Strange Bedfellows for TikTok?

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
September 22, 2020
TikTok’s Quite a Prize for Walmart and Oracle
Quibi Is in Struggle Mode
Putting Ad Tech Under the Blacklight
Blockchain Proves Programmatic Potential
TikTok’s Quite a Prize for Walmart and Oracle
Image sourced from The Drum
Although President Trump may have given the TikTok-Walmart-Oracle his “blessing,” the specifics of the deal seem not entirely worked out. It’s definitely not too early to ask, “What’s up with these odd bedfellows?”

For Walmart, it’s an amazing opportunity to beef up both its ecommerce business and its advertising offering. TikTok offers Walmart an amazing amount of inventory for promoting products and expanding its Walmart Media Group network for advertisers. In addition, there will likely be exciting creative opportunities for regular Walmart advertisers, especially those trying to reach younger consumers. This news comes just as Walmart was reportedly starting to take a bite out of Amazon’s pandemic ecommerce dominance.

For Oracle, that’s a whole lotta logged in users to prop up its data offerings, some of which appeared to be sagging under the weight of privacy regulations and the death of the third-party cookie. TikTok’s user base could seriously flesh out any identity program, and offer Oracle clients immense new insights.
Why This Matters
National security imbroglios aren’t the only thing bringing odd media companies together. We’re in for a great deal of consolidation as the Chrome third-party cookie cutoff date of 2022 looms closer. Don’t just expect ad tech companies to join forces—plenty of publishers and media companies may find themselves in marriages of convenience, sometimes with their tech partners.

The real question is whether they can see past their differences and make it work for the long haul. After all, even partnerships and mergers that seem incredibly aligned can run afoul for any number of reasons. Speaking of which, anyone in the market for a secondhand Xandr?
Quibi Is in Struggle Mode

It sounded like a really great business proposition...former Disney studio head and DreamWorks co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, wanted to reinvent television into a bite-sized mobile format—chapterized Netflix series for your pocket, if you will. It made a lot of sense too. Mobile traffic has been outpacing desktop for quite some time now.

Besides banks and other investors, as well as major Hollywood studios and TV, telecommunications, and technology companies strongly believed in the venture, investing $1.75 billion. They were banking on Katzenberg's vision of people opting for A-list content producers and talent over amateur YouTube and TikTok videos made by bored teens and twenty-somethings with way too much time on their hands.

But it just hasn’t panned out for Quibi. People aren’t tuning in to their pocket TVs in the droves that Katzenberg hoped. Senior Editor, Lynne d Johnson, had the app for months now and hasn’t opened it up except for when she first downloaded it—even though it’s the only place to watch newly released Reno 911! content.

So what went wrong? Why hasn’t Quibi been able to reach its subscriber goals? Why is the video streaming upstart now considering a sale, only six months after launch?

Why This Matters

While it’s not exactly the end of days for Quibi, the signs are blaring that a sale or another round of fundraising is imminent.

The short streaming service launched as an unproven concept in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic where AVOD platforms were a bright spot, due to growth in CTV as everyone was forced to stay home. (HBO Max reached first-year goals and Diney+ reached their five-year target in their first eight months.) So perhaps, Quibi should've been a titleholder.

But there was no way Quibi could predict just how dramatically COVID would change consumer consumption habits. Although internet usage has been surging and mobile also, people have been turning to their mobile browsers—more than apps—to keep in touch with people, as well as news and entertainment.

And as slick and user friendly as the Quibi app is, it's missing one key component—the ability to easily share clips from within the app. That's a core product feature in this day and age.

A company spokeswoman said in a statement, “Quibi has successfully launched a new business and pioneered a new form of storytelling and state-of-the-art platform.” Meanwhile, it’s been public for months that they failed to meet significant goals that would satisfy investors (and advertisers). Guess we’ll just have to wait a few more months and see how this one works out.

Putting Ad Tech Under the Blacklight
Image sourced from The Markup
Nonprofit tech watchdog The Markup just released Blacklight, a neat tool enabling anyone to enter a URL and see how many trackers sit on a page and how many third-party cookies are being dropped. In addition, it lists all the companies whose code appears on the searched URL, with thorough descriptions of those companies (including relevant news stories) and links to their privacy policies.

Blacklight is not a new concept by any means but deserves cheers for a very straightforward interface (no browser extension required!) as well as a glossary of terminology, the ability to report any of kind “worrying” information, and downloadable search archives.
Why This Matters
It’s extremely difficult to educate audiences about the technology we leverage in driving revenue and enabling targeted advertising. It’s a good thing for consumers to become more familiar with commonplace names in our industry.

While there’s a lot of sensational language throughout the Markup, and Blacklight itself has some interesting ideas about the average number of trackers and third-party cookies dropped on “popular” websites, there are some highly informative articles around “The High Privacy Cost of a ‘Free’ Website.”

Blacklight is the kind of site you might want to send to friends curious about how targeted advertising works, as well as take cues from when trying to inform users of the tools you use to monetize. Indeed, tools like Blacklight are useful as we determine what’s the best way to truly gain consent from our audiences.
Blockchain Proves Programmatic Potential
TAG says they’ve successfully completed a twelve-month cross-industry pilot program evaluating the potential benefits of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to bring trust and transparency to the digital advertising supply chain. Remember “The Mysteriously Missing 15%”?

The pilot, which included major brands like Nestle, McDonald's, and Johnson & Johnson; agencies like GroupM, IPG, OMD, and Zenith, as well as over 15 prominent ad tech providers, demonstrated the potential of DLT for:
  • Supply Chain Transparency – Despite log-level data availability and inconsistency issues, the TAG DLT Pilot successfully validated the use of a DLT platform as a unified data and reporting layer for the industry.
  • Supply Chain Optimisation – The Pilot allowed participants to use Shared Truth to validate the execution of campaigns against a set of metrics reconciled among multiple vendors including discrepancies, measurability, viewability, brand safety or fraud prevention metrics.
  • Operational Efficiencies – The DLT platform successfully tested how smart contracts can automate business processes between ad buyers and sellers providing significant operational efficiencies.
Why This Matters
Now back to the mysteriously missing 15% identified in the ISBA report some months back and the difficulties accessing much-needed data by advertisers, agencies, publishers, DSPs, and SSPs. In the DLT pilot, impression log-level data was harmonized into a common format, data access management was automated, and data immutability, security, and privacy were ensured. Certainly sounds like a method for making the unknowns known doesn't it?

We’ve spoken with many blockchain players in the industry, including Richard Bush, president, NYIAX, Christiana Cacciapuoti VP Partnerships, MadHive & Executive Director, AdLedger, and Vanina Ivanova, CMO, AdEx Network and the consensus is that DLT, Cryptography, and other associated blockchain technologies have already shown they can solve for efficiency, transparency and tackling fraud. And applications that solve for identity are becoming more real every day.

So, for the naysayers in the back, stop thinking that the blockchain brigade is touting the tech as a replacement to current ad tech. Instead think of it as a framework for bolstering that tech and making it stronger.
Sweet Tweet
Safari having 60% lower rates as a ballpark for where monetization will be post-cookie that ignores that every buyer with any user targeting, even simply frequency caps, necessarily concentrates all their spend on Chrome. Spend will even out. It'll be lower - just maybe not 60%.
Worth a Listen
The Big Story: Rolling With The Punches
Even the biggest companies need to prepare for Apple’s IDFA changes—and that includes Google. The Adexchanger team gets into the weeds on Google’s iOS 14 prep plans and shoots the breeze on Xandr’s fall from grace now that it appears AT&T is looking to sell its once-darling ad tech unit.
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