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Weekly Roundup: Google Vs Amazon, Winners of Digital Publishing, and More.

Adtech Weekly Roundup
"Third-party audiences are going to be a nightmare."

Limiting third-party cookies will slowdown Amazon

In our last week’s roundup, we discussed that Google’s new cookie control setting will hamper other ad tech vendors and rivals from tracking audiences on the open internet. This week, Digiday spoke to a couple of ad agency executives and they confirmed that Amazon is going to be in trouble until it figures a way out of 3rd party cookies.

Amazon, unlike other vendors, has been a promising contender against the duopoly (so far). It is expected to capture 8.8% of digital ad spending in the US this year and according to Pivotal research, the company will bag $38 billion in ad revenue by 2023. Amazon is slowly chipping away the duopoly, but now there’s a bigger problem in its way.

Chrome Privacy Update

As per the Digiday research, advertisers are increasingly directing the search budget to Amazon from Google. With Google’s new ITP-like feature, chrome users are armed with an ability to clear third-party cookies completely. If Amazon wants to track users of its O&O sites, there’ll be no way to do it (Unless users aren’t clearing the cookies). 

“Third-party audiences are going to be a nightmare. The volumes will decrease significantly. The ability to track their own audiences outside Amazon will go down.”

– Pedro Mona, managing director, platforms and engineering at iProspect.

Though most of the ad dollars are used to run ads on Amazon O&O sites, agencies predict that programmatic spending on Amazon would decrease as the company may have the short end of the stick.

Device IDs

Amazon can still attract a mobile advertising budget from the marketers, as it can rely on device IDs. When a user installs the app, Amazon collects a unique identifier (for the device) and location data to serve relevant ads. In fact, many argue that device ID is the logical next step to cookies.


Unified login has been working for a group or a network of tightly-packed sites. ID-based solutions rely on cookies to create a central ID for a user. With all the questions and potential implications, the entire ecosystem (not just Amazon) is awaiting more details from Google. As we said before, it all comes down to how Google advertises/presents the tool to the end-users.

Amazon plans to buy Sizmek

In other news, Amazon is close to buying Sizmek’s ad server. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Amazon is in talks to buy Sizmek’s ad-serving business.  

In case you didn’t know, Zeta Global bought Sizmek DSP and its Rocketfuel assets for $36 million, at the end of last month. Since then, Sizmek is actively looking for a potential buyer to offload its core ad serving unit.

Sizmek ad server competes directly with Google Marketing Platform (formerly DoubleClick) and it comes with an in-built UIs to create ads and perform dynamic creative optimization (DCO). Unlike Google Marketing Platform, the Sizmek ad server is built to target advertisers willing to spend programmatically on the open internet.

Amazon is looking to add a new tool to compete against Google with this acquisition. It can either offer it as a separate product or pair the server with its DSP to offer as a bundle. The company will likely go with the latter.


Amazon knows it’s hard to convince programmatic buyers with its DSP. Similar to how Google provides Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) and Display & Video 360, Amazon is looking to woo both medium and enterprise advertisers. This directs the spend further to the top three digital platforms. So, it’s time for you to go beyond the obvious.

Publishing Landscape: Who’s winning?

Being in the media business is quite hard. You’ve to constantly adapt to ensure your bottom line is following the projected path. While it’s true that you can’t accurately predict the success of media business at the start, the current landscape promises to support two kinds of digital publishers.

– Search-focused

If there’s one thing that’s certain, Google will send more traffic to publishers than any other medium. Facebook, with its 2+ billion users, can indeed send more users to publishers, but there’s no incentive for the social network to do so. So, publishers with a search-focused user acquisition strategy are likely to thrive (or get acquired) in the long run.

For instance, Dotdash acquired Brides, a Conde Nast publication, recently and guess what acted as a catalyst – Search traffic. Almost 80% of the traffic is from the search, just 7% is from social media (Source: SimilarWeb).

– Niche-specific

9to5 media network, started with Apple and Google is now running a group of five sites. All of them are performing well and the founder says the company is profitable. Noticeably, Electrek, the newest of the network, attracts 17 million page views per month as per ComScore. The two-year-old site has more or less the same traffic as the decade-old Apple blog.

Electrek is being run by just a two-person team – a freelancer and a full-time reporter. Seth Weintraub, the company’s founder, and publisher attributes the success to the specificity and less competition.


We aren’t suggesting that being a niche-specific publisher or attracting search traffic will help you get acquired or become profitable. But targeting a particular niche and generating search traffic is surely a reliable way to grow your audience and revenue.

Next up is Facebook

Here’s a new one for you – Facebook will be rolling out its ‘clear history’ tool in the coming months.

Facebook promised a tool that lets users delete data collected by the social network from the websites and apps outside of Facebook, more than a year ago. The company delayed the release and last week, it finally announced that the tool is ready to hit the shed.

In a precautionary post, the company listed out how advertisers need to prepare for the impact. In a way, it sounds like Google’s new cookie update.

“When someone disconnects their off-Facebook activity, we won’t use the data they clear for targeting. This means that targeting options powered by Facebook’s business tools, such as the Facebook pixel, can’t be used to reach someone with ads.”

Facebook Business.

For instance, if a user clears history, you can’t target that user with any other means except Facebook’s direct ad targeting options – locations, demographics, connections, etc. The custom audience feature wouldn’t help you either as the audience is built from the websites/contact lists/apps outside of Facebook.


Without a doubt, it does directly affect advertisers who rely on custom audiences to run ads on Facebook. Ultimately, it depends on how Facebook presents the tool (yup, we said it again) and the users’ reaction to it. We seem to fast-forward to a cookie-less advertising world. Hold on, we’ll keep you informed.

Moments that matter

Here’s how the walled gardens are eating open programmatic – AdExchanger.

How advertisers are responding to Google’s third-party cookie crackdown – Digiday.

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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