Issue 11# Early April

Issue 11# Early April

It's Q2 already and hopefully everyone has pulled out of the annual first-quarter doldrums. I thought it would be interesting to run a lightning poll on just that question. If you do nothing else with this issue, please take 15 seconds (link below) to answer the quick poll, and I'll share the results in a later issue.

There's a couple of big EU stories this month, but I'd urge non UK/EU users not to gloss over them. Both have the potential for impact far beyond EU borders.

As ever, you can read this issue online at . Just add your email there to have this delivered by the magic of email twice a month rather than missing it in your LinkedIn feed

In this issue...

(just scroll down and read the parts that interest you)

  • Q1 - How was it for you?
  • EU Digital Markets Act set to reign in big tech
  • US & EU reach agreement on how to handle EU user data
  • IAB & Pubmatic release video advertising report
  • Google ESP goes to open beta
  • Readers question: : How do I traffic direct ads under MCM?
  • No dumb questions
  • More stories in short
  • Wrapping up

Q1 - How was it for you?

Let's kick off with that poll. All of my polls are completely anonymous, and take just a couple of clicks to answer. Every response appreciated.

Click to answer

EU Digital Markets Act set to reign in big tech

Having warned big tech companies about anti-competitive practices for years, the EU has just delivered the bite to match years of barking. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to break-open the big platforms, or "Gatekeepers" as the EU is calling them. Rather than the US anti-trust approach of aiming to break up the tech giants, the DMA seeks to open them up for smaller players.

The act targets companies with a market capitalization of more than €75 billion ($​​83 billion) and 45 million monthly active EU users. As such it is clearly targeted at Google, Meta, Apple and Amazon, but will also impact a number of "smaller" players.

The implications of the act are potentially enormous: Apple giving equal prominence to third party app stores, Google allowing non-google ads on YouTube,  Amazon stopped from giving prominence to product it sells and so much more. It is certainly going to be interesting to see who this plays out. Wired have a good piece on it here.

US & EU reach agreement on how to handle EU user data

I've written before about the collapse of the Privacy Shield agreement; the framework that allowed the data of EU Citizens to be stored and processed by bigtech in the US. Privacy Shield fell apart as a result of Snowden's revelations of the extent of US data surveillance. The practical upshot of this for publishers is that parts of the EU had deemed that the use of systems such as Google Analytics (and by extension - pretty much all adtech) is illegal.

The US and EU have reportedly now reached an "Agreement in principal" on data portability for the future. The new framework introduces additional safeguards including:

  • Limiting access to data by US Intelligence agencies
  • A means for EU citizens to seek redress for any breech by US intelligence agencies
  • New standards and procedures for oversight of the agencies

It's not a done deal yet though. Max Schrems who who initiated the legal cases that resulted in both the Schrems I and Schrems II decisions, has already indicated that he will challenge the new "Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework” (TADPF). How are we going to pronounce that by the way? I vote "tad-puff".  Joint statement on TADPF here

IAB & Pubmatic release video advertising report

IAB Europe and Pubmatic have released their State of Video advertising report full of interesting tidbits about... well, video advertising. The report suggests some positives for publishers including continued growth in video and continued shift to mobile video. Challenges too though: The shift of video spend towards connected TV is likely to focus spend towards a small number of large publishers.
Read the report, or check out the infographic here.

Google ESP goes to open beta

Having decided that the world of surveillance capitalism wasn't creepy enough already, Google have released a GAM feature called "ESP" to open beta (I had to check this wasn't April 1st when it landed in my inbox).

Encrypted Signals from Publishers allows publishers to securely share first-party signals through GAM. This differs from PPID as PPID is for Google to act on and ESP will be for invited third parties. Interestingly this means that Google are now facilitating others using email as personal identifiers which is something that they recently stated was not privacy compliant.

This is all confusing stuff for many. The short version is that if you aren't using user identifiers like UID 2.0 then you don't need to worry. If you don't know if you are using them then you aren't.

With regards to the name, don't worry: It's a Google feature so will likely have three or four name changes in the near future before something suitably confusing is settled on.  More on AdExchanger

Readers question: How do I traffic direct ads under MCM?

I had a great reader question come in after Issue#10 that I wanted to share here. I am going to paraphrase

I am investigating whether I can automate direct advertising under MCM. I am wondering about using Programmatic Direct approaches instead.
- Ian

The problem here is that when Google retired linked accounts they cut off the ability for many publishers to manage their own direct deals in the way they wanted to manage them. There are effectively now 3 ways to do this that I am aware of:

1) Have your MCM parent manage the direct deals. Some offer this as a service, some don't. Of those offering to do it, some do it well... some don't.
2) As you MCM parent to set you up using GAM's "Teams" functionality. This allows a user to be added with specific permissions like trafficking direct campaigns. Teams is the official solution to this problem. It's a bit clunky, but it does work. Again, some MCM partners are happy to do this and some aren't
3) Get switched to "Manage Account". This is the solution many publishers would like, but getting access to Ad Exchange through managed account can be tricky and MCM partners are not really incentivised to do facilitate this as it is a lot of work that ends up losing them money.

How you then automate will depend on the option above you go with. Option 3 is the easiest to automate as you could ties into third party systems like buysellads.

Programmatic Direct is easier for many MCM partners to manage, but does rely on your advertisers being set-up

If your revenue potential on direct is significant, then it is definitely worth shopping around to find a partner that will support you well on this. It's one of the areas when MCM offerings vary the most.

No dumb questions

Have a question relating to Ads or Web Publishing and don't know who to ask? Ask it here without judgement. I'll pick out some interesting ones and either answer them myself or find someone who can.

Click to answer

Other stories of interest that I have kept short:

  • TikTok eyes YouTube content and expands maximum video length to 10 minutes. I'm going to need some longer tracks to lip sync to. More
  • Another privacy law to keep an eye on. This time it is Utah. Requirements are similar to California, but only impacts larger businesses. More

Wrapping up

That's it for Issue#11. Don't forget to subscribe for free here