DSP Hidden Fees, Retargeters and Consent

DSPs Hidden Fees Dragged Into the Light

AdExchanger published a lengthy explanation of the infamous hidden fees DSPs sometimes charge. It’s common knowledge in the industry that DSPs are often inclined to take a cut off of the transactions they enable, and then add extra fees on top of that. But AdExchanger’s Sarah Sluis has outlined four distinct ways they may add those extra fees: 1) Burdened by the increased volume of queries header bidding has brought, DSPs may limit the number of queries per second each exchange gets, and increase that number if the exchange gives them a rebate. 2) DSPs may control for discrepancies by rounding clearing prices up, to make up for the amount of those discrepancies, or by splitting discrepancy fees with exchanges, rather than rely on the SSP’s accounting. 3) DSPs may take fees from outside data providers, or simply take the rate the data provider charged and mark it up higher for the buyer. 4) DSPs may charge buyers extra for access to curated inventory. The AdExchanger story gets into much more detail and offers some insider-y examples, and it’s worth the read if you have a few minutes.

Retargeters Make Moves Toward Gaining Consent for Tracking

When Apple announced it was putting a time limit on the use of third-party tracking cookies in Safari, people wondered how the retargeters would deal. When it became clear how GDPR would require consent for EU users to be tracked, people wondered how the retargeters would deal. Digiday reports Criteo and AdRoll are at least making moves toward gaining user consent to be tracked–serving messages to users while browsing that will allow the user to opt into having their data collected. The catch is in how those opt-ins are presented to the user. AdRoll’s message says, “Click on this page to allow AdRoll to use cross-site tracking,” even though the only options to click are the “x” button (you usually just click an x to close the message box, right, not to allow permissions?), or a link to learn more. Criteo’s message encourages the user to click on any link “to use Criteo’s user-friendly, cross-site tracking technology to get relevant offers from reputable brands,” with a single link to opt out. But instead of saying something like “to opt out of being tracked,” it says “to disable Criteo services.” No doubt what you’re doing when you opt out is disabling Criteo services, but most people on the internet haven’t heard of companies like Criteo and AdRoll, much less what kind of services they offer. Digiday suggests this is going to be a lingering challenge for companies that rely on collecting third-party data. It’s like if a stranger is pounding at your front door–you don’t recognize this person, and you’re not likely to let them in, even if they’re holding, say, a pizza.

Goodbye, Facebook M, Whatever You Were

Facebook is killing off its Messenger virtual assistant M. M never got out of beta, and AdWeek reported all of its users were in California. M was powered by a combination of AI and actual human contractors who “trained” the system. Facebook says they’ll be taking the insights the humans generated and ply them toward future AI solutions. M was supposed to be able to make purchases, deliver packages, book travel, send money, hail rideshares, create polls and handle other day-to-day activities. It could also make suggestions related to daily-life stuff like shopping and entertainment. Why Facebook is putting the brakes on M is not entirely clear. Was it because they offering a free service other companies charge for by the minute? Was it impossible to hire enough humans to make M scale the way it had intended? Whatever the case, it’s interesting that Facebook is apparently pulling the humans off of virtual assistant services, while adding humans to pull the newsfeed algorithm away from recommending fake and incendiary news stories.

New IAB Specs for Automated Guaranteed

The IAB Tech Lab released OpenDirect 2.0, or its recommended specs for automated guaranteed ads. Let’s specify what we mean by “automated guaranteed,” since people in ad tech and media often use similar phrases interchangeably, even when they describe totally different products or strategies. These are not real-time transactions; they’re negotiated ahead of time, directly, between buyer and seller, and the inventory is guaranteed. RFP and ad trafficking are automated, and OpenDirect is a spec for that automated piece (version 1.0 came out in 2015). That’s the final piece of the OpenMedia package. According to the Tech Lab, the updated spec is designed to enable cross-platform order management, to allow publishers to reserve guaranteed inventory for a variety of agencies and advertisers, to enable publishers and buyers to negotiate prices, to allow advertisers to discover new deals on inventory.

Blockchain and the Internet of Things: A Natural Combination?

What’s blockchain have to do with the Internet of Things? Heck, it can feel like blockchain has something to do with almost everything digital, if you know how to angle it. MarTech Today predicts the IoT will bring a change in the advertising/marketing dialogue. Basically, it’ll move us away from being advertised products, and toward being advertised services (for those products, or otherwise). Kaleido Insights has released a report on “The Internet of Trusted Things,” which says blockchain or something like it (a decentralized ledger, in any case) could play a major role in managing signals from all of these devices. According to the report, that kind of system could be really important in tracking device maintenance and managing the supply chain—all kinds of transactions related to the devices.