelaide to enhance their ad measurement capabilities. This partnership allows the Times to use Adelaide's tools and AU metric, which include eye-tracking and exposure data, to measure ad attention more effectively.

The Times plans to integrate the AU metric with their existing metrics, aiming for a comprehensive understanding of how ads capture audience attention. Gabriel Dorosz, the Times' Executive Director of Audience Strategy, emphasises the importance of correlating various metrics like viewability and click-through rates with attention data to offer better advertising guidance.

The initiative reflects a broader industry trend towards valuing attention metrics, spurred by changes such as the phasing out of third-party cookies. This shift could lead to more accurate and meaningful advertising impact measurements, aligning with the Times' goal to demonstrate the true value of their ad space. Read the full article >>

Pixalate's Q1 2024 Global Ad Fraud (IVT) Benchmarks for Mobile Apps: $1.4 Billion Spent on Ad Fraud & Invalid Traffic (IVT) Across Apps in the Google and Apple App Stores; IVT Rises 15% YoY

Pixalate released its Q1 2024 Global Mobile App Invalid Traffic Benchmark Report and analysis (download link in caption). The research, which included over 5.1 million active mobile apps and 50 billion advertising impressions, found a global mobile app IVT rate of 23%, translating to an estimated $1.4 billion in ad fraud and invalid traffic.

Notably, mobile apps without an app-ads.txt file were at a 73% higher risk of IVT compared to those with the file, and the APAC region, particularly South Korea, exhibited the highest IVT rates at 30% and 36%, respectively. Additionally, apps on Google Play showed an 18% higher IVT risk than those on the Apple App Store.

Read the full article >>, Report >> 

Alternative IDs Hold Promise, But Lack Scale

As the media industry prepares for the loss of third-party cookies, media buyers are exploring various alternative identifiers (alt IDs) such as UID 2.0, ID5, and Lotame’s Panorama ID. Despite the variety of options, these alt IDs have yet to prove themselves as the definitive solution, with concerns about their effectiveness and scalability persisting.

Trials with these IDs have often been disappointing, leading to a general reluctance among marketers to commit fully to their adoption. Even as some IDs like UID 2.0 begin to see selective adoption, particularly in connected TV sectors, the overall sentiment is one of cautious experimentation and lowered expectations for immediate results.

Read the full article >>

Despite challenges, marketers plan to increase programmatic spending in 2024

The latest Digiday+ Research Briefing highlights significant challenges in the programmatic ad market, revealing concerns over inventory quality and the impact of the looming disappearance of third-party cookies. Despite these challenges, 58% of brands and retailers have adopted generative AI, with applications ranging from chatbots to copy generation.

At the Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit, agency executives expressed caution over AI, noting specific contractual stipulations about its use due to inclusivity and security concerns. Programmatic marketing remains robust, however, with substantial investment continuing, as indicated by 77% of brand and retailer professionals using programmatic site display ads.

On the publishing side, executives from leading outlets discussed strategies for revenue diversification, including affiliate commerce and unique partnerships like The Independent's wine club. Amidst this, YouTube is optimising its advertising approach, enhancing its YouTube Select program to create more ad scarcity and targeting opportunities. Read the full article >>

Paramount And Shopsense Add Programmatic Demand To Their Shoppable Ad Network

Paramount has influenced consumer behavior significantly through its media content. In an effort to capitalise on the commercial potential of its shows, Paramount partnered with Shopsense AI, which integrates QR codes and calls to action into TV broadcasts, directing viewers to shoppable landing pages.

This collaboration now extends to programmatic buying with Magnite SSP, enabling broader ad placements directly connected to Paramount's content. Despite the potential of shoppable TV, there is skepticism about consumer adoption, with efforts focused on educating viewers on new shopping behaviors directly from their screens, emphasising the strategic shift towards integrating commerce more deeply with content viewing experiences. Read the full article >> 

Condé Nast, Forbes, The Atlantic, The Guardian and The Independent on key revenue trends

In 2024, publishers are reevaluating their revenue strategies due to a challenging 2023 that saw less-than-expected earnings and widespread layoffs in the media industry. According to a Digiday+ Research survey, interest in affiliate commerce as a revenue source has declined, with its share of publishers' revenues dropping significantly from 2023 to 2024.

Executives from Condé Nast, Forbes, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Independent discussed their diverse approaches to revenue generation, which include affiliate commerce, e-commerce platforms, and strategic partnerships with brands. For instance, The Independent has cultivated a successful e-commerce platform, IndyBest, and The Atlantic considers affiliate commerce a minor but non-negligible contributor.

Condé Nast is focusing on creating immersive shopping experiences within its media environment, aligning content inspiration with product purchasing. Meanwhile, The Guardian US is not currently pursuing affiliate commerce, focusing instead on other growth strategies.

The publishers also emphasised the importance of diversifying revenue streams, incorporating e-commerce, content syndication, and global expansion into their strategies. This diversification is particularly crucial as the media landscape continues to evolve with the rise of AI, the decline of traditional ad revenue, and shifts in consumer behavior. Read the full article >> 

The Rundown: How Amazon is wooing publishers to bolster its $50 billion ad business

Amazon Advertising's revenue reached nearly $47 billion last year, marking a 24% increase and surpassing the growth rates of tech giants like Facebook and Google. An eMarketer forecast predicts that Amazon's advertising revenue will exceed $67 billion by 2025, spurred by the introduction of new features announced at the Amazon Publisher Services summit.

These features include an advertising ID service called Signal IQ to address the gaps left by the phasing out of third-party cookies, and expansions to the Transparent Ad Marketplace to support all streaming TV publishers. The launch of Amazon Publisher Cloud, now out of beta, offers advertisers direct access to ad spaces from major publishers in collaboration with Omnicom Media Group.

These developments are part of Amazon’s broader strategy to capture more advertising dollars by enabling targeted advertising beyond its own platform, aiming to close the performance gap between its internal and external ad placements. Amidst rising costs and industry changes, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy emphasises that the high-growth, high-margin ads business is crucial for driving the company’s next phase of revenue and profit growth. Read the full article >> 

How Sell-Side Curation Is Reshaping The Post-Cookie Supply Chain

The decline of third-party cookies has spurred ad tech companies to innovate how they build audiences, shifting from relying on DSPs and third-party cookies to utilising SSPs that curate audiences using first-party data from publishers. This move towards sell-side curation allows the matching of a buyer's first-party data with a publisher's data, forming PMPs that cater to specific audience needs.

These developments have shifted the balance of power, giving SSPs a more dominant role in the programmatic ecosystem and diminishing the control DSPs have traditionally held over audience curation. Additionally, SSPs are now forming partnerships with third-party data providers like Experian and TransUnion to improve the matching rates between buyers and sellers, turning SSPs into data marketplaces themselves.

This trend is also influencing DMPs to evolve into curation specialists, rebranding and adapting to the new landscape where first-party data and closer publisher integrations are paramount. Overall, the industry is moving towards a more integrated and direct relationship between buyers and sellers, emphasising quality, transparency, and efficiency in audience targeting. Read the full article >> 

Week 20

Publisher execs talk AI licensing deals, new applications for AI in latest earnings calls

The interaction between media companies and generative AI technology firms is intensifying, with notable new AI licensing deals emerging. IAC’s Dotdash Meredith and News Corp have entered into significant agreements with OpenAI and Google respectively, focusing on content licensing and AI-enhanced product development.

While these deals are part of a broader strategy to integrate AI into their operations, the financial specifics remain largely undisclosed. Dotdash Meredith aims to use AI to enhance its contextual ad targeting capabilities, particularly important in a digital landscape moving away from third-party cookies.

Meanwhile, other publishers like BuzzFeed and Gannett are incorporating AI to develop internal tools and products that enhance user engagement and ad placement effectiveness. These developments underscore a growing trend of media companies leveraging AI to expand their technological capabilities and advertising efficacy.

Read the full article>> 

Clients of Independent Agencies Boost Programmatic Buying

Smaller advertisers are increasingly leveraging CTV programmatic buying, as reported by FreeWheel, which has seen a 24% increase in impressions from independent agencies this year. These agencies, representing smaller marketers compared to large agency holdings, are benefitting from media companies making ad inventory accessible through self-serve and programmatic platforms.

The report highlights a significant rise in the adoption of multi-publisher programmatic bundles, up 119%, as advertisers aim to reach target audiences across various CTV platforms. With major sports events available for streaming, there's potential for programmatic advertising to expand into live sports, offering new opportunities for addressability and efficiency in high-profile event advertising. Read the full article>>

’ Q1 earnings show promise, but also room for improvement

The first quarter of 2024 showed promising results for publishers, with most seeing growth in digital advertising, except for BuzzFeed, which saw a decline. Subscription revenues were also strong for those that reported them, such as Gannett, Dow Jones, and The New York Times.

Dotdash Meredith experienced increases in licensing and commerce revenue, and overall, media leaders expressed optimism about maintaining revenue growth throughout the year, though they acknowledged the challenges ahead. Specific figures highlighted include BuzzFeed’s advertising revenue falling by 22% and Dotdash Meredith’s digital ad revenue increasing by 19%, though still below its 2022 high.

Gannett reported modest growth in digital advertising and a significant 21.3% increase in digital subscription revenue. The New York Times added approximately 210,000 digital subscribers, with significant contributions from bundle and multi-product subscribers, anticipating that these will comprise over 50% of their total by the next year.

On the commerce front, BuzzFeed is focusing on leveraging its retail media network to offset declining revenues, which fell by 9% year-over-year. Looking forward, the companies have varied expectations for Q2, with The Times predicting increases in subscription and advertising revenue, while BuzzFeed expects a challenging quarter despite anticipated programmatic revenue growth. Read the full article>>

Amazon’s upfront debut crowns its courtship of adland

Amazon's recent upfront showcased a strategic pivot from purely data-driven advertising pitches to integrating more entertainment content. At this event, Amazon highlighted new programming to attract scaled audiences, including a new series starring Nicolas Cage and several sports documentaries, alongside updates to established series like “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

Tanner Elton, Amazon's VP of U.S. advertising sales, stressed the unique position of Amazon as an integrated entertainment and shopping platform, enhancing its appeal to advertisers by leveraging its e-commerce ecosystem. Additionally, Amazon's advertising division reported a substantial revenue increase of 24% year over year in Q1, reaching $11.6 billion, driven by enhancements in Amazon Advertising’s technology and new ad formats.

The company also emphasised its integration of first-party data and machine learning, aiming to provide deeper insights into e-commerce behaviors and improve advertising effectiveness. Despite these advances and the ambitious expansion of its advertising capabilities, Amazon has received mixed reviews from media agency buyers on inflexibility and slow response to buyer requests, coupled with high pricing demands during this year's upfront negotiations. Read the full article>>

Marketers remain invested in programmatic, but agencies show less confidence than brands

At the Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit in Palm Springs, programmatic advertising remains a key focus in marketers' budgets, despite recent shakes in agency confidence. The majority of marketers continue to invest heavily in programmatic site display ads, with an upward trend in budget allocation noted among brands and retailers; 38% have increased their spending compared to last year.

In contrast, agency investment in programmatic is increasing even more, with 42% reporting higher budgets this year. However, the enthusiasm is not uniform; a significant 18% of agency professionals now report zero investment in programmatic ads, a stark increase from 2% just six months prior.

Survey data highlights a disparity in budget allocation trends between brands and agencies, where brands have shown a rebound in substantial investments in programmatic, while agencies see a downward trend among their clients. Key metrics for evaluating the success of programmatic campaigns differ between groups; brands focus on sales and commerce as primary indicators, whereas agencies prioritise clickthrough rates. Read the full article>>

WBD Reasserts Its Place In Ad-Supported Streaming

During this week's upfronts, Warner Bros. Discovery aimed to reassure advertisers and stakeholders, despite its revenue struggles stemming from the merger-related debt. WBD highlighted its integrated ad tech capabilities, now that Warner Media and Discovery have merged, allowing advertisers to run campaigns across its entire portfolio.

The company unveiled new ad products including sponsorships for films on Max, contextual ads tied to content themes, and a data-driven video tool built on its Olli platform, which assists in planning cross-platform campaigns. Additionally, WBD is boosting its appeal by keeping ad loads low on Max, where ad-supported tier subscriptions have doubled, and by leveraging sports programming partnerships with major leagues to draw new subscribers. Read the full article>>

Netflix Is Launching Its Own Ad Tech

Netflix sees significant growth in its ad-supported user base to 40 million monthly active users and now announcing the development of its own ad tech platform. The platform, which is set to start testing in Canada this year and aims for a U.S. launch by Q2 2025, is designed to enhance control and transparency for advertisers.

Additionally, Netflix is expanding its programmatic advertising capabilities by integrating new partners like The Trade Desk, Google's DV360, and Magnite. On the measurement front, Netflix has formed new partnerships with iSpot and TVision, enhancing its analytics capabilities to better demonstrate engagement and optimise ad revenue, while also preparing to enter the live sports broadcasting arena with deals like streaming NFL games on Christmas Day. Read the full article>>

 PAIR Up With First Party Data: Unlock Secure, Private And Scalable Targeting

IAB Tech Lab introduces PAIR, a collaborative effort integrating Google’s Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation protocol and the IAB's Privacy Enhancing Technology initiatives to create a secure method for advertisers and publishers to manage first-party data. Utilising encryption and data clean rooms, this solution enables privacy-safe data matching, facilitating programmatic transactions while safeguarding audience personal information.

Both Google and IAB Tech Lab aim to establish PAIR as an open industry standard, improving performance and privacy in using first-party data sets. The core design goals of PAIR emphasise robust privacy protections, including securing personally identifiable information and ensuring the privacy of user identity and audience membership during data transactions.

With PAIR and OPJA sharing similar technical foundations and design objectives, their integration signifies a significant step towards industry-wide adoption of privacy-enhancing technologies. Going forward, IAB Tech Lab PAIR will serve as the sole standard for activating common audiences between advertisers and publishers, overseen by the Privacy and Addressability Working Group. Read the full article>>

Week 19

Ad tech’s week on Wall Street underscores critical industry challenges

The recent quarterly earnings reports from leading publicly listed, independent ad tech companies revealed various performance outcomes, with DoubleVerify's significant stock price drop being a focal point. Amidst concerns about the future of 3P cookies, the industry faces an ongoing existential crisis, yet companies like The Trade Desk continue to outperform, leveraging their UID2 as part of a strategic pivot towards CTV and retail media.

