Facebook Bolsters Brand Safety Tools; Apple's Privacy Day Leaves Ad Tech In The Lurch

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Brand Safe?

With brands and agencies calling on social media platforms to ensure ads aren’t adjacent to harmful content, Facebook announced that it’s building a tool for advertisers to keep their ad placements away from certain topics in its News Feed. Per CNBC, the company said it will begin testing “topic exclusion” controls with a small group of advertisers. For example, a children’s toy company would be able to avoid content related to “crime and tragedy,” if it wished. Other topics will include “news & politics” and “social issues.” Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have all been working with marketers and agencies via the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) to develop consumer and brand safety standards, including outlining definitions of harmful content, standards for reporting, independent oversight and agreeing to make tools that better manage ad adjacency. The brand safety tools for Facebook’s News Feed are also being used with its other ad solutions, such as in-stream video or on its Audience Network, which allows mobile software developers to provide in-app advertisements targeted to users based on Facebook’s data.

Running For Cover

Ad tech companies are seeking cover ahead of Apple’s privacy drop following its drama-filled International Privacy Day. According to Ad Age, tech companies and advertisers are expected to be the hardest hit by the new iPhone data-collecting rules, namely the IDFA changes that will transform the collection of consumer data. As AdExchanger reported on Thursday, the iPhone maker plans to roll out more aggressive privacy measures in its iOS 14 update in the spring. Apple’s IDFA will introduce a mandatory pop-up prompt asking for user permission before an app can track users across different apps and websites. The move has sparked the ire of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook is reportedly prepping an antitrust lawsuit against Apple – who said the changes will limit Facebook’s ability to collect data from apps and prove that ads work. Others say the lack of clarity on the rollout’s timing have led to confusion among app developers. Other companies have accepted Apple’s decision as the new normal, and their developers are testing language for the prompt to see what wording will convince users of the benefits of accepting tracking. 

Looking Up

Things are looking up in 2021, according to Denstu which released its first Dentsu Ad Spend Report since the global pandemic began. Per CampaignUS, global ad spend is forecast to rebound and grow by 5.8% globally this year, and digital will account for half of all spend for the first time. The report combines data from 59 markets and anticipates that $579 billion (£424bn) will be spent globally, with all regions enjoying positive growth to offset a fall of 8.8% in 2020. Industry sectors hit hardest by COVID-19 will also see the biggest bounce-backs, like travel, media and entertainment, and auto. And the expected return of major sporting events, such as the Tokyo Olympics, will fuel growth. “We know from our own CMO survey that understanding consumer behavior in a post-pandemic world is the biggest challenge marketers face,” said Peter Huijboom, global CEO of media at Dentsu International. “To build hyper-empathy... will require a real focus and investment in data, ecommerce, and new technologies like connected TV, as well as building deeper partnerships across all areas of the industry.”

But Wait, There’s More!

Facebook's oversight board on Thursday directed the company to restore several posts that the social network had removed for breaking its rules on hate speech, harmful misinformation and other matters. [NPR]

And speaking of removing content … Facebook took down a popular Wall Street discussion group called Robinhood Stock Traders amidst the GameStop frenzy. [Reuters]

Meanwhile, Parler, the social networking platform popular among conservatives, registered 7,029 new users per minute during the November election, Stanford researchers said. [Business Insider]

She Media is building a new digital advertising program using Google Ad Manager that will serve “underrepresented publishers” through what is being called “Meaningful Marketplaces.”[Ad Age]

Publishers’ revenue streams changed mostly at the margins because of the pandemic. [Digiday]

You’re Hired!

Kantar has appointed Paul Sturgeon to lead its brand and marketing return on investment offer. [Advanced Television]

Instacart has appointed Rama Katkar as vice president of finance. [Grocery Dive]

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