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Weekly Roundup: Travel Audiences Are Back, Concerns Around Cookies Alternatives, and More.

Adtech weekly
Travel audiences are back, can third-party cookie alternatives clear the privacy concerns, Google will not test FLoCs in EU, and more on this week's roundup.


  • Pinterest data shows that the Travel Audience is coming back and it’s bigger than the pre-pandemic time. Travel-related searches have increased by 60% on the platform.
  • PressGazzete reveals that the world’s top 50 news sites received 24% less traffic during Jan and Feb. The majority of the visits to these sites are either direct or via search. Unsurprisingly, Facebook is the top referrer, followed by Twitter and Reddit.
  • Third-party cookie alternatives like UID and Privacy Sandbox may be great solutions but they fail at respecting user’s privacy. Most identifiers fail at explaining how they use people’s emails. 
  • Privacy Sandbox fails to comply with European laws.Associating FLoC ID, adding users to cohorts, failing to take consent properly, unclear notices, can all attract policy violations.
  • Advertisers complain that they know very little about the Privacy Sandbox. Digiday explains that they’ll be able to use their first-party data on the open web even after the cookie is gone.
  • The Weather Company promotes its subscription plans with native and contextual ads. It refrains from targeting the audience that will never upgrade to the premium plans.
  • PBS NewsHour will use YouTube and Instagram to make up for the slump in news consumption. It has assembled a 26-person team to create regular content for the two platforms.

Latest AdTech Trends for Publishers

The Travel Audience is Back

The travel industry was hit the hardest by the pandemic. The demand for the ad inventory plummeted throughout the lockdowns. But, the landscape is changing with vaccinations and falling numbers of new cases. People are eager to travel again and the interest is even higher than the pre-pandemic levels. 

Pinterest has released its findings related to the travel audience, here are the highlights:

  • Travel searches on Pinterest increased 60% year over year.
  • GlobalWebIndex says 7 out of 10 people are planning a vacation this year.
  • The size of the travel audience has increased 40% from 2019.
  • The searches related to rural travel have increased by 80%, countryside travel-related searches are up by 85%, and lake houses by 75%.
  • There’s been a 150% increased interest in national parks and 65% in surfing.
  • The interest in digital nomadism has increased by 50%.

Most Popular News Sites

PressGazzete has released data about the most popular news sites in the world during January and February. Here’s what publishers should know:

  • The world’s top 50 news sites received 24% less traffic during Jan and Feb.
  • The traffic is back to pre-pandemic levels.

News consumption worldwide

  • Legacy news sites remain at the top of the list, BBC leads with 1.2 billion website visits in February.
  • Month-on-month traffic is down on all the sites except Yahoo Finance.
  • The majority of the visits to these sites are either direct or via search.

Direct Traffic

  • Facebook is the top referrer, followed by Twitter and Reddit.


The data from Pinterest gives you a clear picture of what kind of content you should produce. Additionally, Pinterest can be a great source of referral traffic if you can master the platform. PressGazzete’s data shows that it’s normal if you’re experiencing a dip in the traffic to your news site. Also, the top sites get most of their users from direct visits, you should aim for loyalty from your visitors too.

Concerns Around Third-Party Alternatives

The ad tech industry is working tirelessly to build an alternative to third-party cookie. There are many developments underway, including the Unified ID and the Privacy Sandbox. This week, many concerns came up regarding the transparency and privacy compliance of these solutions. 

A Digiday article questions the Unified ID for using people’s email addresses. It says that all the companies that use Unified ID and other identity solutions that work on hashed emails, fail to notify people about them. The Trade Desk itself has no requirements or guidance on what explanatory messaging for UID should look like. LiveRamp and ID5 are two of the few identity solutions that require specific messages in their privacy policies and links to opt-out if you are using their tech.

Acquiring consent has been left to the publishers. The privacy policies and the terms and conditions on the publishers’ sites contain generic messages. They lack a proper explanation about how a user’s email will be used for targeting ads. A consensus around developing consent practices is the need of the hour.

“Although these companies are modernizing their means of tracking people online, they have yet to update their methods of notifying them when these systems capture individuals’ email addresses to transform them into identifiers that can be passed throughout the ad tech ecosystem.”

In another instance, Google has acknowledged that FLoCs might not be compatible with European privacy law. So, it’ll not test FLoC-based cohorts in countries where GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive are in effect. Google is confused about which entity will serve as the data controller and which will serve as the data processor.

Associating FLoC ID, adding users to cohorts, failing to take consent properly, unclear notices, can all attract policy violations. These solutions have a long way to go with privacy compliance laws right now.

Advertisers complain that they have very little information about the workings of the sandbox. Another Digiday article tries to clear the air for the advertisers. It clarifies that they can still use their first-party data with Chrome after the demise of the cookie. They’ll be able to do individual-level targeting and campaign measurement inside Google-owned inventory. Privacy Sandbox can use the first-party data for the inventory on the open web.

Latest Strategies from Publishers

The Weather Company

The Weather Company is owned by IBM. Given how data-savvy the parent company is, there’s no doubt that The Weather Company uses data to create, grow, and promote its products. Last year, it created an ad-free premium product with in-depth maps, hourly forecasts, advanced radar, and storm watches.

It started with researching what kind of features would make its target audience ready to pay. Then it tested to find out the features that drove most of the subscriptions. In this way, the company has three kinds of subscribers:

  • Subscribers who do not want ads.
  • People who need detailed weather forecasts for their job or their outside interests and hobbies.
  • People who want the most detailed information during an extreme weather event – like a storm.

The company is promoting its subscription plans with contextual ads. It also uses AI to find out who might want to subscribe vs. those that won’t ever upgrade. It won’t target the users that have no interest in upgrading. Native ads also bring great conversions to the publisher. 

PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour is witnessing the same slump in news consumption that we discussed in the first section. It is using YouTube and Instagram to retain the audience it has gained during the pandemic. It has assembled a 26-person digital team for the job.

One of its strategies is to create a YouTube series that will highlight the most interesting new stories of the week that did not receive enough coverage. YouTube Shorts will be another feature to test. On Instagram, it’ll host regular Q&As with its senior national correspondent to create a personal connection with its audience. The publisher doesn’t rely on ads. It receives donations from private foundations and individual viewers, corporations, and foundations, such as the non-profit Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Leverage data to understand your audience and promote the right product to the right user. Use video in your strategies to retain the audience. Don’t hesitate to diversify your revenue with donations.

Moments that Matter

No Google Daily Mail deal as money ‘not adequate’ – Press Gazette.

Neustar Launches Unified Identity™ Transforming the Future of Customer Data Management –  Business Wire.

What is NewsPass ID? – Digiday.

Publishers are in a data race as Google shakes the ad market, but who will prosper? – The Drum.

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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