Criteo, traditionally known for ad retargeting, is also embracing retail media as part of its rebranding efforts. SSPs like Magnite and PubMatic are exploiting trends towards CTV and retail media, with Magnite integrating into Disney's ad tech strategies and PubMatic showcasing partnerships with companies like Klarna and Roblox.

DoubleVerify, however, has lowered its full-year guidance due to erratic spending by key clients, impacting its stock valuation. The ad tech sector continues to grapple with challenges such as ad verification scrutiny and the need to demonstrate return on investment from recent mergers and acquisitions. Read the full article >>

News publishers prep for possible ad slumps as election season nears

With the U.S. presidential election approaching, news publishers are exploring alternative revenue streams amid uncertainties in the ad market. Dow Jones is emphasising events and non-political content, while The Guardian is targeting political and advocacy advertisers for election coverage.

Some B2B tech advertisers plan to go "dark" by October 1, creating uncertainty for Q4 revenue predictions. Despite this, Dow Jones' CRO Josh Stinchcomb remains optimistic, expecting paused ad dollars to return post-election through events like the CEO Council.

The Guardian's head of sales, Luis Romero, aims to offset potential losses by securing political ad dollars. Meanwhile, Seth Hargrave, CEO of MediaTwo Interactive, highlighted that advertisers' reluctance to run ads during election season is driven by a mix of brand safety concerns and competitive pricing, suggesting that contextual targeting is crucial for publishers. Read the full article >> 

Dow Jones, NYT, Dotdash Meredith and Informa confound news business doomsters

Recent developments suggest a potential rebound in the news industry, evidenced by an uptick in media shares and strong digital subscriber growth among major publishers. News Corp's Dow Jones division reports significant gains, reaching over 5 million digital subscribers with notable increases at the Wall Street Journal and Barron's.

In contrast, digital advertising faced declines, particularly affected by decreased online traffic. Amidst these challenges, News Corp has secured a lucrative renewal with Google, signaling ongoing beneficial relations between news publishers and the tech giant.

Additionally, advancements in advertising technology, like Dotdash Meredith's cookie-less ad tech D/Cipher, are showing promising results, bucking the trend of online advertising declines. This period of digital adaptation and partnerships, such as those involving generative AI, suggests a transformative phase for journalism, potentially enhancing its sustainability and profitability. Read the full article >> 

Leaked Deck Reveals How OpenAI Is Pitching Publisher Partnerships

OpenAI has been actively pursuing partnerships with news publishers through its Preferred Publishers Program with a licensing agreement with the Associated Press. The program aims to enhance visibility and engagement with publisher content on OpenAI's platforms, offering publishers financial incentives divided into "guaranteed" and "variable" values based on user interaction.

Despite OpenAI's assurances, details from a leaked pitch deck show the company's attempts to formalise access to ongoing content, which is critical for training its models to handle contemporary queries. The financial structure proposed combines upfront licensing payments with bonuses tied to how effectively the publisher's content drives user engagement.

However, the relationship between digital publishers and OpenAI remains complex, underscored by ongoing legal uncertainties and varied responses from publishers, ranging from partnerships to lawsuits. Ultimately, the program reflects OpenAI’s broader strategy to integrate and compensate publishers for their content while navigating the intricate dynamics of copyright and data usage in AI development.

Read the full article >>


The Trade Desk Reframes Its Open Internet Vision As ‘The Premium Internet’

The Trade Desk reported a significant earnings success in Q1, with revenue increasing by 28% to $491 million and net income rising from $9 million in Q1 2023 to $32 million in the latest quarter. This performance continues the trend of consistent revenue growth and profitability for the company. 

In a strategic shift, CEO Jeff Green emphasised a new focus on the "premium internet" as opposed to the broader "open internet," highlighting the need to distinguish between high-quality content and lower-grade, spammy material. He criticised the major tech platforms, or "walled gardens," for their role in circulating low-quality ad inventory and poor ad-to-content ratios, which are often misleading in terms of actual advertising value.

The Trade Desk is taking advantage of increased transparency due to Big Tech litigation and regulations to emphasise the value of premium internet spaces where they operate more extensively. Green also discussed the pitfalls of attribution metrics offered by walled gardens, contrasting the superficial allure of cheap reach on these platforms with the genuine value offered by premium content environments. Read the full article >>

Magnite Makes Its Case As A Differentiated SSP

PubMatic is among several SSPs capitalising on the burgeoning CTV advertising market, with Magnite also reporting a significant rise in CTV ad revenue. Magnite's CTV revenue increased by 18% year-over-year to $55 million, driven by growing demand for programmatic sports inventory and advancements in ad serving, particularly through supply-path optimisation (SPO).

Magnite has launched ClearLine, an SPO product that facilitates direct paths to streaming and online video supply, gaining traction with agencies and brands shifting ad budgets from linear to streaming TV. Magnite's partnership with Mediaocean, a major TV ad buying platform, allows linear advertisers direct access to streaming inventory through ClearLine, integrating major CTV publishers like Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery.

CEO Michael Barrett emphasised the growing importance of SSPs over DSPs in the current ad tech landscape, as SSPs aim to maximise publisher revenue and offer direct connections to premium inventory. However, the competitive environment among SSPs is intensifying, as they strive to differentiate themselves and capture more linear ad dollars transitioning to streaming. Read the full article >>

PubMatic Is Betting On Two Ad Tech Acronyms: CTV And SPO

SPO is emerging as a significant growth factor for PubMatic’s CTV business, driven by increased programmatic availability of streaming inventory in response to buyer demands for better campaign automation. PubMatic CEO Rajeev Goel noted during the earnings call that the company’s video ad revenue rose by 33% year over year, outpacing the overall revenue growth due to strong demand for streamlined CTV advertising solutions.

Despite the fragmentation and bid duplication in programmatic supply paths to CTV, PubMatic has launched Activate, an SPO product designed to facilitate more direct buying methods akin to traditional TV ad purchases. This strategic move has resulted in SPO-related activities accounting for 50% of all platform transactions last quarter, signaling a shift towards programmatic guaranteed or private marketplace deals.

While PubMatic’s SPO initiatives aim to attract new publishers and increase control for advertisers over ad budget deployment, the company is also planning to expand its buy-side-focused sales team to better cater to agencies seeking cost efficiencies. Overall, PubMatic’s approach aims to balance the interests of both publishers and advertisers, fostering a higher return on ad spend through direct access to premium CTV inventory.

Read the full article >> 

Disney Taps Walmart Connect To Bring More Shopper Data To Streaming

Advertisers seeking better proof of performance for their streaming investments are turning to closed-loop attribution, like Disney Advertising’s collab with Walmart Connect and NBCUniversal with Instacart. These deals enable advertisers to leverage shopper data for precise targeting and measurement of streaming ad campaigns, enhancing the effectiveness of their advertising spend.

Disney's partnership with Walmart is notable as it extends beyond Hulu to include Disney+, offering programmatic bidding and a pilot program set to expand accessibility to more advertisers. The integration relies on clean room techniques for data matching, ensuring privacy while improving targeting accuracy and campaign attribution, crucial for planning future advertising strategies. Read the full article >> 

Google Search’s Core Updates Are Crushing Sites And Reshaping The Web

Google Search has recently implemented significant updates that are reshaping internet user traffic, with a core update launched in March 2024 focusing on reducing spam and low-quality content. This update has shifted how websites are evaluated, favoring entire domains over individual URLs and broadly penalising sites with any spammy sections.

This change has led to substantial traffic decreases for many publishers, particularly affecting those with monetisation strategies like sponsored content or high ad density, now deemed spammy by the new standards. Smaller niche sites are experiencing significant losses, with traffic diverting to larger publishers which, despite similarly commercial content strategies, seem less affected by the updates.

This situation raises concerns among smaller publishers that the updates favor big players, possibly linked to their commercial relationships with Google. Overall, the frustration among publishers is growing, as adherence to Google’s guidelines no longer assures search success, suggesting that deeper commercial ties with Google might be becoming necessary to maintain visibility. Read the full article >>


Week 18

MediaMath has signed dozens of SSPs, including former short-changed creditors, after ad tech’s biggest bankruptcy

Nine months have passed since MediaMath filed for bankruptcy, marking one of the biggest financial shocks in the history of ad tech. As a result of the bankruptcy, MediaMath's creditors were left over $125 million short, but the company managed to secure a new owner.

Infillion, which acquired MediaMath for $22 million in a bankruptcy auction, has successfully negotiated new agreements with necessary partners. While the service is operational again and attracting new customers, it remains uncertain whether trust will be restored and advertisers will return to the platform. Read the full article >>

Google May Have to Limit its Own First-Party Data Capabilities to Satisfy the CMA

Google recently announced that it's delaying the complete removal of third-party cookies from its Chrome browser until 2025. Meanwhile, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has released its quarterly update on its observations regarding Google Privacy Sandbox. Although Google made the decision to delay, the CMA won't make formal decisions until Google initiates a preparatory period, during which it can provide the CMA with additional information and time to assess the situation.

According to the latest report from the CMA, there are still many unresolved concerns, and analysis by the ICO has raised over 25 new issues related to the Privacy Sandbox. While the CMA hasn't provided details on restrictions yet, it's in discussions with Google about limiting the use of Google's first-party data for advertising purposes on its own platforms. This could impact Google's competitive advantage, especially since concerns raised by the ICO may require significant changes to Google's practices.

Read the full article >> 

Apple to unveil AI-enabled Safari browser alongside new operating systems

Apple is testing Safari 18, which is slated for a 2024 release with iOS 18 and macOS 15. This version includes UI updates, advanced content blocking, and a new AI tool, Intelligent Search. Features include customizable UI for page controls, a "Web Eraser" to delete specific content, and AI-driven text summarization using Apple’s Ajax model.

Furthermore, Safari 18 will consolidate various controls into a single menu, enhancing user accessibility and aligning with iPadOS interface standards. Other future enhancements include a visual search feature planned for 2025, extending the capabilities of Apple's AI-driven tools. Read the full article >>

The CMA Updates Its Privacy Sandbox Concerns

The CMA, England’s antitrust regulator, recently published its quarterly update on the Chrome Privacy Sandbox. While the report highlights several lingering concerns, it also casts a shadow over its future, particularly as Google once again postpones addressing these issues.

Despite these challenges, most of the problems seem feasible to manage, including Google's oversight of the Topics API taxonomy. However, there remains a persistent worry regarding how the Topics API might unfairly disadvantage smaller ad tech firms.
Nevertheless, the CMA suggests that these concerns may be overstated, arguing that smaller players are unlikely to suffer significantly from the introduction of the Topics API.

The primary sticking point revolves around Google's advantage resulting from cookie deprecation. This advantage stems from Google Ads' exclusive access to Google data. Provided that the CMA acknowledges this advantage without alleging antitrust violations, Google can continue to tackle other concerns.
Official Report, Read the full article >>

3 Big Takeaways From 20 Companies Shaping the Future of TV Advertising

During the IAB 2024 NewFronts Main Stage, 20 companies highlighted their innovative approaches to TV advertising, signalling a shift towards digital video. Key topics included the strategic use of attention metrics to enhance advertising effectiveness, as demonstrated by companies like GSTV and Teads, which focus on optimising campaign impacts through precise attention-driven metrics.

Additionally, the event spotlighted the importance of authentically engaging multicultural audiences, with examples from Canela Media and LATV showcasing tailored approaches for reaching diverse consumer groups. The integration of AI in advertising was also a significant theme, with companies like Google and LG Ad Solutions implementing advanced AI technologies to refine targeting and personalise ads.

This technological integration is aimed at providing more accurate measurements and creating more effective advertising strategies. Overall, the presentations emphasised the evolving landscape of TV advertising, where digital innovation and precise consumer engagement are key to future success. Read the full article >>


Briefing: Samsung, Condé Nast, Roku focus presentations on new ad formats and category-specific inventory

During the second day of the IAB's annual NewFronts, Samsung, Condé Nast, and Roku showcased new advertising formats and category-specific inventories.

Samsung introduced interactive ad formats and updated measurement tools, focusing on AI capabilities and expanding its free ad-supported TV service. Condé Nast emphasized its reach in specific content categories like news and lifestyle and highlighted its live and social video capabilities on platforms like YouTube.

Roku presented new home screen ad formats and partnerships, including a hub for Olympics coverage. All three companies highlighted integrating AI technologies to enhance advertising efficiency and user engagement. Read the full article >>

Publishers are still prepping for cookie deprecation despite Google’s delay 

Even though Google announced last week that it's postponing the removal of third-party cookies from Chrome until 2025, publishers weren't surprised. While the continuously shifting deadline isn't ideal, most publishers maintain a positive attitude because the delay provides more time to develop cookieless solutions and integrate them into their businesses to meet advertisers' needs.

Despite the uncertain future of third-party cookie removal, publishers are actively investing in developing and offering first-party data and cookieless solutions to advertisers. The delay offers an opportunity to ensure that solutions like deterministic identifiers are effective and scalable before the removal of third-party cookies, which is crucial for publishers as they prepare for the transition. Read the full article >>

Update to Google’s EU User Consent

From July 31, 2024, Google's EU User Consent Policy will include Switzerland, affecting publishers and advertisers who must now ensure compliance across the European Economic Area, the UK, and Switzerland. This policy mandates obtaining legally valid consent to use cookies and process personal data for ad personalization. 

Records of consent must be maintained, and clear revocation instructions must be provided. Additionally, any parties involved in data processing must be identified, and their data practices must be disclosed to end users. Non-compliance could lead to restrictions or termination of Google product use. Read the full article >> 

How CTV and DOOH are growing this political season for smaller agencies

Agencies anticipate that connected TV (CTV) and digital out-of-home (DOOH) will play a significant role in upcoming elections, especially for smaller media agencies managing less prominent races. These mediums offer additional ways to engage voters and increase political funding through programmatic advertising.

