How Consumer Behavior Toward Auto Ads Changed During Covid-19

As one of the largest spenders on digital advertising in the U.S., the automotive industry is a bellwether. Prior to the pandemic, the automotive industry had consistent double-digit growth in digital ad spending. That growth was forecast to continue through the end of 2020 — then, in March, everything changed.

How to Create an Engaging Mobile Ads Strategy in 2020

The median clickthrough rate for ads on Google Display Network has decreased 32% since the last quarter and is 41% lower than this time last year. These figures indicate that audiences just aren’t receptive to mobile ads despite companies’ attempts to target ad messaging to specific groups.

Mobile advertising is not going to go away — the industry is expected to surpass $240 billion by 2022. However, companies need to take a dramatically new approach to see positive returns on their investment. Here’s how to stand out from the crowd and secure better conversions with mobile ads.

Why Creative is Paramount for This Year’s Holiday Ads

When marketers are all using the same platforms and automation tools to bid and compete against each other this holiday season (like with Facebook Automated App Ads and Google App Campaigns), the key differentiator will be ad creative. Preparing an arsenal of high-performing creative will be critical to advertisers in order to keep costs down and be effective this year.

Political Advertisers’ Impact on Brands

A recent report from eMarketer found that political ad spend will reach $6.89 billion in the 2019/2020 election period. This cycle’s spending is 63.3% higher than spend in the 2015/2016 season, showcasing a significant uptick in competition for brand marketers. That said, political advertisers are becoming savvier, expanding their breadth and scale into additional channels and further encroaching on brands’ digital bread and butter.

Here are a few ways political ad spend will impact brand marketers’ approach and how they can adjust their strategies so they don’t lose momentum in the coming months.

How Advertisers Can Turn the Facebook Boycott into a Transformative Moment

It would be helpful if about 20 of the large brands boycotting Facebook put their money where their mouth is and invested in the establishment of a data and publisher sharing network. 

The next step would be identifying the media publisher outlets as partners. The co-op would need to negotiate a performance-based publisher relationship, which would effectively increase content monetization for publishers’ content channels. 

Advertising Rebound: CPMs Tell Us Now is the Time to Take the Ball and Run

While some countries are slowly easing their lockdown mandates, for many, uncertainty still remains for when business will return to “normal.” And a big question hovers: “When is the right time to take our foot off the break and apply the gas?” When you look at advertising costs as an indicator of economic recovery, it’s clear that now is the time, and social advertising is the vehicle. 

Playing the Long-Game with Today’s Low CPMs

As companies try to strike the right advertising tone given the global pandemic, it is apparent consumers are getting hit with the same messaging over and over — albeit from completely different brands: ‘Now more than ever’… ‘In these uncertain times’…. ‘The safety and comfort of home’… ‘We’re here to help’… ‘We’ll get through this together’… 

It seems the same playbook for how to engage customers during this time leaked to every team. So how can brands break away from the ‘hipster conundrum’ (trying to be genuine and unique while everyone else floods the market with the same message and approach)? 

Amid Coronavirus, Are the Fraudsters Also Staying Home?

To date, the app industry has said little about the effects of coronavirus on fraud. With self-isolation enforced globally, and workers now adapting to the new world of working from home, we investigated whether the rate of ad fraud (and by proxy, the output of fraudsters) had been disrupted. Or are fraudsters themselves in the line of fire as they continue to operate both above the law and in close proximity with each other?

Covid-19 Is Changing Ad Auctions, Creating New Opportunities for Brands

Amidst all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, savvy marketers are finding new opportunities to reach consumers at discounted rates. According to data compiled by Goodway Group, competition within ad auctions has gone down 13% since early March, and win rates are up 54% during the same time period.

The drop in competition within ad auctions is largely the result of brands pulling back on digital advertising during the outbreak. Most experts agree that dropping out entirely is a mistake, since it gives competitors an opportunity to convert new brand loyalists, but continuing to run existing campaigns without acknowledging the current economic and global health realities can be costly as well.

The Pivot Stuck: Video Ads Dominate App Revenue

Digital marketing journalists touted the pivot to video so incessantly that mention of it after a certain point sparked obligatory mea culpas. Redundant as the proclamations may have proved, fresh data from mobile ad firm AdColony suggests those who heralded video as the future of digital advertising have been vindicated.

Amazon is Making Meaningful Gains in Search Ad Market

It will be key to see if the pace of Amazon’s overall and search ad revenue slows down in the next few years as it exhausts. For now, its ad success is just one more sign, like the news that it will likely sell its Go tech to retailers, that Amazon can find and dominate new businesses beyond its core identity as the Everything Store. 

