Privacy Sandbox – The Next Episode

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
APRIL 06, 2022
Privacy Sandbox — The Next Episode
Walmart Gunning For Amazon
Meta In Hot Water Again
Testing, Testing - The Next Episode of Privacy Sandbox
After a pretty quiet first quarter, Google opened up trials for the next phase of the highly anticipated and scrutinized Privacy Sandbox. With a displeasing debut in the rearview, we don’t talk about FLoCs (no, no, no…yes that just happened) and the marketplace is eager to see what’s next as the threat of third-party cookie depreciation nears.

As of last Thursday, Google pulled back the curtain for developers to begin testing Topics, FLEDGE, and Attribution Reporting APIs in the Canary version of Chrome. According to the  Chromium blog, the first phase will begin with a limited number of participants but is expected to expand to more users. However, the initial testers and overall timing have not been disclosed.

Google was sure to address a few things upfront though:
  • This is still very much a breeding ground for improvement as they “strongly encourage” feedback to be shared publicly and with Chrome.
  • Privacy Sandbox settings and controls are also being tested to allow users to opt-in or out of associated interests during the trials.
  • As they aren't wanting any more smoke from EU regulators, they’ll be working closely with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority during this process.
Why This Matters
Let’s take a step back to review exactly what we're talking about here, as it’s hard to keep up even for the most tech-savvy of us, so here goes:
  • Topics: Proposed earlier this year as a primary third-party cookie replacement in Chrome (and the upgraded version of FLoC), Topics will target audiences based on broadly identified interests via weekly browser activity.
  • FLEDGE: Short for First Locally Executed Decisions over Groups Experiment, was announced in January 2021 (which seems like ages ago) and is proposed as an in-browser bidding tool vs. sharing data widely.
  • Attributing Reporting API: Has received the least coverage and therefore feedback as it's probably the most straightforward. As of today, it measures digital ads to track conversion.
The reality is Topics and FLEDGE still have more unanswered questions than solutions and publishers are rightfully wondering if the wool is being pulled over their eyes.

With the lack of cross-domain targeting to come from a privacy-first open web, publishers are rightfully concerned that the lack of precision targeting could steer advertisers away from display advertising altogether.

Even as testing continues and improvements are made, we shouldn't expect a resounding yes from the industry. But if Alphabet, er, Google, er, Chrome can please the majority, the Privacy Sandbox will continue. The best thing publishers may want to do is work with their ad tech partners to get involved in the tests directly and continue to build out their first-party data strategies.
Cat's Out The Bag: Walmart Sets $100K Minimum for Ad Products
Walmart is coming after Amazon and their retail media dollars with guns blazing. A leaked pitch deck from last October reveals that Walmart is setting a $100,000 minimum for several of its ad services including:
  • Two ad products: offsite display ads and brand landing pages
  • Test and control measurement studies that track customer purchases after viewing an ad online. Sample sizes are 10 million and 9.9 million people, respectively.
  • Managed services ad campaigns aligned to a Walmart sales rep
Whether this “hefty” price tag is due to newly appointed CRO, Seth Dallaire (credited for the ad business success of Instacart and Amazon) or just aggressively going after the estimated $41 billion set to accrue in retail media ad spending over this year, advertisers reactions are varied. Some believe Walmart has a lot of nerve as this price tag is double Amazon’s minimum with either equal or less of an offering. And others believe it’s comparable to other retail media partners who also have brick-and-mortar locations.

Either way, Walmart is continuing to expand its ad platform testing video ads on their DSP as well as second-price auctions for more transparency. Now, will these additions be a part of yesterday’s $100,000 floor? Time will only tell.
Why This Matters
 When Walmart and Amazon are viewed side by side, the differences are stark but does that mean an underdog brand should not price at its believed value? If you have the services to back up the price tag, should you sell yourself short for more advertiser interest vs. the right interest?

Advertisers who take the chance might find they're getting the best bang for their buck by betting on old Wally World. Besides, how else would they ever break the ceiling if they don't go for the big bucks? Publishers take heed, you might want to stop undervaluing yourselves.
Small Biz Tells Meta "Show Me The Money"

Meta is treading hot water after a federal judge has ruled in favor of class-action suit status for advertisers who used Facebook’s Ad Manager or Power Editor after August 2014. DZ Reserve (e-commerce store operator) and Max Martialis (weapons accessories seller) are the advertisers leading this charge who will now move forward with a lawsuit on behalf of their companies, as well as several U.S. advertisers who are claiming inflated metrics from the social platform.

This court decision comes as a result of complaints, dating as far back as 2017, about Facebook claiming their audience reach in every U.S. state was greater than the states’ populations. This of course secured way more ad placements and revenue from Facebook’s invisible friends.

Facebook argues that campaign reach is not guaranteed and does not affect billing. However, advertisers claim this is not a blameless oversight as Facebook had been aware of similar complaints going back to September 2015.
Why This Matters
One small step against inflated metrics could be a giant leap for independent advertisers. The fact that 2 million small business owners can band together in a class-action suit, whether they have spent $1 or $1 million with Facebook changes the game for everyone.

While this FB issue has been mounting for years, it should serve as a fair warning for any platform or publisher. Providing faux user metrics might be excused as a mistake or oversight, but as we watch Meta potentially get clobbered, pubs should be encouraged to audit their own metrics to confirm they aren't making similar mistakes --- you know, like not cracking down on bots and fake traffic.
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