The Trade Desk launches OpenPath

The Trade Desk announced OpenPath this week, a new product that reportedly allows advertisers to buy programmatic ads directly from premium publishers in order to make ad buying cheaper and more transparent.  However, the move also means cutting out Google Open Bidding – and others – from their ad buying process.  This will likely be a big win for other major sources of ad inventory – such as Prebid and Amazon’s Transparent Ad Marketplace – though there’s been a mixed reaction from all sides of the industry.

OpenPath is an excellent example of industry leaders working together to advance an open market that ensures transparent price competition that maximises value for both advertisers and publishers

Jeff Green, CEO at The Trade Desk

For instance; whilst TTD “remains committed to serving only advertisers” there is some concern that they’re encroaching on SSP territory having already struck deals with around a dozen publishers including Conde Nast, Reuters and The Washington Post to onboard their inventory in its OpenPath product.  However, TTD will not provide supply-side services, such as yield management, with that responsibility continuing to rest in the hands of existing publisher management tools and partners.

Check out AdExchanger’s take on TTD billion-dollar run rate and further details of why they ditched Google Open Bidding.  Meanwhile, TTD also joined forces with Nielsen to provide demographic data on digital impressions across millions of devices.

Google’s Encrypted Signals, and Privacy Sandbox coming to Android

Google has been quietly rolling out Encrypted Signals for Publishers – a program whereby Google is allowing publishers to keep their cookies working as online advertising identifiers in Google’s ad platform.  Encrypted signals is a way for publishers to work with their preferred ad technology partners in Google Ad Manager to swap data through a secure back channel, whilst the encryption prevents data from leaking and ensures Google never gets to see that data either.  ID5, LiveRamp and OpenX are all starting to test encrypted signals.

Privacy Sandbox comes to Android

Privacy Sandbox is coming to Android with similar proposals as Chrome including Topics (for targeting) and FLEDGE (for retargeting), plus improved attribution reporting and ways for apps to integrate with third party ad SDKs.  AdExchanger’s Allison Schiff discusses Android’s own Privacy Sandbox including the distinction between Google’s plan to operate these APIs without cross-app identifiers versus Apple’s ATT changes that were made with relatively short notice and needed significant consent requirements.

The news follows recent regulatory approval from the UK’s CMA to proceed with its Privacy Sandbox after receiving legally binding commitments from Google:

Our intervention in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting competition in digital markets and our global role in shaping the behaviour of world-leading tech firms.  The commitments we have obtained from Google will promote competition, help to protect the ability of online publishers to raise money through advertising and safeguard users’ privacy.

Andrea Coscelli, CEO at the CMA

The approval represents a step forward for Google’s post-cookie approach, as well as showing regulators’ – such as the CMA – willingness to intervene in development phases of tech, rather than after the fact.  However, within an hour of the announcement of CMA’s approval Google was hit with another antitrust complaint from the European Publishers Council, accusing Google of anticompetitive conduct in the digital ad market.

Industry views: Subscriptions, contextual, attention, and AMP

  • Digiday’s latest media briefing focused on publishers driving subscriptions from building stickier experiences and modelling “known users” to work out what works, to using analytics to determine topics most likely to drive subscriptions.  For instance, The Atlantic is testing a range of hypotheses using metered paywalls, free trials and pricing on 50% of its traffic to find the right mix.
  • The IAC-owned and unified ad stacks of DotDash Meredith will focus on contextual targeting, according to CEO Neil Vogel. With the key opportunity of running intent-driven contextual ad campaigns at scale, Vogel makes the bold claim that “intent-driven contextual advertising beats cookie-based advertising in performance every time”.
  • Future PLC turned off AMP for most of its sites recently suggesting that the move had no impact on neither traffic nor money made from those pages.  For one site – Cinema Blend – traffic in January was actually up 30% year-over-year; whilst overall the publisher has made more money as a result of the move.

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🛒 Walgreens launch self-serve programmatic & clean rooms

The Walgreens Advertising Group is launching self-serve and clean room solutions so advertisers can target campaigns based on Walgreens first-party data.  The self-serve solution will offer integration with The Trade Desk and OpenX at launch, with plans to add connections to other ad tech platforms in the future.

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