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Weekly Roundup: COVID-19 Revenue Impact, New Specs for CCPA, and 1P Data.

Adtech Weekly Roundup 112
"People have more time on their hands and are housebound so want to be taken somewhere else.”

Ad Revenue Trends for Publishers

Inmobi on the State of Programmatic Video: 

Inmobi, a leading ad tech company known for mobile ads, shed some light on the state of programmatic video in its YOY Q1 report. Here are some insights for publishers:

  • The shopping category’s ad spend increased by 28% in India.
  • Music and audio, health and fitness, and education-related ad spend grew by 500% in India.
  • News publishers are among the top three ad sellers in South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • While only 40% of ad spend goes to formats like audio and text, the majority of it goes to video ads.
  • The CTR with video ads is 2.5 higher when compared to all the other ad formats.
  • Video ads in the entertainment category have the highest engagement rate.
  • The engagement rate on vertical ads is 3 times when compared to banner ads.

COVID-19 Short-term revenue impact:

As per the recent IAB survey, there has been a significant effect of COVID-19 on the short-term revenue of publishers. The impact has been harder on news publishers, non-news publishers suffered to a lesser degree.

An interview in late-April by eMarketer, reveals that advertisers are slowly starting to spend. The ones who are willing to spend are afraid of being seen as opportunistic. They are now working closely with the publishers to come out with the right message for their campaigns.

COVID 19 short-term revenue change

Publishers are also changing their strategies around coronavirus related content. Buzzfeed has planned to create three kinds of pandemic related content – 1) News, 2) Lockdown or quarantine content, and 3) Content where readers can escape from thinking about coronavirus.


The pandemic has brought a huge shock to the publishers. But it can be expected that the situation will start to improve from now. Keep an eye on the current market trends and create your content strategies accordingly. It is evident that video ads are yielding better results, use them to monetize your content. Try to find the demand for vertical video inventory for mobile, it will be difficult but might perform better due to higher engagement.

Dealing with the crisis

How the publishers are dealing with revenue loss due to coronavirus:

BBC Travel

Travel has been one of the most affected industries during the pandemic. As a result, the ad spend in the industry has also slumped. Since most of the world’s population has canceled its future travel plans, the demand for travel-related content was expected to be lower. But the visitors to the travel vertical of BBC grew 34% month-over-month in April. The time spent on the page also increased by 9%. BBC could do this by creating interesting travel-related stories that can be enjoyed by traveling enthusiasts sitting at home. Article series like Comeback Cities and Sunken Civilization helped the publisher bring traffic during the pandemic.

“We concentrated on what makes places distinct and interesting, people’s interest doesn’t change even if you can’t fly there. It’s not about visiting this hotel but about stories, history, people, and the culture of places. People have more time on their hands and are housebound so want to be taken somewhere else.”

– Mary Wilkinson, head of Editorial Content.

Leveraging Virtual Events for Subscriptions

The pandemic has shown us that subscriptions can be a viable option for revenue diversification. Publishers are finding ways to gain more and more subscribers too. Publishers like TechCrunch, Bloomberg, and NYT can be seen using virtual events for the purpose. Publishers are hosting virtual events that are available only to subscribers. Due to the virtual nature, the events are also being attended by a larger audience. So the virtual events are creating a win-win situation for the publishers.

Helping Local News Publishers

TripleLift has started an initiative for local news publishers. It has formed ‘Help Journalism PMP’ with 1600 publishers. The buyers in this PMP won’t have to pay TripleLift’s ad tech fee for the rest of Q2. The PMP has already enrolled buyers like GroupM and TripleLift is aiming to have 25 such clients by June. TripleLift will also be encouraging the buyers to abstain from using brand safety filters. Currently, the initiative is running in loss for the survival of local news, but the company expects that the clients will continue to work together after the pandemic ends. Such measures are appreciable.


The publishers who can be agile with their content can maneuver through a difficult time. Strategies similar to BBC should be implemented by every publisher facing problems at the current time. Do not rely completely on editorial content, diversify to videos, organize seminars to encourage your visitors to subscribe. Participate in initiatives that are being taken for publishers so that you can have support.

New Specs for CCPA Data Deletion Requests

CCPA requires publishers to delete any data related to users upon the users’ request. It can be a complicated and error-prone process if handled manually. At present, upon the receipt of a data deletion request, a publisher may have to coordinate with multiple vendors it works with.

To help the publishers in automating the process, IAB has released the required specs on GitHub. The specs work across the web and app. The implementation process will be simple. The publishers just have to embed the snippet to start the automation. But first, the companies have to map their data sources.

All publishers are advised to implement the specs on their site. CCPA compliance is critical for every publisher who receives traffic from California. Manual handling of data deletion requests can be cumbersome and failure to handle them properly can land you in legal troubles.

Moving Towards First-Party Data

As the third-party cookie is approaching its end, more and more publishers are moving towards first-party data. The Guardian has also erected its registration wall to start gathering first-party data. To encourage the users to register, the Guardian is offering perks like being able to leave comments, access to editorial newsletters, and can opt-in to receive discounts or special offers. The registered users will also get further insights into their content preferences.

The registration wall can also be seen as the user’s first step towards subscription. In this way, it will provide twofold benefits. Additionally, the first-party data generated by registrations will help the publisher in better targeting, better user experience, and higher retention. The major benefit of the first-party data is that it provides better ad targeting which translates to higher CPMs.

South China Morning Post is another publisher embracing first-party data. A century-old newspaper that is now acquired by Jack Ma aims to build a loyal readership with this move.


It used to be an advantage but now the first-party data has become a necessity. Most players in the industry will start using it before the fall of the cookie. The Guardian’s approach to the implementation makes sense. Users will register only when they will get something in return. Publishers should come up with their perks so that more and more users are signing up. The benefits of first-party data are not limited to better targeting, there will be many more advantages (user experience, subscriptions, etc) that you shouldn’t miss.

Moments that Matter

MediaMath explores a possible sale – Digiday.

California AG submits CCPA Regs for approval with less than a month to go before enforcement – Adexchanger.

This is what the DOJ is thinking as it preps its Antitrust case against Google – Adexchanger.

Google Helps Place Ads on Sites Amplifying Covid-19 Conspiracies – Bloomberg.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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