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Weekly Roundup: Google Faces Hurdles in Its Cookie Plans, Paying for News, and More.

Adtech Weekly Roundup
"Google’s offering of commitments also signifies that regulators who move fastest to tackle the power of tech giants will be the ones helping to define and set the standards and conditions that apply for web users everywhere."

Summary

  • 60% of the people are ready to pay for online content like movies, music, news articles, podcasts, etc. 10% of them are ready to pay for news articles. – YouGov Survey
  • Ad revenue in the US can increase by 22% to $279 billion in 2021. Digital ads would form 57% of the whole ‘ad revenue’ pie with a 33% standalone growth. – GroupM
  • Regulators in the UK can stop Google from removing third-party cookie support. They believe that removing cookies can harm the competition. Google has offered to follow a set of legally binding commitments to convince the CMA that it’s playing by the books.
  • Publishers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Rolling Stone are creating educational programs. The pandemic has given rise to the demand for such content.
  • Google’s FLoC faces more concerns. Mozilla says that the cohorts will make device fingerprinting easier.
  • Google will be paying a $268 million fine for the antitrust settlement in France. It’ll also make GAM data available to non-Google DSPs. Publishers will be able to set their pricing rules and custom floors for ads that fall into sensitive categories.  

Ad tech Trends for Publishers

UK: Paying for online news

A YouGov survey of 2,066 respondents conducted last month shows the UK audience’s preferences to pay for online news. Here are the highlights:

  • 60% of the people are ready to pay for online content like movies, music, news articles, podcasts, etc.
  • 10% of them are ready to pay for news articles.
  • The 18-24 years old age group is least likely to pay for the content. Only 5% would pay for the news whereas 11% of them are ready to pay for podcasts.
  • With 12% of the audience ready to pay, the 25-35 years old age group has most of the payers. 

Paying for news

GroupM’s mid-year forecast

GroupM’s forecast says that the ad revenue in the US can increase by 22% to $279 billion in 2021. Digital ads would form 57% of the whole ‘ad revenue’ pie with a 33% standalone growth. It is a better forecast than the 12% growth GroupM predicted in December.

Most of the improvement is caused by digital media and walled gardens. The companies in the gaming industry also performed very well and increased their ad spending. Audio-based ads will also contribute to the market with their 25% growth this year.

UK Watchdogs Could Stop Google from Killing 3p Cookies

Regulators in the UK can stop Google from removing third-party cookie support. They believe that removing cookies can harm the competition. Google has offered to follow a set of legally binding commitments to convince the CMA that it’s playing by the books. The offered commitments allow CMA to order a standstill of at least 60 days on any move by Google or launch a fuller investigation in the matter.

If Google proves that it isn’t hampering the competition in any with its Privacy Sandbox initiatives, Google is good to go. If Google fails to do so, the proposed commitments gives CMA power to make Google to not remove third-party cookies. In other words, the watchdog can block the entire Privacy sandbox operation if the transition from the cookie is proven to be harmful to the market. It opened a consultation to see if the industry agrees — with the feedback line open until July 8. Google says that if the watchdog accepts the suggested commitment, it’ll apply them globally.

“Google’s offering of commitments also signifies that regulators who move fastest to tackle the power of tech giants will be the ones helping to define and set the standards and conditions that apply for web users everywhere”

As always, critics believe that Google has hidden agendas. For example, It’s trying to flatter CMA by offering a global rollout of its decision. Once accepted, it’ll be easier for Google to carry out the global transition on the back of the UK’s support. Whereas others believe that Google always wanted to keep the third-party cookie intact and this decision will help it in doing so.

Strategies from Top Publishers

The rise of educational content

The demand for educational content has been rising since the start of the pandemic and even as things are returning to normal, the appetite isn’t going away anytime soon. Publishers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Rolling Stone are trying to seize the opportunity by creating digital education programs.

The NYT’s Learning Network has added around 20 webinars on topics such as writing, math, and social studies. It is also rolling out events where students can have one-to-one interactions with Times journalists. Additionally, year-long professional development programs will also be added to its portfolio.

The Wall Street Journal is working on course-style newsletters to help readers with personal finance, health, and fitness, etc. Penske Media is taking the outsourcing route for WWD and Rolling Stones by partnering with education platform Yellowbrick to create its programs. Digiday says that publishers work on a revenue share model when they take services from companies like Yellowbrick. The WWD and Rolling Stone courses cost $999, each offering five units.

Vox Media extends its first-party data

Vox Media has announced a new suite of tools for Concert, its publisher monetization platform. The new offering is focused on brand safety, targeting, and optimization. It’ll enable brands to create groups based on readership trends across Concert’s publisher network as well as Vox Media’s first-party data. A performance tool to optimize campaigns based on metrics like product sales, video views, or app downloads will also be available to brands. 

Google’s FLoC Faces more Concerns

The idea of FLoCs to be used as a tool to commit discrimination has been floating around for a few months. As time passed, we also saw some companies trying to use the API beyond targeting. Some privacy advocates say that FLoC’s data capabilities can cause more harm than the third-party cookie. FloC ID’s along with other new identifiers (that are constantly cropping up) can be used to make highly detailed profiles of users than ever before.

FLoC IDs are supposed to update weekly, which means they’ll gradually filter people into precise groups to function as persistent identifiers. As a result, ad tech companies have the opportunity to use FLoC IDs similar to cookies and IP addresses. It’ll be easier to collect user’s information because there won’t be any need for the user to reach a site before it could drop a tracking cookie, the FLoC ID will do the work.

Mozilla has also expressed similar concerns in its recent blog post. It says every FLoC will have a few thousand users. If tracking companies start browser fingerprinting within those cohorts, they can easily identify single users. For example combining data points such as browser version, language, OS type, and OS version can narrow down to a handful of users in a cohort. 

We’ll have to see how effective FLoC will be in safeguarding users’ privacy. No solution is perfect, even the third-party cookie had many flaws but it persisted for decades. The main concern should be that this solution doesn’t become another tool for Google to kill its competition. 

Outcomes of Google’s Antitrust Settlement 

As a part of its settlement with the French authorities, Google will be paying a $268 million fine and it’ll also make changes to its ad business. So what are those changes?

  • Google Ad Manager data will be available to all the buyers, even if they are using a non-Google DSP.
  • Publishers will be able to set their pricing rules and custom floors for ads that fall into sensitive categories.
  • Google reaffirms that it won’t make it difficult for publishers to negotiate with other SSPs, nor it’ll use the data from other SSPs to optimize its own bids.

Reuters reports that the changes can be implemented by the first quarter of next year. The product updates will apply only to France but some of them might get global rollouts. You can read Google’s official announcement here.

Moments that Matter

Apple Will Make A Change In IOS 15 That Marks The Official End Of Self-Attributing Networks – AdExchanger.

WWDC 2021: Apple Calls Open Season On IP Address Tracking And Targeting – AdExchanger.

Privacy watchers see fears coming true with Google’s FLoC – Digiday.

In latest Big Tech antitrust push, Germany’s FCO eyes Google News Showcase fine print – TechCrunch.

 


 

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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