Home Daily News Roundup Google Gives Retailers Its Seal Of Approval; The Benefits Of Brands Getting Political

Google Gives Retailers Its Seal Of Approval; The Benefits Of Brands Getting Political

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AdExchanger’s office will be closed for the July 4 holiday. Our daily news roundup will be back on Monday, July 8.

Badge Of Honor

Google is testing a new “top quality store” badge for shopping-related searches on some mobile devices, Search Engine Roundtable reports.

As a standalone news item, it’s not earth-shattering. This is only a test and not the first time Google and Amazon have tried out new badges to designate small businesses, call attention to heavily discounted sales and tag “Amazon Choice” sellers. Earning these badges should help improve click-through rates. But what’s more noteworthy is that the expansion of platform seller badges shows how far platforms are leaning into advertising and paid distribution compared to, say, Shopify’s relatively laissez-faire approach.

Advertisers might grumble if their rival that pays more – and plays nicer with Amazon or Google – gets a badge. (As if Amazon or Google cares.)

But Shopify must be delicate with merchants.

Although it’s well-placed to offer similar badges and curation, which could be a cheap, easy revenue boost with a performance rationale, paid distribution mechanisms could get awkward.

By improving click-through rates for one seller, Shopify would essentially be choosing that seller over others.

Fight Or Flight

Election season is resurfacing the question of whether brands should have political opinions, Ad Age reports.

As many as 54% of US consumers say they buy or avoid a brand based on its political position – up 2% from last year, according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer survey. Yet more and more brands are keeping quiet in fear of social backlash. They don’t want to talk about Pride Month, supporting Black-owned media or repercussions of the Dobbs decision.

At this point, brands have two options.

One is to fly under the radar. Brands that want to be anodyne can market around less polarizing issues, such as women’s sports and the value of hard work. But consumers notice when brands distance themselves from social issues that matter to people.

The other option is for brands to stick with their convictions. 

Pride Month is one apt example. Take Bud Light, which backpedaled on its LGBTQ+ marketing efforts that caused major backlash from the right last year. But in backing out, the brand also drew the ire of liberal customers. If brands are at least consistent with their values, they can build a loyal consumer base over time, even if they lose a few people along the way.

Digital Dependency

Digital advertising faces serious challenges, from cookie deprecation to media quality concerns caused by made-for-advertising sites. 

But despite these challenges, publishers are doubling down on digital ad revenue, according to a Digiday survey.

About 40% of publishers say they make their money mostly from digital channels. For the past two years, that number was just over 25%.

Meanwhile, the proportion of publishers that make most of their money from nondigital channels dropped from 19% last year to 9% this year. Clearly, the momentum is behind digital advertising.

But publishers aren’t ready to go all in on digital just yet. There was also a slight uptick in pubs saying they rely on digital and nondigital channels equally, rising to 23% from 20% last year.

Interestingly, however, Google Chrome’s third-party cookie phaseout plan hasn’t pushed publishers to embrace nondigital channels. In fact, most publishers don’t think Chrome will disable third-party cookies anytime soon. An outright majority – 62% – say they don’t see Chrome killing cookies until Q2 2025 at the earliest. And 17% say Google will never kill the cookie.

But Wait, There’s More!

Turns out that rushing a product to market can backfire. Just ask Figma, which disabled its new AI platform after accusations of app plagiarism.  [404 Media]

Programmatic pushes its way into the upfront bazaar. [Digiday]

The weight-loss drug Wegovy has been bombarding TV commercial breaks with ads. [WSJ]

What counts as open source? [The Information]

You’re Hired! 

Dentsu appoints Annette Male as chief business officer and chief client officer. [Campaign]

Overwolf Ads hires Epic Games and Twitch vets to grow global brand partnerships. [release]

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