Agency Insider: Yep, We’re Buying Publishers’ Data Indirectly
Digiday’s “Confessions” series most recently brought us a chat with a programmatic buyer at an ad agency. For publishers who fret over how much valuable data they’re losing to wily buy-siders, this more or less confirms several of their fears. The buyer explained how they’re able to pick up publisher data from ad exchanges, without paying the publishers directly. Pubs are selling this data about their users to ad tech partners as it is. Then, says the buyer, “we can buy a few impressions [from exchanges], and layer over some third-party data we purchase from Acxiom or Oracle to build our own audience segments that we would pay publishers a big premium for if they had better control over their data and sold this information to advertisers directly.”
The buyer also gave an example of how there are consumer-facing publications with substantial B2B audiences, but those pubs don’t separate the B2B audience as such, leaving a valuable opportunity on the table. Instead of going to a B2B pub that charges high CPMs, the agency will pinch data from the exchanges, build lookalike models and go back and buy inventory to reach that B2B audience on the cheap.
Sure, third-party data can be less than reliable, but it allows buy-side companies to build these audience segments—if the segments test well, they’ll often perform well. And the source says publishers act this way at least as much out of habit as out of wariness about the cost of tech investment: “If publishers put as much effort into getting their data in order that they do in taking 25-year-old media buyers to lunch, they would figure this stuff out.” So have pubs lost the data leakage war? We keep saying there are opportunities for publishers to monetize data in itself, but why should marketers pony up when they can get what they need with some cheap data and some improvisation?
YouTube Aims to Trim the Long Tail
The brand safety discussion is spreading out: Nothing says “long-tail” quite like the UGC free-for-all that is YouTube, but now controls are tightening up in the more “premium”-ish corners of YouTube. The platform is going to have humans review video content on popular channels to make sure it’s “ad-friendly.” Not all video content, let’s note—just channels marked as “Google Preferred.”
And there are new requirements for video creators to join the YouTube Partner Program, which gives vloggers and other video creators tools for promoting their videos and revenue shares from advertising. Those video creators now need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours’ worth of views over a one-year period, in order to join YPP. Previously, they had just needed 10,000 views, since whatever date they had started their channel.
While some vloggers are up in arms that this could dramatically impact their ability to monetize their content, YouTube execs suggested few would notice much of a change. They said that of the video creators who would be demoted from YPP, the overwhelming majority had been pulling in less than $100 per year anyway. So is this about optics, mollifying marketers while they recognize they should be looking out for brand safety? Maybe it is, but it’ll likely do the trick, until the next hot-button issue manifests.
Roku Adds a Measurement Platform
Roku launched a new service, Ad Insights, for advertisers to measure OTT campaign performance on Roku’s media and its network of apps. AdExchanger explained Roku’s gets its measurement intel from its first-party registration data, plus data about streaming behavior collected via pixels and automatic content recognition, plus survey data from Ad Insights that Roku says that gives them “real-time” capabilities to measure campaign performance. AdEx reported the measurement capabilities also get a boost from Roku-supported measurement vendors. The measurement platform serves to help gauge performance on a host of brand metrics of importance to its big brand advertisers.
Report: Video Ad Campaign Activation Is Harder, Slower Than It Has to Be
This should be surprising to approximately no one, but research conducted by Advertiser Perceptions for Extreme Reach finds “friction” in the activation of video ad campaigns. This study surveyed 150 video ad ops people at agencies, and found “insufficient lead time, lengthy searches for appropriate assets and overwhelming variety of specs/formats required by media plan participants” are common issues. A whole 93% of those ops professionals said they have problems getting creative assets sourced and readied for video campaigns, and over half said those problems lead to campaigns launching later than scheduled.
The respondents found campaign activation to be really manual, and they don’t think clients understand the workflow involved. (The executive summary says workflow is “years behind” media buying capabilities.) The catch is, as the report says, we have the technology to make workflow easier by managing creative assets efficiently, but the tech hasn’t picked up steam with video. In short: Multi-platform, multi-screen video campaigns are hard, and the creative, which is the thing that makes it all possible, is often considered late in the game. Or, to put it another way, video campaigns are having problems because stakeholders sometimes aren’t anticipating the problems everyone already knows to be problems.
Report: Measurement, Transparency, Fraud Top Programmatic Media Buyers’ Concerns
Worth mentioning this one, even though we shouldn’t need to elaborate on it: Research firm London Research, working in conjunction with media agency Truth, surveyed media buyers and found 49% considered “lack of consistent measurement/metrics” a concern in programmatic. Other major concerns included “lack of agency transparency” (42%), “lack of visibility on third parties” (39%) and ad fraud (37%). But those media buyers are still gung ho on programmatic because it allows them to reach their target audiences at scale and with an ROI they’re on board with. Right—just want to say, these are common enough discussion points at AdMonsters events, so buyers and sellers alike are trying to sort this out. They ought to seize opportunities to get in the same room to sort it out, though.
TAG Requires Ads.txt for Anti-Fraud Verification
The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) now says publishers must implement ads.txt if they want to receive verification for being”certified against fraud.” Ads.txt, ramping up in adoption over the last several months, can dig in its heels a little deeper with this statement. Google already had said they would require publishers to implement ads.txt in order to support their ad deals on its exchange.
But there’s been pushback from publishers. Many aren’t clear what they stand to gain after putting in the hours and the resources required to meet TAG’s guidelines. Let’s remember what Rob Beeler wrote on that subject not too long ago: “Part of the pushback on TAG by ad operations has been the fact that it’s not a technical solution, which is understandable. Ads.txt and now ads.txt Plus, while simple, does allow for buying platforms to automatically select ads.txt-enabled publishers to be considered. TAG does none of that. What it does is give brands and agencies a choice of selecting solutions and publishers that agree to the same approach to reducing fraud. That alone is a step forward.”