Apple’s Ad Spend Bet Against App Pubs; Nielsen Alternatives Stand Up; Weather Ad Targeting, At Scale

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
November 16, 2021
Apple's Google Play Store Ad Spend Switcheroo
In Search of Nielsen Alternatives
Ad Targeting Like the Weather
Apple Buys App Ads on Google to Grab Publisher Revenue
Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels
Apple wants a big piece of that subscription revenue share, so much so that it's discreetly buying Google ads for high-end apps so that it may potentially score millions of dollars in subscription revenue. This is allegedly happening without the consent of app developers and Google won’t take the ads down. Affected businesses include Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, HBO, Masterclass, and Babbel.

“The ads don’t disclose that they are from Apple and would, to most observers, simply look like ads from the brands and app publishers themselves that happen to go right to the App Store. They do, however, have similar tracking links with near-identical parameters that indicate one agency is likely placing all of them.”
Why This Matters
Apple is far from being hard up for money, so why the push for millions more, which is just a drop in the bucket for Apple?

“It’s hurting developers’ businesses,” one anonymous source said. “You’re building your growth based on what you think a customer is worth, and if a customer is worth 30% less, your margin is gone.”

What’s worse, if something goes wrong with a subscription that was purchased through Apple, good luck rectifying the situation.

“When you buy with the developer, they have a relationship with you ... when you buy from Apple: sorry, you’re Apple’s customer, not ours, and if you have a problem with a subscription … we can’t really help them.”

If Apple is going for HBO Max subs, for example, that means HBO Max must outspend Apple on ads to gain that coveted top slot with increased visibility.

“How would you know that an ad for an app on Google is either from Apple or an app publisher directly? One clue in the ads so far is the inclusion of a UTM parameter (data in a tracking link) that includes the string ‘mttn.’ Another clue: the link goes straight to the App Store, and not to an actual app developer’s website.”

Paul Bannister on Twitter added that “This would be comedy if it wasn't actually a tragedy. Apple acts all high-and-mighty and full of morals, when they're just another scumbag company looking to rip people off.”

However, Mobile Dev Memo founder, Eric Seufert tweeted that “Ultimately they are gifting users to these apps so it’s hard to argue that Apple is inflicting any sort of harm. I don’t agree with the people quoted [in the Forbes article] that this changes LTV economics for the devs since Apple is constrained on their bids to their EV of acquired users, which is lower.”
NBCUuniversal, Others, Looking for Nielsen Alternatives
NBCUniversal is holding a forum with advertising agencies and brands to discuss alternate forms of measurement and strategies not named Nielsen. Companies like Ford Motor, L’Oreal, and Pfizer are slated to attend.

ICYDK, Nielsen lost its accreditation with the Media Rating Council in August, after admitting undercounting total television use in February by 6 percent.

“A single Media Rating Council audit can take thousands of man-hours and cost tens of thousands of dollars depending on a vendor’s size and the complexity of its offering. It’s a long and rigorous process – which is why the MRC doesn’t take suspending or withdrawing a company’s seal of approval lightly, said George Ivie, CEO and executive director of the MRC.”
Why This Matters
“One company with one metric and one currency is probably unlikely in the future,” said Linda Yaccarino, the head of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal.

While it’s true that one, singular company should not be responsible and in charge of the entire television measurement landscape, building a reliable and alternative to Nielsen will take time and won't occur overnight.

“Arun Kumar, the chief data and marketing technology officer for the ad giant Interpublic Group notes that “it’s hard enough to measure some of these new devices and the new data sets that are flowing through them, but it becomes even harder if you don’t have consistent standards,” he said. “The one thing Nielsen had going for it was that, no matter how good or bad it was, it was standard. But now you’re going to have these big, fragmented data sets.”

While Nielsen is on a path to reinvent itself, with new products and logo, Comscore CEO and executive vice chairman Bill Livek declared war on Nielsen, citing Comscore as the future.

“For years, the industry stuck with the same antiquated service out of fear of the risk of change. However, we are now at a point where the risk of staying with a provider incapable of measuring modern audiences is simply too great. The time for change is here, and the choice is clear… While others in the industry are only now beginning to consider a future of measurement that puts audiences first, Comscore has the infrastructure, methodology and secure data assets in place to realize this future today.”
MediaMath, IBM Watson, Team up to Provide Addressable Weather-Based Ad Targeting
MediaMath merged its demand-side platform with IBM Watson Advertising Weather Targeting to “help brands turn the relationship between weather by location and complex data sets like health conditions, product sales and consumer activity into actionable solutions – without relying on third-party cookie data.”

The partnership will offer a contextualized solution — targeted at a ZIP code level based on weather conditions.

“Weather can be a predictor of consumer intent and behavior. Given the advertising industry’s current state of volatility, we’re committed to providing data that brands and agencies can rely on,” said Sheri Bachstein, CEO of The Weather Company and GM of IBM Watson Advertising. “Our continued collaboration with MediaMath enables brands and agencies to support their audience engagement efforts with addressable, performant solutions, all while advancing privacy-forward strategies.”
Why This Matters
The impending death of cookies, the end of IDFAs and limited IP signals and disappearing UA-Strings are on the horizon. In the world of mobile, contextual and geolocation targeting are on the rise, but what about weather-based ad targeting?

Though the use of weather conditions to predict consumer behavior isn't new, this partnership combines “weather’s ability to help drive action with Watson AI’s capability to aggregate and analyze complex data sets.”

Not only can ads be relevant, but they will also drive action without the use of traditional identifiers, many of which are going away permanently…eventually.

“Given the importance of digital advertising to corporate outcomes, and the trust challenge of marketing inside of walled gardens, the need for scaled, open, enterprise solutions has never been greater,” said Joe Zawadzki, Founder and CEO of MediaMath. “Our collaboration with IBM signals continued progress in our collective efforts to put brands and agencies in control of their current marketing programs while delivering flexible, efficient and effective omnichannel campaigns into the future.”
Sweet Tweet
Second-order Effects in Ad Tech
Second-order effects in ad tech I'm thinking about this Monday:

1) talent crunch --> rise of API-driven companies
2) iOS limits ad IDs --> focus on oppty in CTV, creative, OOH, even earned/owned
3) death of cookies --> now time to play the long game

What about y'all?

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Identity in advertising is a hot topic at the moment, with advertisers needing to navigate a world without third-party tracking.

In this podcast, The Programmatic Advisory is joined by MIQ where they discuss all things identity.
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