Ad Tech Vendors Keep Their Cookieless Options Open; Telegram Might Start Selling Ads

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In It Together?

Ad tech companies, publishers and advertisers are hedging their bets in the quest for a new set of audience identifiers. Many plan to support multiple identifiers and targeting methods, including Google’s cohort-based approach. As PubMatic CEO Rajeev Goel tells Digiday’s Seb Joseph: “It’s important for companies in our space to have a multi-pronged approach so we’re supporting other identifiers and FLoC as well as the wider Privacy Sandbox initiative and contextual solutions.” The weakest link in the chain of locked arms is publishers, some of who could be taking a calculated risk in asking users for permission to share data in a federated ID system. “If a publisher has predicated their data collection on giving people a better experience, but then goes and creates what is effectively a new cookie pool with [ad tech vendors], then it’s not just regulators’ concerns to be worried about,” says BlueConic CEO Cory Munchbach, chief operating officer at BlueConic. “There’s also the risk of undoing all the customer trust they’ve built.” Read on.

Will Sell Ads To Pay Debts

The messaging app Telegram has long been considered a viable Facebook competitor. Over the past year, it added tens of millions of users. But there’s one page in Facebook’s playbook that Telegram probably should have paid a little more attention to, and that’s advertising. The Wall Street Journal reports that Telegram needs to pay its creditors around $700 million by the end of April to cover rising equipment and bandwidth expenses as a result of the surge in user growth. Part of Telegram’s plan to pay those hefty bills is to start showing ads in public Telegram channels later this year. But there’s a big challenge in trying to monetize messaging apps: despite their popularity, ads don’t really make sense as part of the user experience. Even Facebook’s WhatsApp doesn’t drive a lot of revenue. Signal, meanwhile, is a nonprofit that relies on donations, and Discord sells premium subscriptions, but hasn’t yet made a profit. If Telegram  does pull the trigger on its plan to sell ads, it’ll be an interesting test of whether messaging apps can be a viable forum for ads  – and how well these apps can weather potential brand safety issues. A Telegram spokesperson told the WSJ that the ad strategy will likely focus on Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Vaccine Request

Facebook and Instagram want to be more than just a place to scroll through vaccine selfies. On Monday, Facebook started debuting a series of new tools to help people find out how and where to get their shots. Users will be able to find this information by searching for it directly, but it will also be surfaced while they’re browsing through posts related to COVID-19. In markets where WhatsApp dominates, chatbots will distribute accurate vaccination information. But there’s an elephant in the room: misinformation. And it’s turning into an unfortunate game of whack-a-mole. Facebook has so far removed millions of posts containing false claims having to do with the virus. On the flip side, Facebook has also been adding more disclaimer-style links on the bottom of posts that aim to elevate accurate information about the vaccine and COVID-19. And for a bit of fun, one more note on the selfies: Instagram will create vaccination-themed stickers to accompany post-vaccine Stories. One sticker, for instance, says “LET’S GET VACCINATED” along with a heart symbol. CNN has more.

But Wait, There’s More!

Throtle has joined the Unified ID 2.0 initiative [release]. UID 2.0 is out in beta this week. [AdExchanger]

NBCUniversal has unveiled its inaugural speaker lineup and event themes for its ONE21 developer conference on March 22. [release]

Taboola has launched Taboola High Impact, a new brand awareness solution for agencies and brand advertisers, [release] while GumGum has a new OTT video ad unit on offer. [release]

Tubi is recruiting advertisers as it prepares to launch original programming. [MediaPost]

Tech startup Spherex is helping streaming TV services comply with local laws and avoid cultural missteps as they expand internationally. [Business Insider]

The still niche livestreaming space is growing as a tool for retailers. [The New York Times]

Wondering which ad networks were the biggest winners and losers in 2020? Here’s the rundown. [Digiday]

You’re Hired!

Leslie Sims has signed on with Deloitte as chief creative officer. [Ad Age

Former Netflix exec Maya Watson has been named global head of marketing at Clubhouse. [Adweek]

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