Your one-stop for the most important articles in digital marketing this week. In this post, our team dives deep to get you the latest digital marketing news in one place. Enjoy! 

Publishers continue to see coronavirus coverage blocked by advertisers

Pressure is on from trade bodies, publishers and even brand safety vendors, but advertisers are mostly unmoved by arguments they should alter their keyword-based approaches to avoiding coronavirus news. The message: If advertisers don’t rethink their ban on coronavirus news, credible journalism will not be sustainable at a time when it is needed more than ever. Integral Ad Science, a brand safety provider, released a study this week showing that people don’t think negatively about advertisers appearing near coronavirus news. And yet industry sources say they’re seeing just as much blocking as ever. 

According to a recent IAB study, more than a quarter of the 400 buy-side decision-makers surveyed said they plan to reduce the money used to buy ads on news publishers in the short-term. Conversely, just 18% of those surveyed said they planned to reduce spend on programmatic. In fact, 29% of the respondents said they will increase the amount of money they spend on programmatic ads.

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Microsoft Advertising Responds To Questions About Validation Process For Media Buys

Google on Thursday said it would close loopholes that help to create ad fraud by requiring all advertisers running ads across its platforms to verify their identity, as the company continues to make sweeping changes to prevent advertisers from misrepresenting themselves. Some agencies were concerned that the verification process would allow marketers to gain a list of their competitors’ clients — specifically those running in-house campaigns with brands when it is required to hold non-disclosure agreements.

Google quickly squashed that concern, saying disclosures will show the trademarked or legal name of the end advertiser behind the ad and not the agency representing an advertiser. It will allow agencies to verify an advertisers’ identity on behalf of their clients, however, they will need to do so on an individual client basis. 

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Programmatic Connected TV/OTT ad spend drops 14% in the face of COVID-19; Hulu, Sling TV among biggest fallers: New report

Pixalate today announced the release of its newest report examining how U.S. programmatic advertisers have adjusted ad spend in the face of a global crisis: Programmatic Ad Spend in the Age of COVID-19: Connected TV/OTT Advertising.

Key Findings: Programmatic Connected TV/OTT ad spend decreased 14% in March

  • OTT/CTV ad spend: Connected TV (CTV) / over-the-top (OTT) ad spend decreased 14% in March
  • Hulu, Sling drop over 25%: The two biggest Roku apps in terms of programmatic ad spend, Hulu (-30%) and Sling TV (-26%), saw drops roughly 2x larger than the wider marketplace in March
  • Apple, Amazon devices gain market share: Apple (+10%) and Amazon (+11%) devices saw double-digit increases in their share of programmatic ad spend share of voice among OTT/CTV devices
  • ‘Educational’ apps rise nearly 3,000%: Apps in the ‘Educational’ category on Roku saw a 2,946% increase in programmatic ad spend

These key statistics are based on Pixalate’s research comparing the first full week of March (March 1-7) to the last full week (March 22-28).

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Smart TVs spoofed to deliver billions of fake ad impressions

The campaign, nicknamed Icebucket, was uncovered by a team of researchers at White Ops. At its peak in January 1.9 billion fake ad requests were being generated per day by SmartTVs and other devices impersonating about two million people scattered over 30 different countries. The primary platforms involved were all makes of Roku TV, Samsung Tizen SmartTVs, Google TV and Android.

White Ops did not know how much money was generated by the scam, but noted each fake request does pull a small amount of ad spend dollars out of an advertiser’s pockets.  

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Don’t block the news: Tips to balance brand safety and corporate responsibility

“Don’t block the news.” This is the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) passionate appeal to advertisers during the COVID-19 crisis. As the IAB knows, during a crisis an advertiser’s top priority is to retreat and protect the brand. No brand wants their name associated with tragedy and bad news and that means news sites are often on the chopping block. 

Advertisers have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) to find a way to balance their need to protect the brand with support of news sites, particularly in times of crisis. Thankfully, there are a few ways that brands can do both. 

  1.  Segment new campaigns and dedicate specific budgets to this effort, 
  2.  Use brand-safe creative and messaging
  3. Consider directing traffic to more organizations that are helping the cause

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So there you have it friends, the best articles for this week. Make sure to check back every week for a quick absorption of the most relevant articles in the industry and stay on top of your game.