Attribution on Facebook ain’t what it used to be.
The Facebook that enabled hundreds of creative versions, targeting variations and near-instantaneous optimization – all fed by data – is changing.
Apple took a big bite out of Facebook’s attribution capabilities when its AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) required apps to collect a user opt-in to track their account for advertising.
On this week’s Big Story, we unpack how Facebook is responding to these changes.
The number of creative elements it can optimize in a campaign is going down. So is the granularity with which marketers can target audiences. Plus, it’s recommending that marketers optimize at a much slower pace, like waiting a full 72 hours for data to come in before adjusting a campaign.
Facebook is pushing geo-testing as an attribution model, since it doesn’t require user-level tracking. And it’s limiting the number of conversion events a marketer can have to eight, a move that’s surely causing a “Hunger Games” for large marketing teams with many campaigns running.
Also in this episode: We discuss the two key takeaways from LUMA’s digital market report and Advertiser Perceptions’ latest DSP report, including a slowdown on the M&A front and a rise in marketers using self-service over managed service DSPs.
"The Sell Sider" is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.
Today's column is written by Greg Garunov, EVP of business and strategic development at Sightly.
Once upon a time, brands and agencies railed against walled gardens, and for good reason.
They didn’t want Big Tech saying, “Trust us, your ads were viewable, delivered to your right audience with zero fraud and had super-great performance.”
Their suspicions proved correct and their outrage was justified. In 2016, social media and content marketing company Crowd Siren accused Facebook of inflating video metrics and lying about it. Crowd Siren sued, and after an exhaustive review of around 80,000 pages of internal documents, Facebook admitted it had overestimated the amount of time users spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%. Crowd Siren put the figure at 900%.
Ad buyers demanded independent third-party verification from the likes of DoubleVerify, Nielsen and Integral Ad Science. The result was the emergence of a robust measurement industry. This past summer, IAS reported a 55% year-over-year increase in revenue, bringing in $75.1 million. DoubleVerify earned $244 million in 2020, up 34% from 2019.
But recent acquisitions, such as IAS’s purchase of CTV ad server and analytics company Publica for $220 million, are starting to blur the line. When did it become OK for ad tech vendors to grade their own homework?
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A weekly comic strip from AdExchanger.com that highlights the digital advertising ecosystem...
Do Me A Favor
Amazon told Congress in 2019 that it doesn’t favor Amazon-owned brands in search results. But that isn’t credible to sellers, who time and again see Amazon rivals shoot into the top three search results immediately. A former Amazon employee told The Markup that Amazon reserved a top search spot for new private-label brands, although the practice has now stopped. Another factor is Amazon’s special designation: “featured from our brands.” The products included there are not considered part of search results, spokesperson Nell Rona told The Markup. Amazon calls them “merchandising placements.” The language Amazon uses is telling. Amazon wants its online retail to be treated like a retail store. Practically every major grocer owns white-label brands that gain huge advantages from being on the best shelf, in an exclusive end-aisle display or by the register. At pharmacy chains like CVS or Walgreens, you might find common branded products such as cough syrup, conditioner or deodorant locked behind a plastic shield so you need to call an attendant – while a store-owned clone sits free and clear nearby. Will Amazon’s argument hold water? Well … “Amazon’s placement of its own products on its own site is advertising, whether or not money changes hands,” said Mary Engle, who retired last year as associate director of the FTC’s division of advertising practices.
Mobile on Tap
The mobile ad tech consolidation spree is still going strong, with the latest news that ironSource will acquire Tapjoy for approximately $400 million. Tapjoy is profitable, and the deal is financed entirely by cash on the balance sheet. Tapjoy is the third acquisition this year for ironSource, which bought in-app monetization company Soomla in January and creative workflow software service Luna Labs the month after. But everyone's been pretty acquisitive: Verve Group bought the customer acquisition company Match2One; InMobi purchased Appsumer; AppLovin snapped up MoPub for a cool billion; Zeta Global acquired publisher survey and data service Apptness – and that’s just in October so far. The year’s been jammed with deals, and so was 2020. Omer Kaplan, ironSource co-founder and CRO, said in a release that the market for mobile app monetization services will be won by companies with successful inorganic growth plans. The Tapjoy acquisition “follows that strategy,” Kaplan said, “ultimately allowing us to serve our customers in the most beneficial way possible, by growing our SDK footprint, improving our monetization capabilities and positioning our platform as a deep and integral part of the in-app and in-game economy.”
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Developers have been reporting allegedly strange behavior from AppLovin’s MAX Unity SDK.
