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Weekly Roundup: Latest Adtech Trends, Facebook’s New Update, A New Antitrust Bill, And More.

"Part of our intent when we launched Facebook News was to try to bring some consistency and predictability to news publishers,"

Summary

  • MediaPost reports 10.2% YoY growth in US ad spending in September. While the market has expanded, the speed of its expansion has slowed down for the third consecutive month.
  • AdSecure, an ad quality solution provider, has released its Violations Report that says 2.4% of ad creatives do not follow IAB standards.
  • Facebook plans to introduce multiple new features to its News Tab. Curated collections around big events and breaking news can be one of the new additions to the tab. It can help the publishers bring more traffic from the platform.
  • Reach is hiring editors to optimize and grow its newsletters. The NYT is using its newsletters as a pipeline to convert a free subscriber to a paying reader.
  • A new antitrust bill is on its way to regulate Big Tech and safeguard smaller businesses. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act will prohibit dominant online platforms from engaging in discriminatory behavior.

Adtech Trends For Publishers

The Ad Economy In September

MediaPost reports 10.2% YoY growth in US ad spending in September. While the market has expanded, the speed of its expansion has slowed down for the third consecutive month. Digital ads increased from 48% of the total spending in 2020 to 57% this year. Digital media grew 29% independently whereas traditional media fell 9% during the same period.

US Ad Economy September 2021

Many Ads Violate IAB’s Formatting Standards

AdSecure, an ad quality solution provider, has released its Violations Report that analyzed over 100 million campaigns during Q1 and Q2. Apart from user security and privacy, the report also talks about the violations of IAB’s ad quality standards. It says 2.4% of ad creatives do not follow the industry standards.

IAB Ad Standard Violations

Out of the total violations:

  • More than 20% of the ads have more than the recommended size.
  • Almost 23% of the ad creatives aren’t compressed.
  • 46% of the ads have more pixel size than recommended.
  • 11% do not meet the maximum recommendation of fewer than 10 requests.

So, make sure you’re working with ad tech partners who maintain their ad quality.

Facebook News Tab Updates For Publishers

Facebook plans to introduce multiple new features to its News Tab. Axios says that curated collections around big events and breaking news can be one of the new additions to the tab. It can help the publishers bring more traffic from the platform.

The News Tab is available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Germany and it features selected trustworthy publishers. The company will introduce the tab in other English-speaking countries as well. Facebook says that the News Tab contributes to over 30% of overall Facebook news link referral traffic for publishers included in the tab. 88% of this traffic constitutes people who don’t follow the publishers on the platform. Publishers too agreed to Axios that the News Tab has been more reliable than News Feed for referral traffic. Data from Parsely also shows that Facebook feed traffic has almost remained flat for publishers.

Facebook referral traffic

Source: Axios

Apart from curated news, the company can try other content types like local alerts, video, quizzes, and cluster-based collections for the tab. Content from Facebook’s Bulletin newsletter program writers will also be a part of the news section. People from editorial backgrounds will be doing the curation work. All these efforts will help the company build more trust among publishers.

“Part of our intent when we launched Facebook News was to try to bring some consistency and predictability to news publishers,”

– Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships

Strategies From Top Publishers

Reach And NYT: Leveraging Newsletters

Reach earns most of its revenue from ads, but newsletters help the publisher to get returning visitors. But, it won’t be a good experience if the publisher keeps pushing the newsletter reader to visit the site. At the same time, it’d be hard to generate revenue if the user never leaves the inbox. So, it is trying to find a balance between the two situations. The publisher is hiring 14 editors to optimize the newsletters for the right level of engagement. It tests send times, headlines, frequency, etc. to find ways of maintaining the activity levels.

The publisher has defined its most loyal users as ones who come back eight out of sixteen days in a given period. Reach studies what works the best for these subscribers and then creates its strategies accordingly. The reading habits of the loyal visitors also help the publisher decide the theme for its upcoming newsletters.

The NYT is taking a pipeline approach to leverage its newsletters. Its top-of-the-funnel newsletter introduces the reader to the publisher and helps build the initial relationship. Once a reading habit is formed, it becomes easier to convert a subscriber into a paying customer. The current top newsletter has 17m subscribers.

The American Innovation And Choice Online Act

A new antitrust bill is on its way to regulating Big Tech and safeguarding smaller businesses. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act will prohibit dominant online platforms from engaging in discriminatory behavior. Companies will be punishable under the law if they’re acting as gatekeepers against rivals or giving preference to their own product over others. In the tech industry, we’ve seen Google benefit itself because of its dominance in the market. Amazon has also been accused of similar tactics in its e-commerce marketplace. This bill aims to prevent such situations.

“As Big Tech has grown and evolved over the years, our laws have not changed to keep up and ensure these companies are competing fairly. These companies have continued to become a larger part of our everyday lives and the global economy, controlling what we see and how we engage on the internet.”

Senator Chuck Grassley

Small businesses should have a level playing field. If you’re a geography-related publisher, you shouldn’t lose your traffic to Google Maps just because Google is bigger than you. Currently, the bill is in its inception so we can’t be sure how it’ll turn out. We can only hope that the publisher will benefit from it.

Moments That Matter

Continuous scrolling comes to Search on mobile – Google

Study Finds Internet Economy Grew Seven Times Faster Than Total U.S. Economy, Created Over 7 Million Jobs in the Last Four Years – IAB

Dow Jones expands Twitter ad revenue-sharing deal to include more properties and for additional years – Digiday

As the FTC takes aim at tech giants, the regulator just lost key tech and data privacy leaders –  Digiday

How SurvivorNet Built A First-Party Data Strategy For Topics That Require The Utmost Sensitivity – AdExchanger

Vox Media has built a visual way to experience podcasts. It’s accessible to deaf audiences — and gorgeous. – Nieman Journalism Lab

H1 2021 Media Quality Report – Integral Ad Science

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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