AdMonsters Wrapper: 🌯 Coronavirus Keyword Block Hits Publishers’ Programmatic Pockets

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up

This week's edition of The Wrapper is arriving in your inbox on Wednesday while we're on location at PubForum in Santa Monica. Next week, we'll return to our regularly scheduled Tuesday mailings.

This Week

March 11, 2020
Coronavirus Climbs Blocked Keyword List
Maryland's Digital Ad Tax
404bot Steals Millions in Ad $
Consumers Love the Open Web
Coronavirus Keyword Block Hits Publishers Programmatic Pockets
Empty Pockets
Covid-19 is now officially a global pandemic wreaking havoc on some people’s lives, as well as the global economy and digital advertising. In February, Coronavirus became the second-most common blacklisted word—following Trump—for news publishers and the third most common blocked keyword across the open web. Google has instituted a policy prohibiting ad content that capitalizes on the outbreak, in response to the misinformation being spread about the virus.
Why This Matters
As the virus continues to spread, we can expect to see an increase in words associated with it also being blocked. While the overall goal here is to ensure brand safety and stop the misinformation being spread about the Coronavirus, these heightened measures will negatively impact programmatic revenue for legit news organizations reporting on it and providing health information to consumers. If advertisers are too stringent in their approach to protecting their brands in this time of crisis they can expect to see diminishing returns on their campaigns.
Will Maryland’s Digital Ad Tax See the Light of Day?
As if the privacy laws coming out of state governments weren’t enough to hit the digital advertising ecosystem where it most hurts, a Maryland bill that proposes to tax digital advertising services to pay for education reform has slipped through Senate Committee and is on its way to being voted upon by the full Maryland Senate. The tax would apply to businesses with $1,000,000 annual gross revenues from digital ad services in Maryland, so it would ostensibly hit only major players like Google and Facebook.
Why This Matters
Once news of the bill first surfaced back in January, organizations like the ANA rallied against it citing potential violations of constitutional laws, as well as the “regulatory nightmare” that would ensue. How would Maryland know exactly how much a business made from advertising to consumers in Maryland? If Maryland pulls this off, it would be a serious threat to digital advertising and set precedent for other states to follow. Would the cost then be passed on to consumers? So many questions.
404bot Hijacks Unaudited ads.txt Files; Steals Millions
You should very well know by now that ads.txt was initiated to crack down on domain spoofing. So then how pray tell, are fraudsters bypassing the initiative to steal millions of dollars from advertisers? It just so turns out that the 404bot is taking advantage of unchecked ads.txt files, impacting billions of video advertisements. Integral Ad Science (IAS) says the botnet has existed since at least 2018 and continues to thrive despite industry precautions.
Why This Matters
Since this botnet has been active for so many years, IAS is concerned that activity could spike again at any time. To wit, the verification vendor recently saw malicious activity on some of its clients' domains. While ads.txt has been fairly successful in preventing domain spoofing, the continued existence of 404bot highlights the importance of publishers regularly auditing and updating their ads.txt files and advertisers working with verification vendors who are capable of detecting bad actors.
Consumers Trust the Open Web, But Will Ad $ Follow?
It’s no secret that Google and Facebook, closely followed by Amazon, receive the lion share of brand dollars for digital advertising. But a recent report produced by OpenX and The Harris Poll brings the rationale for those spending patterns into question. While only 40% of digital ad dollars go to the open web, it’s the place where consumers spend most of their time and find advertising most relevant, according to the report.

"Consumers spend more time on the open web than the walled gardens, the open web is the place they go for trusted information, it is where they start their searches when looking for information on businesses or gifts to buy, and it's also the place where they report finding the most relevant and impactful ads," said John Gentry, CEO of OpenX.
Why This Matters
Spending on Facebook and Google has declined over recent years—with Amazon, Snapchat and other platforms moving in to scoop up some of the cash left on the table—there’s also a great opportunity for the open web, especially as the third-party cookie comes closer to its demise. There’s no better time like now for publishers to get a lot smarter about their first-party data strategies and learn to better demonstrate the value of their audiences to marketers. Seventy-four percent of people saying they trust content on the open web more than on walled gardens should account for something, shouldn’t it?
Sweet Tweet
Mar 3 | "Ad Tech 2.0 is going to unleash [huge] opportunity...but that opportunity is going to be held back by the rate at which we can collectively re-educate ourselves." - @Myles_Younger on the evolution of advertising in a privacy-first future via @AdMonsters
Worth a Listen
eMarketer Behind The Numbers
Mar 2 | How Privacy Concerns Are Changing the World of Location Data eMarketer vice president of forecasting Monica Peart hosts principal analyst Yory Wurmser in a discussion about location data. How will privacy and regulation affect location practices this year? How comfortable are consumers with sharing their location? And how are marketers adjusting?
Upcoming AdMonsters Events
NYC Meetup—Beyond Optimization: What Moves the Needle?| March 25, 2020
NYC Meetup
AdMonsters Ops | June 9-10, 2020
AdMonsters Ops

Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn