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! 

Covid-19 heats up the race to combat advertising’s keyword blocking problem

Over the last 12 months, the debate has evolved from brand safety fears on YouTube and Facebook to questions about whether premium publishers are brand-suitable.

Now, despite record readership figures, UK newspapers stand to lose as much as £50m in online ad revenue thanks to the blacklisting of words relating to coronavirus – such as ‘pandemic’ and Covid-19’. Fresh data from the Advertising Association (AA) and Warc published on Thursday (30 April) also paints a bleak outlook for publishers for the rest of the year, projecting a decrease in revenue of 20.5% for national news brands, 24.1% for regional news brands and 25.1% for magazine brands. The drops are starker than TV, which is forecast to see a 19.8% fall and VOD which will see a drop of 6.3%.

With publishers braced for an intense revenue squeeze in the next calendar year, industry trade bodies and governments are now wading into the keyword blocking debate in a bid to ensure the survival of the news industry.

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Facebook signals online advertising to take a big hit

Facebook Inc.’s revenue held up better than expected in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the company warned that the worst of the slowdown in ad spending isn’t over, raising the prospect of a bigger hit across the digital-advertising market.

The warnings from the world’s largest social network echoed those heard in earlier calls from Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Snap Inc.: While the first quarter remained upbeat, the real impact could come in a few months. 

During the Great Recession of the late 2000s, overall ad spending declined for two years straight, with annual digital advertising revenue dropping in 2009 for the first and only time, according to EMarketer. But most of the advertising industry thinks the coronavirus impact will be worse.

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KFC to use blockchain for tracking digital advertising

Fast-food chain KFC recently announced it is adopting blockchain for digital advertising and media buying in the Middle East. 

A common problem is the low conversion rate. But a significant issue is that only a small percent (52%) of advertising clicks can be verified. That’s partly because there are so many intermediaries between the advertiser and the publisher. This lack of clarity about whether a particular campaign is working results in a waste of money. Meanwhile, the challenges of tracking advertisements increase the risk of fraud. 

Leveraging blockchain, KFC aims to access real-time data from its ad campaigns. This improved transparency would enable the firm to increase brand visibility and monitor ad distribution. On the other hand, a shared database of advertising placement and delivery would reduce the risk of fraud in the digital ad supply chain. 

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Ad Fraud Taking Over A Quarter Of Brand’s Budgets, Warns TrafficGuard

Australian marketers’ campaigns are being hindered by sophisticated ad fraud but most brands aren’t even aware it’s happening to them, according to Luke Taylor, founder and chief operating officer of TrafficGuard.

“Everyone in advertising knows about ad fraud, however, most aren’t aware it’s happening to themselves,” Taylor tells Which-50.

Reported ad fraud rates vary widely. Advertising industry associations claim it is rarely higher than five percent while ad fraud vendors warn it can be above 30 percent. Taylor puts the discrepancy down to varying methodologies and sample sizes, but insists TrafficGuard has detected fraud in “all channels in the ecosystem”, meaning marketers need comprehensive and updated solutions. He says the fraud rate can indeed be as high as 30 percent.

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Google’s extended verification policy will likely be a net positive for the digital advertising industry

In a press release on Thursday, Google announced that it would be extending its identity verification program to all advertisers across its platforms including Search, Maps, and YouTube.

For reference, the identity verification policy was introduced in 2018 for political ads and required all potential advertisers to confirm their identity through personal identification, business incorporation documents, or other similar information. The program will start by verifying advertisers in phases in the US before expanding globally; as early as this summer, users will likely begin to see disclosures that list background information about the ads they see.

Advertisers will have 30 days to submit the required documents after receiving a notice — a nontrivial task for some advertisers — with failure to submit resulting in their ads being stopped entirely. 

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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.