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Weekly Roundup: PMP Strategies, Chrome update, Contextual Ads, and More.

Adtech Weekly Roundup
"The open exchange, if bought in a responsible way, is the best way to scale against the audiences we care about."

It’s not PMP Vs OPM

Private Marketplaces have experienced more than expected growth last year and in fact, our year-in-review post cited that the growth is supposed to continue this year. But, as you know, the tides are moving in favor of open marketplaces. Why?

We answered the question a while ago in the roundup:

“Ads.txt downsized domain spoofing, third-party measurement providers verify the proprietary metrics, Google refunds for invalid traffic, and ad fraud prevention companies are getting smarter every day.

On top of these, ID-based solution and first-party data integration are on the rise. PMPs are losing advertisers as the proposition (no spoofers, better results) are diminishing slowly.” 

While the effectiveness of ad fraud vendors can be debated, as an industry, we surely have improved the ROI of open marketplaces. With RTB 3.0 on the horizon, open ad exchanges can get more attractive than it is today. 

“The open exchange, if bought in a responsible way, is the best way to scale against the audiences we care about.”

– Agency exec. 

So, what will happen to PMPs? Are they becoming less relevant today?

A recent digiday’s piece glimpses the future of PMPs. In short, publishers are pitching PMPs as the higher tier available to purchase impressions from them. Wait, can’t advertise buy the impressions via open exchanges?

Indeed, they can. But publishers promise to offer first-party data, inventories with high viewability, historical win-rate data, among others. Now, let’s get back to our higher tier analogy. Similar to how premium plans offer a user with better/more features, PMPs will provide advertisers with more features (data, performance history, etc.). 

Interesting, not all publishers aren’t comparing open marketplaces and PMPs directly. For instance, BuzzFeed is, in fact, uses its open marketplace to gather data about advertisers who’re buying the impressions via OPM and pitches them to upsell its private marketplace. 

 “I always tell our sellers that we haven’t lost when a buyer has gone into the open market.”

– Michele DeVine, senior director of programmatic partnerships at BuzzFeed. 


Leaf Group, a media group analyzes the SSPs and header bidding wrappers it works with, to ensure the path to demand is optimal – demand path optimization. To be honest, we saw this coming. It’s quite clear that publishers don’t want to cannibalize their offerings to the advertisers and if you would like to ramp up your PMP deals, start with open marketplaces and then, move the right buyers towards private deals.    

Google Chrome will block intrusive and heavy ads

In recent times, browser updates have become daunting for adtech, especially publishers. From Safari’s series of ITP updates to Mozilla’s tracking prevention feature to Google Chrome’s upcoming privacy-centric changes, publishers are keeping their eyes open to assuage the impact. 

Well, there are two important announcements from Google that you need to be aware of:

a. Intrusive ad blocking rolls out to the global market

At the beginning of 2019, we discussed Google’s in-built ad blocker aka attempt to block intrusive ad formats on Chrome. 

The reason is obvious. Internet users are giving ad blockers a try – primarily because of some intrusive ad formats. Blocking them would help us curb the growth of ad blockers and convince the ad blocking users to whitelist or completely uninstall the extension. 

Initially, Google rolled out the update to North America and Europe and from tomorrow, ad filtering will be live across the global markets. Users from all parts of the world wouldn’t see any of the 12 intrusive formats (refer the image below). 

Coalition for Better Ads_Better Ads Standards


What should you do?

If you’re running any of the intrusive ad formats, take them down. And, track Google’s ad experience report to ensure the ads are compliant and rendering without any issues. 

b. Blocking heavy ads

Page latency and ad rendering have been on top of mind – for both publishers and advertisers. If page loads with no ads, then there’s no revenue for the publisher. If ads are getting rendered, but the page takes time to load, the user will leave the site altogether. 


According to the source, Google might have plans to block ‘heavy ads’. What are heavy ads? Google considers ads that are eating up a high amount of network or CPU resources as heavy.

Want to get specific? 

“This intervention unloads ads that are in the .1% of bandwidth usage, .1% of CPU usage per minute, and .1% of overall CPU time. The current numbers are 4MB network and 60 seconds CPU, but may be changed as more data is available.” 

Chromium Commit


As Google didn’t disclose any more info on ‘heavy ads’, we have to wait and see where it goes. Besides, Google threshold is subjected to changes. But we can prepare for it – by ensuring stellar ad experience for the users. After all, browsers changes to serve users. 

It’s time to dust off contextual advertising

Contextual advertising gained some steam last year, thanks to GDPR and upcoming privacy bills. But just talking about it isn’t enough. 

Let’s take a recap. Advertisers (and we – the industry) started with contextual advertising and went on to refine the targeting capabilities to get better ROAS. Apparently, behavioral ads allowed to target the right users at the right moment. That’s something contextual ads couldn’t offer.

But privacy debates and tracking prevention features from the browsers are making the agencies to reconsider contextual ads. As always is the case, they need more or less the same ROAS (at least) to diversify their clients’ budget into contextual ad platforms. 

The problem is, most of the contextual ad platforms, are still the same. Of course, on the higher-level, UI/UX, dashboard, reporting, etc. are all improved. Yet the core technology offered is still the same. 

According to Digiday’s latest report, a few agencies are building their own technologies to target better. For example, Essence, an ad agency has developed and tested a crawler (ML-based) to get the clear context of individual words, tone, and images on the page. The majority of the agencies are looking up to the publishers and contextual ad platforms to come up with better features to help them target more accurately. 


Contextual ads are being used by advertisers, but not at the scale of behavioral ads. As the industry is facing scrutiny from privacy advocates and data regulators, we expect to see some sort of development on the contextual targeting. It’s better to start brainstorming to see what you could do from your end. 

Mozilla plans to offer ad-free internet for $5/mo.

Mozilla has been actively pursuing against the adtech. It released its own tracking prevention feature and now it plans to take the ads – out of the open web for $5/mo. 

The company partnered with Scroll, a monthly subscription provider for a group of sites (sort of Apple News+ for open web) in Feb with the aim of exploring alternative funding models. There’s an update last week from Mozilla. 

As per the first look landing page, Mozilla is about to test a similar monthly subscription model to get rid of ads. Though there isn’t much info, we can see that the company is trying to roll out the Scroll to its users. 

We predict the initial Scroll partners will be on-board, but Mozilla hasn’t disclosed how it plans to add sites. If the browser is touting it to be an alternative funding model for publishers, it needs to onboard a couple of hundreds to start with. 


Micro-payments and individual or bundled subscriptions couldn’t replace advertising at this moment. We’ll keep you updated on the future development of the project. 

Moments that matter

‘Focusing on pain points’: LinkedIn adds more ad-targeting options – Digiday.

PECR – Here’s one more regulation you need to know – Digiday.

IAB Tech Lab’s data transparency standard for marketplaces/vendors is here  – IAB Tech Lab.

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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