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Weekly Roundup: Amazon’s Next Move, Mobile Ad Report, Google Updates, and More.

Adtech Weekly Roundup
“Unlike DMPs, which are oriented around cookie-based data for digital activation, AWS Data Exchange is a marketplace for any data set for analytics” 

Amazon’s Next Move – A Data Exchange

Amazon is the leading cloud provider with close to 50% market share and advertising is its next growing business wing. Specifically, Amazon’s advertising business grew 44% to reach $3.6 billion in revenue. 

While the company has made quite a few upgrades to its ad platform, it recently announced a new data exchange – AWS Data Exchange. Interestingly, it isn’t a data exchange platform made for advertisers and marketers, but a platform built to cater to non-advertising purposes. 90 data providers partnered with AWS for the launch including PlaceIQ, Epsilon, Acxiom, InMobi, and Foursquare. 

Not for Advertising:

This isn’t a typical DMP or a data marketplace to buy user-level or household-specific data and use it for ad targeting. In fact, the Amazon ad platform itself won’t utilize any data from the exchange as it isn’t meant for advertising. 

“Unlike DMPs, which are oriented around cookie-based data for digital activation, AWS Data Exchange is a marketplace for any data set for analytics” 

– David Skinner, Acxiom’s managing director of channels and alliances (AdExchanger). 

What’s it for?

Any Amazon Cloud customer can subscribe to 1000+ data products from hundreds of data providers to receive the intended data and use it for research, analysis, and basically anything other than advertising. Here’s how Amazon explains it:

“For example, property insurers can subscribe to data to analyze historical weather patterns to calibrate insurance coverage requirements in different geographies; restaurants can subscribe to population and location data to identify optimal regions for expansion…”

Amazon tries to do what it always does – listening to the demand and deliver what’s needed. AWS customers were looking for an easy way to get their hands on consumer data (aggregated) and AWS Data Exchange helps them do it. 

Takeaway:

If you’re wondering why you should be aware of AWS Data Exchange, content providers are also becoming part of the exchange. For instance, Reuters partnered with AWS to let ML and AI access its millions of news stories for training purposes. Though it isn’t a reliable revenue stream for many, we’re looking forward to what Amazon will include in its marketplace in the future. 

PubMatic’s Quarterly Mobile Index (QMI) – Q3 2019

PubMatic, one of the well-known sell-side platforms (SSPs) in the market published its quarterly report on mobile advertising space after analyzing 13 trillion advertiser bids last week. And, we are here to get you the highlights.

Fastest growing ad format:

eMarketer predicts that mobile video ad spending in the US will jump 56% to reach $24.8 billion from $15.9 billion (this year) by 2022. And, PubMatic report supports the prediction. Advertisers are spending more on smartphones and especially on video content to reach their target audiences effectively. 

Yes, mobile video is the fastest-growing ad format in Q3. It grew 31% in the three months (note that it isn’t even a holiday quarter). 

What’s more? PubMatic expects the same format will continue to grow and the majority of mobile ad spending will be on formats that engage with users for a longer period of time (comparatively). Think programmatic video ads, rich media ads, etc. 

Header Bidding:

This isn’t surprisingly if you have seen the exponential growth of header bidding on the desktop. Header bidding is accelerating the mobile ad monetization as it connects multiple demand partners to intensify the competition. In fact, header bidding on mobile devices accounted for more than half of the header bidding transactions that happened in the last quarter. It went from 41% in Q2 to >50% in Q3. 

Takeaway:

Display ads have their place in advertising. But that doesn’t mean you can’t explore new and engaging ad formats this Q4. Try running in-stream ads, experiment with rich media creatives, and implement header bidding to monetize mobile traffic. Have AMP pages? You can run header bidding on AMP pages without affecting the page load speed. 

Updates from Google and How It Impacts You? 

Previously, in our roundup, we saw Google’s plan to improve the user experience on the Chrome browser by blocking heavy ads automatically. This week, Google has taken a few more steps in the same direction. Here’s what happened. 

There might be a badge of shame coming to the websites which do not load fast. Chrome may identify the slow sites, and it will display a badge stating that the site usually loads slow. If a site loads fast then there will be a sign for that too. Google says, “We think the web can do better and want to help users understand when a site may load slowly, while rewarding sites delivering fast experiences.”

In another move to make the browsing faster, Google might make various chrome ad blocker plugins useless soon. The API which was used by the ad-blockers to block ads on webpages might be replaced by another API. The change is in the testing phase right now but if implemented, it will render the ad blockers useless. Google says that the move is being taken not only for faster browsing but also for users’ safety.

Talking about safety and privacy, in order to comply with the European Union privacy laws, Google has to further limit sharing the user data with advertisers. 

From February 2020, it will not tell advertisers about the type of content of the page, where the ad could appear. This will make difficult for advertisers to build user profiles based on the content consumed by the user. However, the ad-buying experts believe that the broad categories provided by google were already not useful for contextual targeting and therefore it won’t make much difference.

Where Are We Headed With Publishers’ Ad Platforms? 

Programmatic direct and private marketplaces have already been growing rapidly, thanks to their transparency and brand safety factors. Publishers and advertisers are leaning more and more towards private setups and away from open market RTB. 

“By 2020, more than four of every five dollars US advertisers invest in programmatic advertising will go to either programmatic direct deals or private marketplaces (PMPs)—not the open markets.”

eMarketer

As the trend is picking up speed, publishers are trying newer ways to directly offer their inventory to advertisers. One of the ways to do the same is by offering the publisher’s own ad-buying platform. Condé Nas, Time Inc, Vox Media, The Washington Post, all of them have solutions to provide direct access to their own or their network’s inventory.

The Challenges

While direct dealing looks promising, there are some problems that the publishers are facing constantly. Scaling is the biggest challenge of them all. Publishers’ ad platforms are unable to fulfill the needs of large demand-side platforms. Since the supply is not big enough, the advertisers believe that the investment of time and effort required to learn and work on these new platforms is not justifiable. 

To overcome this challenge, some publishers are resorting to small advertisers that do not have a huge demand which cannot be fulfilled. Some are guaranteeing to deliver results in key business metrics. 

Takeaway: 

Publishers’ own platforms are not able to provide sufficient supply, at the same time, the lack of competition on these platforms make the ad prices unreliable. The large amount of time the advertisers need to get small results is already not justifiable and this model of selling ads isn’t possible for the majority of the publishers on the internet. Due to the shortcomings, reliance on such an arrangement looks questionable. We’ll keep you posted. 

Moments that Matter

How BuzzFeed has built a creator’s network for branded content – Digiday.

Lucidity’s Tech Is Putting Supply-Path Optimization In The Hands Of Media Buyers – AdExchanger.

Ad tech vendor Sharethrough to shut European operations, blames GDPR – 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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