Viewability and brand safety tags slow the sites
Page latency has never been out of topic. Especially, when header bidding went mainstream, page latency and weight have become the concerns for publishers. From search engines to readers, no one likes a page which loads slow. So, we decided to switch some of the partners to server-side, creating a hybrid header bidding environment.
All the while brand safety and viewability tags managed to stay out of focus, at least with respect to their contribution to page weight. Well, last week Digiday and RedBud, a consultant agency studied* the top 20 UK publishers to see how brand safety and viewability tags are influencing the page load time.
*The company calculated the weight (in kb) by summing up the weight of ads, editorial content, tracking pixels, and cookie-syncing redirects.
According to the study, the tags represent on average 10 percent of the total weight of a website. On some websites, the number went up to 21 percent. Two publishers said that the tags increased the page load time by up to 6 seconds.
What adds up the weight?
Though there are other factors in play – network speed, servers’ performance, other tags on the header, publisher cite the following as the common reasons.
– The Weight of the tag. Sometimes, the vendor’s tag itself weighs too much. For instance, With 48 kilobytes and 9 to 11 calls per ad request, Integral Ad Science is the heaviest of all verification codes.
– More vendors. Lack of trust and transparency have pushed the advertisers to use their own preferred vendors to measure viewability. As publishers, typically run with their own, now the new vendor from the advertisers double the calls, duplicating the efforts.
Besides weighing the page down, using different viewability tags results in discrepancies (up to 15%). We believe it’s time publishers team up with advertisers to decide and use a set of common vendors to reduce the page weight and calls being made.
Crossing the horizon
We’ve studied the growth strategies of top media companies and almost all of them try to expand their offerings to attract readers outside of their primary market. But, it has become a convention now.
Lifestyle publishers are increasingly trying to spin off newsletters, new verticals, video content, etc. to capitalize on the B2B market where CPMs are usually a bit higher. Recently, many lifestyle publishers including Vogue (launched business bi-weekly newsletter), Food & Wine (launched F&W Pro, a sub-brand with a newsletter, podcast, licensed award programs, and events), Architectural Digest (will launch AD Pro, a paywall platform that has exclusive content, instructional videos, a job board, and networking opportunities) have begun to take it more seriously.
What we don’t see?
Publishers love to produce content that helps them get traffic, new audience, and revenue. But there’s a downside. Not all of them can pull a successful spin-off. In fact, many tend to fail or merge it with their core product, sooner than you think. So, in case, you’re willing to explore a fresh territory, here’s what you need:
– Investment and long-term mindset. Expansion (regardless of its kind) requires dedicated employees and budget to gain traction. Though that’s not always the case, you can’t rely on your current credibility probably because your spin-off is going to focus on a different market.
– Analysis. We never advise a publisher to start something just because everyone else is doing it. Your audiences don’t prefer audio, then don’t start a podcast. You need to do consider both market potential and readers’ preferences.
– Expertise. You can’t be good at everything. If you’re making a huge leap by choosing to pursue a radically different niche, you’re likely to struggle.
– Next steps. Sooner or later, you need to asses and plan for both the best and worst case scenarios. So, plan before you start and see whether you can afford the worst outcomes.
Advertising landscape is convoluted, not just because of the way we trade media, but also because of the platforms existing in the ecosystem.
This January, Unilever initiated a plan to let brands measure the success of their campaigns across the media landscape. The model will try to unify the measurement metrics of the entire media landscape – from TV to digital to walled gardens (who are grading their own homework) – resulting in a consistent and common way to grade the performance of the campaigns.
And, now George W. Ivie, CEO and executive director at the Media Rating Council said that cross-platform measurement is close to becoming a reality.
Media Rating Council will issue a draft version of cross-media audience measurement standard for video, next week. As you’ve guessed, the standard is a framework for measuring and reporting audiences across the platforms.
He said the standard is looking to create a set of definitions of cross-media measurement, from which we can advance and it also recommends minimum disclosures for measurement data users.
“The document also stands as a good educational primer with plenty of detail (believe me) about methods.”
The standard aims to establish recommended operating practices, set minimum requirements, best practices. Brands using cross-media audience measurement can use defined methods and practices. Last but not least, MRC invites all of us to take part in defining the standard and common metrics.
Big spenders are in the queue. But navigating the current media landscape, evaluating the metrics, and defining a better uniform way to measure isn’t going to be quick and easy. Especially, walled gardens need to open the doors.
Google is a behemoth and it, indeed, can propel the adtech with its decisions. Remember, how ads.txt adoption went up when the company announced that advertisers can exclude non-ads.txt inventories while bidding.
We all know the reason. Google has a prodigious market share in all the sides – Consumer (Chrome – 63% browser market share, Search engine, G account), Seller (Google AdSense and Google Ad Manager), Demand (Google Bid Manager, Ad network). Any seismic decisions from the company can stir up the industry.
AdWeek gathered insider info and warns the adtech to prepare for the changes that could be imposed by Google on its browser and marketing platforms.
Google Internal Working Groups
As the privacy concerns and data regulators are continually scrutinizing Google, the company organized internal working groups to research and see how advertising will evolve within Google’s ecosystem. The teams are from several departments spanning across the company and so the probable goal is to figure out what can be changed/improved to prevent further scrutiny and criticism.
Google previously removed DoubleClick IDs, restricted third-parties on their supply citing the local legislation and user experience. So, there’s no reason for us to be surprised.
IAB’s Jordan Mitchell said we’re preparing, in case, Chrome follows Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox.
“We have this working group set up to prepare for something we believe to have strong potential to actually occur”
– Jordan Mitchell, svp, membership and operations, IAB Tech Lab.
Google created better products (freemium too) to accrue the supply and used it to get the demand. Then, there’s a ton of data Google has on consumers. Though we can’t break free from Google completely, we can apportion the supply to other exchanges, not just Google. From our recent study of ads.txt files, there’s a lot of work need to be done. Of course, you also need to prepare for the post-cookie era.
Moments that Matter
Video ad fraud scheme made 2M ad calls per day – Mobile Marketer.
This Giant Ad Fraud Scheme Drained Users’ Batteries And Data By Running Hidden Video Ads In Android Apps – BuzzFeed News.