Cookie Death Worse For Pubs Than Feared

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
August 25, 2020
Death Of Cookie Could Really Cost Pubs
Rise of the Media Aggregators
SSPs Take a Bath
Cookie Death Even Worse Than Feared
Image sourced from Twitter
While we wholeheartedly agree the third-party tracking cookie has outlived its usefulness, we’ve also strongly held that its death could be the death of publishers as well.

Do you remember when Google conducted a study showing a 52% reduction in publisher revenue without cookies?

Well, Garrett Johnson, a marketing professor at Questrom School of Business, Boston University, uncovered a more startling assessment about the value of a cookie that he posted in a Twitter thread.

It looks like in the UK Competition and Market Authority’s Online Platforms and Digital Advertising Market Study, the CMA reanalyzed Google’s very own data and found that publishers' revenues would fall up to 70%.

Johnson attributes the discrepancy in the numbers to a few measures the CMA took in their evaluations, which included:

1/ Removing users without cookies (Safari, Firefox), which are immaterial for the value of a cookie
2/ Accounted for unsold impressions missing in the data (by adding 0s)

It’s important to note that the study only utilized UK user data, so in that regard, it’s sort of apples to oranges in the approach.

As additional evidence of the value of user identity to the ad marketplace, the report also highlighted that there were three UK publishers who documented 50-80% lower revenue from Safari/Firefox users (relative to Chrome) due to lack of third-party cookies 
Why This Matters
If you’re shaking in your boots, we feel ya’. The death of the third-party cookie is exactly the disaster we all always feared. While Google promises not to pull the plug until a promising alternative is in place, this news is still quite jarring.

With the recent news that publishers’ voices are lacking from the W3C proceedings about what the future of measurement and tracking will become, it’s safe to say that if there was ever a time for publishers to get involved the time is now. There are also other projects for pubs to get involved with, like the ANA-led Partnership for Responsible Media and the IAB’s Project Rearc all focused on the fate of the open web

Many publishers are also now integrating identity partners in hopes that buyers will do the same and that Google’s privacy sandbox won’t be the only game in town—giving the tech giant an unfair advantage. It's safe to say that what publishers have always feared wasn't just the stuff of nightmares.
Rise of the Media Aggregators
Image sourced from Extreme Reach
Following COVID consumption habits, the share of video impressions to CTV platforms in Q2 rose to 40% following a distinct drop in Q1 shows the latest Video Benchmarks Report from Extreme Reach.

"While the extent of the long-term effect that COVID-19 will have on the media and advertising ecosystems cannot yet be fully understood, the fact the pandemic continues to drive volatility is unquestionable," said Mary Vestewig, ER's Senior Director, Video Account Management. "Shifts in viewing habits are certainly impacting how consumers are interacting with both content and ads across devices. As schools begin to reopen and online activities across all generations respond, we'll be closely monitoring trends in our data."

Resulting from those trends were some notable changes in media buying patterns. Impressions served through premium publishers fell to 65%, the lowest point since Q3 2018. Meanwhile, the share of impressions served via media aggregators increased from 22% in Q1 to 35& in Q2, a rise of 59%.
Why This Matters
This finding for CTV advertising is very much in line with what we’re seeing everywhere else. At the onset of the pandemic, marketing budgets were scaled back causing marketers to pause spend resulting in fewer video ads being bought directly through premium publishers. WIth impressions to fill, more inventory became available on exchanges.

But there’s a good sign in this report that recovery could be likely—soon. Following the initial slowdown, the rise in video impressions served to CTV platforms during Q2 suggests that advertisers started spending again in the April-June timeframe.

We’ve heard on record from quite a few publishers that while direct deals are still hard to come land, open market programmatic is definitely on the rise once again.
SSPs Clean Up
Image sourced from Confiant
By 2025 ad fraud—malvertising redirects and malicious IBV to name a few—will cost advertisers more than $50bn, accounting for 30% share of the overall digital market, so warned The World Federation of Advertisers back in 2016

Once one attack is thwarted, there always seems to be another one taking its place that’s even harder to defeat. But overall, SSPs are getting better at blocking fraudulent inventory from reaching publishers sites, and ultimately consumers’ devices.

The latest Confiant Demand Quality Report shows this to be true, at least in the U.S. where the security violation rate has declined significantly from Q1 to Q2. Conversely, there was a slight increase in the rate of quality violations.
Why This Matters
While Confiant isn’t naming names, not anyone beyond Google that is, they did report that unlike previous quarters, two of the largest SSPs finally got their acts together and cleaned up their pipes, making massive improvements when it comes to blocking security and quality issues. And only one major SSP is still a major culprit with respect in regards to allowing both security and quality risks to enter the ecosystem.

While the debate is still out on whether it’s the job of either the DSP or the SSP to keep quality in check, it’s important that publishers begin to use all of the tools available to them to ensure they obtain transparency into their transactions. At the least, pubs please make sure your SSP is using the very latest fraud prevention technologies.
Sweet Tweet

The Manage-Your-Identity Folks:

“Great! Now that you’ve set CCPA & GDPR preferences for your 100 favorite sites & spent 8 hours configuring your browser privacy settings, next we’ll walk through 5,000 ad targeting interest groups you might like to opt into!”



Worth a Listen
Minority Report Ep 48 - Walter T. Geer III: Moving with Intention
In this episode, hosts Kerel Cooper and Erik Requidan speak with Walter T. Geer III, Executive Creative Director, Experience Design at VMLY&R, about his career journey, how he's using this moment in time to help open doors for others, why he feels brands will get closer to the everyday life of a consumer, and much more. Geer is keynoting AdMonsters Publisher Forum Virtual on Aug 25, 2020.
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Publisher Forum Virtual | AUG 25-26, 2020
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