🌯 Google Users Appeal Real Time Bidding Ruling; Roblox Launches New Ad Formats; Pubs Over Brand Safety

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
May 07, 2024
Google Users Appeal Real Time Bidding Ruling
Roblox Launches New Ad Formats
Google Open Sources PAIR
Pubs Over Brand Safety
Wait, There's More...
Google Users Fail Real-Time Bidding Class Action Suit, but an Appeal Lingers
Google account holders are seeking a federal appellate court's decision on their ability to pursue class-action privacy claims tied to the company's real-time bidding system. Recently, a U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruling in California prevented users from collectively seeking monetary damages, citing the need for individual assessments of consent to Google's practices. Consequently, this ruling effectively barred class actions in data privacy disputes, prompting users to seek an immediate appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Despite the ruling, individual users can still sue Google, though it may be costly. Google has opposed the account holders' request, arguing that the case lacks exceptional circumstances for an immediate appeal. The company maintains that Judge Rogers carefully considered evidence supporting the critical nature of consent issues, which require personalized evaluations. This legal battle from 2021 revolves around Google's real-time bidding ad system, which plaintiffs accused of compromising users' privacy by sharing personal data with numerous external entities.

Google is not new to the lawsuit game, and data leakage is taken very seriously by government regulators like the FTC, but as of now, the class action lawsuit has fallen on deaf ears. There is no news that individual plaintiffs will take up their cases, but we must wait and see what the federal appellate court says. – AB
Roblox Launches New Ad Formats To Reach $1 Billion in Ad Revenue
Riddle me this: what has virtual DOOH ads, new notable advertising partnerships, and a key connection to GenZ audiences?

Roblox is embarking on a significant expansion of its advertising capabilities, introducing new video ad formats as a cornerstone of its strategy to grow its ad revenue to $1 billion. This initiative includes a concerted effort to bolster its ads team and forge key partnerships across various domains, including measurement, e-commerce, and technology. However, despite its strides in the advertising realm, Roblox faces the ongoing challenge of dispelling the perception among marketers that it is primarily a platform geared toward children.

Video ads within Roblox are similar to real-world digital out-of-home advertising. These ads, strategically positioned on billboards and screens within the game, activate when a user's avatar interacts with them, with sound amplifying as the player draws closer. While users currently cannot directly engage with these ads, plans are underway to integrate e-commerce functionalities.

Roblox's efforts to expand its advertising reach have already garnered notable partnerships with industry giants such as Walmart, Warner Bros. Pictures, HUGO, and e.l.f. Beauty, among others. These collaborations underscore Roblox's attractiveness to advertisers seeking to engage with its highly active and diverse user base, primarily composed of Gen-Z individuals.

In tandem with its expansion efforts, Roblox is forging alliances with leading measurement and tech firms, including Integral Ad Science and Kantar Context Lab, to ensure ad quality and effectiveness. This commitment to partnership extends to supply-side platforms like PubMatic, enabling advertisers to access Roblox inventory programmatically and enhancing the platform's appeal as a viable advertising medium.

Will Roblox's arsenal of new assets get them to a billion-dollar ad revenue goal? They have the right tactics — advertising and ad tech partners, new and diversified content, and an upgraded internal ad team — but differentiating yourself in this new era of digital media is a different beast. With the younger market in their grasp and a firm goal to attract older audiences, it is plausible, but cutting through the oversaturation is key. – AB
Google Open Sources PAIR identity Tool Via IAB Tech Lab
At last week’s IAB NewFronts, Google announced plans to open source its PAIR (Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation) identity tool via a partnership with the IAB Tech Lab so that ad tech and media companies can reconcile their first-party data through clean rooms as Google (maybe) one day phases out third-party cookies.

“We’re sharing the PAIR protocol with the IAB Tech Lab so other ad tech companies and our industry as a whole can adopt privacy-forward solutions that are going to benefit everyone,” Kristen O’Hara, VP of Agency, Platforms & Client Solutions at Google said. “This is a win for the industry."

With PAIR, DV360 buyers can personalize or target ads to audiences on properties belonging to partnered media companies, such as Disney and NBCUniversal, without cookies or device IDs.

“We are excited to take on the PAIR protocol and open-source it to the industry,” wrote IAB Tech Lab CEO, Anthony Katsur. “Thank you, @Google, for this industry donation. There will be much more to come regarding a new PAIR roadmap, including merging the best of OPJA with the best of PAIR.” Open Private Join and Activation (OPJA) specifications are a set of best practices setting use cases for data clean rooms and directions for how to match encrypted audiences.

It’s great to see tools like this, and the Index Exchange’s PAAPI (Protected Audience API) demo tool, becoming part of the IAB Tech Lab for industry-wide testing and usage. If third-party cookies never go away, data privacy regulations are still a thing. - LdJ
Pubs Over Brand Safety Blocks
A couple of months ago, I wrote about a Prohaska and Advertiser Perceptions study that revealed, “While 76% of the industry agrees it is brand-safe to advertise in legitimate news environments, 1 in 3 U.S. advertisers have blocked news entirely.” That’s a real problem. We need news.

Well, publishers are over it and they aren’t going to take it any longer. NBC, CNN, The New York Times, and the BBC, banded together on the IAB NewFronts stage last week to offer advertisers a piece of their minds.

It’s no industry secret that brand safety needs an upgrade. The industry has to get better at looking at context and tone and not just words, as Maria Breza, Chief of Staff to the CEO, SiriusXM, once told us.

While advertisers agree that news is important and a necessary vehicle for reaching their intended audiences, they also acknowledge that hard news, especially in a time of conflict or crisis doesn’t always present brand-safe environments for their ads to run in adjacency. Non-news content seems a likely alternative road for news publishers looking to secure ad dollars, as audiences appear more open to advertiser messaging during lighthearted moments.

At least this election cycle will see many news publishers capturing ad spend since political advertisers allocate dollars by locality. Still, the blunt force blocking has got to stop. Contextual AI could pave the way for the next phase in brand safety. - LdJ
Wait, There's More...
OpenAI VS Everybody, or nah... On the heels of The NY Times' lawsuit against OpenAI, claiming the AI company violated its copyrighted materials by training ChatGPT on millions of its articles, eight prominent newspapers owned by Alden Global Capital are suing OpenAI for copyright infringement. This news was released just days before Dotdash Meredith announced its licensing partnership with OpenAI. ChatGPT will display content and links attributed to DDM in relevant responses, and the two will collaborate on new AI products and features for DDM readers. During AdMonsters recent PubForum Austin Keynote, Burhan Hamid, CTO, TIME, told publishers that these types of deals could be an alternative revenue stream. He also highlighted that media websites of the future might very well look something akin to Perplexity.AI.

Yahoo and Kroger Sitting in a Tree... As of late, Yahoo has been turning up the heat on its advertiser offerings. It’s the new Yahoo, not the old Yahoo. Anyway, one of the latest announcements to come out of the house of Yahoo DSP is a data-sharing collab with Kroger Precision Marketing. Advertisers will be able to target the retailers’ audiences programmatically through Yahoo’s DSP. It’s an entry into commerce Media for Yahoo, and it’s Kroger’s second time at the DSP rodeo after cozying up to TTD late last year. This is all a part of the Retail Media Revolution.
One X Post
Does Digital Media Abuse the Term "Open Internet?"
Somehow the term “open internet” has been perverted to mean anything not @Meta or @Google which does not make sense to me. @joe_zappa had a tweet about the “open internet” sentiment a week or so back and I’ve been consuming lots of uses of that term, and feel it is abused.
Worth a Listen
Exploring Campaign Planning & Execution in a Cookieless World
In Digilant's fourth episode of the "Countdown to the Cookieless Future" series, Victoria de Leon, Director of Marketing, sits down with Ariel Howard, VP of Campaign Solutions, and Addy Osborne, Senior Planning & Insights Strategist, to explore effective campaign planning and execution in anticipation of third-party cookie deprecation.

The discussion centers on the necessity of adopting privacy-centric methods early, utilizing first-party data, and leveraging cookie-free channels like Connected TV. Insights are shared on transitioning smoothly and proactively, ensuring advertisers are well-prepared for the changes ahead in the digital landscape.
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