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Weekly Roundup: IAB Tech Lab’s CCPA Framework, ICO Warns Adtech, and More.

Adtech Weekly
“As pressure mounts, Google is looking to show more and more ways of moving positively in the privacy direction while still maintaining the revenue model”

IAB Tech Lab Releases CCPA Specs

After GDPR, the CCPA (California Consumer Protection Act) is another big privacy-related hurdle in front of the tech industry. The deadline (1st of January) is short and all the players need to make sure that they are in compliance with the law within a short period. The IAB is putting continuous efforts to ensure a smooth transition, here is what you need to know: 

The aim of CCPA is to stop third parties from selling personal data of California users without getting explicit permissions and to provide an opt-out mechanism too.

The challenge with CCPA was verification. It is difficult to verify whether the publishers are actually acquiring consent and giving the opportunity to opt-out.

IAB’s Initiative

In the first week of October, we informed you that the IAB is planning to release the CCPA framework. In the same month, the IAB proposed a compliance framework that was open for public comments for two weeks. The draft focused on defining the relationship between the publishers and other entities involved in RTB so that everyone’s responsibilities are clear to each other. 

Now on Monday, the IAB has released the first version of technical specifications for publishers and tech companies, which is more or less the same as the draft released earlier. It proposes a contract which clearly explains when the parties involved in RTB can and cannot use the customer data. 

Inside the framework, the US Privacy string will help in knowing whether a consumer was given the proper opportunity and disclosure to opt-out. The Privacy Signal API would be used by websites and applications to transmit information to represent U.S. privacy signals. And the OpenRTB Extension would allow companies to pass CCPA-related information within OpenRTB transactions.

The suggestion to include a signal which can enable the publisher to flag if a given transaction should be subject to the terms set forth in the Limited Service Provider Agreement, was also accepted by IAB. This signal will be helpful when the publishers are following non-IAB contracts for CCPA compliance.

What’s Next?

Things are moving fast as the deadline is approaching. The specifications are open for implementation and the additional developments taking place will be released in a few weeks. We will keep you posted.

Google’s Privacy Update Raises Concerns Among Adtech Execs.

Last week, we discussed a series of updates from Google and content category removal was one of them. In case you missed it, Google announced that it will remove the content category (Examples include News, Sports, Weather, etc.) in the bid requests to prevent bidders (demand partners or buyers) from building a profile on the user. 

Not great, but Okay. 

The responses are two-sided. Some of the adtech executives believe it won’t make a dent as bid request categories weren’t widely used. Even if buyers want to target or use content categories, they will use it from a third-party provider connected to the demand-side platform. 

Most DSPs allow buyers to target or exclude certain content categories and categories sent by SSPs do play a role, but a minor one. Buyers use contextual data from platforms like Peer39 or Grapeshot rather than relying on bid requests data. 

“Third-party DSPs don’t pay much heed to supply-side context data anyway”.

– Chris Kane, founder and CEO of the programmatic consultancy Jounce Media.

It’s Not Even Okay.

The first question to threw at Google is how the bid requests can contain website URL, app id or names, city-level location, etc., but not content categories. Aren’t they more private than the category? Ad buyers are reaching out to Google for more clarification. 

However, one thing is pretty clear. This will allow Google to hold yet another advantage as it can see the category anyways. 

“As pressure mounts, Google is looking to show more and more ways of moving positively in the privacy direction while still maintaining the revenue model”

– Ian Lowe, VP marketing at digital experience platform Crownpeak.


Google said the decision has been made after the discussions with data protection authorities. One of the complaints filed against RTB included that sending “sensitive content taxonomy” to third-parties via bid requests isn’t GDPR compliant. Google can steer clear of this topic with the recent update.  

What Publishers Are Upto?

From time to time, we share how big publishers are taking new ways to increase revenue. Knowing the innovative ways can help you in coming up with your own strategies to increase your revenue. This week we will see how Reuters and the Telegraph are taking steps in new dimensions to expand the horizons of the publishing industry.

Reuter’s Content Marketplace

Last year Reuters launched Connect, a marketplace, to help publishers share and access each other’s coverage. Reuters promises “Immediate access to raw and ready-to-publish coverage with archive content dating back to 1896.” The access to the coverage helps publishers in making great content, at the same time, the ability to share their own content gives them the opportunity to earn by licensing their own coverage (in the form of videos, texts, images, etc) to other publishers. The participants in the marketplace include big media agencies like BBC, USA Today,  Africa 24, Perform, Red Bull Media House, WENN, Variety, etc.

According to Digiday, Reuters takes a 50% cut of any transaction. More than 60 news organizations are using the marketplace currently, the partner revenue is up more than 360%. By enabling publishers to leverage each others’ content, Reuters has invented a unique revenue source.

The Telegraph’s New Metrics

Similarly, the Telegraph has taken a different approach to increase its ad revenue. Moving beyond the traditional performance metrics like CTR and impressions, it is now sharing 7-10 metrics with its advertisers to help them gauge the reader’s attention more precisely. Metrics like active dwell time, hover, scroll depth and predictive heat map analysis of ad creative, etc are now included in some of the campaign reports.

Campaigns costing over $19400 are eligible for the granular reporting. The minimum cost requirement is also encouraging advertisers to increase their existing campaign budgets. Providing more than what is being offered in the industry is helping the Telegraph in increasing the value of their inventory.

What Should You Learn?

You, as a publisher, should take advantage of the services like Reuters Connect if it is helpful for you to create quality content. At the same time, you should strive to help your advertisers like the Telegraph to make your inventory more valuable.

Data Woes – ICO Shows What It Has On Adtech

ICO (The Information Commissioner’s Office), a UK data protection authority held an “ad tech fact-finding forum” last week and we are here to bring you the highlights. 

– Vendors are processing special category data (SCD – any data regarding a person’s religious, ethnic, political, health details, etc.) without explicit consent from the users. 

– Vendors are relying on contracts to limit others (platforms without explicit permission from users) from processing SCD and it’s isn’t enough. However, there’s an industry-wide agreement on what is SCD and what isn’t. 

– Over-reliance on contracts rather than ensuring security standards from other parties and inconsistent use of contractual terms and agreements.

– There’s no clarity of who are “controllers” and who are “processors” in the adtech chain yet and there are no specific details on how the parties are going to protect users’ data and its preventive security measures.

– No way for users to withdraw consent easily and no legitimate consents are obtained as per the standards. 

– Personal data are retained without any justification for a longer period of time. 


On all, ICO warned adtech (again) citing its non-compliance on several fronts. If you look at the summary of its previous warning, we can see some repetition. So, the industry is still trying its best to become compliant and it requires all of us to work together. Some of the companies have shut their EU operations and some are figuring it out with the rest of the industry. With the 6-month deadline nearing its end, the industry has to adopt TCF 2.0 and CCPA frameworks and fix the contractual errors.

Moments that Matter 

The Rundown: The paywall paradox – Digiday.

Ad fraud is cut by 88% on TAG-certified channels – WARC.

TikTok’s owner ByteDance just beat Tencent and Baidu in digital ad revenue – CNBC.

Keyword block lists still cause headaches for publishers – 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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