Google Likely To Get Its $1 Billion-Plus EU Fine From This Week; Podcast Ad Spend Is Increasing Rapidly

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From Me To EU

The EU is expected to hit Google with a $1 billion-plus fine this week – but the money isn’t even the part that matters. A statement from a Google spokeswoman focuses on the shopper search favoritism raised by EU regulators in this case: “We believe strongly that our innovations in online shopping have been good for shoppers, retailers and competition.” Luther Lowe, VP of public policy at Yelp, tweeted that “sources suggest opinion will be generalized to offer relief to other verticals.” European technology companies brought the case forward, but it was bankrolled by Yelp, Oracle, Expedia and TripAdvisor after failing to make their claims stick with the FTC.  

Hear Me Roar

Marketers are heeding the call of the podcast. Podcast ad spend is set to top $220 million this year, an 85% year-over-year increase, according to a report by the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Two years ago, podcast ad spend was $69 million. Traditionally a heavy direct response medium, podcasting is gaining steam with brand awareness campaigns. Dynamic ad insertion (podcasting’s closest cousin to programmatic) also increased its proportion of category ad spend by 51% year over year and now accounts for 41% of the overall pie. Marketers, however, continue to prefer custom host-read ads, as they create a more intimate and authentic connection with the consumer.

Measuring In Context

There may be a reason Facebook was reluctant to let third-party verification vendors behind its garden walls. Agencies are reporting viewability rates as low as 20% on the platform, according to Digiday. Agency execs suspect the number could be lower, but Facebook isn’t giving measurement firms fast enough access to its numbers to find out. Despite the fact that Facebook’s self-reported numbers often differ wildly from those of MRC accredited vendors, some agency execs are unconcerned. In their view, viewability as a metric doesn’t necessarily play to the value of a Facebook buy. “The best way to use [Facebook] is to reach large audiences with something,” an anonymous agency exec said. “If you just buy on the basis of maximizing impressions, you may well get 15% to 20% to 30% sort-of viewability. Looks awful on paper. Still works well in reality.” More.


Sticks And Stones

Google and Facebook have absorbed the abuse of CPG companies on digital measurement standards, but everyone else is absorbing the losses. On top of severe rounds of agency and tech vendor downsizing, Procter & Gamble and Unilever appear to be “materially reducing their budgets as well as the number of sites they buy on,” according to data from analytics firm MediaRadar. In the past year, spending on non-walled garden sites fell 41% at P&G and 59% at Unilever. It’s unclear whether there was a corresponding drop in duopoly dollars, but the fact is that reweighting campaigns to avoid bots or fraud will push more of budgets to big platforms with logged-in users. More at Business Insider.

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