There’s a talent crunch bearing down on the digital advertising ecosystem.
Agencies, brands and publishers are struggling to manage an ongoing labor shortage that’s been exacerbated by the pandemic, a demand for more flexible working environments and elevated expectations for diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
“Everyone’s heard of ‘The Great Resignation,’ and we’re really seeing the movement,” said David Cohen, CEO of the IAB, which released survey data last week together with PricewaterhouseCoopers examining the main trends set to impact the US digital ad ecosystem in 2022.
The outlook is based on conversations with roughly 20 CMOs, CIOs, CROs and other industry executives across the buy side and the sell side.
The executives highlighted three main challenges on their horizon. In addition to steep competition to woo and keep talent – in concert with fostering corporate DEI policies – the ad industry is also contending with the widening consumer trust gap and looming federal scrutiny.
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“On TV & Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today's column is by Marilois Snowman, CEO and founder of Mediastruction.
Nearly two decades ago, a group of top brand CMOs met secretly in the Procter & Gamble conference room. The topic: How do we change the arbitraged system of the TV upfront market? No one knew what the other was paying, and it seemed like a lot of unfair advantage to the sell side.
The ratings currency was designed to measure how many eyeballs were clapped onto a primetime program that hadn’t finished filming, with the odds more likely than not that it would never air. Furthermore, the whole system from avail to air was so convoluted, involving something like 200 keystrokes. It all seemed like a lot of waste – and a lot of margin.
What they didn’t know was that Enron, along with a handful of other startups, had tried to build an exchange for TV purchases and failed. Unfortunately, after an attempt to work with eBay, the initiative never made it off the ground. But I sense the way TV is bought and sold, especially in spot markets, is about to change.
Here are some signs.
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Spend Money To Make Money
The proliferation of companies launching ancillary advertising businesses is a boon to total ad spend. Buy-now-pay-later players Affirm, Klarna, Afterpay and PayPal spent a combined $52.45 million on TV, print and digital media from January to September this year, Business Insider reports. That’s up 130% from last year. BNPL companies are hitting the same inflection point as ride-share apps like Lyft and Uber (another company investing heavily in its programmatic “side hustle,” so to speak). The category is crowded with venture capital-backed competitors willing to earn market share at a loss for a chance to reach sustainable profitability. And they’re embracing ad budgets as an easy, high-margin revenue stream, hoping to pull off an Amazon-esque feat. Following close on the heels of the BNPL category is the plague of super-quick delivery services cropping up around big cities and universities. These VC-backed startups (Gorillas, Joker, Buyk and Fridge No More among them) operate at massive losses and are huge customer acquisition spenders, The Information reports. They’ve raised billions, and 20% to 30% of that will go to marketing. They’re playing catch-up with the likes of Instacart and GoPuff, which, uhh, you guessed it, are heavily invested in new ad platform businesses.
So We Beat On, Bots Against the Current
Nike and other popular designer sneakers (aka kicks) have always been standouts in ecommerce and digital marketing. Part of that is the dynamic you which aficionados line up, scout and stake out possible launches. A musician or athlete launches a new line of shoes, and there’s a built-in customer base and a powerful community to amplify the effect. But now those fans have been replaced by bots. When new sneakers drop, software generates accounts and snaps up as many as it can. Such software-based shopping tactics aren’t illegal nor are they exclusive to sneakers, The New York Times reports. It’s a serious business, too. Cybersole, one popular sneaker bot service, cleared $300 million in transactions since it was released in 2018 – 5,000 individual customers license the tech. Some shopping bots rent servers in the same buildings as the retailers they target in order to save milliseconds on latency. “It’s depressing to think about,” said Jay Gordon, co-owner of the sneaker chain Bodega. “At some point, you have to ask, ‘How much time are we supposed to spend to stop people from buying our products?’”
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Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework for iOS 14.5+ made it way harder to measure and optimize app campaigns.
That’s just the new reality for app marketers and publishers.
But creative assets are a largely untapped performance data source developers can use to measure campaign success in the absence of an IDFA.
“If you get down to the asset level you can attribute based on which assets were used in a campaign or drove the behavior you were looking to drive,” said Alon Tvina, CRO of Bidalgo, an Israel-based mobile marketing platform that focuses on creative performance.
On Friday, Bidalgo launched an attribution solution that allows app marketers to label and track the different aspects, themes, colors and concepts within their marketing creative down to the specific designer who made the content. (A marketer might work with hundreds or even thousands of designers, both in-house and on a freelance basis.)
The labels can either be manually customized or added automatically based on the naming conventions used in the files.
All of that data is aggregated and modeled into a single analytics dashboard, bringing together data to understand which assets are performing the best, what needs to be tweaked and which creative elements should be scrapped.
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"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by James Munnerlyn, president and co-founder of Blip Billboards.
Apple released the much-anticipated iOS 15 in September, and with it came a number of user privacy features.