At least one developer discovered that MAX, AppLovin’s in-app monetization solution, appears to have been capturing iOS 15 postbacks for installs generated by other ad networks automatically and without permission.
The tip was shared anonymously with the mobile ad industry forum Mobile Dev Memo.
Postback data is like a receipt with general information about an install and the campaign that led to it. It’s valuable because it demonstrates which apps are sources of good traffic and which ad networks are most effective at driving certain outcomes.
To the MAX
It’s important to note that there is no PII in a SKAdNetwork postback.
At issue was the fact that AppLovin could see the attribution postbacks for all of an advertiser’s installs, not just its own, even if the developer had explicitly specified a different endpoint for where to send postbacks.
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Oh, (beta testing in) Canada.
On Thursday, The Trade Desk said that live beta testing of Unified ID 2.0 is now underway in Canada.
Some existing UID2 partners are helping to shepherd the test, including Index Exchange, Magnite, Publicis, Omnicom Media Group and IPG’s Kinesso. (Kinesso is one of two “closed operators” for UID2 that will be able to use first-party data to create and encrypt UID2 identifiers. The other closed operator is IPG-owned Acxiom.)
New partners supporting the Canadian beta testing phase include Comscore Canada, online Canada-based classified ad website Kijiji (which is part of the eBay Classified Group) and Rogers, one of Canada’s largest cable and wireless companies.
Rogers also claims to be the largest provider of “premium content” through CTV services in Canada, according to Al Dark, SVP of revenue at the Rogers subsidiary focused on mass media and sports properties.
Unified ID 2.0 is a collective industry effort, spearheaded by The Trade Desk, to create an email-based alternative to third-party cookies.
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Data clean rooms are secure – that’s the whole point.
But they’re not always flexible or scalable, said Jason Manninghan, CEO of advanced TV data platform Blockgraph, which is jointly owned by Comcast, Charter and ViacomCBS.
TV advertisers in particular need a wide range of capabilities in order to tie media spend with viewing and campaign outcomes.
“Most clean rooms are platform specific – like what the walled gardens have created – but TV is a very fragmented ecosystem,” Manningham said. “Rather than one single walled garden, there are multiple MSOs [multisystem operators], OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] and, increasingly, programmers with their apps.”
To help both advertisers and ad sellers measure, attribute and optimize campaigns, Blockgraph is planning to release a clean room product of its own called DoubleBlock, thus named because it creates a double-encrypted identifier that can be used by both parties in the clean room to match their data and tie it back to household information without compromising it.
Blockgraph just finished testing DoubleBlock with two customers, one of which is Effectv, Comcast Cable’s ad sales division.
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"On TV & Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today's column is by Tom Donoghue, VP of CTV and OTT at GroundTruth.
As we all get set to enjoy the traditions of fall, such as watching the leaves turn colors, visiting a pumpkin patch with the kids and enjoying one too many pumpkin spice lattes, marketers should also be thinking about how weather conditions could impact the performance of their advertising.
In fact, the winter storm that ripped across much of the United States in early February, which forced Walmart to close as many as 500 stores across the South and Midwest, is a stark reminder for all marketers that they need to have a winter-proof advertising strategy in place this holiday season.
Having the flexibility to pause or even activate in certain weather conditions will be vital to success as brands also face shifting consumer behaviors amid the ongoing pandemic and the COVID-19 delta variant.
Here are three things marketers can do to “winterize” their advertising strategy as the weather begins to change.
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Seemingly every grocery chain now has a programmatic platform, not to mention Lowe’s, Home Depot, Instacart, GoPuff and buy-now-pay-later companies like Afterpay and Klarna, to be joined soon by Uber, perhaps Shopify and who knows who else. Many of these companies – the BNPLs and all the mobile app-based businesses – got into advertising because they haven’t reached sustainable profitability. Instacart was profitable for one month last year: April. Millions of people suddenly needed online groceries. But as its core business grew, expenses climbed. If you recall, many people’s first taste of grocery delivery was terrible, because in that month Instacart was overburdened and its retail partners were unequipped. And now labor costs are up. Online customer acquisition costs are up. The levers to increase profitability are maxed out. But it’s relatively inexpensive to stand up an ad platform or programmatic data offering if you have valuable first-party data. It’s a delicate balance. An ad business can, and often does, distort decisions to favor white-label brands or advertisers over customers, writes New York Times columnist Shira Ovide. People might love a weepy TV commercial. “What I don’t love are young companies that are becoming addicted to ads – to our detriment and maybe theirs.”
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