Improved targeting capabilities and the growth of programmatic methods provide smaller agencies with opportunities to initiate local campaigns and utilize data more effectively. In the United States, political advertising spending is expected to surpass record amounts, reaching $15-16 billion in 2024, significantly elevating the importance of both CTV and DOOH in political ad funding. Read the full article >>

Week 17

The Guardian US is starting its pursuit of political ad dollars 

The Guardian US is actively pursuing political advertising dollars for the first time under the leadership of Luis Romero, SVP of Sales for North America. Political ads were handled on a case-by-case basis and are now set up to systematically accept such ads, with plans to hire a political consultant to establish ad content guidelines aligned with the publication’s mission.

The initial focus will include ads from presidential and congressional candidates, along with advocacy groups concerned with issues like reproductive rights and gun rights, aiming to diversify and increase ad revenues. The move comes after a challenging start to 2024 in terms of ad revenue, but recent improvements suggest a positive outlook, though it's still uncertain how the year will pan out.

Romero hopes that political ad revenue will provide a financial buffer against potential market dips, especially with the November election possibly causing non-political advertisers to pull back. The Guardian is entering the political advertising space later than some competitors, but industry experts believe there is still time to capture significant political ad spending if they act quickly.

Andrew Mullins from IMGE notes that The Guardian's inclusion in platforms accepting political ads is beneficial, as major publications have historically seen good results from such ads. However, he also warns of the challenges and potential compromises in handling political ads, including dealing with objectionable content, emphasising the importance of clear guidelines and integrity in ad acceptance. Read the full article >>

The stalemate of sustainability: Who holds the responsibility of cutting carbon from digital ads?

As the world observes Earth Day 2024, there's an ongoing debate in the digital advertising sector about enhancing sustainability, with no clear leader stepping forward. Publishers argue that while they can optimise supply paths to some extent, further actions could jeopardise their revenue. On the other hand, advertisers and brands are hesitant to allocate more of their budgets to greener media without evidence that such campaigns are as effective as traditional ones. Meanwhile, DSPs are pressured by client demands but are exploring greener options.

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) is expected to introduce sustainability measurement standards at the Cannes Lions Festival, which may encourage the industry to embrace greener practices. Tools for buying sustainable ads and promoting low-carbon inventory exist, yet broader adoption is hindered by the absence of universal measurement standards and industry inertia.

Discussions at the Green Media Summit highlighted a lack of enforcement and the need for industry-wide collaboration to overcome current challenges. Regulatory pressures like the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) in the EU are anticipated to drive more focused efforts on sustainability in advertising.

Read the full article >>

Update on the plan for phase-out of third-party cookies on Chrome

In their Q1 2024 report, Google and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) shared an update on the timeline for phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome. They acknowledged challenges from diverse feedback across the industry, regulators, and developers and emphasised continued engagement with the ecosystem.

Due to the need for a thorough CMA review and the integration of feedback from industry tests, the deprecation of third-party cookies will not be completed in the latter half of Q4 as planned. Google remains committed to collaborating with the CMA and the ICO, aiming to start the cookie deprecation process Q1 2025 pending an agreement. Read the full article >>

IAB Europe Reacts to the EDPB Opinion 08/2024 on Valid Consent in the Context of Consent or Pay Models Implemented by Large Online Platforms

On April 17, 2024, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) released its Opinion on the "Consent or Pay" model used by large online platforms. IAB Europe expressed significant concerns, arguing that the EDPB's Opinion conflicts with existing Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) jurisprudence and mischaracterises personalised advertising and the "consent or pay" model.

The EDPB was criticised for making abstract assumptions about personalised advertising, deeming it incompatible with GDPR's principles of data minimisation and fairness, and for suggesting that data protection rights could become a premium service. Furthermore, the EDPB proposed a mandatory alternative for obtaining valid consent: offering a free service without behavioural advertising, without supporting evidence for such a requirement.

This suggestion was seen as impractical, potentially forcing companies to operate at a loss, and ignoring the balance between data protection rights and the freedom to conduct business. IAB Europe calls for a public consultation to develop more balanced guidelines, ensuring all stakeholders' concerns are considered.

Read the full article >>

Publishers revamp their newsletter offerings to engage audiences amid threat of AI and declining referral traffic

Newsletters are regaining popularity, with publishers like Axios, The Guardian, and Snopes enhancing their offerings to capture specific audience segments through personalised and automated content. Publishers are innovating their newsletter strategies to maintain relevance amid the rise of generative AI and declining referral traffic, focusing on engaging their most loyal audiences and leveraging first-party data for advertisers.

For instance, Vox Media's Eater and Punch have shifted from standard digest newsletters to more personalised content that resonates with specific reader interests, achieving high open rates. TheSkimm introduces dynamic elements like interactive puzzles and personalised messaging to keep their newsletters engaging and relevant to different audience segments.

Snopes is increasing its newsletter output through automation, aiming to deepen reader engagement and ensure consistent site traffic, which supports its programmatic advertising efforts. The Guardian U.S. is also expanding its newsletter products to convert one-time visitors into regular subscribers, significantly growing its global subscriber base.

Axios is capitalising on high engagement rates by launching paid memberships for its newsletters, adding a new revenue stream and enhancing subscribers' value. These strategies reflect a broader industry trend towards more targeted and sustainable digital audience engagement amidst evolving technology and market dynamics.

Read the full article >>


Advertisers Look to CTV and Social Video in the Run-Up to Cookie Deprecation

The UK's CTV advertising spend experienced a 21% year-over-year increase in 2023, totalling £1.2 million and representing 17% of all video ad spending, according to the latest IAB Digital Adspend report conducted with PwC. Overall, the UK digital ad market grew by 11% to £29.6 billion, outpacing GDP growth, driven by advertisers capitalising on increased online engagement.

Notably, podcast and social video ad spending also saw significant increases, rising by 23% and 20%, respectively. This outperformed the wider digital ad market and aligned with shifts in consumer behavior during the cost-of-living crisis. The report highlights a strategic pivot in advertising investment toward channels less affected by the impending removal of third-party cookies, such as podcasts, CTV, and social video, positioning them as safer options for advertisers.

Despite challenges from privacy changes, such as Apple’s in 2022, which initially slowed mobile ad spending growth to 4%, mobile advertising rebounded with a 15% increase in 2023, reaching £16.7 billion. The importance of first-party data was underscored by a 12% growth in digital retail media spending to £283 million and a similar rise in DOOH spending to £841 million.

Video and display advertising grew by 12%, with video accounting for 60% of that segment, while search advertising maintained a 50% share of the total digital ad spend at £14.7 billion. This growth demonstrates the digital ad industry's resilience and adaptability, emphasizing the shift towards more secure and engaging digital channels amidst evolving privacy regulations and consumer preferences. Read the full article >>

RTL AdAlliance Research Finds Big Differences Between US and European Attitudes to TV Advertising

The European CTV advertising market distinctly differs from America due to regional complexities, language and legal barriers, and unique TV ad trading models that pose challenges not present in the U.S. market. A study by RTL AdAlliance suggests that U.S. viewers are more open to advertising on streaming services than European audiences.

According to the study, while the penetration rates of smart TVs and viewing habits for linear TV and SVOD are similar in the UK and the US, there's a stark contrast in the acceptance and consumption of AVOD content, with 62% of U.S. respondents watching AVOD content three times a week compared to only 25% in Europe.

European viewers find advertising more annoying across various platforms compared to their American counterparts. They are less receptive to targeted ads on CTV, with only 36% of Europeans open to them versus 66% of Americans. Additionally, Europeans are less likely to purchase products after viewing TV ads, with only 19% reporting occasional purchases compared to 51% of Americans.

Although European viewers report high annoyance with ads, platforms like YouTube continue to attract significant viewership, indicating that displeasure does not always equate to reduced engagement. To attract and retain European audiences, CTV services should enhance user experience by potentially reducing ad load, adjusting ad break timing, and exploring less intrusive ad formats. Read the full article >>

IAB Europe's Ad Fraud Webinar

In this dedicated webinar focusing on Ad Fraud, industry experts will discuss what ad fraud is, how it can be detected and how it can be combated. They will share examples and best practices for all channels to help stakeholders better manage and mitigate ad fraud in digital advertising. Register here >> 

Week 16

Video Made Up Nearly a Quarter of US Digital Ad Spend Last Year

In 2023, total digital advertising spending in the US increased by 7.3%, reaching $225 billion, with video ads being a primary growth driver, according to the IAB and PwC's Internet Advertising Revenue Report. Video advertising revenues surged by 10.6%, totalling $52.1 billion and representing 23.2% of all digital ad revenues.

Audio also saw substantial growth, at 18.9%, although it remains a smaller market segment with $7.0 billion in revenue. Despite slower growth rates, search and display advertising contributed significantly to overall revenues, with video outpacing these categories in revenue gains.

The report underscores the critical role of CTV and OTT services, which accounted for 42% of video ad revenues and are projected to be the fastest-growing media channels through 2027. While CTV and retail media provide new opportunities for smaller entities, the concentration of digital ad revenues remains high, with the top ten companies increasing their share to 79.8% in 2023. Read the full article >> 

Roku Eyes Patent That Would Inject Ads Into… Everything

Roku has been escalating its user agreement terms to a level where refusal to agree may render devices like streaming hardware and TVs inoperable, restricting users' rights to legal action. This approach reflects a broader corporate trend in the U.S., endorsed since a pivotal 2011 Supreme Court decision favouring AT&T, where companies prioritise growth and revenue over user satisfaction.

Roku's latest patent application aims to overlay ads on any content played via HDMI-connected devices to Roku TVs, signalling a potential new intrusion into user experiences. While not yet approved, this patent illustrates an increasing disregard in the smart TV industry for product quality and user privacy in favour of data monetisation.

The author expresses a preference for simpler, non-smart TVs which prioritise privacy and user control, noting the difficulty in finding such products without smart features that often come with privacy concessions. The tendency of companies to push their limits for financial returns often leads to user dissatisfaction and could provoke a backlash, underscoring a disconnect between corporate actions and consumer preferences. Read the full article >> 

EDPB Opinion: Meta cannot rely on "Pay or Okay"

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has issued a decision against Meta's "Pay or Okay" consent model for platforms like Instagram and Facebook, deeming it an unlawful way of obtaining consent for processing personal data for ads in the EU. The decision emphasises that the concept of "freely given consent" is compromised when users are faced with a choice between paying a fee or agreeing to data processing for behavioural advertising.

Max Schrems from Noyb highlighted that Meta now needs to offer a clear yes/no choice for personalised advertising, noting that while Meta can charge for site reach and engage in contextual advertising, tracking for ads must require explicit consent. The EDPB's statement is likely just the beginning of broader discussions on the legality of the "Pay or Okay" model, with further guidelines expected later this year.

There are suggestions that more monetisation options beyond "Pay or Okay" should be considered, such as contextual advertising or freemium models, which the industry has largely overlooked. Max Schrems criticised the current model for significantly skewing consent rates, suggesting that it manipulates user choice far from being genuinely "freely given." Read the full article >> 

YouTube Introduces More Ad Targeting Options For Shorts

As announced at the Possible conference in Miami, YouTube Shorts, previously with limited ad targeting options, now allows advertisers to specifically target ads within the platform's short-form video content according to specific content categories. This development enables advertisers to place ads within videos related to distinct interests like sports, gaming, and fashion, enhancing the likelihood of reaching engaged viewers.

Melissa Hsieh Nikolic, YouTube’s director of product management, emphasised that this capability allows advertisers to connect more effectively with users passionate about specific topics. YouTube also released an updated guide offering strategies for creating effective Shorts ads, advising brands on how to tailor content to achieve desired marketing outcomes, whether increasing product consideration or driving conversions.

This guidance comes as brands are still adapting to the short video format, traditionally accustomed to YouTube's long-form content. The rollout of these targeted ads follows a pilot program and several phases of introducing more granular targeting options, including choosing ads to play in the first ad slot of a scrolling session or between top-viewed Shorts.

Despite the availability of these options, YouTube still recommends purchasing Shorts as part of a broader media bundle for optimal reach. However, YouTube is expanding advertisers' control over ad placements, acknowledging the ongoing demand for precise targeting within its diverse viewing platforms. Read the full article >> 

To Make Auctions Greener, Publishers Need More Data – And A GuaranteeThey Won’t Go Broke In The Process

At the Green Media Summit in New York City, publishers expressed a strong desire to reduce media-related carbon emissions but emphasised the need for more data to understand the financial impacts of such changes. Bridget Williams of Hearst Newspapers highlighted a significant gap in the ecosystem data, which is essential for making informed decisions about ad auctions.

Stephanie Layser of AWS suggested that publishers could use their internal data on revenue, engagement, and ad performance to make holistic business decisions that also promote sustainability. Examples from the industry, like Unwind Media and Mediavine, demonstrated that reducing the number of bid requests does not necessarily lead to a loss in revenue, with benefits in efficiency and viewability.

However, concerns about significant revenue losses prevent some publishers, like Mediavine, from drastically reducing their SSP partnerships. The summit concluded with a shift in focus towards valuing and incentivising publishers who adopt sustainable practices, encouraging broader industry adoption. Read the full article >> 

Publishers test new TikTok feature that adds links to organic videos

TikTok is experimenting with a feature that allows publishers to add links to organic videos, a timely development as social referral traffic from platforms like Facebook and X declines. The effectiveness of this feature in driving significant traffic to publishers' websites remains uncertain, although Wes Bonner of BDG expressed hopes of converting a fraction of their 25 million TikTok followers into website visitors.

Another publishing executive described the performance of the feature as "decent" but noted the difficulty in encouraging users to leave TikTok. Despite testing the feature, Sarah Marshall of Condé Nast indicated that their focus remains on storytelling within TikTok rather than driving traffic outside, highlighting TikTok’s nature as a platform designed to keep users engaged internally.

Condé Nast leverages TikTok primarily for brand awareness and monetisation through in-video ads as part of the TikTok Pulse Premiere partnership. Overall, while TikTok offers potential for increased visibility, the platform’s design and user behaviour pose challenges for driving external site traffic. Read the full article >> 

What Is the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA) of 2024?

