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Weekly Roundup: Ad Tech Trends, Funding for FTC, FLoC Analysis, And More

The most important thing about this refocus is not just deciding what we are going to do, but what we aren’t going to do.

Summary

  • The growth rate of US digital ad spending has slowed down from its pre-pandemic speed. But industries like retail, consumer products, and financial services will maintain their strong growth. Every major sector will increase its ad spend by at least 10% in 2021.
  • The UK digital ad market is expected to grow 16.8% this year. The travel industry will rebound with a 33% boost.
  • The month-wise data of the US ad economy shows slower growth in August. The 17.5% YoY increment is the slowest in the past half-year.
  • Ad spends on video games is up by 17% in 2021. The market has expanded from $360 million to $421.2 million
  • Under its new strategy, Maven will host and acquire sites from the sports or finance vertical only. So far, the company has dealt with a diverse set of sites.
  • News UK is offering its own data platform to function in the post-cookie world. This approach has brought many benefits to the publisher.
  • Criteo has continued its analysis of FLoC cohorts in a four-part series. The third article of the series is out. It tries to understand the utility, challenges, and shortcomings of the FLoC approach.
  • The FTC can receive more funding for staff and resources to work at a larger scale. The senators have already written the letter to the agency, urging it to undertake a rulemaking process to protect consumer data.

Latest Ad Tech Trends For Publishers

US digital ad spend growth by industry

The growth rate of US digital ad spending has slowed down from its pre-pandemic speed. eMarketer says that the travel and the auto industry have severely decreased their budgets. Other sectors that benefited from the pandemic are ready to spend more. This year, we’ll see every sector increase its ad spend by at least 10%.

US Digital Ad Spend by Industry

The retail, consumer products, and financial services will rule the roost with $47.59 B, $30.56 B, and, $24.49 B expenditures respectively. The entertainment industry will be the fastest to grow at the rate of 37.2%. Auto, telecom, and health & pharma will account for smaller shares than before.

UK digital ad spend growth by industry

The UK digital ad market is expected to grow 16.8% this year. Similar to the US, the travel industry took a hit in the UK too. But, it’ll rebound with a 33% growth this year. The retail industry will double its speed from 10.9% to 22.6%. Only the consumer packaged goods industry will see a deceleration from 25.4% to a 20.9% growth rate.

UK Digital Ad Spend by Industry

US ad spend expansion slows down in August

The month-wise data of the US ad economy shows slower growth in August. The 17.5% YoY increment is the slowest in the past half-year. But, the digital ad market remains strong with a 35.6% YoY expansion. While the top 10 ad categories grew only 12.5%, the smaller categories are providing the most support to the market with 27.7% more ad spend.

US Ad Market monthly change

Video game ads are up by 17%

The video game market has seen significant demand during the pandemic. New games, along with the launch of the latest consoles, have also created a lot of buzz among gamers that are ready to spend. Advertisers are seeing more opportunities in the current environment. As a result, ad spend on video games is up by 17% in 2021. In absolute terms, the market has expanded from $360 million to $421.2 million.

Strategies From Top Publishers

Maven: Shifting Priorities

Maven used to work with numerous long-tail publishers. It hosts sites, provides CMS, monetization solutions, and other publishing tools. Currently, it owns and hosts the domains of over 200 sites. But the media company has started narrowing its focus.

Maven will now host and acquire sites that work in sports or finance verticals. Sports Illustrated is one of its top sites, and it has grown 300% YoY since January 2020. Sports Illustrated alone brought 25.6 million unique visitors in August 2021. The company has close to 100 other sports sites under its hood. Similarly, the finance vertical has 17 sites.

“The most important thing about this refocus is not just deciding what we are going to do, but what we aren’t going to do.”

Andrew Kraft, COO

Takeaway

Do you have any content verticals that do not perform as per your expectations? How much effort do you put into the content production for those verticals? Is it worth investing your resources in them? Answers to these questions can help you strategize the same way as Maven.

News UK: Preparing for the post cookie world

News UK is building a robust way of providing first-party data to its advertisers. It has developed a data platform called Nucleus. The platform helps the publisher in collecting first-party data from its audience. Later, the advertisers can use the same platform to use the collected data and find the right audience. Many campaigns on News UK’s properties are already using Nucleus. The publisher is using the same data to improve content recommendations on its sites.

So, what has News UK reaped out of its efforts?

  • It has improved the understanding of its visitors.
  • It has gained a competitive advantage over other publishers with the help of unique first-party data.
  • It’s improved the content recommendations on the sites.
  • It’s eliminated the need for a DMP.

Criteo’s FLoC Analysis Continues

Criteo has continued its analysis of FLoC cohorts in a four-part series. The third article of the series is out. It tries to understand the utility, challenges, and shortcomings of the FLoC approach. Here are the highlights:

  • A small number of distinct cohorts can be seen for most sites across the web, whereas popular site weather.com was visited by ~4,000 cohorts per week; washingtonpost.com approximately ~1,600 per week.
  • The median for other sites was only 2 cohorts per week.
  • Popular sites like weather.com will see more cohorts because most people on the internet visit them. The same doesn’t apply to niche sites.
  • The median FLoC cohort has visited 7 distinct domains per week. But, while considering two weeks, the number of distinct domains changed to 43. It means that the domains representing a FLoC cohort tend to change over time.
  • A fluctuating number of unique domains suggests that looking at the domains visited by a cohort on a given week is not enough to characterize the general browsing pattern of its users.

The lack of clarity in understanding the audience questions the utility of FLoC cohorts. It’s doubtful whether the solution can help to create a third-party cookie alternative.

FTC May Gear Up For More Privacy Rules

Legislators are considering the empowerment of FTC to fight against unfair data practices. It means the FTC can receive more funding for staff and resources to work at a larger scale. The senators have already written the letter to the agency, urging it to undertake a rulemaking process to protect consumer data. Other objectives behind the move include strong safety for the data of members of marginalized communities, prohibitions on practices such as exploitative targeting, opt-in consent rules, and global opt-out standards.

Takeaway

What can be the implications for the industry? Creating a rulemaking process wouldn’t be a small task. So, even if new laws come out after FTC’s funding, it’ll take months for implementation. FTC will focus more on the big tech companies, so the impact on publishers will depend on how companies like Google and Amazon are affected. New regulations regarding the handling of user data may also come out. Other issues like opt-in, opt-out, consent processes, etc., are already under debate when it comes to privacy policies like CCPA and GDPR. So, it won’t be new for you.

Moments That Matter

How Apple’s New ‘Hide My Email’ Feature May Plague Publishers And Ad Tech – AdExchanger

Firefox Experiment is testing Bing as the default search engine – gHacks

Washington Post launches digital ad network – Axios

Google offers to settle EU antitrust probe into digital advertising – Reuters

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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