Programmatic Ad Spend Rebounds; Pubs Brace For Pain As IDFA Wanes


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Programmatic Please

Programmatic ad spend is up from the trough of the pandemic. Through the end of July, total programmatic spend grew 11% since April, and the number of advertisers running programmatic ads increased 36% since January, according to MediaRadar. That’s a rebound from April, when programmatic ad spend was down 9% and when the number of brands buying programmatically had decreased 8% from the beginning of the year. Technology, education and media brands are fueling the investment, while travel brands remain muted, MediaRadar CEO Todd Krizelman told Adweek. And big brands are spending more in programmatic, with WFA members putting 41% of their digital media budgets toward programmatic channels, up from 16% in 2016. 

Short End Of The Stick

Publishers expect a big revenue hit as Apple restricts IDFA usage on its devices. Many are worried users won’t opt in to being tracked, crippling their ability to serve more lucrative targeted ads, The Wall Street Journal reports. Without IDFA, CPMs could drop by up to 40% on iPhones, said Weather Co.’s global head of consumer business, Sheri Bachstein. Publishers resent that Apple is forcing them to use a standard opt-out message that seems “aggressively aimed at getting people to opt out,” said Martin Clarke, publisher of DMG Media. The pressure is even more acute as publishers continue to suffer from the ad market collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and grapple with the loss of third-party cookies in Chrome. IDFA loss will be worse for small, independent publishers that rely on programmatic. 

Speak To Me

Streaming providers are pitching innovative ad units, and big brands are buying in. Unilever and Target, two of the exclusive launch partners for NBCUniversal’s Peacock, are testing ads that allow customers to redeem offers through voice-activated prompts, Variety reports. The companies are running a co-branded spot that gives viewers a $5 Target gift card if they say “Save with Suave” into a voice-activated remote control. But these ads come with challenges around less sexy but ultimately important stuff such as measurement and attribution. “This can lead to a very fragmented experience for advertisers and content providers that want cross-device distribution,” said Rob Aksman, chief strategy officer at BrightLine.

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