🌯 Publishers’ AI Advantage, MFA Battles Continue, LinkedIn’s News Surge

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
March 12, 2024
AI Is a Publisher's Competitive Advantage 
Big Brands Still Entangled With MFA Sites
LinkedIn Is Investing in News Big-Time
Is AppleTV+ Going AVOD?
Microsoft Edges Towards a Cookieless Future
"AI or Bye-Bye": Burhan Hamid's Wake-Up Call to Publishers
Image sourced from Callie Richmond Photography
In an enlightening keynote at our Publisher Forum Austin, Burhan Hamid, CTO at TIME, shared his vision on the evolving role of AI in publishing during his talk, The Publisher's AI Advantage: Leveraging the Power of AI to Stay Ahead of the Curve. "If you're not using AI today, I guarantee you, your competitors are," he declared, basically telling us it's AI or bye-bye time in digital media land.

Hamid emphasized the industry's critical need to adopt AI to keep pace with competitors and enhance productivity and innovation. Think of AI as the Robin to your Batman, taking care of the dull stuff so you can zoom in on the cool, strategic heroics. “AI enables us to do more with less," he shared. Think of being able to do 10X our current productivity.

He highlighted practical applications, such as using AI for content summarization, personalization, and contextual advertising, emphasizing the necessity of thinking "AI-first" in today's digital landscape. AI can even analyze first-party data with tools for insights but capabilities are still developing. By interacting more conversationally with AI models and learning the art of prompt engineering, publishers can extract more specific and useful information, a skill that Hamid suggests is essential in the modern digital environment.

He also demonstrated the potential of tools like Perplexity, an AI-powered research assistant, for generating summaries and citing sources, showcasing how AI can aid in content creation and SEO optimization.

But, it's not all rosy. Hamid was candid about the challenges and responsibilities associated with AI integration, warning us to keep our brains in the loop. "Use your brain and have a human in the loop to verify the facts," he advised. He also cautioned against sharing proprietary data on these platforms.

Looking ahead, Hamid's crystal ball predicted a digital media landscape with fewer but smarter, more innovative players, leveraging AI to gain a competitive edge. The next-gen publisher born in 2024 is going to look entirely different. "Does it look like Perplexity?" he asked. As well, the relationship between publishers and AI platforms will likely involve more licensing agreements to compensate publishers for their content.
Major Brands Still Tangled in the Web of Spammy Sites
It's like déjà vu all over again. Despite last year's uproar and the ANA's stern warnings, giant brands seem to be playing a never-ending game of tag with MFA sites. Yes, it's true. Adalytics recently revealed that heaps of big brand ads are still swimming in these spammy seas.

While Walmart's DSP and The Trade Desk have steered clear of this mess, many other ad tech players haven't had much luck even with loads of nifty tools in the ecosystem available to shield brands from the dark alleys of MFA sites. The hundreds of brands identified as landing on MFA sites include such heavy hitters as Google, Disney, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Pfizer, and even the US Army. H&R Block served over 2,000 ads to a single consumer in under an hour on one of these sites. And, Kroger and Comcast are shelling out thousands of dollars to reach one consumer on an MFA site.

But, HP — kudos to them — managed to wrestle their offsite Amazon ad placement with MFA sites down to 9.8% by using a good old inclusion list. Yet, this solution feels like patching a leak with chewing gum, MacGyver style. It's laborious, time-consuming, and doesn't quite get the job done.

Amazon's retail media network? A regular at the MFA party, it seems. Brands like Hershey's, Unilever, and Coca-Cola were spotted there. But there's a twist. Many of these ads were adorned with tags from verification bigwigs like Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify. So much for keeping an eye on things. And let's not forget the agencies. Every major agency, from Havas to Omnicom, has been caught red-handed dealing ads on MFA sites. It's like a who's who of the advertising world, with names like IPG, Publicis, and Dentsu all making the list.

From rampant ad overexposure to the astronomical costs of reaching a single consumer, it's clear that the ad tech ecosystem is still grappling with the slippery slope of MFA sites. Brands, agencies, and ad exchanges are all part of this intricate web, and it's high time for a clean-up. Who's going to grab the broom?
LinkedIn Is Emerging As News Pubs BFF
While Facebook and Twitter are hitting the brakes on news, LinkedIn is hitting the gas, reinventing itself as the go-to source for quality news. They're focusing on professional-grade content and collaborating with over 400 global news publishers, leading to increased traffic referrals to news publishers.

Tools and features, like publisher notifications and featured posts, designed to boost the visibility of news content could be a game-changer for publishers. Additionally, LinkedIn's shift towards offering diverse content formats, including newsletters, podcasts, and video, provides publishers with varied avenues for audience engagement and content monetization. This evolution positions LinkedIn as a key player for publishers looking to expand their reach.
Is AppleTV+ Joining the AVOD Sanctuary?
It looks like Apple TV+ is taking a page out of the 'more ads, more fun' playbook. They just scooped up Joseph Cady, an ad whiz from NBCUniversal, to spice up their advertising squad. With a 14-year stint in the ad biz, Cady's joining a crew of ex-TV bigwigs who could be crafting Apple's ad strategy. And with Apple already flirting with ads in Major League Soccer (hello, $4 million ad deals!), it's like watching that friend who said they'd never join social media, now posting selfies daily. Everything is an ad network, isn't it?

With Netflix, Disney+, and even Amazon Prime Video embracing the ad life, Apple TV+ might just be the final hold out. After all, who can resist the siren call of ad revenue? Barclay's analyst Tim Long whispers Apple's streaming content costs are a few billion-dollar headaches, and ads might be the aspirin needed. And with consumers canceling their subscriptions due to rising costs, streamers are fighting to retain them including offering low-cost subscriptions subsidized by hybrid AVOD models.
Microsoft's New Ads API Edges Towards a Cookieless Future
Microsoft Edge is ushering in a new era of digital advertising with its Privacy-Preserving Ads API, aiming to replace traditional third-party cookies. This API is designed to respect user privacy while still delivering relevant ads, using technologies like K-anonymity, differential privacy, and Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs). This shift aligns with industry trends toward minimizing user tracking, driven by privacy concerns.

Microsoft's approach, while similar to Google's, introduces unique features like multi-size and multi-slot auctions and compatibility with Google's API. The gradual phasing out of third-party cookies in Edge starts with tests on a small user base, emphasizing the need for industry adaptation to this significant change.
One X Post
Can Privacy and Performance Co-Exist Within the Privacy Sandbox?
1. Privacy Sandbox shift tests essential ad use cases, requiring innovation in targeting & measurement
2. Collaboration is key to navigate operational, financial, legal & compliance hurdles
3. Concerns around MRC standards & need for accreditation to ensure metric confidence
4. Focus on developing privacy-centric solutions, not just cookie replacements
5. Embracing the challenge to balance privacy & performance for an inclusive future
Worth a Listen
AdTechGod Pod With Special Guest Mari Tangredi
AdTechGod sits down with Mari Tangredi, Sr. Vice President, Global Partnerships at Cadent. Her journey is a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit and deep understanding of the ecosystem. Her journey is great to listen to — from software development to technical sales and product development. In addition, her role in significant industry milestones like the acquisition of 4info by Cadent is impressive.
Upcoming AdMonsters Events

Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn