🌯 Planet Fitness’ Retail Media Plans; #DEMOLISHDEI Controversy; Google’s Ad Team Layoffs; TTD CEO Privacy Sandbox Concerns

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
January 22, 2024
Planet Fitness' Retail Media Timeline
#DEMOLISHDEI Destroys X's Advertisers Cred
Layoffs Plague Google's Ad Sales Team
TTD Fires Shots at The Privacy Sandbox
The Wrapper Follow Up
Planet Fitness Enters the Retail Media Space
With in-club TV screens at 2,500 locations reaching 18.7 million members and recognizing that the advertising community is looking for alternatives to third-party cookie targeting, Planet Fitness decided now is a good time to take on Amazon’s advertising business. Well, hardly, but in early January, the company announced the launch of a multi-channel media network, PF Media Network. Its goal? “To connect advertisers to Planet Fitness members, in-club and digitally across channels, to drive awareness and sales.” The network has three components: In-Club Media, Digital Audiences, and Affiliate Campaigns.

Enabled via a partnership with LiveRamp, PF Media’s digital audience targeting allows advertisers to reach Planet Fitness members directly through digital media buys across connected television (CTV), programmatic, and social media. Planet Fitness audiences will be available via LiveRamp’s Data Marketplace and will be distributed to social media platforms and DSPs.

The affiliate campaigns will allow advertisers to promote their products or services via the Planet Fitness app and member email lists. The gym promises that ads will be placed and promoted in ways that ensure a large number of users see the ads.

A Brilliant Move

One must admit, it’s a brilliant move on Planet Fitness’s part. With third-party cookie deprecation finally becoming a reality and the entire industry looking for viable first-party data targeting options, PF Media Network meets a real need. Experts predict that in 2024, advertisers will increase their investment in retail media networks. According to a McKinsey study, 73% of advertisers anticipate spending more on retail media networks in the next 12 months.

PF Media Network has set the stage for brands to follow suit. Just think of all the competitive fitness centers, airports, hotels, and shopping malls, many of which offer in-facility screens to provide info and entertainment to guests. Those screens allow brands to enter the retail media game and open new revenue streams. Targeting consumers en masse is a bit balkanized for an advertiser, but advances in A may help them streamline the process. – SS
#DEMOLISHDEI Trend on X (Formerly Twitter) Sparks Conversation About Fleeing Advertisers
X marks the spot of advertisers straying away from Elon Musk's social platform. When Musk announced his purchase of X (formerly Twitter), many advertisers considered whether it would be brand-safe to advertise on the social platform any longer. After plenty of shenanigans and mishaps, many advertisers ran away from X like the plague.

More recently, X users noticed a hashtag trending — #DEMOLISHDEI — after America First Legal advertised the agenda on the platform. X displayed their slogan, "DEFEND MERIT. DEFEND MERIT. DEMOLISH DEI," on the platform's trending page all day on January 17. However, this is no surprise, as Musk has tweeted a similar sentiment.

Some X users criticized the platform for allowing this advertisement to run on the trending page. The X user above stated, "The fact this is a leading ad on Twitter is a BIG part of the reason there was a mass exodus of companies removing their ads from this platform." Other platforms have run into similar brand safety issues, such as Substack, that had a major journalist quit after allowing Nazi content to run on the newsletter platform. Advertisers need brand-safe platforms to run their ads to reach prospective audiences, and to many, X has strayed from meeting those needs. – AB
Layoff Hits Google’s High-End Ad Sales Team
Business Insider got its hands on a memo that Philipp Schindler, Google's Chief Business Officer, sent to staff, informing them that they will let go "hundreds" of its ad-sales team members. The cuts are in response to a restructuring of the sales team. Business Insider had previously reported that Google is shifting its attention away from enterprise-level advertising clients to focus on the middle market, which can be automated, the company hopes, through Performance Max. This AI-powered campaign tool allows users to set a specific campaign goal and access inventory across Google's entire network.

So what happens to these sales personnel with all this enterprise-level sales experience who will soon be looking for work? Perhaps history will repeat itself. After the pandemic ended, Google laid off hundreds of employees working on its hardware, voice assistance, and engineering teams as part of cost-cutting measures. Car companies seeking to trick up their models with AI and other tech hired many of them. Companies looking at Planet Fitness' retail media network may see a new revenue opportunity and snap them up. – SS
Trade Desk CEO on the Privacy Sandbox: "I'm Just Disappointed."
Since announcing the Privacy Sandbox, Google has caught many strays, but The Trade Desk has been one of the loudest and most outspoken detractors of the post-third-party cookie solution. Right before Chrome launched its tracking protection for 1% of its audience, Bill Simmons, VP of Product at The Trade Desk, released a critique. Subsequently, TTD CEO Jeff Green released a post-haste condemnation of the tech. Green wrote:

"Privacy Sandbox is not innovative. It's not good for the open internet. And I don't even see how it's good for Google. All those brilliant minds inside of a nearly $2 trillion company couldn't do better than this?"

Let's all take a second to let that sink in because, as the colloquial phrase goes, "shots fired!" The Privacy Sandbox is still in its infancy, so the industry is still determining how the tech will perform. The Trade Desk's concern with the Privacy Sandbox is that they believe it will lower CPMs, and it sees UID2 as a better alternative. Yet, TTD will still test the Privacy Sandbox alongside other solutions. – AB
The Follow Up
OpenAI says it doesn’t even want to train ChatGPT on New York Times content.
One X Post
Best 3rd Pary Cookie Replacement?
Worth a Listen
Matt Prohaska on the News Business and Industry Moving Into Bargaining Phase of Sandbox Adoption
Matt Prohaska talks to Marketecture about supporting the news business. Plus Habu acquisition, LG ads follow-up, and Jeff Green goes long against the sandbox.
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