Impending Brand Safety Woes: Nasty and Misleading Political Ads Hit Facebook

If brand safety in the 2020 election season does not immediately seem concerning, consider the following: You’re an advertiser hoping to run digital ads for your advertising tech solution. You pay a publisher with huge traffic big money to score impressions on its platform. But as soon as a Democratic voter navigates to the site and sees your ad, along with it pops up a big Trump ad making inflammatory claims about Biden. The web surfer navigates away from the site. Who wins?

Google Being Investigated for Antitrust Violations by Slew of States

More than half of US state attorneys general are investigating Google for antitrust violations, the Washington Post reported. Officials anonymously told the Post that the probes are expected to be announced on Monday.

This marks a serious escalation in mostly recent government efforts to increase regulation of the giant tech firms that have become the most powerful private enterprises in the world, squashing competition in their home industries and disrupting adjacent ones. The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are already looking into the potentially anticompetitive power of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.

For Publishers, When It Comes To Display, Blame the Format, Not the Targeting

A controversial new study by Carnegie Mellon University found that digital publishers get roughly 4% more revenue for an ad impression that is cookie-enabled — or personalized — versus one that isn’t. That’s not much. And while the sample was limited — they only reviewed ads for one “large U.S. media company over the course of one week” — it highlights a question publishers have been grappling with for a long time. 

Is cookie-based ad-targeting worth it? Given the mounting costs of investing in data stack technology; reputation issues (the “creepy factor”) and regulatory concerns like GDPR and CCPA that publishers routinely face as a result of behavioral ad-targeting, is the value really there? And is it justified? The Carnegie Mellon findings suggest that the benefit is minimal. However, as I see it, publishers are focusing on the wrong issue.

Publishers (And Everyone Else), Beware Amazon

Amazon’s success comes at a cost for publishers. Its growth means that retail and CPG brands are shifting digital spend away from publishers, siphoning off a key source of revenue. How can publishers compete? Their survival may come down to better ways of monetizing existing channels like email, as well as more effective use of their greatest asset: first-party data.

The hope for publishers lies in email and the power of the email address. With email, publishers have a logged-in channel that’s virtually fraud-free. Email represents a direct relationship with the consumer and one that is detached from platform intermediaries that have unfairly claimed revenue and attribution from the rightful influencer: the publisher. And contrary to popular belief, email is still a channel where people spend over five hours a day. What’s more, email is impervious to subtle shifts of an algorithm that force a publisher to buy the right to reach people, as opposed to owning the relationship with those who have requested a publisher’s content in the first place. 

Years After YouTube-Driven Brand Safety Crisis, Consumer Concerns Remain

A whopping 60% of consumers surveyed by mobile ad tech firm AdColony say they still see content on Facebook that is damaging to brands, and 49% say seeing appropriate advertisements in proximity to harmful content negatively affects their perception of proper advertisers. That’s the most provocative finding from a survey that indicates the brand safety issue is far from resolved in the digital advertising ecosystem.

The Blind Spot in Facebook’s Vision of Privacy

Insofar as Facebook’s pivot to privacy fails to reward its users for the data that has made it one of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies, I see it as a modest change that is more reactive than proactive, more inevitable than forward-thinking. It is likely that Facebook is only beginning to lay out its moves on privacy, and more ambitious changes may lie ahead. But for now, when it comes to the most pressing, fundamental ethical challenges that are inciting political fervor and increasing the likelihood that serious regulation of Big Tech is on the way, Zuckerberg is dragging his feet. With visionaries like Lanier and Zuboff raising public awareness about Facebook’s business model, the truth may just catch up with him.

Walmart Mulls a Run at the Digital Ad Business

With reports percolating about Amazon’s increasingly clear emergence as a third party to Google and Facebook’s dominance of the digital ad market, the e-commerce behemoth’s old-school counterpart is reportedly taking a look at the action itself.

State of Hyperlocal: Early Returns From Street Fight’s Annual Survey

The early results of our annual survey indicate that suppliers of local marketing and commerce technology and services see their customers continue to increase spending on social media and mobile marketing — and their own investments are following the money.

Street Fight Daily: Snapchat Cuts Ties with Yahoo, Publishers Share Digital Advertising Strategies

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Why Snapchat Axed Yahoo from Discover (Fast Company)… What’s Actually Working in Digital Advertising? 8 Publishers on How They’re Bringing in Money (Nieman Lab)… Yelp Is Using Image Search to Change How It Finds You a Bar (Wired)…