FLoC Called Out; There’s Good News And Bad News On Ad Fraud

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FLoC Fears

There’s no love lost for FLoC. In a blog post on Sunday entitled “Proposal: Treat FLoC As A Security Concern,” a WordPress developer called Carike suggested that users of the open source content management software block FLoC by default. If that happens, it would be a big deal. WordPress powers roughly 41% of sites on the web. Because of its vast scale, the blogger contends that the WordPress community “can help combat racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and discrimination against those with mental illness with four lines of code.” There’s been a growing backlash against Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts API based on the fear that it could facilitate employment, housing and other types of discrimination, “as well as predatory targeting of unsophisticated consumers.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation made a similar argument in early March, claiming that FLoCs are both “the most ambitious – and potentially the most harmful” of the proposals in the Chrome Privacy Sandbox. Read on. In related news, privacy-focused web browser DuckDuckGo recently created a Chrome extension to prevent FLoC tracking.

Mixed Bag

Verification company Integral Ad Science has some good news and bad news on digital ad fraud: rates of ad fraud have declined, but brand risks are on the rise. Read the release. In its H2 2020 Media Quality Report released Monday, IAS found that as marketers adopt more sophisticated tools to measure and prevent fraud, global ad fraud rates improved overall and levels dropped across all devices and environments. Global fraud rates among optimized campaigns dropped between 0.3% and 0.8% worldwide. Brand risk, however, increased during a period of “unprecedented” news and events, including the United States presidential election. Adult content was the primary driver of increased brand risk across all formats globally, followed by hate speech, which more than tripled its share of brand risk for desktop video – in tandem with the election. While mobile web video remained the safest inventory when optimized against ad fraud, holding steady at 0.3%, it was the highest for global brand risk at 8.6%. Check out the report.

Power Trio

Talk about an ad tech trio made in heaven. The Trade Desk, Innovid and Magnite have joined forces to form a one-stop shop to programmatically buy, create and serve interactive CTV ads to specific households, Adweek reports. Ad server Innovid launched the consortium, Programmatic Interactive Connected TV, in part to boost the delivery of ads in CTV with ecommerce capabilities, including QR codes and app downloads. Read the release. The ad units include features like creative overlays, viewer prompts for phone exploration and in-ad experiences like two-minute movie trailers. A viewer can engage with these ads and return to their content after a certain time period. Brands and agencies can now activate interactive ads programmatically through The Trade Desk and other DSP partners to improve CTV ad performance and deliver engaging creative at scale, while the partnership with SSPs such as Magnite allows publishers to increase revenue by tapping into the rapidly growing demand for programmatic CTV.

But Wait, There’s More!

In acquisition news, Kantar has struck a definitive agreement to buy its US rival Numerator [Reuters]; Omnicom will take a majority stake in digital marketing company Areteans [WSJ]; and European digital marketing consulting firm Making Science has entered the US market with the purchase of 360 Conversion Analytics. [MediaPost]

Facebook calls for data portability laws as it expands the types of info users can transfer to other services, including a copy of their written posts and notes to Blogger, Google Docs and WordPress. [CNBC]

Netflix cancellations fell to their lowest level in two years during Q1, according to SimilarWeb. [Business Insider]

TV upfront advertisers are being forced to reconsider their long-held programming preferences as they face a tight TV and streaming ad market while simultaneously attempting to chase audiences from traditional TV to streaming. [Digiday] Related: Nets Ask Advertisers To Move As Much As 30% Of Upfront Into CTV [MediaPost]

Publicis Groupe recently returned to worldwide organic growth for the first time since the pandemic began – and that puts pressure on rival holding companies preparing to report their own earnings this week and next. [Ad Age]

Buzzy social audio app Clubhouse has raised a Series C funding round, reportedly valuing the company at $4 billion. [TechCrunch]

You’re Hired!

Anastasia Ali has been promoted to VP of marketing at Disney Studios Content and Jan Coleman has been upped to VP of global marketing partnerships, promotions and multicultural. [Deadline]

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