Cut the cookie; predictions for monetization in 2020; and brand safety no longer a pipedream.
It’s the time for end-of-the-year predictions, and ExchangeWire gathered predictions from thought leaders on the future for 2020. A couple of examples, on the topic of publisher monetization, consultant Sonal Patel believes the “holy trinity” established in 2019 (trust, transparency and brand safety) will have to continue to be dealt with in 2020. She also feels publishers must work across shared ID solutions and be able to “drive, deliver and offer user engagement.” Alexander Simpson, head of programmatic activation, News UK, says recent pressures, including the removal of third-party cookies, has created uncertainty and he thinks 2020 will become “a true turning point in how publishers use data.”
Neilsen (the TV ratings firm) measures audiences for some services like YouTube, Roku and Hulu. But they use different metrics. For YouTube, they only count those watching on computers or mobile apps but not internet-connected TVs. However, it does count internet-connected TVs for Roku and Hulu. And Neilsen also doesn’t measure smaller services, like Pluto or Tubi. Companies like Amazon, Viacom, NBCUniversal are jumping into the ad supported video market because they figure a lot of users don’t want to pay for streaming services (most ad supported offerings are free). A transparent standard of measurement will be crucial to get advertisers to buy in.
It is the opinion of Tim Conley, client services director, Europe at Iponweb, that the digital advertising industry’s “enforced reduction of cookie consumption” will not be easy but it will be necessary to eventually help deliver performance for advertises, yield for publishers and privacy for consumers. He says third-party cookies have always been a stop gap and unworkable for the task of user tracking and targeting. He points out that the main browsers have either stopped cookie use or significantly restricted it and that its demise is inevitable. Conley says the antidote is for cookies is to set smarter KPIs and focus on which message or environment led to a click. In tandem, he also advocates measuring what matters which provides an opportunity for the re-evaluation of media investment.
YouTube controversies in 2017 set off a firestorm of concerns about brand safety but there have been several developments that are addressing the issue. The introduction of ads.txt by IAB Tech Labs to connect brands with publishers’ authorized sellers have helped remove instances of fraud and have increased transparency. Preventative tools through smarter whitelisting and blacklisting strategies have also helped. Programmatic technology has helped the industry become agile in responding to problems caused by unintended consequences. And there has been the continual development of new combinations of artificial intelligence tools that have redefined how programmatic purchase decisions have been made. The next step? Better contextual understanding of content and the training of people to make decisions on content and whether it’s brand safe or not. Putting people in charge of such decisions, better self-evaluation and allowing AI to handle operational tactics, will lead to programmatic interactions that benefit both publishers and advertisers.
Bloomberg Media is back in the acquisition business, making its first purchase of an entity since it acquired BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill in 2009. This time it intends to purchase CityLab from The Atlantic. CityLab is a standalone website covering the innovation of cities for the future. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. With the acquisition, CityLab now gets to be a part of Bloomberg Media’s footprint which includes digital, TV, radio and print. Bloomberg Media said it purchased CityLab because it serves a niche it is extremely interested in. And CityLab expects it will be allowed to freely continue its mission of covering cities. CityLab.com will continue to operate as a standalone under Bloomberg Media. Recent Comscore figures showed the site attracted 1.7 million visitors in October.