Top Media industry trends

A Digiday article covering the top media trends for 2021 so far included advertising’s rebound, an evolving identity picture, and slowing new subscription rates.  On the advertising rebound some of those Digiday spoke to suggested they’re approaching (and even exceeding) 2019 levels, which represent a more sensible comparison given the loss in ad spend the industry saw in 2020.  In the US, eMarketer’s updated programmatic forecast was revised upwards by $15bn, partly driven by the accelerated recovery after the early impact of covid as well as new growing areas such as audio and CTV.  CTV, for instance, now accounts for half of all video ad impressions, according to Innovid.

The ad rebound has come at a welcome time given that one of the trending challenges Digiday research suggests has been a slight subsidence of new subscribers for publishers.  Particularly for news publishers who experienced an “unyielding and unprecedented news cycle” (i.e. pandemic, racial injustice, presidential race) which led to a surge in readers, viewers and subscribers but has since dropped off.

Google serving up CHIPS

The industry continues to push the need to test & innovate when it comes to identity, despite Google’s delay of the deprecation of 3rd party cookies.  This means that having partners that are open and flexible to different methods is key; from 1st party IDs and universal identifiers, to contextual and modelled cohorts, whilst using quality 3rd party data where it is relevant and safe to do so.

Google is proposing a lesser form of 3rd party cookie they’re calling ‘Cookies Having Independent Partitioned State’ or CHIPs if you want another acronym! The proposal in theory gives developers the ability to use cookies in third-party contexts that are ‘partitioned’ by top-level sites to meet use cases that are not cross-site tracking related (e.g. live chat support).  These cookies will not be restricted by cross-site cookie blocking since they cannot be used to track users’ activity across different sites.

Adopting the IAB Content Taxonomy

The IAB’s Content Taxonomy enables a consistent, easy-to-understand language across the entire advertising ecosystem (advertisers, publishers and platforms) to describe content in order to make decisions on relevance and appropriateness of ads.  Adopting a common language will make PMPs and direct sales easier to negotiate, whilst powering more scalable solutions such as contextual advertising, which is part of the reason why Carbon are adopting the IAB content taxonomy 2.2 now.

Mapping to the IAB taxonomy is only the starting point as Carbon continues to optimise and calibrate its contextual intelligence by excluding sensitive, whilst including custom signals such as brands and keywords.  For advertisers this means improved brand relevance and contextual targeting to precisely align their ads with relevant and safe content to drive better ROI. For publishers it means the ability to retain the value of their ad inventory while providing a better user experience.

Research from Kantar suggests advertisers want to work more collaboratively with partners to ensure wider, more transparent access to consumer data.  82% of advertisers even feel they should be looking beyond their first-party data to third-party, consented data to enrich their understanding of their customers.  As a result, advertisers are going to look for more direct relationships with publishers to provide those data insights and ad opportunities.  This closer collaboration between advertisers and publishers will make it critical to have those common taxonomies so they can speak the same audience language.

Other interesting reads

  • There’s a suggestion that Apple’s Private Relay could spell the end for fingerprinting on iOS.  At the moment, Apple is not aggressively enforcing ATT policy, but there’s a belief that’s because this new tech will stop fingerprinting altogether.
  • An interesting read in MartechSeries looks into two of the dominating 3rd party cookies alternatives – UID2.0 and Google’s FLoC/Fledge.  The article is pretty honest in its appraisal of the two, suggesting that UID2.0 will likely favour the big publishers who can drive more opt-ins leading to a “sellers cartel”; whilst FLoC could favour the bigger brands when it comes to the bidding process damaging the open web.
  • An update on Facebook cookies consent prompt has been implemented in Europe as Facebook plays catch-up when it comes to privacy.  The move will enable European users to control whether Facebook and companies using Facebook tools can set or read those cookies.

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Carbon is now part of Magnite.