On April 7, 2024, Chairs Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Maria Cantwell introduced the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA), a legislative proposal aimed at creating a federal privacy framework in the U.S. The APRA is designed to streamline the complex, fragmented state-level data privacy laws into a single national standard, placing more stringent legal requirements on U.S. publishers but simplifying compliance overall.

The bill empowers American consumers with enhanced control over their personal data, including the ability to manage, correct, delete, and restrict the sale or transfer of their information, mirroring the EU’s approach of requiring explicit consent. APRA mandates data minimisation, requiring companies to collect only the data necessary for their services, and introduces stronger protections for sensitive data such as online activities and biometric information. 

It also introduces regulations specifically targeting high-impact social media platforms based on their revenue and user engagement, recognising their significant role in the digital landscape. The bill emphasises transparency and accountability, requiring entities to make privacy policies easily accessible and understandable to consumers, enhancing trust and ethical data practices. 

Enforcement of APRA involves multiple stakeholders, including the FTC, state attorneys general, and individual consumers, who can initiate private lawsuits against violators. However, the bill's passage faces challenges due to political issues, preemption concerns, and debates over the private right of action, with significant opposition from various sectors, including some state agencies and privacy advocacy groups.

If passed, APRA could significantly affect publishers. Publishers should understand their data handling processes thoroughly and ensure compliance with the new requirements. Despite potential benefits for publishers leveraging first-party data, the transition could disrupt current advertising practices significantly.

Read the full article >> 

Media Briefing: Q1 is done and publishers’ ad revenue is doing ‘fine’

The first quarter of 2024 presented a mixed outcome for publishers' advertising revenues, with some experiencing gains in programmatic CPMs while direct-sold advertising lagged, extending campaign delays from previous years into Q2. The Atlantic had a strong end to 2023 but described Q1 as just "fine," attributing this to advertisers needing more time to organize their annual budgets.

Despite the slow start, The Atlantic saw a 40-50% increase in RFP volume year-over-year, with a significant improvement in proposal win rates compared to 2022. The Guardian U.S. faced challenges in achieving its revenue targets for Q1, as early-year RFPs were lower than expected, and some advertisers postponed campaigns to Q2.

Another anonymous media executive reported a positive shift, noting an increase in RFP volume and budgets, suggesting a recovery from the cautious advertiser behaviour seen in 2023. Overall, there is cautious optimism for a better performance in Q2, fueled by an uptick in programmatic advertising and renewed advertiser activity.

Read the full article >> 

Why the New York Times is forging connections with gamers as it diversifies its audience

The New York Times has significantly expanded its gaming section, notably integrating popular games like Wordle, contributing to substantial digital traffic. Renamed to NYT Games, the platform has become a key part of the Times' strategy to diversify and attract a broader audience.

Despite speculation, the Times is not transitioning into a gaming company but rather enhancing its digital content offerings across various sectors. The expansion into games complements its journalistic endeavours, serving as an entry point to attract new subscribers and retain existing ones. Read the full article >> 

Week 15

Publisher strategies: How publishers are optimizing revenue streams

In 2024, publishers are diversifying their revenue streams, continuing to rely on direct-sold display ads despite challenges like declining ad revenue from 2023 and ongoing media industry layoffs. With the decreasing effectiveness of third-party cookies, publishers are emphasising the importance of first-party data obtained from subscriptions, which offer a reliable revenue stream and valuable user data.

Additionally, there's a renewed interest in organising events, viewed as a significant revenue and engagement opportunity, recovering from pandemic setbacks. High-quality content has become a primary strategy for advertising, with publishers like The Atlantic leveraging impactful editorial content to enhance newsletter subscriptions and advertising appeal.

Amidst a shift away from third-party data, publishers are increasingly focusing on subscriptions to enhance their ad strategies and broaden revenue sources, utilising first-party data to offer targeted and valuable content to users. Publishers predict a rise in ad impressions driven by first-party data in the coming years, reflecting a strategic pivot towards data they directly control.

Meanwhile, subscription strategies are evolving, with some publishers finding success in unique models like newsletters which build loyalty and encourage higher conversion rates compared to traditional paywalls. Overall, the industry is witnessing a complex interplay between maintaining ad revenue and enhancing subscription services, necessitating a balanced approach to content and monetization strategies. Read the full article>> 

Alternative Identity Provider ID5 Nabs $20 Million In Series B Funding

The identity solution market is highly fragmented with around 20 competitors, but ID5 CEO Mathieu Roche predicts that only a few will remain viable in the next five years, with ID5 among them. ID5 recently secured $20 million in Series B funding, led by TransUnion and Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4S Ventures, increasing their total funding to about $27 million since 2021.

Roche reflects on the initial challenge of securing Series A funding when the problem of signal loss was not widely recognised, describing it as "preaching in the desert." Currently, ID5 is focusing on expansion and collaboration within the industry to increase market penetration and prepare for a future beyond third-party cookies, emphasising the broader implications of identity across different digital platforms. Read the full article>> 

Publishers Caught in the Crosshairs of Vendor MFA Tools

A publisher was informed by an SSP that some brands were blocking their website due to an adtech tool from DoubleVerify, designed to prevent ads from appearing on MFA websites. This tool, and a similar one from Integral Ad Science, were intended to help brands avoid websites that mainly aim to generate ad revenue rather than provide substantive content, but legitimate publishers have been inadvertently affected.

Despite complaints and a lack of transparency from DoubleVerify regarding the specific reasons for blocks, publishers are struggling to understand the criteria used, which affects their revenue and relationships in the industry. Both DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science are refining their tools to offer more nuanced solutions that balance fraud prevention with the need to support legitimate publishers, amidst ongoing industry efforts to better define what constitutes an MFA site. Read the full article>>   

Publishers bank on their own first-party data amid Privacy Sandbox concerns

Publishers are shifting focus to first-party data, seen as critical in the evolving digital advertising landscape, with 64% indicating it plays a significant role in their ad strategies for 2024. Despite the growing importance of first-party data, the trend shows a decreasing reliance on subscriptions, with a notable drop in publishers reporting significant revenue from subscriptions between Q3 2023 and Q1 2024.

The decline in subscription-based revenue and the challenges around brand safety on platforms like X reflect broader shifts in the digital advertising and publishing industries. Additionally, the ongoing refinement of tools to manage and utilise first-party data suggests publishers are adapting to a market less dependent on third-party cookies and more focused on direct audience engagement. Read the full article>>   

‘More distrust in the marketplace’: Agency execs press pause on Forbes spend after domain spoofing report

The operations of Forbes' subdomain designed for advertising have raised concerns within the advertising industry. A report revealed that Forbes deliberately maintained a subdomain that loaded articles with significantly more ad placements than the main site. The subdomain received a substantial portion of its traffic from paid advertisements, unbeknownst to many advertisers whose ads appeared there.

The disclosure has led to concerns about the extent of domain spoofing and the ad industry's ability to detect such practices. Agency executives are reassessing their investments in Forbes and demanding greater accountability, potentially impacting trust in premium publishers more broadly. Read the full article>>   

Week 14

LinkedIn Is All Business With CTV

LinkedIn has expanded its advertising capabilities to include new CTV ad placements, targeting audiences off-platform during their streaming sessions. This strategic move allows B2B marketers to reach LinkedIn users beyond the platform, utilising detailed user data such as location and media preferences, during various times of the day, including leisure time at home.

This aims at enhancing the reach to existing LinkedIn members, acknowledging the unique and intentional usage patterns of LinkedIn users who are focused on professional networking and job hunting. Penry Price, VP of marketing solutions at LinkedIn, emphasises the distinct needs of B2B advertisers, who require specific information about their audience's professional roles and decision-making capabilities, which is challenging to achieve through traditional TV ad buying or other streaming platforms.

LinkedIn's foray into CTV is designed to foster brand awareness and consideration among B2B audiences early in the purchasing journey, leveraging LinkedIn's rich data for targeted advertising. The effectiveness of these CTV ads will be measured by engagement increases on LinkedIn and core TV metrics, aiding B2B clients in accelerating the customer's progression through the purchase funnel.

Read the full article >>

 Privacy Sandbox and the Countdown to Cookieless

Since Google began phasing out tracking cookies from Chrome, affecting approximately 300 million users, with full depreciation expected by autumn 2024, the Privacy Sandbox initiative has faced mixed reactions from the advertising industry. As the deadline approaches, opinions on the progress of the Privacy Sandbox vary, reflecting the industry's diverse readiness and attitudes towards adapting to a future without third-party cookies.

Alice Beecroft - Senior Director, Global Strategy & Partnerships, Yahoo - Alice Beecroft emphasises industry collaboration in embracing the Google Privacy Sandbox for campaign insights, seeing its refinement as key to advancing privacy-centric advertising solutions. The company remains hopeful about its potential, subject to positive client feedback during testing.

Wilfried Schobeiri, CTO, Ogury - Google's engagement with the industry on phasing out cookies marks a cautious approach, with the Privacy Sandbox's success and timeline still uncertain. Advertisers are urged to adopt dependable, cookie-independent strategies, emphasising the critical shift towards enhanced consumer privacy.

Gil Sommer, VP of Product, OpenX - Gil Sommer highlights the industry's urgent need for more proactive preparation and testing of alternatives as the phase-out of cookies approaches, noting a significant uptick in engagement with Google Privacy Sandbox's Topics and PAAPI, despite their nascent stage compared to established programmatic methods.

Yang Han, Co-Founder and CTO, StackAdapt - Privacy Sandbox faces industry skepticism due to its APIs that limit ad platform capabilities in Chrome and could centralise control with Google. The reduced functionality for real-time ad decisions and shift towards less detailed reporting have dampened enthusiasm for adoption, amid concerns over competition and innovation.

Benoit Hucafol, VP of Product Management, Equativ - Privacy Sandbox seeks to reconcile user privacy with advertising effectiveness as the industry moves away from cookies. However, concerns about its implementation, the complexity of adoption, and the preference of media buyers for alternative solutions highlight significant uncertainties in the transition.

Read the full article >>

US and UK announce formal partnership on artificial intelligence safety

The United States and Britain have launched a new partnership focused on AI safety, underscoring concerns over the implications of advanced AI technologies. This collaboration, announced by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and British Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, aims to develop testing for AI models and address national security and societal risks.

The partnership includes plans for joint AI model testing exercises and the exploration of personnel exchanges, alongside efforts to foster similar agreements with other nations. Amidst the excitement and fear generated by AI's capabilities, this initiative seeks to harness AI's benefits while managing its risks, highlighted by efforts in both countries to enhance AI safety, security, and regulatory frameworks. Read the full article >>

 Digiday+ Research: Publishers turn their focus away from subscriptions

Digiday+ Research early this year forecasted a decline in publishers' reliance on subscriptions for revenue as 2024 progresses, a trend now evidenced by their surveys. The percentage of publishers generating revenue from subscriptions has notably decreased from 74% in Q3 2023 to 56% in Q1 of 2024, with those not earning any revenue from subscriptions rising from 26% to 44%.

Furthermore, the proportion of publishers for whom subscriptions are a major revenue source has steadily decreased over the last year and a half, plummeting from 27% in Q3 2022 to just 7% in the Q1 2024. Publishers increasingly view subscriptions as a smaller portion of their revenue, with a significant 40% stating subscriptions contribute a very small or small portion as of the first quarter of 2024.

This shift indicates a growing acceptance among publishers that subscriptions are diminishing as a primary revenue driver, reflected in their strategic focus away from subscription business models. The emphasis on building subscription businesses has consistently declined, with only 30% of publishers prioritising it in the Q1 2024, down from 44% in Q1 2022.

Specifically, the focus on significantly growing subscription revenue has decreased, from nearly a third of publishers in 2022 to only 9% in 2024. Conversely, the percentage of publishers not at all focused on building their subscription businesses has risen, reaching 41% in Q1 2024, up from 14% in Q3 of 2022. Read the full article >>

Publishers give on-site search a long-needed upgrade in the form of AI chatbots

Publishers like Forbes, Financial Times, and Snopes are integrating GenAI chatbots to revamp on-site search and enhance user engagement and leverage their content archives. These initiatives aim not only to improve site functionality but also to offer added value to subscribers - Financial Times providing an AI search chatbot for professional members. 

Despite the potential, some publishers face challenges in encouraging subscriber adoption, with one executive noting low usage rates but high content engagement among those who do use the tool. Snopes' development of a proprietary AI search tool aims to strengthen its position in negotiations with AI tech companies, highlighting the strategic importance of AI in content discovery and engagement.

The implementation of these chatbots has been relatively quick and cost-effective, suggesting a growing trend among publishers to invest in AI to enhance search capabilities and build first-party data. Despite these advancements, marketing AI tools to increase adoption and integrating them into a broader subscriber engagement strategy remain ongoing challenges for publishers. Read the full article >>

Week 13

CTV to Generate $20 Billion in US Ad Revenues This Year

CTV in the United States is expected to generate $20 billion in ad revenues this year, showcasing an 18 percent growth in 2024, as forecasted by Brian Wieser from Madison and Wall. This growth positions CTV to account for 29 percent of all TV advertising, despite national TV ad revenues facing a decline due to shifts towards performance channels and the impact of cord-cutting.

The overall TV sector, however, could see a slight uplift from events like the Summer Olympics, which remain appealing to advertisers for their broad reach. Amazon Prime Video's new ad-supported tier is anticipated to significantly contribute to CTV's revenue, primarily at the expense of traditional TV ad inventory.

The broader US ad market is expected to see a 5.6 percent growth in 2024, fueled by economic optimism and the rise of online businesses, which tend to spend more on advertising. Digital advertising is projected to increase its share significantly, with commerce media and social media expected to see substantial growth, benefiting from the challenges facing the open web. Read the full article >>

Ad execs sound off on Amazon’s DSP dilemma

Amazon is eager to attract more advertisers to its DSP, facing significant challenges due to negative perceptions around the platform's user-friendliness, measurement capabilities, and inventory range. Despite concerted efforts to improve these areas, Amazon's DSP has yet to emerge as a strong competitor to Google's DV360 and The Trade Desk, as reflected in a Digiday survey where only 5% of respondents favored Amazon’s DSP.

