Blockchain May be the Future for Advertising Verification


Blockchain is entering the mainstream in China – and it is not via crytocurrency. This spring as, Alibaba’s only real competitor in China, is planning to use the technology to verify the beef deliveries to its customers. Authentication is important to Chinese consumers because of their concern about food safety.’s process will track each cut of beef from the farm in Australia to the front door of the customer’s home.

Blockchain, the underlying technology for the currency, is really “just an extremely secure and un-editable digital ledger system.” As such, it can be used for authentication in any number of ways – from fine art to food. The advantage in regard to food is that it will allow for speedy tracking of food-related diseases back to their source.  Naturally, we imagine its uses in an advertising space that begs for authentication.  Source: Business Insider

Best Practices

iab 360

If your company is operating in the programmatic advertising space, fluency with the technology is a requirement and there is one way to assure that new hires are properly trained. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has established what could be a baseline with their online and in-class training called Programmatic 360: Automation Decoded.

The stated goals are to…

  • Develop advanced fluency in programmatic technologies and tools
  • Strategically assess investments in programmatic solutions
  • Immediately apply best practices to day-to-day management of campaigns and inventory

Check the website to find the when and where.

A Win-Win

Mobile - Programmatic

New data supports the idea that advertisers are finding some safety in mobile, private market placements (PMPs) where impressions tend to be premium and more controls on spending can be exercised. The move in that direction is up 37%. And there is evidence that premium eCPMs payoff for the supply-side (+155%) making mobile PMPs a solid move for both sides. Header bidding is also showing significant gains.  Source: MediaPost

2017 Was a Big Adjustment Year

2017-Year of Change

Last year saw more than ninety percent of CMO’s adjust their strategies because of concerns about brand safety. And those changes appear to be pretty substantial.  Almost 60% have increased spending in channels that can prove they’re safe for their brands. A majority or near majority have reviewed their relationships with either their agency or their suppliers or both. Those data speak to the seismic shift caused by the wild west nature of the early digital advertising revolution.

The changes in 2017 set a new base for digital advertising going forward.  Both sides, supply and demand, have been put on notice. Safety and transparency are no longer a desire, in 2018, and going forward, they are a requirement.  Source: eMarketers

What Can $800 Million Buy?


For Alibaba, it can buy a seat at the table with the biggest players in the multinational space like Coca Cola and Samsung while for the Olympics, it gets a sponsor through the 2028 Games and it’s first sponsor for the 2022 Games in Beijing.

Alibaba’s interest is its newish cloud business, which it sees as a multinational enterprise that competes with the likes of IBM and Amazon.

Rick Burton, a former U.S. Olympic Committee chief marketing officer notes, “It’s an insightful deal by (Alibaba founder) Jack Ma, in the sense that it makes Alibaba instantly as credible as a company like Coca Cola, Visa, or McDonald’s [while] for companies in the U.S. like Amazon or Google or Facebook, it’s symbolically launched Alibaba as an international player to be reckoned with.”  Source: Bloomberg

One Successful China Strategy

Estee Lauder

Sales for Estee Lauder’s cosmetic products increased in the fourth quarter driven by a 33% increase in the Asia-Pacific region. Central to the APAC growth has been China where “a savvy local strategy that includes a 50-person dedicated team, branded Tmall storefronts, and freestanding e-commerce sites” has successfully expanded the brand’s presence.

Underlying the local Chinese strategy is the company’s overall digital technology investment that has increased online performance and has helped the company see five consecutive quarters of growth.

Dennis McEniry, president of the brand’s online business, articulated the secret, “China is a unique market. Product preferences and descriptions used in marketing are different. Social media and influencers are important, but the way to navigate that space is nuanced. Being locally relevant is key. We don’t take programs and strategies developed in New York and just launch them in China, because it won’t work.”   Source: Businessweek; Digiday

Five Ad Fraud Defense Strategies


At this point, ad fraud is thought to be so pervasive; it is challenging formerly trusted business relationships. Action must be taken. Best practices suggest that all five of these ideas should be part of your regimen.

  1. Use third-party ad verification. It has been shown to block billions of questionable impressions and have reduced fraud by as much as 86%.
  2. Use ads.txt, IAB’s initiative to reduce spoofing, which protects publisher’s inventory from being highjacked by malevolent forces while authenticating the inventory for advertisers.
  3. Document internal policies and procedures that fight ad fraud. Internally, this will standardize the company’s practices for handling fraud. Externally, transparent reporting will instill customer confidence.
  4. Machines are great, use them. Third-party verification is great too, but your own data can augment the standard approach of outside players. The benefits are worth it. You will learn about subtitles in your own business that no outsider will see and given the ever-changing activities of the fraud makers, being in front is a good thing.
  5. Machines are great, but the importance of human review must be recognized. Our friends at FaceBook learned the hard way that they needed to hire many more human reviewers to assure the ads they deliver are legitimate and appropriate.   Source: Forbes

Eight Drivers Behind the Move to In-House

Moving In-House

We have written about the trend to bring programmatic systems in-house at many media companies. New data from Centro in which more than 150 digital media professionals were surveyed reveal a myriad of reasons behind the shift. Control is by far the lead driver, but seven more strong motivators taken together probably would be enough to push the trend forward without the need for control. Half of the reasons given have to do with money – in coming or out going. Together they are at least as powerful as control.  Sources: Centro; Advertising Perceptions

Must Have Anti-Spoofing Protection


TAG, the Trustworthy Accountability Group, has created ads.txt as mechanism for publishers to fight ad spoofing, a leading form of high jacking ad revenues meant for legitimate publishers by legitimate advertisers. Advertisers pay for an audience unreached and publishers lose revenue rightly earned. It’s estimated that thieves siphon out of the system between $6 and $16 billion annually.

Ads.txt creates a digital handshake between publishers and inventory resellers, which makes them an authorized reseller, a safe bet for advertisers.

To get TAG’s seal, which certifies a publisher against fraud, ads.txt must be implemented by June 2018. A new AdForm survey of top sites claims 82% compliance in the US and an average of 70% worldwide. Seems we are beyond the tipping point where legitimacy is required.  Source: AdAge; MarketingLand

Grand Marketing Marriage; Angry Birds – NFL

Angry NFL

When sitcoms begin to age, they attempt to sustain their ratings by adding big star guest appearances. So it is interesting to note that Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds franchise has, in an effort to extend its life, teamed with the NFL to offer a time-limited Super Bowl special. Jerseys for all 32 NFL teams will be available in-game and a new ‘Quarterback’ bird will be introduced. These features will be available thru the game on February 4th.

In a world where Superbowl is the biggest advertising dollar, it is clever marketing to bring the NFL into your brand for their big event – they’ll promote your product.  Source: The Drum