Ad Tech’s Mad Scramble; Coronavirus Cancellations: Wednesday’s First Things First

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Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s new daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Ad Tech Is Trying to Rebuild the Industry From the Ground Up

Kicking off a three-day conference yesterday in Palm Desert, Calif., the Internet Advertising Bureau launched Project Rearc—a call to action of sorts, focused on developing new ad targeting methods independent of cookies.

The trade organization is currently facing what’s arguably the most crucial moment of its 24-year history. Earlier this year, the most widely used browser on the internet, Google Chrome, declared the days of the third-party cookie numbered, joining other providers such as Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox in eliminating third-party ad targeting by 2022. These changes arose from the growing public scrutiny over how Big Tech uses data and then makes the resulting insights into billions of people available to advertisers. In the wake of data breaches and public outcry over these practices, lawmakers have started to flex their regulatory muscles.

To counter these pressures, ad tech companies are working with publishers to generate a new means of targeting specific audience segments based on first-party data, such as email addresses. These data points can then be hashed to generate a pseudonym for a user, which is then packaged and made available as an audience targeting tool for advertisers, though it’s unclear so far as to whether any of these proposals are sufficiently scalable.

Read more: Given Google’s unilateral decision over cookies’ expiry date, and the sword of Damocles that is privacy legislation, the digital media sector is poised for profound change.

Dozens of Companies Withdraw From Mobile World Congress Over Coronavirus Fears

More than 20 companies have canceled plans to attend the global wireless industry’s premier trade show, Mobile World Congress, set to take place later this month in Barcelona, citing concerns related to coronavirus.

Among those backing out are major industry players including device manufacturers LG, Sony and Vivo, chipmakers Ericsson, Intel and Nvidia, and various other tech organizations such as Amazon and Facebook. According to industry sources cited by Spanish newspaper El País, members of the conference’s organizing body, the GSMA, will meet Friday to discuss the possibility of suspending or postponing the event.

Read more: In addition to those that have canceled, other companies have announced plans to scale back their presence to minimize exposure.

Streaming Services Are Here to Grow—More People Would Keep Watching or Add on Another

Based on a new survey of U.S. consumer sentiment, 93% say they plan to sign up for additional services or at least maintain the number of streaming services they have.

Nielsen released the survey results Tuesday as part of its February Total Audience Report dedicated to streaming, highlighting the continued room for industry growth as well as the risks for services who are unable to keep customers satisfied. According to the survey:

  • 40% would be willing to add new services at an incremental cost,
  • 27% would drop a current service to switch to another service and
  • 13% would borrow a streaming service log-in from someone they knew to access additional paid services.

Read more: Nearly a third of Nielsen survey respondents noted that one driver for subscribing to additional paid video streaming services was access to content with limited or no commercials.

What to Expect From Omnicom and IPG’s Annual Earnings Reports

This week, Omnicom and IPG will both release earnings reports for 2019. Adweek caught up with Forrester principal analyst Jay Pattisall to ask what to expect from the companies’ earnings calls and what to anticipate from each in 2020. According to Pattinsall, there’s nothing in the market that’s expected to get in the way of IPG’s “bullish” predictions for Q4 and concerns around an impending recession have waned. While both Omnicom and IPG have “pretty robust media businesses,” he said, they both have opportunities this year in “connecting their strength in media and their investments in data to their historically impressive creative agencies.”

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