However, the platform does offer valuable audience-targeting capabilities outside of Amazon's ecosystem, which has been underrecognised compared to its competitors. There is a notable demand among advertisers for more competition in the DSP market, with 43% of survey respondents indicating that an improved Amazon DSP could persuade them to allocate more programmatic ad spend to Amazon

The industry's desire for a third major player in the DSP market suggests that if Amazon can effectively address its current shortcomings and reposition its DSP, it could significantly increase its market share. This potential shift comes at a time when some advertisers are seeking alternatives to Google and The Trade Desk, indicating an opportunity for Amazon to capitalise on its strengths and reshape the narrative around its DSP. Read the full article >>

IAB Europe Unveils First-Ever Mapping of Greenhouse Gas Estimation Solutions in Digital Advertising to Support an Industry-Wide Transition to More Sustainable Operations

IAB Europe has published the inaugural report on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Estimation Solutions in Digital Advertising, offering an overview of the various models available for estimating emissions. This aims to help stakeholders understand and manage their environmental impact using different tools and methodologies, amid the backdrop of digital technology's significant contribution to global emissions. 

The report highlights the industry's urgent need for standardisation in estimating emissions, given the plethora of tools available and the absence of uniform standards. It details the features of different solutions, emphasising the importance of data quality, supply chain boundaries, and modeling methods in making informed decisions towards sustainability goals.

Participants in the study, including major media groups and trade associations, underline the movement towards reducing digital advertising's carbon footprint through better measurement and reduction strategies. The report calls for more collaboration and standardisation in methodologies to enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of GHG estimation tools, aiming for an industry-wide approach to sustainability.

Read the full article >>

Nubai Ventures Sues Outbrain, Claiming Its Traffic Is Riddled With Bots

Nubai Ventures has initiated legal action against Outbrain, accusing the ad platform of delivering traffic dominated by bots, particularly when clients do not pay for premium site placements. The lawsuit highlights a significant issue in digital advertising, where Nubai paid over $1 million for traffic that resulted in an 80% drop in ad revenue due to the high volume of sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT).

Jamarlin Martin, CEO of Nubai, alleges that Outbrain's system unfairly penalises those not opting for more expensive placements, leading to a surge in bot traffic for lower-tier campaign settings. Outbrain refutes these allegations, claiming they attempted to address Martin's concerns, which were met with a lack of cooperation.

Nubai's lawsuit seeks punitive damages, accusing Outbrain of contributing to the broader problem of ad fraud, and calls for greater transparency and accountability in the industry. Outbrain maintains that the lawsuit is baseless and expresses its commitment to combating non-human traffic across its network. Read the full article >>

Commission publishes guidelines under the DSA for the mitigation of systemic risks online for elections

The EC has issued guidelines under the DSA for Platforms and Search Engines with +45M EU users to address systemic online risks affecting electoral integrity, particularly for the upcoming European Parliament elections. They are urged to enhance internal processes and implement context-specific risk mitigation measures.

The guidelines also emphasise the need for clear labeling of political advertising and AI-generated content, such as deepfakes, and advocate for collaboration with authorities, experts, and civil society for efficient information exchange and incident response. Post-election reviews are recommended to assess the effectiveness of these measures, with results to be made publicly available for feedback.

In preparation for the European elections, platforms are encouraged to allocate sufficient resources for risk mitigation and cooperate with the European Digital Media Observatory Task Force. The guidelines, informed by public consultation and cooperation with Digital Services Coordinators, also highlight the importance of third-party research into the effectiveness of these measures.

Platforms not adhering to these guidelines must demonstrate to the Commission that their alternative measures are equally effective, with the Commission able to initiate formal proceedings for non-compliance. A stress test with stakeholders is planned to ensure readiness and effective use of established mechanisms. Read the full article >>

A Pubmatic Server Anomaly, $1 Billion CPMs, and a Complicated Programmatic Ecosystem

Pubmatic swiftly resolved a significant error in its ad auction system that mistakenly showed $1 billion in CPMs to publishers, avoiding substantial financial repercussions.
This incident revealed the vulnerabilities and complexities within the programmatic advertising ecosystem, underscoring the potential need for increased regulation.

The error, caused by a server anomaly at one of Pubmatic's US data centers, resulted in abnormally high CPM bids being displayed for a brief 40-second period, without actual financial loss to advertisers or publishers. Despite the quick resolution, the event led to discussions about the implications for the programmatic supply chain, highlighting the intricate network of agencies, platforms, and services involved.

The incident serves as a reminder of the fragility of the ad tech ecosystem and the importance of robust systems and collaborations to prevent similar issues. Industry experts are now advocating for clearer regulations to safeguard against such anomalies, emphasising the need for better oversight and cooperation across the programmatic landscape. Read the full article >>

How Forbes is testing its SSPs to improve programmatic ad revenue

Forbes is reassessing its relationships with SSPs to enhance ad tech contributions to its revenue, diverging from the standard reliance on SSPs' recommendations based on other publishers' success. The publisher embarked on a strategy of testing different SSP integrations, starting with one that previously showed mediocre revenue, to determine if alternative approaches could yield better results.

During these tests, Forbes experimented with various implementations, like Amazon’s Transparent Ad Marketplace and Prebid, aiming not to shift but to uncover new revenue streams. Remarkably, some tests doubled revenue in new integrations compared to existing ones, with Forbes carefully monitoring these experiments over three-month periods to ensure reliable outcomes.

By 2024, Forbes had expanded its testing to a third and was preparing to test a fourth SSP, selectively choosing which SSPs to examine based on performance, treating these evaluations as a form of performance improvement plan for SSPs. This innovative approach allows Forbes to tailor its SSP strategy, enhancing revenue and refining its ad tech ecosystem. Read the full article >>

Prebid Mobile webinar

Join Prebid for their Mobile Webinar on April 11th. Tune in to hear PMC Chair Alex Savelyev, Vice Chair Mike Mullin, and Mobile engineer Jonathan Sligh share the latest updates on the current state of Prebid Mobile, including the focus on in-app, version 3.0 release, and identity updates. Register here >>

Week 12

Amazon sees opportunity amid the demise of third-party cookies

As 3P cookies face deprecation in Chrome, Amazon is poised to benefit significantly, emerging as a key platform for targeted and measurable advertising. They are promoting their "durable solutions" like Amazon Audiences and Modeled Conversions, which don’t rely on 3P cookies.

A major focus for Amazon is the development of its own identifier, ID++, aimed at enhancing its ads business and providing a unique connection to publishers' authenticated inventory. This initiative, along with efforts in contextual targeting, positions Amazon as a strong contender in a post-cookie advertising landscape, potentially attracting advertisers seeking privacy-compliant data sharing and measurement solutions.

Despite the uncertain future of 3P cookies, Amazon's strategic moves could enable it to secure a more significant share of the advertising market. However, success in this new environment will require more than just technological innovation; it will also depend on Amazon's ability to offer compelling solutions that address advertisers' and publishers' needs in a privacy-first world. Read the full article >>

Frequency management is capping CTV ad spend

Ad tech is exploring new avenues like CTV advertising as traditional online advertising faces challenges with the deprecation of foundational audience targeting tools. CTV advertising, which is expected to grow significantly, presents both opportunities and challenges, such as the need for more efficient frequency capping to encourage increased investment from marketers and publishers.

At the CTV Connect conference, industry experts discussed overcoming the limitations experienced in desktop and mobile advertising and improving ad frequency management. Despite the promise of CTV, issues with data signals and inventory transparency from legacy TV networks complicate frequency capping, impacting viewer experience.

Solutions include using measurement tools to enforce frequency caps and negotiating directly with content providers. Additionally, AI and identity signals like UID2 are being explored to enhance ad targeting and frequency management across CTV and linear TV, potentially transforming CTV advertising effectiveness. Read the full article >>

Google’s Adoption Of New Instream/Outstream Standards Could Spell Disaster For Some Online Video Platforms

Google AdX's upcoming video policy update on April 1 aims to align with industry standards by differentiating instream and outstream video, potentially lowering CPMs for previously considered premium inventory. The change, based on guidelines from the IAB Tech Lab, seeks to clarify these categories to better meet advertiser expectations.

This significant shift, given Google's market dominance, could impact monetisation for platforms relying on types of video inventory now deemed less lucrative. Publishers have already reported substantial revenue drops during testing phases on AdX, indicating a potential shake-up in video ad monetisation strategies.

Video content creators, especially those focusing on AI-generated content, may need to adapt by prioritising instream content or exploring new formats. Google asserts that this update will benefit publishers and advertisers by ensuring more accurate inventory representation, despite the immediate challenges it presents. Read the full article >>

IAB Europe Sends Letter to the EDPB on the 'Consent or Pay' Model

IAB Europe and other digital advertising groups have submitted a joint letter to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), requesting a public consultation on the forthcoming guidelines regarding the "Consent or Pay" model. They urge the EDPB to align its stance with existing EU and EEA legal frameworks and to collaborate with competition and consumer protection bodies to define what constitutes "reasonable" pricing. 

The letter emphasises that most Europeans prefer to choose between paying for online services or accessing them for free with advertising support. It counters the claim that the "Consent or Pay" model infringes on data protection rights, asserting that GDPR compliance is required regardless of consent status. Read the full article >>

New York’s MTA Enables Programmatic Across Its Entire DOOH Network

Programmatic DOOH is now accessible across New York's transit system, encompassing 3,800 screens, following a partnership between OUTFRONT and the MTA. This expansion offers advertisers direct access to a significant daily audience, improving flexibility and efficiency by allowing for real-time bidding and targeting without the need for long-term direct buys. 

The transition facilitates more precise audience targeting and measurement, incorporating advancements like location-based attribution and dynamic creative optimisation to appeal to advertisers seeking more nuanced campaign strategies.  OUTFRONT aims to increase its share by offering more flexible buying options and integrating data for richer audience insights, even as it anticipates direct deals will continue to dominate premium placements. Read the full article >> 

Publishers Look to Diversification Amid Falling Video and Display Revenues 

UK digital publishers experienced a revenue decline of 1.8 percent YoY in Q4, as reported by the AOP and Deloitte, with significant drops in online video and display advertising revenues. Despite these challenges, there were positive developments in other revenue streams, such as subscriptions and sponsorships, which saw significant growth, along with a 300 percent increase in digital audio revenue in Q4.

The varied impact on publishers, with half reporting growth in Q4, underscores the importance of diversifying revenue streams beyond traditional digital advertising. Industry experts emphasise the necessity of diversification and the potential of emerging areas like digital audio and subscriptions as vital for publishers navigating declines in ad revenue and evolving market demands. Read the full article >> 

Ad execs enter crucial phase of Google’s Privacy Sandbox experimentation

Google's Privacy Sandbox enters a critical test phase with major ad tech firms like Adform, Criteo, and Magnite participating to evaluate alternatives to 3P cookies, focusing on the Protected Audiences API, Topics API, and Attribution Reporting API. This testing is part of compliance with the U.K.'s CMA, aiming to provide advertisers and publishers with valuable insights into ad effectiveness and pricing dynamics without 3P cookies.

The tests, involving only a small portion of ad traffic, seek to measure the potential impact on ad prices and demand, with companies committed to maintaining a stable test environment to ensure reliable data. Despite the limited scope, this period is seen as a crucial step in understanding how the Privacy Sandbox can balance advertiser ROI and publisher CPMs in a post-cookie landscape.

Results from these tests are not expected to be conclusive but will inform ongoing discussions and development around alternative tracking mechanisms. The industry's exploration of the Privacy Sandbox reflects broader efforts to find privacy-first solutions to the challenges posed by the phasing out of third-party cookies. 

Read the full article >> 

How Disney Juggles Direct Supply Paths Without Disintermediating SSPs

Disney is pushing to automate its ad sales by the end of the year, introducing DRAX Direct to facilitate direct advertiser access to Disney+ and Hulu inventory through The Trade Desk and Google’s DV360. This direct approach aims to offer advertisers more transparency and higher audience match rates by bypassing supply-side platforms, enhancing the efficiency of ad buys.

DRAX Direct allows for first-party data matching with Disney’s audience through integrations, improving upon the slightly lower match rates seen through supply-side platform matches. Despite this direct path, Disney clarifies that the move is not about disintermediating SSP like Magnite but offering advertisers more options for accessing inventory. 

This strategy reflects a growing buyer preference for direct paths, yet Disney maintains partnerships with over 30 DSPs to cater to a wide range of advertisers, from small to mid-market. Disney's initiative with DRAX Direct is not expected to reduce demand through SSPs but rather to simplify the technology process for advertisers seeking direct access to its ad inventory. Read the full article >> 

Retail Media to Make Up One-Fifth of US Ad Spend This Year

Retail media spending in the US is projected to significantly increase, accounting for one-fifth of the US ad spend in 2024 and potentially almost a quarter by 2025, as forecasted by Advertiser Perceptions. The growth is primarily driven by offsite programmatic retail media platforms, with spending expected to surge to over $20 billion this year.

Despite the rise in retail media, programmatic ad spending on mobile and desktop is expected to remain flat or achieve only single-digit growth, presenting challenges for publishers. However, digital ad spend continues to grow, fueled by the popularity of short-form videos on social media and anticipated boosts in CTV spending due to the elections and Olympics, underscoring the evolving landscape of digital advertising.

Read the full article >> 

Week 11

Adalytics Report Torches Ad Tech For Touting MFA Prevention While Scarfing MFA Supply

The advertising industry faces challenges with the prevalence of made-for-advertising (MFA) sites despite claims of reducing such inventory. An Adalytics report highlights this issue, showing major SSPs and DSPs still engage with MFA sites.

This situation underscores a complex ecosystem where incentives misalign; SSPs removing MFA might see reduced reach and higher CPMs, while DSPs driven by client demand for reach and low costs continue utilising MFA. The report also commends companies like The Trade Desk for effectively filtering out MFA. It suggests ongoing maintenance and stakeholder alignment are essential to tackle MFA effectively.

