March in Programmatic: Five Things You Should Know
Welcome to March’s “Five things you should know”. Every month we round up five of the biggest developments in programmatic with a “Too Long; Didn’t Read” summary, the key actions you need to take, and links to more detailed articles for further reading. Our intention is that this is a useful resource for everyone trying to keep on top of the developments in our fast moving industry. And don’t worry, this month’s isn’t totally coronavirus dominated!
Coronavirus left businesses reeling:
TL;DR: The main story this month; with much of the world under “lockdown”, the global economy has been left reeling. For those fortunate enough to work from home, this has meant finding new ways to collaborate and an increased reliance on video conferencing. In the UK we’ve learnt what the word “furlough” means. And for the marketing industry, budgets have been dramatically reduced or pulled altogether as brands cut costs and go into survival mode – after all, what’s the point in advertising products you can’t move when your warehouse is shut?
What next?: At this stage, who knows?! From a UK perspective, lockdown will continue until at least 13th April, with a lot of commentary suggesting this will extend. For marketers with the luxury of continuing sales, now might be a good time to review your marketing practices; with fewer campaign launch “distractions” it is an ideal time to get the hygiene (no pun intended!) factors in place. For those in cost cutting mode, where possible, try to think ahead to when the coronavirus starts to recede – what do you need to keep in place so you can hit the ground running?
Useful links: Zoom’s share price has more than doubled since January, CocaCola suspended all marketing activity in the UK, and the IAB reports 25% of US advertisers have paused all activity. But there are some bright spots with the Disney+ European launch beating analyst expectations, and some verticals (news, hobbies & interests, technology) seeing higher spend according to the latest Pubmatic
The French Data Protection authority (CNIL) opened a formal investigation into Criteo (13th March/ January):
TL;DR: A complaint by Privacy International has resulted in the French Data Protection authority (CNIL) opening an investigation into Criteo. Although Criteo flagged the investigation in their 10-K filing with the SEC, the ongoing investigation was picked up more broadly in the press this month.
What next?: The RTB & adtech ecosystem is under fire from a number of data protection authorities and this investigation adds to this scrutiny. The outcome of this investigation will be closely watched by organisations like Criteo that don’t directly gather consent but do use that data.
Useful links: The statement from Privacy International can be found here, analysis of the repercussions including a comment from our CEO can be found here, and the original reporting from Tech Crunch including a statement from Criteo can be found here
Safari quietly updated to block all third party cookies (`24th March):
TL;DR: For any safari user on version 13.1, “Cookies for cross-site resources are now blocked by default across the board.” Whilst Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) had severely restricted third party cookies, this is the final nail in the coffin and removes a number of potential workarounds.
What next?: In theory this will have minimal impact on responsible advertisers – it’s focused on removing loopholes. We recommend keeping an eye on safari conversions over the coming weeks to confirm your measurement strategy is not adversely impacted.
Tik Tok has gone programmatic (albeit only in APAC so far) (19th March)
TL;DR: Tik Tok has partnered with The Trade Desk to enable advertisers to directly access its inventory across key Asia Pacific markets.
What next?: While a similar offering is not yet in place in UK/US this gives some insight to Tik Tok’s monetisation strategy. For brands looking to access younger audiences this may be an easier way to do so in future.
The AdTech industry came together to help support news and stop the spread of disinformation surrounding the Coronavirus (26 March)
TL;DR: With Coronavirus dominating the news cycle, a number of publishers have struggled to monetise their content; most brand safety providers are giving their clients practical steps to help build exception lists. And more recently, in an initiative headed by Joshua Lowcock, Chief Digital and Brand Safety Officer at UM, key providers are deploying or donating space for PSA ads pointing consumers to CDC and WHO information related to coronavirus.
What next?: If you would like to get involved in the initiative to combat misinformation full details can be found on the website here. In the meantime, if you are working with a brand safety provider, understand how (if) you can build exception lists to continue funding news in a way that maintains your brand reputation.
Useful links: The problem with overzealous block lists is discussed here, Double Verify’s practical guidance here, research from IAS here, and reporting on the PSA/combating misinformation initiative here.