Our ad tech monthly wrap-up covers the most important news in ad technology, ad blocking trends, funding, and other topics of interest to web publishers and advertisers.
- Can the decentralised information model that is central to blockchain help the fragmented supply chains in the ad tech industry? In his column on AdAge, Richard Bush, CTO of New York Interactive Advertising Exchange, makes the case for how it may just.
- Elsewhere, a superteam of ad tech companies including AppNexus, Index Exchange, LiveIntent, Rocket Fuel, and others have joined hands to fight the Google-Facebook duopoly.
- Publishers are increasingly frustrated with tech vendors. “Sometimes I need a neck to throttle when something breaks,” reads an anonymous confession on Digiday. Ouch. So, why don’t publishers build their own ad technology? Well, a few are doing that, but it’s not easy.
- Contrary to reports about small pockets here and there, ad blocking is pretty much on the rise in most regions. What can advertisers do to still reach their audience? Jason Dubin, CEO and Founder of Playwire, suggests in-app advertising, in-game advertising, and in-store advertising.
- Amidst an atmosphere of pessimism, Dave Lovell of Adyoulike.com explains why he thinks that the best days for ad tech are still ahead in his column on eConsultancy; this as newer companies still continue to get funded while older ones are raising even more money for research.
Innovation, implementation use cases, and industry trends
Can Blockchain Save AdTech?
Can blockchain address the unintentially unwieldy and opaque supply chain in ad tech? Yes. Establishing transparency and trust requires a central and secure way to record, review and execute a deal. Today, deals are typically stored in formats and locations that are disparate and nonstandard. Initially creating standards and enabling collaboration are essential steps on this path. (source)
An AdTech Superteam to Fight Google-Facebook Duopoly
AppNexus, LiveRamp and MediaMath, along with Index Exchange, LiveIntent, plus Rocket Fuel, have all agreed to to create a standard framework that will enable people-based media buying for advertisers looking to utilize programmatic technologies, similar to the deterministic targeting promised by the two-biggest digital media owners Facebook and Google. (source)
Why Publishers Don’t Build In-House Ad Technology
Because vendors eat into publishers’ revenue and slow down their pages, pubs are eager to purge them to have more control over their own tech stacks. But even if a publisher has a strong internal tech team that is capable of building its own products to replace third parties, a lot of vendors stay embedded in publishers’ stacks because pubs don’t want to pay engineers to monitor and tweak these products, and they want somewhere to turn for a quick fix whenever there is a malfunction. (source)
Updates and opinions about ad blocking
Branding in the Times of Ad Block
By bringing together what we know makes users click (relevancy, timeliness) and what we know makes users block (intrusive, disruptive), brands can begin to formulate better ways to accelerate their reach beyond ad blockers. At a high level, viewers will be more receptive to advertising if brands—and publishers—invest in creating seamless ad experiences that fit naturally within a viewer’s online experience. (source)
One Way to Fight Ad Block: Focus on Ad Sentiment and Relevance
A survey by the programmatic platform Choozle looked at adblocking and overall ad sentiment in particular and found that nearly 39% of ads were bounced due to either not having a smartphone or using an adblocker. The study suggests that marketers should track how campaigns are performing in real time but also remember to keep the user in mind. The more advertisements placed with no thought towards user experience, the more challenging it is to gain an interaction. Better creatives, better targeting and frequency and recency of ads displayed are key draws for a better user experience. (source)
Ad Blocking Hasn’t Slowed in the U.S., Asia, Germany, Argentina
GroupM says the average ad block use/ install rate hovers around 16% in early 2017. It arrived at this percentage through a combination of PageFair’s published estimates from January and other sources used by its local agencies around the world. The report said ad-blocking adoption has slowed in several countries in Western Europe, while steady growth is the consensus in the U.S. In Asia, Germany, and Argentina there’s more concern about ad blocking, where mobile usage and growth are quite high. (source)
Funding and M&A
Who’s getting funded?
Why the Best Days for AdTech are Still Ahead
It would seem that ad tech is heading into a perfect storm, whereby the industry’s image is in tatters and investors and VCs who have consistently believed in the potential of our sector are beginning to doubt it. Indeed, the future for ad tech looks quite grim on the face of it. Despite what might seem like desperate times, in my opinion ad tech is poised to rebound quickly and, more importantly, become significantly bigger than before. (source)
Demandbase Raises $65 Million for AI Research
Businesses spend around $40 billion a year on digital content marketing, and Demandbase, which announced a $65 million financing round, is looking to cut itself a slice of the pie. Led by existing investor Sageview Capital with participation by a smorgasbord of others, including Adobe Systems, Altos Ventures and Sigma Partners, the financing is a combination of equity and debt and brings Demandbase’s total funding to $150 million since 2008. (source)
Yieldify Raises $6 Million in New Round of Funding
Yieldify, a London-based company that builds tools to increase conversions on sites and through email campaigns, has announced a new round of $6 million to continue building out its products. At the same time, it is appointing a new chairman, John Giuliani, an industry veteran who most recently sold his company Conversant to Alliance Data for $2.3 billion. (source)