Although advertising and marketing professionals and even the platforms – including Facebook and Instagram – are concerned about how this will impact their long-standing digital ad strategy and their offerings, there is an upside to these changes.
In fact, this privacy update could be a boon to the advertising industry overall, and here’s how.
A rise in smarter CMOs
We thought the pandemic would be an onslaught to the CMO position, but we’re seeing the opposite. The CMO role is experiencing a resurgence, and our post-pandemic economy is redefining the job beyond their typical mainstays of advertising and marketing.
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Attribution on Facebook ain’t what it used to be.
The Facebook that enabled hundreds of creative versions, targeting variations and near-instantaneous optimization – all fed by data – is changing.
Apple took a big bite out of Facebook’s attribution capabilities when its AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) required apps to collect a user opt-in to track their account for advertising.
On this week’s Big Story, we unpack how Facebook is responding to these changes.
The number of creative elements it can optimize in a campaign is going down. So is the granularity with which marketers can target audiences. Plus, it’s recommending that marketers optimize at a much slower pace, like waiting a full 72 hours for data to come in before adjusting a campaign.
Facebook is pushing geo-testing as an attribution model, since it doesn’t require user-level tracking. And it’s limiting the number of conversion events a marketer can have to eight, a move that’s surely causing a “Hunger Games” for large marketing teams with many campaigns running.
Also in this episode: We discuss the two key takeaways from LUMA’s digital market report and Advertiser Perceptions’ latest DSP report, including a slowdown on the M&A front and a rise in marketers using self-service over managed service DSPs.
"The Sell Sider" is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.
Today's column is written by Greg Garunov, EVP of business and strategic development at Sightly.
Once upon a time, brands and agencies railed against walled gardens, and for good reason.
They didn’t want Big Tech saying, “Trust us, your ads were viewable, delivered to your right audience with zero fraud and had super-great performance.”
Their suspicions proved correct and their outrage was justified. In 2016, social media and content marketing company Crowd Siren accused Facebook of inflating video metrics and lying about it. Crowd Siren sued, and after an exhaustive review of around 80,000 pages of internal documents, Facebook admitted it had overestimated the amount of time users spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%. Crowd Siren put the figure at 900%.
Ad buyers demanded independent third-party verification from the likes of DoubleVerify, Nielsen and Integral Ad Science. The result was the emergence of a robust measurement industry. This past summer, IAS reported a 55% year-over-year increase in revenue, bringing in $75.1 million. DoubleVerify earned $244 million in 2020, up 34% from 2019.
But recent acquisitions, such as IAS’s purchase of CTV ad server and analytics company Publica for $220 million, are starting to blur the line. When did it become OK for ad tech vendors to grade their own homework?
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A weekly comic strip from AdExchanger.com that highlights the digital advertising ecosystem...
Do Me A Favor
Amazon told Congress in 2019 that it doesn’t favor Amazon-owned brands in search results. But that isn’t credible to sellers, who time and again see Amazon rivals shoot into the top three search results immediately. A former Amazon employee told The Markup that Amazon reserved a top search spot for new private-label brands, although the practice has now stopped. Another factor is Amazon’s special designation: “featured from our brands.” The products included there are not considered part of search results, spokesperson Nell Rona told The Markup. Amazon calls them “merchandising placements.” The language Amazon uses is telling. Amazon wants its online retail to be treated like a retail store. Practically every major grocer owns white-label brands that gain huge advantages from being on the best shelf, in an exclusive end-aisle display or by the register. At pharmacy chains like CVS or Walgreens, you might find common branded products such as cough syrup, conditioner or deodorant locked behind a plastic shield so you need to call an attendant – while a store-owned clone sits free and clear nearby. Will Amazon’s argument hold water? Well … “Amazon’s placement of its own products on its own site is advertising, whether or not money changes hands,” said Mary Engle, who retired last year as associate director of the FTC’s division of advertising practices.
Mobile on Tap
The mobile ad tech consolidation spree is still going strong, with the latest news that ironSource will acquire Tapjoy for approximately $400 million. Tapjoy is profitable, and the deal is financed entirely by cash on the balance sheet. Tapjoy is the third acquisition this year for ironSource, which bought in-app monetization company Soomla in January and creative workflow software service Luna Labs the month after. But everyone's been pretty acquisitive: Verve Group bought the customer acquisition company Match2One; InMobi purchased Appsumer; AppLovin snapped up MoPub for a cool billion; Zeta Global acquired publisher survey and data service Apptness – and that’s just in October so far. The year’s been jammed with deals, and so was 2020. Omer Kaplan, ironSource co-founder and CRO, said in a release that the market for mobile app monetization services will be won by companies with successful inorganic growth plans. The Tapjoy acquisition “follows that strategy,” Kaplan said, “ultimately allowing us to serve our customers in the most beneficial way possible, by growing our SDK footprint, improving our monetization capabilities and positioning our platform as a deep and integral part of the in-app and in-game economy.”
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