Letâ€™s get into it.
CTV Ad Tech Identity Crisis
Streaming is surging. Connected TV advertising is booming. Whatâ€™s there to worry about? Well, beneath the surface, a lot potentially. And unfortunately, ad tech may be overpromising and under-delivering â€“ if not adding to the problem. At least that was the conclusion of a 2022 CTV overview in Adweek. Despite all the hype about cross-platform identifiers and device graphs, advertisers are facing a growing number of walled gardens in CTV, and are struggling to target audiences across platforms with any sort of consistent identity or measurement- which is leading toward wasted dollars and consumers getting bombarded with the same ads over and over again. For now, everyone is enjoying the spoils of a growth market, but these problems arenâ€™t going away any time soon.
NBC U Later
The hope is that maybe some of the incumbent metrics firms can save the day â€“ despite recent history to the contrary. And right on cue, both Nielsen and Comscore were out with announcements (timed to a very sparse CES) promising new products that would better track people and ads across screens. The problem is that these products appear far from being ready for prime time (Nielsenâ€™s is in alphaâ€™ mode).
Timing is really of the essence here, because TV sellers arenâ€™t waiting around. In fact, it was hard not to be taken by the symbolism as NBCUniversal â€“ which has been extremely vocal about Nielsenâ€™s shortcoming and the need for new metrics â€“ announced its own digital ID platform, promising brands the ability to match its data with up to 200 million unique IDs by yearâ€™s end. You have to wonder whether by the time the incumbent metrics firms get their act together whether brands will have moved on to employing these kinds of media-company-run platforms (Disney has already moved into this realm). Of course, hereâ€™s yet another example of a media seller grading its own homework to some degree.
Iâ€™m Only Human
Hereâ€™s hoping that however Nielsen, comScore or NBCU measure digital consumers going forward, they are able to suss out which ones areâ€¦ actual people. Because ad fraud is showing few signs of abating. In fact, despite a decade of attention and numerous acquisitions and partnerships, non-human traffic is still a serious enough problem that Human (formerly White Ops) just raised $100 million in new funding. You might think that the overarching shift toward privacy and first-party data would make the web less hospitable to bots and scammers, but investors donâ€™t see it that way.
National Privacy Nightmare Over?
Remember all the talk not so long ago about a potential national privacy law in the U.S.? Well, donâ€™t hold your breath. Thatâ€™s at least according to Axiosâ€™ Sarah Fischer, who made an appearance this week on the Rebooting Show podcast. Fischer all but called the potential piece of legislation dead, â€œWe were threatened by this idea for so longâ€¦itâ€™s completely stalled for the next few years,â€ she said, adding that CCPA had sort of become the de facto law of the land. That doesnâ€™t mean that ad companies arenâ€™t being wary of how they use customer data — itâ€™s just that Google and Facebook, under their own regulatory pressures, are setting many of the rules.
â€œThere is a shift in collection from individual data to cohort dataâ€¦.in a sense that requires more dataâ€¦yet it protects individuals,â€ Fischer said.
Sounds good. So does the industry have it sorted out? â€œItâ€™s still a bit of a cluster,â€ Fischer said.
On that note, Happy New Year!