Read the full article >> 

Criteo is exploring a services layer for Privacy Sandbox

Ad tech vendors concerned about the complexities and costs associated with Google's shift away from cookies may find a solution in Criteo's technology. Criteo, having acquired IPONWEB, a key player in the ad tech infrastructure, is in discussions with Google's Privacy Sandbox team to offer services that would alleviate the burden on smaller SSPs and DSPs lacking resources for this transition.

This move taps into IPONWEB's legacy of enabling connections within the programmatic ecosystem, potentially offering sandbox solutions to support the industry's move to a cookieless environment. Developing and maintaining technology compatible with Google’s Privacy Sandbox alternatives could cost companies around $7 million, highlighting Criteo's proposition's financial advantage.

Despite Criteo's readiness and the industry's apparent need, it remains uncertain if the broader ad tech market will embrace Criteo’s services, given the competitive dynamics and the significant resource allocation required for such a transition. The industry faces a pressing timeline, with Google committed to eliminating third-party cookies by the end of 2024, amid concerns about the readiness of the Privacy Sandbox APIs.

Read the full article >> 

Privacy Sandbox: What’s Wrong With Video?

A technical mismatch between VAST, the video ad serving standard, and Google's Protected Audiences API (PAAPI) within the Privacy Sandbox complicates video ad delivery as the industry transitions from third-party cookies. The integration challenges between these two technologies require significant changes across the ad ecosystem to maintain publisher revenue and fill rates.

Current proposals limit video ad fallback options, impacting ad delivery reliability. Publishers and ad tech partners are urged to increase their testing with the Privacy Sandbox to adapt to these changes, seeking technical compromises to ensure seamless video ad operations. Read the full article >>

IAB Europe's Guide to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

Since the European Green Deal's launch in 2020, the EU has introduced the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) to improve transparency and accountability in
corporate reporting.
IAB Europe's Sustainability Committee has developed the ‘Guide to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)’ as an educational resource, providing valuable insights and guidance on the CSRD. Link to the Guide >>

Publishers sort out their revenue priorities for the year, with direct-sold ads leading the way

As the first quarter of 2024 concludes, Digiday+ Research's surveys of over 150 publishing professionals reveal a strategic shift in revenue generation priorities following a challenging 2023. Direct-sold advertisements have emerged as the primary focus for publishers, overshadowing other revenue streams like subscriptions and affiliate commerce. 

The research indicates a stable hierarchy in revenue sources, with direct-sold ads, programmatic ads, branded content, and video advertising leading. However, there's a notable decline in emphasis on branded content and other areas compared to the previous year. Specifically, branded content decreased from 80% of publishers benefiting from it in Q1 2023 to 72% in Q1 2024, with a similar downtrend in intent to focus on this area.

Subscription, events, and affiliate commerce revenues also experienced reductions, highlighting a broader trend of decreased diversification in publishers' revenue models. Despite these shifts, the surveys highlight significant increases in publishers' intent to focus on direct-sold ads, programmatic ads, branded content, and video advertising in the upcoming months, marking a concentrated effort to bolster these areas in 2024.

Read the full article >>

Prebid Cookieless Future Webinar Recap

If you missed Prebid’s “The State of Cookie Deprecation” webinar on March 5th, check out the recap for industry insights and findings. Read the full article >>

Week 10

The Dawn of Hedged Gardens: The Evolution of Data Collaboration

The transformation within the data management and privacy landscape leads to a new approach called "Hedged Gardens," emphasising balanced data collaboration. This shift, propelled by advancements in decentralised data clean rooms and privacy-preserving technologies like differential privacy and identity resolution, aims to foster a secure and collaborative data environment.

"Hedged Gardens" allow for controlled data collaboration with safeguards for privacy, while "Clean Houses" focus on maintaining data integrity and privacy. This evolution addresses the limitations of traditional "Walled Gardens" by enabling secure data sharing and analysis, paving the way for a more interoperable and privacy-conscious data ecosystem. Read the full article >> 

Privacy Sandbox’s Latency Issues Will Cost Publishers

As the advertising industry adapts to Google's Privacy Sandbox and the deprecation of third-party cookies, there's a push towards privacy-centric advertising. Early testing of Privacy Sandbox's Protected Audiences API (PAAPI) reveals challenges such as increased latency affecting ad viewability and yield, making large-scale testing financially risky for publishers.

Despite this, industry participation in Sandbox testing is crucial for navigating the cookieless future. Feedback to Google is essential for refining PAAPI, emphasising the need for publisher control and reporting within the Sandbox. The industry's collective effort in testing and feedback is vital for developing privacy-friendly, effective advertising solutions. Read the full article >> 

Reach results 2023: Revenue falls 5% as print outperforms digital

Reach, a UK media company owning Mirror, Express, and +100 local news brands, saw a 5% revenue decline to £568.6m in 2023. Digital revenues fell by 15% to £127.4m, while print decreased only by 2% to £438.8m, aided by reduced newsprint costs and cover price hikes. Despite the overall decline, print remains the major revenue source, contributing 75%, as Reach focuses on transitioning to a digitally-focused, data-driven business model. Read the full article >> 

New Privacy-Preserving Ads API coming to Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge enhances user protection against tracking and introduces the Ad Selection API to allow relevant advertising without third-party cookies, incorporating strong privacy measures. This API leverages Trusted Execution Environments for data protection and is part of efforts to responsibly phase out third-party cookies, starting with small-scale experiments.

Microsoft urges the industry to test and provide feedback on the Ad Selection API.

How to test third-party cookie deprecation in Microsoft Edge today:

  • Go to edge://flags/#test-third-party-cookie-phaseout in a new tab.
  • Enable the Test Third Party Cookie Phaseout flag.
  • Restart Microsoft Edge.

    Read the full article >> 

Google in Europe: Complying with the Digital Markets Act

The European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) is now in effect, imposing new regulations on designated companies. Google has announced various changes to comply with the DMA, including modifications to search results, the introduction of choice screens on Android devices, and new consent requirements for linking Google services.

These changes are designed to foster transparency and offer users more control, but they also present trade-offs affecting users and businesses. Google aims to balance innovation with user privacy and security, navigating complex issues while engaging with stakeholders. Compliance efforts include enhancing data portability, allowing third-party apps and alternative billing systems, and focusing on data sharing and transparency measures. Read the full article >> 


ICO calls for views on allowing UK publishers to tell readers: ‘consent or pay’

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is assessing the regulatory stance on "consent or pay" models for personalised advertising, offering users a choice between consenting to share personal data for targeted ads or paying to keep their data private.  This approach addresses the lower revenue from non-personalised ads for publishers.

The ICO emphasises the need for fair user choice in consent mechanisms for non-essential advertising cookies, understanding that publishers are exploring "consent or pay" models and seeking clarity on regulatory positions to inform their investment decisions. Read the full article >> 

CJEU Ruling Clarifies Limited Role of IAB Europe in TCF

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on IAB Europe's appeal against the Belgian Data Protection Authority's decision on the Transparency & Consent Framework. The court clarified the concepts of personal data and joint controllership, finding that digital signals (TC Strings) indicating user preferences are personal data, and IAB Europe can be considered a joint controller for their creation and use.

However, IAB Europe isn't seen as a joint controller for subsequent processing by TCF participants for digital advertising and related purposes. This ruling allows the ongoing legal process to proceed with clarity on these points. Pending the Belgian Market Court's further examination, the suspension of the authority's decision continues. This outcome has broad implications for organisations with digital activities. Read the full article >> 


IAB Europe Unveils Latest Supply Chain Transparency Guide with a Focus on Sustainability

The IAB Europe's Programmatic Trading Committee has released a new version of the Supply Chain Transparency Guide, reflecting the industry's commitment to transparency and sustainability. The guide provides key questions and guidelines to help stakeholders make informed decisions and promote digital advertising supply chain accountability. 

Link to the Guide >>

Digiday Report: What subscribers want from their subscriptions in 2024

Subscribers are increasingly seeking flexibility and transparency in their subscriptions due to rising costs, with video streaming and retail subscriptions being the most popular. Despite the popularity, 57% have cancelled subscriptions anticipating price hikes, highlighting a desire for control over costs and content. 

Successful publishers and brands in streaming and retail see growth by aligning with these preferences. Download the full survey (conducted by Bango from 5,000 U.S. subscribers) for more in-depth information. Download the full report >> 

Prebid event: ASCENT London May 1st

Industry leaders will gather to discuss the future of privacy-focused, ad-supported digital ecosystems, focusing on channels like CTV and in-app. The event will highlight Prebid's open-source solutions to enhance programmatic revenue and encourage collaboration among publishers, ad-tech firms, and buyers. Read more & tickets >> 

Week 9

Google hit with $2.3 bln lawsuit by Axel Springer, other media groups

Google has been hit with a $2.3 billion lawsuit by 32 media groups, including Axel Springer and Schibsted. The companies allege they have suffered losses due to Google's digital advertising practices.

The group accuses Google of restricting competition and claims that without Google's abuse of its dominant position, media companies would have earned significantly more from advertising and paid less for ad tech services. Read the full article >>


Ad tech’s take: early reactions to Google’s third-party cookie demise

Although the end of third-party cookies was expected to be catastrophic for ad tech, it has proven to be a win for many players.

For example, The Trade Desk has managed to weather the challenge well so far, with its alternative Unified ID 2.0 increasing cost-effectiveness and prices. Magnite and PubMatic have responded to the challenge differently: Magnite supports the Privacy Sandbox, while PubMatic has focused on growing areas where cookies are unnecessary.

Criteo expects a challenging year ahead, while LiveRamp is ready for the removal of cookies and is heavily involved in new targeting opportunities. Integral Ad Science, on the other hand, focuses on filling the gap left by cookies with contextual data and attention metrics. Read full article >>


Publishers’ Q4 earnings paint a gloomy picture of 2023

Analysis of Q4 2023 results hinted at a potential recovery in ad revenue.

Publishers like Gannett, IAC, News Corp, and The New York Times have already released their full-year 2023 results, showing a decline in ad revenue but highlighting the importance of subscription revenue as a stabilising factor. The New York Times saw a 9.9% growth in digital subscriptions over the year, while Gannett reported an increase in digital subscriptions in the last quarter.

Looking ahead to 2024, publishers anticipate positive developments, with BuzzFeed expecting financial benefits from the sale of Complex. Read full article >>


DoubleVerify and Roku uncover CTV ad fraud scheme costing advertisers $7.5M per month

DoubleVerify and Roku uncovered a major CTV ad fraud scheme called "CycloneBot" in early 2023, estimated to have siphoned off $7.5 million per month from advertisers.

The fraud utilised traditional domain spoofing in a new way, generating impressions that mimicked prolonged CTV viewing sessions. Roku leveraged its own Advertising Watermark technology to unveil the fraud, underscoring the increasing sophistication of CTV ad fraud. This raises concerns among advertisers as frauds are possible across all buying paths. Roku is considering making Advertising Watermark the industry standard to combat future CTV ad frauds. Read the full article >>


IAB TECH LAB: Introducing Initial OpenRTB Support for the Protected Audience API

Google's Privacy Sandbox introduces innovations in advertising buying and selling through several APIs. OpenRTB is gearing up to meet these new challenges, especially for the Protected Audience API, which requires a clearer support framework.

With this development, ad tech industry standards like OpenRTB will adapt to support in-browser real-time bidding, opening new opportunities for programmatic advertising.
Read the full article >>


Magnite’s CTV Spend Swelled By 20% In 2023

Magnite's Q4 revenue hit $187 million. While CTV's portion of the revenue grew, its actual revenue was slightly lower than the previous year.

CEO Michael Barrett emphasized CTV's expansion through partnerships with companies such as Roku and Warner Bros and new market opportunities. Additionally, the company is gearing up for the end of third-party cookies by integrating and supporting Privacy Sandbox. Read the full article >>


FreeWheel Introduces Programmatic Ad Buying to the 2024 Upfronts with Industry-First, Allocation Module Solution

FreeWheel has launched a solution called the Allocation Module, which allows marketers to comprehensively manage their advertising commitments and explore new opportunities in bid-based TV advertising.

The platform provides advertisers and publishers with improved tools for managing the upfront commitments of video advertising across various transaction types, including direct campaigns, programmatic guaranteed, and, for the first time, bid-based programmatic deals. The allocation Module enhances transparency and optimises the process by which advertisers fulfil their upfront commitments across different advertising channels, offering better control and efficiency. Read the full article >>


Doordash Must Pay $375,000 Fine for CCPA Violation

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) amendments took effect in February.

DoorDash has been ordered to pay a $375,000 fine for violating the CCPA and the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA), warning the industry about the importance of adhering to privacy practices. The decision by the California court confirms the enforcement of the amended CCPA regulations, marking a new phase in privacy protection oversight. Read the full article >>


Google Faces Wider Antitrust Probe Over Online Ads in Canada

The Canadian Competition Bureau is extending its investigation into Google, scrutinizing the company's dominance in the advertising market. The probe, which commenced in 2020, now centres on Google's role in the online advertising technology market, examining how the company's actions could restrict choice and innovation.

The company contends that its products are selected for their effectiveness and pledges to maintain collaboration with the Competition Bureau, highlighting the competitiveness of its sector. Read the full article >>


The Post Third Party Cookie Countdown Series

Join IAB Europe's Post-Third-Party Cookie Countdown Webinar Part 2 on March 7th at 15:00 CET. The webinar series provides information and preparation tips for the removal of cookies, bringing together industry stakeholders to discuss alternatives and share experiences, and offers participants the opportunity to ask questions to experts.

Register here >>

Week 8

Publishers say Q1 is ‘off like a rocket’ after a lousy 2023

Ad revenue for Q1 2024 is showing positive trends compared to the previous year, with digital media executives noting a significant recovery. Apartment Therapy Media, for instance, reports a 20% increase in Q1 ad volume and a 40% rise in full-year bookings year over year. 

