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Weekly Roundup: Ad Spend Forecast, Privacy Sandbox Update, Facebook Content Report.

Adtech Weekly
Although about a quarter of the most widely viewed domains were from news publishers, their content forms less than 0.3% of what people encounter.


  • Ad spends in the consumer electronics industry will reach $21.56 billion by 2023 and, in the auto industry, it will reach $19 billion by 2023 with a moderate growth rate.
  • Commerce is gaining popularity as a source of revenue for publishers, but its overall share is still insignificant. Only 13% of publishers describe it as  a large revenue contributor.
  • Digital ads and subscriptions are helping top publishers like Dow Jones, Gannett, Meredith, NYT while they struggle with their print businesses.
  • Top media company representatives are meeting Google executives every month since March to discuss Privacy Sandbox. The meetings are taking place secretively.
  • Facebook has released its Widely Viewed Content Report to discuss what users see on their news feeds. Surprise, it doesn’t rely on content from news publishers. Although about a quarter of the most widely viewed domains were from news publishers, their content forms less than 0.3% of what people encounter
  • The International News Media Association suggests publishers create their data strategies with the end goals in mind.

Ad Tech Trends for Publishers

Ad Spends

This week we have ad spend forecasts from two industries. The consumer electronics industry benefited from the pandemic because people started spending more on gaming, work-from-home setups, etc. The growth will continue, and the ad spend will reach $21.56 billion by 2023. For context, the industry witnessed a $9.80 billion expenditure in 2019, so the market size will double in just four years.

Ad Spend in Computing Products & Consumer Electronics

On the contrary, the auto industry witnessed losses due to the pandemic. The digital ad spends shrunk by almost 9% in 2020 to reach $12.42 billion from $13.64 billion in 2019. We won’t see a complete recovery till the end of this year. As the shortage of raw materials continues, the industry will keep growing at a moderate speed. eMarketer predicts the market to reach $19 billion by 2023. 

Auto Industry Digital Ad Spending

Commerce is gaining popularity among publishers

A recent Digiday study reveals that more and more publishers have started to acknowledge the importance of commerce in their revenue. The percentage of publishers generating at least some revenue from affiliate commerce nearly doubled in Q1 2021 and doubled again in Q3 2021. But, this doesn’t mean that e-commerce has increased its share in publishers’ revenue mix. Most of the publishers continue to make a very small portion of their revenue from commerce. Only 13% of publishers describe it as at least a large contributor.

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Earnings of top publishers

Digiday recently highlighted the earnings of top publishers in its Media Briefing section. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Dow Jones recorded $69 million in profit, the highest since its acquisition by NewsCorp in 2007. The success comes largely from the publisher’s digital-first approach. The share of digital ads and subscriptions continues to grow in the revenue mix.
  • Gannett’s $200.9 million print ad revenue in Q2 2021 was 41% lower than Q2 2019 figures. By contrast, $219.2 million digital ad revenue in Q2 2021 was 48% higher than the combined Q2 2019 amount.
  • Meredith has a story similar to Gannett. Its digital ad revenue has overtaken the print ad business, and it’s 24% higher than the 2019 figure. On the other hand, the overall media business hasn’t reached the 2019-levels.
  • NYT drives its growth on subscriptions, but the momentum is weaker than 2020 levels. Between 2019 and 2020, digital subscriptions grew by 50%. On the other hand, 2021 recorded a 26% growth.

It’s evident that whether a publisher is relying on ad revenue or subscriptions, being digital-first is mandatory for success in the present times.

What’s Latest on ‘Privacy Sandbox’?

Top media company representatives are meeting Google executives every month since March. The aim is to have focussed conversations about the Privacy Sandbox. Google wants to convince publishers to test its proposed solutions, and these meetings can speed up the work for the company.

The meetings are taking place secretively. Google is inviting only the publishers with an influence on the matter. It’s secretive to avoid offending smaller publishers. A smaller number of invitees can also make the meeting more productive. But Google maintains that smaller publishers are welcome too.

“We are committed to open dialogue with publishers of all sizes as they develop strategies for the transition to a more privacy-centric web”


Publishers like AccuWeather and Advance Local are appreciating Google’s efforts at collaborating with publishers.

Facebook Doesn’t Rely on News Publishers

Facebook has released its first Widely Viewed Content Report to discuss what users see on their news feeds. The report shows that the content from news publishers has an insignificant share on the platform. Although about a quarter of the most widely viewed domains were from news publishers, their content forms less than 0.3% of what people encounter. 87% of the content doesn’t have outbound links.

Facebook Widely Viewed Content Report

Most of the views go to posts from friends, groups, and pages followed by the users.

Facebook Widely Viewed Content Report 2

ABC News was the top-grossing news site with 88.1 million content viewers, but it ranked 10th in the list of top 20 domains on the platform. Other news publishers included The Daily Mail (No. 12), NBC News (No. 15), CNN (No. 16), and CBS News (No. 19).

So, what does this report imply?

Facebook has been in heated arguments with news publishers around the world. It even threatened to ban Au news publishers if they continued to ask for rev share. It wants to showcase that the platform doesn’t need publishers, but the publishers need it. This report reinforces the same message. As we always say, avoid relying on a single platform for your acquisition but continue to leverage Facebook to reach regular users and followers. 

Smart Data Strategies for Publishers

Every week we bring you strategies directly from top publishers. But this time, the International News Media Association has suggested some tips with its report called The Guide to Smart Data Strategy in Media. Here’s what you should know:

You can use your data primarily for three purposes:

  • To identify your audience to improve content and user experience.
  • To enrich profiles of identified audiences.
  • To help advertisers with their goals.

You should have a clear objective for your data collection practices. Begin with the end, build data strategies that fulfill your goals. Without goals, you’ll be sitting on a pile of data with no use. So, how should you approach your data strategy?

  • Track segmentation, engagement, and conversion metrics on your site. 
  • Implement predictive analytics to create the right content.
  • Monitor the performance of each piece of content.
  • Experiment and analyze to find out what drives performance.

Moments that Matter

Axel Springer in Talks to Buy Ownership Stake in Politico – WSJ.

Meredith Reports 80 Percent Increase in Digital Ad Revenue in Q4 FY21 – Subscription Insider.

Newsletters as a Subscription Hook Are Now a Core Offering – A Media Operator.

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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