Apple’s growing influence over ad dollars

Digiday asked the question this week “Is Apple making a land grab for media dollars?” with new ad spaces and privacy tools just some of the indicating factors.  ATT, for instance, is great for privacy but with less people consenting to being “tracked” then it pushes app publishers to subscription fees where Apple takes a cut.  Furthermore, Apple’s apps are exempt from showing the ATT message, whilst the App Store’s ATT messaging asks users to opt-in to “Personalised Ads” as opposed to the more aggressive “tracked” wording.

Apple has little control over what apps are popular on its platform. But if it can control the lifeblood of those apps (i.e. ad revenue) then those apps become more dependent on Apple both for advertisers and for attribution.


Apple’s influence extends well beyond apps with iOS15 release including a host of new features designed to protect user privacy.  For instance; the email inbox privacy features to control when a sender can see if an email has been opened has a number of publishers bracing for iOS changes to their newsletter businesses.  Ultimately this feature could impact on how publishers can engage readers as well as attract & retain subscribers.

The Drum interviewed a host of experts on how Apple’s changes could be to the detriment of marketers & publishers with some helpful insights into preparing for future changes by focusing on contextual, AI, and growing direct connections.

Each upgrade is a reminder that publishers must form close, consented relationships with their visitors, and marketers need to work with advertising partners that offer strong publisher connections if they are to continue activating effective, personalized messaging in a privacy-safe way.

Lock Rose, Chief Analytics Officer, Epsilon

IAB warns against ban on targeting

The IAB recently released a new paper into “The Wider Socio-Economic and Cultural Value of Targeted Advertising in Europe” in which IAB Europe’s Dr Daniel Knapp warns against a blanket ban on targeted ads.  Specifically he warns that it would hinder the development of SMBs against larger players, would stunt Europe’s growth in a new digital world, and that it is key in supporting a strong, pluralistic and independent media ecosystem.

A blanket ban on targeted advertising – regardless of approach – would not only deprive publishers of crucial revenue sources as they transition to digital business models. It would also hamper the ability to deliver on the declared EU media strategy for personalised content in a sustainable way. Lastly, it would erect an artificial barrier in the European public sphere between citizens who have the financial means to pay for quality news, and those that don’t.

iab europe

In another IAB-related feature, new IAB Tech Lab CEO spoke to Digiday on his plans to support a responsible digital ad ecosystem, with a promise to “get back to its roots as a lab that produces these technology standards for the industry to then innovate on.”  As well as dealing with the various current dynamics including consumer privacy, identity, measurement, and addressability, it’s clear that big tech’s influence is also up for discussion:

Apple has set the tone as one of the largest ecosystems on the planet and that role is definitely being discussed, particularly with brands and agencies,

Anthony Katsur, ceo iab tech lab

Hot off the press is the IAB Tech Lab’s release of the Content Taxonomy 3.0 to enable contextual targeting for CTV & expand news categories.  The media landscape continues to evolve with new media types such as CTV, gaming, podcasts and mobile becoming key channels.  However, ensuring the news content that so many people rely on online is monetised properly is just as important, so enabling buyers to use a consistent, easy-to-understand language across the entire advertising ecosystem to segment and categorize all content is critical.

Publisher activity: Maven rebrands, BuzzFeed’s automated ads

Carbon client Maven rebranded as The Arena Group this week to focus on sports and finance verticals.  Having increased group revenue by 54% YoY to June 2021, growth is coming from digital with most of the digital growth reportedly coming from subscriptions.  For instance, digital subscription revenue has grown 18% YoY.

BuzzFeed is more focused on advertising having seen Q2 ad revenue grow 79% to $47.8m, making up 53% of Q2 total revenue.  This growth has been driven by PMPs, direct deals as well as higher programmatic pricing using its in-house data platform Lighthouse.  With selling on the open marketplace still a big part of BuzzFeed’s business they’re exploring a range of identity strategies including their own first party solutions as well as “cohorts and contextual”.

Other interesting reads

  • This week saw Carbon complete the integration of Narratiive’s data lake into its revenue management platform to enable MENA & South Africa publishers to extend the reach of their first party audiences by as much as 600%.
  • Digiday’s guide to what’s in and out in the privacy conversation this year gives a summary of the key themes publishers are facing including delayed third party cookie preparations, commercialising first party data, PMPs, publishers own ID solutions, agencies & buyers cozying up to publishers and much more.
  • Innovid produced a great infographic into how marketers & consumers can come together in a cookieless world.  Insights include that 84% of consumers would be comfortable sharing their data if proper measures were in place; whilst top reasons for sharing data included being paid, as well as having full transparency of how data is collected.
  • According to YouGov; on average 48% of adults always click accept all to cookie consent with the highest countries being Poland (64%), Spain (63%) and the UK (61%).  At the other end of the scale, the US was the highest for disagreeing that they’d always click “accept all” at 42%.

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