News Update: Week of May 18, 2020

Jane O'Hara

The theme of this edition: data and profit protection.

As our industry navigates new privacy laws and a future without third-party cookies, we explore how publishers may want to protect their users and ad revenue in the coming months, plus a few more topics we’ve been discussing in recent days.

What we’re reading

  • Google Limits Data, Nudges Toward Its Sandbox
    Google announced last Thursday that it will launch a new data-limiting intervention on Chrome this summer to protect users’ data and devices. Resource-heavy ads may result in an error page if they reach Chrome’s (yet-to-be-determined) limit before a user interacts. Marketing Dive, WIRED, AdExchanger, and other sources reported on Google’s move to follow Better Ads Standards, with AdExchanger’s James Hercher putting this change (to only 0.3% of display ads) into context: a push toward Google’s own Privacy Sandbox, which would move auction logic and decision-making to the Chrome browser, resulting in error messages and ad blocks for some publishers.
  • No Refill for the Third-Party Cookie Jar
    An Axios exclusive announced that The New York Times will use only first-party advertising data starting in July. As more publishers look to generate ad revenue in ways that protect users’ privacy, The Drum suggests they’ll need to differentiate themselves with the right content, context, and first-party data. They may also want to build new audience segments and cookieless tools that Publishers Daily covered this week and work toward stronger user relationships one company founder makes the case for.
  • Way-Too-Easy Money (in the Wrong Hands)
    CNBC’s Megan Graham uncovered phony news sites that have been scraping publishers’ content and profits and hurting advertisers seeking brand safety. In what she describes as a “shockingly easy” experiment to con ad tech partners, she proposes more direct relationships between publishers and advertisers. The New York Times reported that Google will soon require proof of identity for its advertisers based on the negative impacts of such scams.
  • Cover Your Assets: Publishers Protect Against Low CPMs
    Earlier this month, Digiday reported that publishers were pulling their ad inventories to protect against low-quality ads — and low CPMs that advertisers would remember long after the current crisis. This week, Digiday described a “barbell effect” on ad sales, with a significant decline in mid-size ad buys that’s leading publishers to leverage their relationships and previous ROI as advertisers seek “positions of safety.”
  • Be Afraid of the Dark Patterns
    Smashing Magazine makes a compelling argument against the dark patterns many platforms implement — and that jeopardize publisher profits and reputation — with steps you can take to detect them on your sites/apps to protect your revenue and UX. (Related: Our takes on preventing broken ads and embracing exploratory testing)

What we’re writing

  • Last week, we shared Criteo’s SPARROW proposal for Google’s Privacy Sandbox. This week, we asked four industry experts to share their perspectives: 4 Industry Experts on the SPARROW Proposal and Privacy Sandbox
  • As publishers consider which targeting features balance user privacy and ad revenue, we asked seven of the product management pros in our community for their insights: 7 Product Managers Share Top Targeting Tactics
  • What we’re discussing

    • Will Criteo’s SPARROW fly? The proposal has many across the industry talking and tweeting. Join our discussions on LinkedIn and Twitter.

    What else are you reading or writing?

    Click the link below to let us know and to share your thoughts.

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Jane O'Hara

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