Despite a challenging 2023, publishers like BDG and Vox Media are also experiencing a 10% increase in ad sales. The industry observes larger deal sizes, higher win rates, and a significant rise in client renewals, suggesting a more robust advertising market as we move further into 2024. Read the full article >>


CTV providers court SME ad spend as the streaming wars enter a new era 

Roku is shifting focus towards its Roku Ads Manager, targeting small-to-medium enterprises by sunsetting its OneView ad platform, introduced in 2020. This move, part of a broader strategy to attract SME advertising spend, involves channelling resources into Roku Ads Manager, which offers a more accessible platform with a lower minimum campaign spend of $500. 

This adjustment aims to make Roku's extensive streaming inventory, which tallied over 100 billion hours across 80 million active accounts last year, more accessible to SMEs, aligning with industry trends where CTV providers like Disney’s Hulu and NBCUniversal target beyond large advertisers. Read the full article >>


How Criteo is playing within Google’s Privacy Sandbox

Criteo anticipates a significant revenue impact, estimating a loss of $30 million to $40 million in the latter half of the year due to Google's phase-out of third-party cookies. Despite historical reliance on cookies for ad targeting, Criteo is adapting by investing in Google's Privacy Sandbox as an alternative, with a dedicated team working on testing these tools. The company's comprehensive involvement in both the supply and demand sides of ad tech allows it to assess the broader effects of this transition on ad spend ROI and publisher revenue. Read full article >>


CTV, Targeting, and Sustainability - Europe 2023–2024

As the use of third-party cookies decreases, the share of campaigns executed through CTV in Europe is set to increase significantly, while brands and agencies are increasingly turning towards curated media purchases. The market is recognising the importance of sustainability and is investing heavily in practical actions to reduce carbon emissions, according to a research report "CTV, Targeting, and Sustainability - Europe 2023-2024", published by ExchangeWire and OpenX.

Marketers have noticed the increased attention and premium inventory offered by CTV, and 90% predict that many of their campaigns will be run through CTV in the next two years. At the same time, dependence on third-party cookies is decreasing, and probabilistic identity models are on the rise.
Download the full report here >>


Why Short-Form Video is "an Ambivalent Investment" for Publishers

As the popularity of short videos grows, many publishers have faced challenges in effectively monetising them, while the popularity of longer videos has declined.

The rise of TikTok and YouTube Shorts has reduced interest in traditional long-form videos. Although many publishers have invested in shorter videos, their financial success has not met expectations, putting pressure on the reevaluation of video strategies. Read the full article >>


IAB Europe investigates the industry's readiness for a cookie-less era

Less than a year remains until Chrome discontinues the support for third-party cookies, significantly changing the digital advertising landscape. A survey conducted by IAB Europe, with participation from over 160 European advertising professionals, revealed that although the majority are ready for the change, a large part of the industry still requires support to transition to a cookie-less era.

The survey also emphasized the importance of strategies for stronger first-party data, increased industry collaboration, and innovation beyond the traditional use of cookies. It highlighted divided opinions on testing the Privacy Sandbox and the need to enhance privacy protections. Download the report here >>


Transparency is the largest obstacle in CTV, reveals research

The report by DoubleVerify and IAB Europe highlights challenges in CTV advertising transparency and quality verification in the UK and Europe. It reveals only 30% of advertisers and publishers have full ad placement transparency, and a third of impressions serve when TVs are off. 

Despite these issues, optimism for CTV's potential remains, driven by its ability to deliver premium programming at scale. The study calls for enhanced verification measures to unlock CTV's full benefits and underscores the importance of transparency and quality control for growth. Download the report here>>

Week 7

IAB Tech Lab Report Reveals Privacy Sandbox Complications, But Google Addresses Criticism

Google faces resistance regarding its Privacy Sandbox initiative and the discontinuation of third-party cookies, which may delay the implementation of these measures in Chrome. The concerns raised by the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the challenges outlined in the IAB Tech Lab's report require Google to find solutions to competitive and technical problems. Despite potential delays, Google continues its efforts to eliminate third-party cookies, working with the digital advertising ecosystem and regulatory authorities to develop sustainable solutions. Read the full article >>


Trade Desk's quality-focused product, SP500+, puts publishers at the center

The Trade Desk has launched the pilot of a new product named SP500+, offering buyers a unique opportunity to target advertising across a broad selection of premium publishers such as The New York Times, Disney+, Hulu, ABC, and The Wall Street Journal. Spotify and other audio content providers are unavailable via SP500+, but The Trade Desk plans to expand its service to include Spotify. The product is currently in beta testing, and the schedule for its full release remains open. SP500+ is part of The Trade Desk's broader product suite, Kokai, which is designed to facilitate cooperation between advertisers and third-party suppliers. Read the full article >>


MediaMath's new owner aims for cooperation with former partners

Infillion, the fresh owner of MediaMath, and AdLib, a platform offering programmatic media buying, especially for small and medium-sized advertisers, have announced a collaboration that signifies more than just traditional integration – it is actually a reintegration. AdLib was closely connected to MediaMath for over six years until MediaMath abruptly filed for bankruptcy, leaving AdLib and many other companies in a difficult position.

The bankruptcy news was a severe blow to AdLib, forcing rapid actions to transfer campaigns to other systems. Following this ordeal, AdLib expanded its operations by establishing new partnerships in the DSP market. After the collapse of MediaMath and its acquisition by Infillion, AdLib has now been reintegrated into the MediaMath ecosystem, now under the rebranded MediaMath by Infillion, which opens up broader customer segments for Infillion. Read the full article >>


The Trade Desk is rolling out OpenPath to CTV

The Trade Desk is expanding its OpenPath to the CTV media environment. Two years ago, it sparked discussion by cutting out SSPs with its direct publisher model, and now it's offering the same opportunity for CTV inventory. Cox Media Group and Vizio are among the first participants. After the initial confusion, the situation has stabilized, and The Trade Desk aims to handle its relationship with SSPs diplomatically. Read the full article >>


Most publishers grew their ad offerings, with a focus on branded content

Despite the challenges of 2023, many publishers succeeded in maintaining their staff and expanding their advertising offerings. According to Digiday+ Research, 56% of publishers specifically focused on developing branded content, highlighting the importance of diversifying ad products. Publishers' investments in programmatic ads, event sponsorships, and direct-sold ads reflect a strategic effort to create new revenue streams and meet the varied needs of advertisers. Read the full article >>


The State of Cookie Deprecation Webinar

Join the Prebid Webinar on March 5th, 2024, at 11:00 AM EST, discussing the topic of the year: A Cookieless Future.

Be a part of the conversation as Jeffrey Wieland, Matthew Whaley, David Dabbs, and Patrick McCann provide valuable insights and delve into an update on the current state of cookie deprecation with global, buy-side, and publisher perspectives. Plus, don't miss out on hearing from IAB Tech Lab special guests Hillary Slattery and Miguel Morales. Register here >>


2024 State of Readiness Report on Sustainability in Digital Advertising

Discover the advancements in sustainable digital advertising with the 2024 State of Readiness Report by IAB Europe's Sustainability Standards Committee. Now in its second year, this report gathers insights from 186 responses across 29 European markets, offering a detailed overview of the digital advertising industry's progress towards sustainability. Read the full report >>

Week 6

IAB Tech Lab Says The Chrome Privacy Sandbox Is A Time Bomb That Will Break Real-Time Bidding

According to IAB Tech Lab's analysis, the online advertising industry faces challenges with Google Chrome's Privacy Sandbox. Few of the forty-four use cases studied remain viable with the new APIs, hindering real-time bidding. Despite efforts to introduce privacy-centric features, concerns persist over their impact on advertising practices.

The Tech Lab's report prompts critical questions about the future of digital advertising and calls for collaboration to address industry-wide concerns. The Tech Lab collects feedback on its Privacy Sandbox report and gap analysis during a 45-day public comment period that ends on March 22. Read the full article >>


 Criteo Profits Bounce Back, But There’s A Tough Year Ahead

Criteo has reported strong profit growth and strategic partnerships, marking a turnaround from its previous focus. The company's revenue and stock value have increased, strengthening its market position. Criteo is preparing for a cookieless future by developing new targeting methods despite challenges such as anticipated losses due to changes in Chrome. Read the full article >> 


Stability with transformation’: Insights into the turbulent landscape of 2024 advertising

The beginning of 2024 has been busy and uncertain. Ad spending remains strong, although the growth rate is slowing down. Advertisers are responding strategically and continue to invest. Publishers are cautiously optimistic and focus on events, research, and video to boost direct ad sales. Advertisers and platforms grapple with cookie phase-out and staff cuts. The market sees an uptick in mergers & acquisitions.
Read the full article >> 

 Publishers assess Amazon’s role in their post-cookie ad businesses

Amazon is expanding its collaboration with publishers by offering the opportunity to combine their contextual data with Amazon's purchase data, improving ad targeting amidst the decline of third-party cookies. Dotdash Meredith and Reach plc are examples of companies testing this cooperation. This strategy mainly benefits publishers who have already collected first-party data.

Amazon's actions in the online advertising market, including its partnership with The Trade Desk and the introduction of the Amazon Publisher Cloud, underscore its efforts to strengthen its position in the advertising landscape in a cookieless future.

Read the full article >>

Buyers say the MFA panic is over – but not forgotten

Advertising experts now see MFA sites as a less urgent problem for 2024, with a priority level 4/10. Measures such as inclusive lists have increased confidence in ad safety. While AI-generated content challenges the avoidance of MFA sites, the industry continuously develops protective measures. Other challenges, like the end of third-party cookies, are now taking precedence. Read the full article >>

New sports streaming service will upset the balance of power in TV, media buyers say

Fox, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Disney announced a joint venture to launch a "skinny bundle" for sports content this fall, shaking up traditional TV amidst economic challenges and Netflix acquiring WWE rights. The move, seen as a response to digital giants like Apple and Amazon entering the sports rights arena, aims to consolidate sports streaming, offering an alternative amidst the third-party cookie's demise.

Still unnamed and unpriced, the venture represents a strategic shift to protect and expand legacy media's reach in a streaming-dominated market, potentially doubling the NBA's current $24 billion rights deal. This development signals a re-bundling era in sports broadcasting, challenging traditional models and consumer expectations in the evolving media landscape. Read the full article >>


IAB Europe's Updated Guide to Quality 2024

IAB Europe introduces its 2024 Updated Quality Guide, designed to improve transparency and accountability in the digital advertising ecosystem. The guide offers insights and best practices across key areas, including Ad Fraud, Brand Safety, Creative Execution & User Experience & Viewability. Download the guide to gain deeper insights. Download the guide here >>

Week 5

 IAB Tech Lab presents Google with Privacy Sandbox gap analysis following Annual Leadership Meeting

IAB Tech Lab and Google have discussed the capabilities and limitations of the Privacy Sandbox. IAB Tech Lab conducted a gap analysis, which found that Privacy Sandbox does not cover all necessary use cases, such as ad placement guarantees and reporting deficiencies. The analysis covers over 40 marketing use cases, with approximately 30 not currently supported by Privacy Sandbox.

The slow implementation of Privacy Sandbox APIs poses challenges for ad tech companies in allocating their resources. The meeting aimed to address these gaps and further develop Privacy Sandbox proposals to meet industry needs. The hope is that future iterations will address these issues. Read the full article >>


 ‘Pretty hacky’: Decoding publishers’ concerns over Google’s Privacy Sandbox’s Protected Audiences API

Publishers are concerned about the disappearance of third-party cookies in Chrome and the limitations of the Privacy Sandbox. They are particularly focused on the Protected Audiences API, which is essential for cookieless retargeting. However, the API lacks transparency and reporting, causing issues for publishers. Even those who have tested the Privacy Sandbox still have concerns due to the lack of necessary data and reports.

Collaboration with ad tech vendors is necessary, but the restrictions of the Privacy Sandbox complicate matters. Publishers hope for improvements in the functionality and reporting of the Privacy Sandbox to better understand its impact on their business. For now, the situation appears to be unchanged, and publishers must adapt while awaiting changes. Read the full article >> 

U.K. publishers and the ICO still grapple with offering a ‘reject all’ cookies option amid revenue concerns

In November, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) alerted leading publishers about non-compliant cookie consent pop-ups, insisting on a "reject all" option to conform with privacy regulations. This adjustment presents financial challenges for publishers, with trials indicating potential consent reductions of up to 50%. The ICO is advocating for compliance, whilst publishers investigate alternative revenue methods.

Despite obstacles, there's an effort towards educating on the effects of cookies and negotiating for compliance deadlines, highlighting a compromise between privacy and financial sustainability. Read the full article >>

How publishers are trying to get people to log in to their sites

Publishers in 2024 prioritize audience authentication, leveraging unique identifiers such as IP addresses and device IDs due to the diminishing reliance on third-party cookies. Employing single-step logins via major platforms is a strategic move to enhance user engagement and retention, addressing the crucial balance between seamless user experience and effective user identification. 

The challenge for publishers lies in navigating technological constraints and privacy regulations while maximizing the value of authenticated sessions. This approach underscores the importance of innovative authentication methods that maintain user privacy and trust, presenting a valuable insight into adapting to the evolving digital landscape. Read the full article >>

90% of U.S. Publishers Are Dropping the Ball on Data Compliance

Recent research by Compliant reveals a concerning trend among U.S. publishers, as many neglect consumer data protection, posing a risk to consumer trust. European publishers follow robust data privacy standards, U.S. publishers lag behind, with only 20% having a Consent Management Platform (CMP). Urgent steps are needed to align with data compliance standards and protect consumer data and advertisers' reputations. Read the full article >>


Premion Buys CTV-Focused DSP Octillion

TEGNA-owned CTV advertising platform Premion has acquired Octillion Media, focused on local CTV advertisers. The acquisition brings DSP technology in-house for Premion, improving access to CTV inventory and control over media buying, and expands its offerings with new tools and clients. This strategic move strengthens Premion's position in the local CTV advertising market. Read the full article >>


IAS The State of Brand Safety in the UK

Brand safety is a global priority for marketers. Amid a dynamic media landscape and content growth, they invest in safeguarding their brand and prioritizing brand-friendly content. Integral Ad Science's study explores UK consumers' views on brand-safe content and its impact on brand perception. Download the report to learn more.
Read the full report >>

Week 4

Buyers Can't Test Privacy Sandbox APIs in Google's Ad Platform DV360

Google's DV360 lacks a user interface for buyers to test the Privacy Sandbox, creating challenges in adopting its cookie alternative. This shortfall in direct testing capabilities and vague communication from Google is highlighted by two buyers, as reported by Adweek. The issue aligns with Google's broader plan to phase out cookies, dependent on regulatory approval.

