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Potential New IAB Standards Revealed + 5 more stories for May 6, 2022

This week on The Download: potential new IAB standards are revealed, advertisers reflect on a year of iOS-enforced privacy, and Facebook is losing the confidence of its customers. 

Last Thursday Ryan Barwick, writing for MarketingBrew, published a look at some promising new standards the IAB Tech Lab is toying with in anticipation of a, as Barwick puts it, “cookieless future.” 


With the evolution of online privacy advertising must change with it, and the IAB is experimenting with replacing existing data-collection structures with seller-defined audiences, or SDAs. Instead of adtech using tracking methods to use collected data to serve certain ads to certain users, publishers would use first-party data to decide how to categorize their own audience and take ads targeting those categories. Quoting the article: 


“Using this data, SDAs would, theoretically, let publishers place their audiences into groups—whether by behavior or interest—which would then be shared with advertisers to help them run targeted programmatic ads. So far, there are roughly 1,600 available labels for publishers to choose from.”


Barwick and others at MarketingBrew have taken a liking to the hyper-specific example label of “potatoes/onions” as an example of how granular the SDA system would be if fully implemented.


Michael Nuzzo, Vice President and head of Hearst data solutions at Hearst Magazines is quoted from the IAB Tech Lab event in February:

“It’s a very positive indication that publishers are gaining more control in the open web. We were only seen as supply. Now, we’re seen as supply, identity partners, as well as data providers, and that’s an exciting shift.”

This signals a significant boon for podcasting. The IAB has created a world where podcast producers determine their audiences and present them to advertisers. An open world with power in the hands of producers is a good thing.


Last Thursday Digiday’s Kimeko McCoy published an article covering the thoughts of advertisers on the anniversary of Apple publishing the industry-changing iOS 14. 


“In this last year, Apple’s crackdown on in-app tracking upended the digital advertising industry and crippled advertisers’ ability to know whether their mobile ads were working. It forced them to look elsewhere to spend their dollars.”


iOS 14, along with other similar privacy-boosting offerings from web browsers and Android devices, changed the game. Platforms reliant on the old buffet of collectable data have had issues adjusting, as we’ll cover in a Facebook-heavy story shortly. 


“But those 12 months of acclimating to these shifts have made it clear to media buyers that Apple’s ATT is an attribution problem, not an advertising one. In other words, the effectiveness of advertising hasn’t gone away as a result of it being harder to track people. But it has become more difficult to know how effective those ads are.”


McCoy’s reporting paints a promising future. Every step the industry takes in this direction is a glowing endorsement for podcasting. While the rank-and-file are just now dealing with tricky attribution, this industry has been successfully serving ads with tricky end-game attribution for the better part of a decade. 


On Monday AdExchanger’s James Hercher published “Facebook Advertisers are Itching for Change as Bugs Infest Its Attribution Tech.” The piece begins with an anecdotal story of a marketer beset with costly glitches in the aging platform’s adtech. Things don’t get much better for Meta from there. Quoting the article:


“Facebook is heads-down trying to fix the ad platform as gears and springs fly out of it like a cartoon pocket watch.”


Facebook faces huge troubles as its advertising empire built on a tracking pixel now has to operate in a world where said pixel can’t immediately report back data on a user browsing outside websites. Instead of instantaneous granular updates, Facebook adtech operates in batch updates once every few days. 


“Facebook’s consistent response has been to be patient and, well, to slow down. In February, Facebook acknowledged that it was still underreporting attribution, but said it had cut the error margin from 15% to 8%. Says who?”

Walled gardens, especially Facebook, are starting to show cracks in their foundations and are losing the faith of buyers as they struggle to course-correct for industry-wide changes. Facebook may have tapped out of the podcasting game entirely, but we still have Spotify. What has happened to the likes of Google and Meta could happen to Spotify in the future. Especially now that they’ve purchased some of the biggest names in podcast data attribution, setting themselves up as potential gatekeepers of proprietary data not wholly dissimilar to Facebook. 


Speaking of attribution tech: This Thursday BusinessWire revealed Veritonic’s new audio-first Attribution solution. Exact details are thin on the ground in the press release but Veritonic is confident its new attribution solution - simply called Attribution - will be an advertiser’s best friend. A quote from Veritonic CEO Scott Simonelli: 


“As advertising dollars increasingly flow into audio, brands need the assurance that only Veritonic’s end-to-end measurement and analytics can provide. Attribution is the perfect addition to our platform of audio research and measurement solutions, providing data-driven advertisers, brands, and agencies with the tools and insights they need to optimize their campaigns for greater ROI.” 


The press release promises Attribution will do the basic ad-tech things one would expect, tracking potential customers when they land on a campaign’s bespoke URL until they leave or purchase the relevant item. It’s nothing too flashy or industry-shattering from a technology standpoint, but the important context to consider is that Veritonic became the first company to get to market since Spotify’s acquisition of Chartable and Podsights. 


Spotify created a power vacuum in reliable third-party attribution. Now companies are stepping up to fill that gap. 


With that, it’s time for our semi-regular roundup of articles that didn’t make it into today’s episode, but are still worth working into your weekend reading. 


First: Facebook Pulls the Plug on Podcast Business After a Year by Ashley Carman.


And, second: Anchor co-founder Michael Mignano to leave Spotify by Ariel Shapiro.


As always, the links to every article mentioned on an episode of The Download can be found in the episode details. 


Finally, a quick roundup of the finance-related news this week that’s worth discussing, but not big enough to necessitate individual stories.. First up: James Hercer - in a rare three-time appearance in one episode of The Download - covers the Amazon earnings call last Friday. 


Amazon posted a 3.8 billion net loss in Q1 of this year, though reported a 25% year-over-year increase in advertising revenue. 


Following that we have Ted Gioia’s Sunday issue of The Honest Broker titled Spotify Shares Now Selling at Less Than the IPO Price 4 Years Ago. While an aggressive headline, Gioia’s coverage takes care to point out the lower share price is likely due to Spotify’s growth not being as world-dominating as expected, posting a 25% gross profit margin. 




The Download is a production of Sounds Profitable. Today's episode was hosted by Shreya Sharma and Manuela Bedoya, and the script was written by Gavin Gaddis.

Bryan Barletta and Evo Terra are the executive producers of The Download from Sounds Profitable.

Special thanks to Ian Powell for his audio prowess, and to our media host, Omny Studio.

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