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Weekly Roundup: Advertiser Sentiments in 2021, Facebook’s Attempt to Drive Opt-ins, and More.

Adtech weekly news
"Disabling the third-party cookie can compromise publishers’ abilities to make money from ads and push people, their data, and — along with them — ad dollars further into Google's walled garden."


  • Publishers finding new revenue streams are becoming common. Bleacher Report finds revenue opportunities in sponsored live shows. The Washington Post will use Instagram to gain subscribers.
  • The advertiser sentiments may not be as positive as they used to be, but the ad spend should get better with time. Most advertisers have an optimistic view towards 2021.
  • Facebook is finding ways to increase opt-ins after the IDFA changes. It’ll try to educate users to convince them. One of the prompts says, “support businesses that rely on ads to reach customers.”
  • Google’s privacy sandbox is attracting controversies. Read the different arguments that support the ‘anti-competitive’ narrative.

Glimpse Into the Future of Media Giants

Last week, we saw a few interesting developments from some of the top digital media companies. And, it seems we all can see where they are headed in the future. 

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report has found a new way to engage its audience during the Super Bowl. It streamed a betting-based branded show on its Mobile app, YouTube channel and Twitter feed. DraftKings was the sponsor of the show, a company that runs fantasy sports contests and betting business. The show announced the bets that DraftKings offers for the Super Bowl.

The show gained 1 million views across all the platforms. It was five times the average number of views for B/R’s live videos. Almost 16000 people commented on it and made it the second most engaging video on the publisher’s app history. Betting users are five times more engaging than non-betting users and 59% of its national audience bet on sports.

Such partnerships can be highly beneficial to publishers. Apart from the sponsorship amount, publishers can also charge a cost per acquisition fee.

The Washington Post

WaPo has created a new title called Instagram Editor to grow its subscription business. The new editor will work with a team to expand its identity beyond publishing. The team will use vertical, visual storytelling for the expansion. It’ll have a social producer, a video producer, and a designer. The ultimate objective is to convert the Instagram followers to paying subscribers. It’s important to note that Instagram is the fastest growing acquisition channel for the Post.

The New York Times

You must be already aware that the NYT is working on its first-party data before the cookie crumbles. The publisher has successfully generated 20% of its ad revenue from it in Q4 2020. Last year, the same number stood at just 7%. 

The overall ad revenue fell 2%. The focus remains on being a subscription-first business. The publisher has already stopped running open market programmatic ads in its apps and closed its two advertising services businesses.


Publishers moving away from third-party cookies is a common sight these days. The Bleacher Report is doing it via sponsorships. The Washington Post is finding subscribers on social media. The NYT is using its first-party data. Decreasing their dependence on the cookie is helping them in diversifying their revenue. It is safe for your business when you have many income streams. How many do you have?

Advertiser Sentiments in 2021

2020 was a unique year for the ad tech industry. We saw a lot of KW blocklisting, shrinking ad spends, spiking traffic and subscriptions. Everything uncommon took place in the last year. So what about 2021? Has anything changed? Let’s see what Digiday discovered:

  • Harvin Gupta, director of solutions engineering at Xandr, says “Advertisers have realised if they completely stop advertising against any and all COVID-19 content they are cutting out most of the available supply so they have had to adapt accordingly.”
  • The pandemic has surely made it difficult for advertisers to maintain their brands image by avoiding COVID-19 related content. But it has also given many opportunities for their business. For example, e-commerce demand increased during the lockdown. So marketers are focusing on when to spend; not whether they should.
  • Q4 2020 showed a strong recovery in ad spends despite stricter lockdowns in the U.S. and Europe. The trend is most likely to continue. The vaccination process can propel the consumer demand further. So the advertisers have their eyes on it.
  • Travel advertisers such as Marriott and TUI are coming back into action so that their customers remember them when traveling picks up. 


The marketers were taken by surprise when the pandemic hit last year. This year, however, everyone is better prepared. But the uncertainties around vaccination, virus spread, lockdowns, economies, etc are still looming. So, we can say the advertisers may not be overzealous, but they won’t stop spending the way they did in 2020.

Want to receive the latest adtech updates every week, just sign up for our adtech weekly roundup.

Facebook’s New Attempt to Drive Opt-Ins in iOS 14

After Apple’s new iOS 14 software update, every app publisher has to seek permission from the users before tracking them across apps and the web. They have to use an opt-in prompt for the purpose. Facebook is preparing itself for the new update. It has decided that it’ll convince the users to allow tracking them while using iOS 14.

It’ll test different messages to find out what can drive the highest number of opt-ins. The test will take place on Instagram as well as on the Facebook app. The opt-in messages will educate the users about how their data help in delivering personalized ads. Facebook hopes that educating the users can help pull the users to its side.

In a recently shared example of the test screen, you can see Facebook asking users to “support businesses that rely on ads to reach customers.”

Facebook IDFA Prompt


Publishers should closely observe how Facebook is driving opt-ins with its new strategy. You can apply the learnings for your apps and websites while asking for consent to comply with privacy laws.

Google’s Legal Issues

With multiple allegations about anti-competitive practices, Google is facing legal troubles all around the globe. Its decision to scrap the third-party cookie and introduce Privacy Sandbox has also caused a lot of controversies. Digiday has mentioned the main concerns against the sandbox. Here’s a snapshot:

  • Privacy Sandbox can cause ad spend to become even more concentrated on Google’s ecosystem at the expense of its competitors. – CMA
  • Disabling the third-party cookie can compromise publishers’ abilities to make money from ads and push people, their data, and — along with them — ad dollars further into Google’s walled garden.
  • Google can be using its massive information advantage strategically to harm any publisher who refuses to use its intermediaries.
  • Privacy Sandbox is trying to replace an open and interoperable technology with one that is Google controlled. – James Rosewell, Director, Marketers for an Open Web
  • Chrome’s proposals remain very much browser-centric. Executing ad operations inside the device at the browser level will be too burdensome and possibly even discriminatory against people with limited data plans. – Criteo

Another legal trouble has erupted in Australia where small businesses are suing Google for turning a blind eye towards click-fraud. They claim that the company is doing so because it benefits from the fake-clicks. It is yet to be seen whether this matter becomes as big as the other issues or not.

Moments that Matter

Why SpotX? Magnite CEO Michael Barrett On Its Billion-Dollar Acquisition – Adexchanger

What to expect in state and federal privacy regulation in 2021 – Digiday

Email-Based Ad Targeting Works For Epsilon And Publisher PoolHost – Adexchanger

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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