March 4, 2019 | by Alexian Chiavegato

AdTech Weekly Roundup

A look at how last week’s news affects mobile publishers…

Facebook Will Roll Out Its ‘Clear History’ Tool This Year
Facebook will debut its ‘Clear History’ tool, a GDPR-style privacy feature that will inhibit its ability to help advertisers target as accurately as they currently can. The Clear History feature, which Facebook first promised (partly) as a response to the heat the social network began to feel on the back of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, will let users wipe information the social network has collected on users via third-party apps and websites.

Facebook announced plans to launch Clear History ahead of its f8 developer conference in May 2018 where it promised users the new feature will remove identifying information so a history of the websites and apps its users have used won’t be associated with their account.

The social network will continue to provide third-party apps and websites with aggregated analytics, such as information on whether their apps are more popular with men or women in a certain age group. “We can do this without storing the information in a way that’s associated with your account, and as always, we don’t tell advertisers who you are,” read an earlier blog post detailing its features.

How Ad-Tech Is Invading Physical Retail Spaces

Just as brands have long been able to target consumers online with cookies, retailers are now experimenting with their own form of tracking technology—mostly smart shelves and cameras—that allow them to determine consumer characteristics and deliver more personalized messaging as they shop.

These in-store placements enable retailers to sell real estate to brands that want to speak to shoppers as they walk down aisles. But, while the data is anonymized, it also means shopping is becoming more Big Brother than ever before. And, like online advertising, brands and retailers must offer relevance, but not so much as to make consumers feel they are living out George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Amazon Advertising Trusted Less Than Some Platforms, Survey Finds
Amazon advertising is trusted less than some of the other platforms like Google and Facebook based on the surveyed 1,500 marketers running active advertising campaigns — but most say they plan to spend more on the platform.

Of the marketers participating in the survey, 62.80% said they plan to increase the amount they spend on Amazon advertising, according to Singular, which ran a survey between November 2018 and January 2019, to examine how these marketers scale mobile campaigns.

About 32% of marketers participating in the survey said they will keep their Amazon budgets the same, with 3.47% acknowledging they will shrink the amount spent. John Koetsier, vice president of insights at Singular, believes Amazon advertising is the least trusted because it’s the newest to the space. It probably won’t take long to earn the trust, he said. “ROI proves everything,” he said. When it comes to the most trusted ad company, Google tops the list with 84.47%, followed by Facebook at 71.93%, Apple Search ads at 41.07%, and Amazon Advertising at 54.80%, according to Singular, which ran a survey between November 2018 and January 2019, of how these marketers scale mobile campaigns.

Walmart Joins Amazon in Chase for Ad Dollars
Walmart Inc., the world’s largest retailer, wants to become a big seller of advertisements too. As Amazon.com Inc. expands its share of the online advertising market, Walmart is trying to entice suppliers and other marketers with its own ad space and access to shopper data.

Walmart has long offered companies like Unilever PLC, Kellogg Co. and Hollywood studios space to place ads inside its 4,600 U.S. stores. It also has a digital ad business that lets suppliers target online ads based on its shopper data, but looked to an outside firm to sell space on its websites and across the web. Now it’s in the process of bringing its digital ad business in-house, say Walmart executives, winding down its relationship with Triad, a unit of WPP PLC , which sells ad space on retail websites and other digital properties. Walmart also plans to bring its store and digital ad teams closer together, using Walmart’s vast trove of shopper data to sell marketing opportunities in more parts of its sprawling business, including Vudu, its video streaming service.

Digital advertising is a tough business that is dominated by Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. But deep-pocketed companies with large amounts of data on their customers are in the best position to mount a challenge to that “duopoly,” ad industry experts say. Amazon has already made significant inroads, and AT&T Inc. has designs on building a big digital ad business after acquiring media giant Time Warner Inc.

Google to Shutter Average Position Metric
Google will retire the average position reporting metrics used in Google Ads this September.

“If you currently use average position, we recommend that you start using these new metrics when measuring and optimizing for prominence,” wrote Pallavi Naresh, product manager at Google Ads, in a post. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to marketers. Preparing for the shift, Google in November 2018 introduced four new metrics analyzing ad positions on a search results query page.
The new metrics “Impression (Absolute Top) %,” and “Impression (Top) %” describe the percentage of a marketer’s ads that appear at the top of the page and the very top of the page, respectively.

These new metrics provide a clear view of the prominence of the ad on the page compared with the average position metric, per Google. It’s suggested that advertisers use these metrics as a target to set bids when wanting to increase the percentage of ads that either show at the top or absolute top of the search results page.