Spotlight

Google kicks cookie deprecation down the road and publishers shy away from subscription models

Welcome to the April edition of Spotlight, your monthly digest of what’s making news in the world of digital marketing and adtech.

What we have for you today: The fight against MFAs continues, cookie deprecation gets delayed (again), and publishers report subscription woes.

Moving on from MFA

Made-for-advertising sites are once again in the headlines. First, Forbes has been called out in a report by Adalytics, an advertising transparency vendor, for operating an MFA subdomain for years. It’s reckoned that 4 to 5% of Forbes impressions per client (i.e., 25% of an agency’s total client base’s impressions from Forbes) were tied to the subdomain.

The intersection of retail media and MFAs has also come under scrutiny. In this case, the concern is that retail media networks are serving ads on the open web without any transparency, reporting, or verification, making them a gateway to MFA sites.

The resilience of MFAs highlights the need for trustworthy verification services for programmatic advertising to ensure that brand content is only displayed on appropriate sites and to the right audiences.

The long goodbye

In a move that has come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, Google has once again delayed tracking cookie deprecation in Chrome. With the UK Competition and Markets Authority breathing down its neck, the tech giant has realised that it will be unable to meet its target of full deprecation by the end of the year. When cookie deprecation will actually happen is anybody’s guess.

Fortunately for advertisers and publishers, Google’s privacy-first approach to personalised advertising, the Privacy Sandbox, is not the only game in town especially so given lukewarm industry reaction to its proposed replacement to tracking cookies. The adtech ecosystem is innovating a wide range of privacy-first alternatives to resolving IDs and creating addressable audiences online. Our advice is to review the full range of options available rather than only focusing on Google.

Publishers steer away from subscriptions

What’s increasingly clear is that abandoning personalised advertising in favour of subscription models is not the way forward for publishers. New research from Digiday reveals that subscriptions are no longer an effective revenue driver, ranking just sixth out of ten in terms of most important revenue sources. Approximately half of publishers (44%) reported that they don’t get any revenue from subscriptions, up significantly from 26% six months ago.

Clearly, publishers still need advertising revenue, and to optimise that, they need to find ways of verifying open web users and building privacy-first addressable audiences for programmatic activation. Leading publishing groups around the world are already making this happen.

The flaws with retail media networks

A large number of retailers are looking to cash in on tracking cookie deprecation by offering retail media networks, whereby they can exploit their first-party data for advertising propositions. However, it seems that there are just too many retail media networks on the market and advertising agencies are struggling to choose where to spend their budgets.

This is a weakness of standalone approaches to delivering first-party-data-derived audiences. If advertisers are to reach audiences with tailored content on a scale similar to that achieved with tracking cookies, there needs to be a consolidated approach that combines data from across the open web.

US regulators talk tough

One thing is clear; publishers and advertisers need to find a solution fast. Across the world jurisdictions are cracking down on invasive advertising techniques, with US regulators the latest to sound off on this issue. Across the states, regulators are talking with one voice and demanding increased transparency, proper disclosures, truly compliant privacy policies, clear and simple consent mechanisms, and well-protected personal data. The gauntlet has been thrown, and it’s now up to the industry to respond.

More from Novatiq

As always, you can also learn more by reading our latest blogs. This month we’re taking a deep dive into some of the big trends shaping the digital marketing industry in the US.

Ready to learn more?

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