Strong ad revenue reports

According to AA/Warc, UK adspend will hit £29.3bn in 2021 – 24.8% up year-over-year – with Q4 representing a record high for any quarter on record at £7.9bn.  All areas saw strong recovery in Q2 2021 with some key digital highlights including video-on-demand (112% up YoY), online magazines (155.5% up), and online regional news (85.7% up).  For 2022 AA/Warc expect 7.7% growth to bring total UK adspend to £31.5bn.

UK advertising’s recovery goes from strength to strength, following the sharp shock of the pandemic. The forecast of strong online performance is further evidence of the UK’s position as the world’s most digitally-advanced advertising market and Europe’s biggest.

AA chief exec Stephen Woodford

Several tech giants reported their quarterly ad revenue figures too including Google ($53.1bn for Q3), with YouTube reaching a record high of $7.2bn as video and CTV continue to grow.  Facebook ad revenue rose 33.2% year-over-year to $28.3bn despite a number of headwinds including Apple’s privacy changes, and brand reputation challenges.  Other ad revenue highlights included Reddit’s $300m for 2021, Snap surpassing $1bn in Q3, and Twitter ad revenues rising 41% year over year to $1.14bn.

What’s the Meta with big tech?!

The big breaking news this week was Facebook rebranding to Meta though the platforms Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp will all maintain their individual names.  Whilst a corporate rebrand and stories such as Facebook finally agreeing to pay French publishers for reuse of their content may save some face, it doesn’t stem the flow of controversy at the social giant.  For instance, Insider reported on Facebook keeping Breitbart on News Tab despite warnings against some of its controversial coverage, and this is leading to further scrutiny.

There’s a great Facebook takedown from AdColony’s Jude O’Connor that covers a few different areas summarised by Facebook’s lack of transparency about its recent outages.  Jude suggests advertisers are putting way too much money into Facebook, which he compares to being in a toxic relationship with constant breaks of trust (e.g. Cambridge Analytica scandal), blaming other people for their problems (e.g. Apple’s privacy changes), and power imbalances where Facebook holds all the power.  Jude’s message to advertisers and publishers:

The good news is you can extricate yourself from your dependence on Facebook. I’m not naive enough to say Facebook’s massive scale doesn’t have any value, but my advice is to spread out.  There are plenty of lifeboats – no need to go down with the ship.

Jude O’Connor, CRO at AdColony

Meanwhile; an amended Texas antitrust complaint alleges that Facebook colluded with Google – among other shady activities – to ensure their own successes in the face of rising popularity of header bidding.  The Texas antitrust case against Google is one of four ongoing government-backed claims in the US alleging Google competes unfairly, which references “project Jedi” where Google secretly made its own exchange win more bids even when another exchange submitted a higher bid.  It also references “Jedi Blue”  the codename for Google’s alleged agreement to charge Facebook lower fees and give Facebook advantages in header bidding auctions too. 

You can read the unredacted version of the complaint against Google here.  An extensive article in AdExchanger also covers elements of the case such as match rate commitments to help Facebook identity users in auctions; Project Bernanke where Google used information from publisher ad servers to strengthen its own ad tech; and Project NERA – Google’s initiative to create a walled garden and limit publisher operations.

Amazon & Disney launch clean rooms

Amazon launched new ads & measurement features, which could see more advertisers look to the ecommerce giant, including a data clean room service.  The Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) allow brands to use their own first-party data alongside Amazon’s in order to further customise queries.  Amazon weren’t the only ones to recently launch a clean room though as Disney launched a clean room solution as well, powered by Disney Select – its library of 1000+ first party segments – to provide buyers pre-planning insights, activation and cross-portfolio measurement.

Other interesting reads & listens

🎧 Media Trends: Smart device prominence

Monday’s eMarketer episode of ‘By the numbers’ covered the most important trends in media picking out the key insights from the most recent Global Media Intelligence Report.  Some of the key highlights included the gaining momentum of smart devices such as smart watches, security and energy monitors; whilst Smart TV ownership exceeded 50% in the UK.  Meanwhile; many are ditching other devices in favour of smartphones e.g. 96% of UK adults own a smartphone vs 77% that own a desktop or laptop.

Publisher requests for climate & sustainability coverage

According to reports from Digiday, publishers are seeing growing requests around climate & sustainability coverage including the likes of BBC, Bloomberg, FT, Group Nine Media, and The Economist.  For instance, ad revenue from Bloomberg’s climate-focused property Bloomberg Green increased 144% from January 2020 to January 2021.

Publishers need to diversify affiliate revenue

More Digiday research suggests publishers can grow their commerce revenues simply by diversifying the way they generate them.  It’s no surprise that given the continuing rise of retail media that 60% of publishers Digiday asked expect affiliate revenues to rise, with diversifying across direct deals & networks key to growth.

Check out Carbon’s latest platform insights piece that looks into automotive category & brand CPMs.

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