Despite grants for testing Privacy Sandbox, DV360's difficulties signify a complex transition in digital advertising, with industry experts questioning the tool's effectiveness. Read the full article >>


Prebid Year-End Recap and ’24 Preview Webinar Recap

Prebid's remarkable growth, emphasising its status as a community-driven industry standard, is noteworthy. With over 400k installs of Prebid.JS and over 300k installs of Prebid Server, Prebid has established itself as a leader in programmatic technology. The recap presents impressive statistics, collaborative efforts, and product priorities, all led by dedicated professionals. 

Prebid's focus on interoperability and emerging marketplace dynamics remains strong, spanning platforms like CTV, Mobile, and Audio. Discover the roadmap for 2024 and how Prebid plans to navigate industry challenges while expanding its membership and technical capabilities. Read the full article >> 

Ad buyers say it’s still too early to pick which alternative IDs to prioritize

According to industry experts, publishers are exploring various alternative identifiers to replace third-party cookies, but it's too early to determine a clear frontrunner. While some identifiers like LiveRamp's RampID are gaining popularity in specific markets like the U.S., global adoption and scale are necessary before any solution is prioritised agency-wide.

Advertisers also take a holistic approach, combining publisher first-party cookie solutions with authenticated /deterministic IDs, recognising that these identifiers complement rather than replace other data sources. The consolidation of alternative IDs on the buy side will likely occur once universal adoption is established.

Read the full article >>


Prime Video’s pitch deck includes fixed CPMs and precision targeting in Amazon’s bid to advertisers

Amazon is launching an ad-supported streaming tier for Prime Video on January 29th, offering advertisers three options: Preferred Deal, Guaranteed Buy, and Premium Sponsorships. Preferred Deal is the most cost-effective option, while the other two models provide more complex targeting and exclusive program sponsorships.

This new advertising model represents a significant shift in the streaming market, combining premium content with targeted advertising, and has the potential to challenge competitors like Netflix in the ad-supported sector. Read the full article >>

As The Open Web Wobbles, Index Exchange Is Betting On Curated Deals

Index Exchange is introducing Index Marketplaces to streamline ad curation. This new approach combines marketer and publisher data within curated private marketplaces (PMPs), bypassing the need for extensive new integrations. Index Exchange's strategy aims to offer more targeted, cost-effective advertising solutions, leveraging its existing network and infrastructure. Read the full article >>


Google Admits That Chrome’s Incognito Mode Doesn’t Truly Camouflage Users Data

Google updated Chrome's Incognito Mode warning amidst a $5 billion lawsuit alleging user tracking without clear consent. This change addresses the lawsuit's claim of Google tracking Incognito Mode activity. The update highlights a privacy paradox: while Google pushes for privacy improvements like deprecating third-party cookies, its practices are under scrutiny. The situation raises doubts about Google's role as a privacy advocate in the tech world. Read the full article >>


It’s 2024, The Retail Media Revolution Is Here

In 2024, data will drive the retail media revolution, shaping personalised experiences and marketing strategies. As the industry adapts to a cookieless world and the rise of marketplaces, it's reimagining in-store experiences and embracing AI for predictive shopping. Data clean rooms reshape privacy-focused strategies, marking a transformative leap in the retail media landscape, merging digital and physical realms for a more personalised universe. Read the full article >>


IAB Europe Submits Observations to the European Commission's GDPR Multistakeholder Expert Group Questionnaire for the 2024 Report

IAB Europe has submitted its observations to the European Commission on the application of GDPR, emphasising the need for more consistent enforcement of data protection laws and an increased understanding of GDPR. They propose aligning national regulations and harmonising procedures across member states and providing additional guidance to clarify GDPR concepts. 

IAB Europe also highlights the importance of enhancing the operation of Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) and advocates for better integration of GDPR with other laws like the AI Act. Read the full article >>

Week 3

Worldwide ad spending growth will accelerate across the board in 2024

In 2024, digital, traditional, and total media advertising expenditures will grow faster globally than in 2023 by nearly 10%. Digital advertising will thrive, accounting for almost 70% of worldwide advertising expenditures.

Traditional media advertising spending will also recover, partly due to major sporting events and political advertising. Advertising spending will grow globally, with some regions experiencing slower growth. Read the full article >>


Tests Of Cookieless Chrome Ads Are Encouraging, But Don’t Get Too Excited

Google began phasing out third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users two weeks ago, but it's too early to draw definitive conclusions about its impact on advertising. Early results from Raptive showed a 30% drop in CPMs for cookieless audiences compared to those with cookies, but this may change as more users are affected. The industry consensus is that early results are not indicative of long-term trends.

Read the full article >> 

Attack Of The Clones: Programmatic’s Hidden Scourge Of Bid Duplication

Bid duplication is plaguing programmatic auctions, threatening the entire system. This issue creates multiple copies of bid opportunities, leading to inefficiencies and making it difficult for demand-side platforms (DSPs) to scale campaigns. DSPs have attempted to combat bid duplication using traffic shaping, but this has not fully resolved the problem and can result in valuable bid requests being discarded.

Addressing bid duplication requires industry-wide coordination, algorithm changes, and policy adjustments to ensure the efficiency and sustainability of programmatic advertising. Read the full article >>

LiveRamp Acquires Habu, As Walled Gardens Put The Squeeze On Indie Data Collaboration Tech

US technology company LiveRamp has announced its intention to acquire Habu for $200 million. Habu specializes in processing clean data on various cloud platforms, including Google's Ads Data Hub and Amazon Marketing Cloud. On the other hand, LiveRamp provides a large commercial identity graph and enables offline data onboarding into the digital marketing ecosystem.

While the data clean room category is small, it is competitive, and this acquisition will help both companies compete more effectively against major players like Google and Amazon. Read the full article >>

The Privacy Sandbox proposals publishers are prioritizing in early tests 

Google is deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome, starting with 1% of its audience this month. This move allows advertisers and media professionals to explore the Privacy Sandbox as a replacement for individual tracking. Publishers are prioritizing the experimentation of proposals within the Privacy Sandbox, focusing on the Protected Audience API and Topics API.

However, concerns about the impact of cookieless advertising on revenue persist. Despite potential challenges, publishers see Privacy Sandbox experimentation as crucial in the face of impending cookie deprecation, as they continue to rely on Google for a significant portion of their revenue. Read the full article >>


IAB Europe Responds to the EDPB Public Consultation on their Draft Guidelines 2/2023

IAB Europe and national trade associations representing thousands of digital marketing and advertising companies have responded to the EDPB's public consultation on draft guidelines related to the ePrivacy Directive. While they support clarifying requirements for new technologies and ensuring data protection, they have reservations about the current draft. They believe it may lead to discrepancies in interpretation, particularly regarding applying the ePrivacy Directive to existing technologies. They recommend revisions to align the guidelines with EU principles and address practical concerns.

Read the full article >>


IAB Europe Expresses Strong Concerns on The European Parliament’s Draft Report on GDPR Procedural Regulation 

IAB Europe has communicated strong concerns to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) regarding the draft report on the GDPR procedural regulation by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee. If implemented in its current form, the draft report falls short of the initial ambitions to harmonise procedural rules, which could hinder a consistent and fair GDPR cross-border complaints process.

Read the full article >>

▸ Week 2

What Will the Next 12 Months Look Like for the Programmatic Supply Chain? 

The advertising industry faces significant shifts in 2024 with the deprecation of third-party cookies and generative AI advancements. 2023 saw challenges for the programmatic supply chain, with increased scrutiny on MFA sites and open market vulnerabilities. Experts predict industry consolidation driven by the need for transparency and technological innovation. 

The industry is expected to adapt to cookie deprecation, exploring new transaction models and focusing on brand suitability in curated marketplaces. Additionally, sustainability will become crucial, with a growing emphasis on reducing carbon footprints in digital campaigns. The year will also see efforts to streamline operations and reduce emissions within SSPs. Read the full article >>


Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions 2024

The report highlights the transformative impact of AI on journalism in 2024 amidst global political and economic instability. It predicts significant changes in content creation and distribution, with a rise in AI-driven tools and a decline in traditional news site traffic. Publishers are expected to focus more on direct channels and protective measures for intellectual property.

AI's integration into newsrooms is seen as beneficial for efficiency but raises concerns about content creation and trust. The role of platforms in news distribution is shifting, with a decrease in social media referrals and an increase in the use of messaging apps and new platforms.

The overall sentiment is cautious, balancing the opportunities of AI with its challenges for traditional journalism practices and business models. Read the full article >> 

Heart Debuts Programmatic Marketplace For The Highest Bidder

Last year, iHeartMedia launched a programmatic marketplace using Magnite's SpringServe technology for omnichannel media purchases, covering broadcast, streaming, and podcast assets. This platform, driven by real-time data and bidding, sparked industry interest and concerns, particularly about ad rates and inventory.

iHeartMedia, following NBCUniversal's similar initiative, aims to broaden programmatic advertising's scope in audio, enhancing campaign efficacy through real-time data and trusted environments. Magnite collaborates closely with iHeartMedia to develop unique solutions, advocating for more direct connections in the advertising supply chain.

Read the full article >> 

Publishers’ revenues fell short of expectations in 2023, but most see growth ahead in 2024

In 2023, publisher revenues didn't meet expectations, with only a third experiencing growth, contrary to half predicting an increase. Nonetheless, optimism for 2024 remains, as half the publishers anticipate revenue growth. Disappointingly, in 2023, there was a significant 38% revenue decrease.

For 2024, most publishers expect modest growth between 1-10%, while a quarter predicts stable revenues and only 16% foresee a decline. Most remain cautiously optimistic about modest increases rather than expecting substantial revenue jumps. Read the full article >>

 Sustainability standards are coming for digital advertising

In 2024, the digital advertising industry will focus on establishing sustainability standards for measuring carbon emissions. The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) and Ad Net Zero are creating guidelines under the Global Media Sustainability Framework, aiming for transparency in carbon data reporting. 

Different firms currently report varying emission levels for the same ads, highlighting the need for standardised metrics and methodologies. These voluntary standards will guide advertisers and media companies in assessing their carbon footprints.

It will also encourage transparency and necessitate third-party audits to ensure data accuracy, potentially influencing campaign costs and the adoption of sustainability practices. Read the full article >>

▸ Week 1

Amazon Advances Flashtalking And Smartly As Alternatives 

Amazon is discontinuing the Sizmek ad server, previously a significant player in the industry, by Q4 2024, directing its ad server clients to partners Flashtalking and Smartly.io for transition. Flashtalking offers similar functionalities to Sizmek, while Smartly.io focuses on dynamic creative optimisation.

This shift signifies a broader trend in the industry away from traditional ad servers towards solutions more attuned to creative management and platform-specific needs, reflecting changes in targeting efficiency and the importance of creative elements in advertising campaigns. The move also raises questions about the viability and strategic value of owning or building an ad server in the current digital advertising landscape. Read the full article >>


TV Technology: VAB Report Examines $84B Digital Ad Fraud Market  

In 2023, digital ad fraud costs $84 billion globally, which is expected to double in five years. The Video Advertising Bureau's report, "Hidden Costs: Three Critical Business Ramifications of Digital Ad Fraud", highlights the financial, reputational, and legal risks of digital ad fraud.

Marketers face brand damage from ads in unsuitable environments and legal repercussions due to data breaches. The report emphasises the need for transparency and accountability in the digital ad space to counter these risks. The full report >> 

GROUPM Forms Ad Innovation Accelerator to Power Advertising Experience 

GroupM has launched the Ad Innovation Accelerator, a program to redefine advertising engagement across streaming platforms. Collaborating with Disney, NBCUniversal, YouTube, etc., the initiative seeks to create scalable, advanced ad formats. These ads will be designed for a range of ad-supported streaming environments.

The program enhances advertiser-audience interactions using digital technologies, streamlining ad campaign execution across the streaming ecosystem. It will begin in North America for GroupM clients, with plans to expand globally, and aims to revolutionise the traditional ad format, aligning with the projected growth in CTV advertising. Read the full article >> 

Google Finally Pulls the Trigger on Third-Party Tracking Cookies

As Google implements Tracking Protection to block 3P cookies in Chrome, marketers are adapting to new advertising strategies. Many already started experimenting with cookieless solutions like universal IDs and AI-driven contextual targeting. Despite the initial 1% user impact, industry experts view this as a significant step towards a new advertising era focusing on privacy and innovation.

However, if Google's revenue is affected, there's speculation they might retract the complete deprecation. The move is a positive step for consumer privacy, signalling a shift towards more respectful advertising practices. Read the full article >>

Publishers likely to depend on subscriptions less as they explore alternative revenue streams in 2024

In 2023, while programmatic advertising remained a key revenue source for publishers, they began exploring alternative sources like events, commerce, and non-traditional platform partnerships. Subscription revenue trends were mixed: more publishers earned from subscriptions, but this revenue contributed a smaller overall percentage.

A significant rise in publishers earning only a small portion from subscriptions was observed, while those profiting significantly from subscriptions declined. Additionally, interest in expanding subscription businesses appears to wane among publishers, with fewer prioritising this area for future growth. Read the full article >>

Privacy and AI policies to watch in 2024

2024 will see continued discussions around AI regulation and significant developments in data privacy across various levels. The year will be challenging for those tracking new privacy laws and regulations, both domestically and internationally, with the added complexity of rules concerning AI and antitrust issues. 

The phasing out of third-party cookies by Google will also significantly impact privacy and online advertising practices. The legal landscape will become more intricate with the introduction of various state privacy laws in the US, each with its nuances, posing new compliance challenges for global companies.

International laws, particularly in the EU, will further influence privacy practices, especially concerning AI. This evolving regulatory environment will require businesses to adapt swiftly to ensure compliance. Read the full article >>