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The Telegraph introduces cookie-free adtech

Loss of advertising revenue is a crushing blow to publishers.

Since Google’s decision to kill the third-party cookie, many publishers are ramping up their subscription models while testing new ways to keep advertisers interested.

The Telegraph is showcasing one such solution.

Digiday wrote, “The effort, called Telegraph Unity, has the publisher and advertiser separately uploading their first-party data to what tech provider Infosum calls a ‘bunker’ so no other party can access it. Infosum’s tech then adds a tiny statistical error to the anonymized data sets, making it impossible to reverse engineer back to the originals. It then overlays a statistical model to find matches.”

I gotta say. This is an inspired solution but not without its challenges.

The biggest being the advertisers’ lack of first-party data. After GDPR most advertisers simply don’t have enough of it.

But there’s a larger opportunity here as well.

A solution like this could be a stepping stone for publishers to start offering a competitive, albeit niche, alternative to Google and Facebook, especially when advertisers want really local or granular audiences.

Google’s 3D ad-format now available globally

Just yesterday Google announced that Swirl – its 3D ad-format will be available to all Display & Video 360 users globally.

What is Swirl? 

In the latest announcement, they describe it as, “Swirl lets consumers engage with a product like it’s right in front of them by allowing them to rotate, zoom and expand the creative in the ad. Swirl ads allow brands to illustrate changes in behaviour, new technology performance, unique product features and more.”

Since its introduction last year, Swirl has been tested by several brands already. In Google’s own words, “Brands are seeing great success using Swirl ads for various campaign goals. This includes increasing consideration by showcasing product features, building brand awareness and delivering a great mobile experience.” 

In the press release (link above), Google shared examples of this new format in action. My favourites were Nissan and Adidas – mind you there were only 4 examples in total.

To tell you the truth, I’m really excited about this. I’m sure we’ll see more brilliant examples now that more of us have access to it.

When all else fails. A Heineken success story.

You watch a great ad on TV, have a good laugh (If it’s a funny one) and talk to your mates about it. Fast forward one week and without any good explanation, you find the product from the ad in your grocery bag.

Bam! That’s how good ads are supposed to work.

But with fewer people watching TV these days, your great ad isn’t going to be of much use.

That was Heineken’s dilemma in the UK.

The story of their inspired solution, published in The Drum is one for the books. Here are the highlights.

Instead of delivering more advertising, Heineken doubled down on using real-time retail data with targeted advertising to understand the drivers of footfall and sales.

The Drum wrote “Heineken worked with Brulines to get pump access in pubs across the country, installing smart devices to monitor how many pints were being pulled. For the first time, Heineken had visibility of its real time performance, enabling them to take the principles of ecommerce and apply it to selling beer in bricks and mortar pubs.”

And the results?

“Over the course of the first 6-week test period, sales of Heineken brands in featured outlets increased by 3.6%, using a £225k investment to deliver £670k of additional value.”

Heineken’s approach put the consumer at the centre of brand communication. It’s really the opposite of how TV ads normally work. 

You may not be in the business of selling pints but as brick-and-mortar stores open, cases studies like this one are a great example of how retailers need to embrace data and real-time marketing.

Facebook hates losing revenue. Who knew?!

Facebook’s been getting a lot of attention lately. Just not the kind it wants.

Since last year, Facebook’s been at the centre of one controversy after another.

First, it was the shaky IPO. Then the Cambridge Analytica data leaks.

Conducted secret social experiments (and got caught), looked the other way when the platform was used for inciting genocide and finally got a massive fine for violating user privacy.

Despite the controversies, Facebook’s ad revenue keeps on growing.

As far as advertising goes, it seems Facebook can do no harm. Even when it falsely reports on video metrics!

But there’s something different about their most recent run-in with civil rights groups. 

Since last Friday, 17 brands have joined the Facebook boycott, including Unilever (which also pulled out of Twitter).

“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will [. . .] revisit our current position if necessary,” said Luis Di Como, Unilever’s executive vice president of global media.

Facebook’s stock fell by 8% last week resulting in a reversal on its policies on content moderation.

Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be following in Twitter’s footsteps only a week after pleading, “Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online”.

May be brands are finally ready to look beyond cheap clicks.

Or as BBC ponders, maybe in a pandemic infused downturn, this is just the kind of PR that was needed. 

You’re not too late. But you may be a little early

The gaming industry is booming with no end in sight.

And some are even ready to strike unlikely partnerships to grow their piece of the pie.

After struggling to grow its user base, Microsoft announced last week that it’ll be shutting down Mixer and sending its users (mega-stars not included) to Facebook Gaming with future plans to integrate xCloud to the platform as well. 

That’s a big deal for Facebook which has been trailing behind Twitch and YouTube, so far.

Twitch and YouTube have their own big plays in the pipeline too.

YouTube started this year by snatching Activision esports. This move could give Google the leg up it needs over Twitch.

And Twitch has been working on streaming live sports events with its own flair.

With major sports events on hold, both organisers and fans have been flocking to Twitch. This marriage of convenience has taught both worlds some valuable lessons.

E-sports is a new frontier. Even for marketers familiar with in-game advertising.

As a marketing channel, it’s still in its infancy.

But as a medium, it’s ripe for stunts like Warner Bros. partnering with Fortnite for the first-ever in-game movie night.

The advice from brands and studios is simple:

“The major mistake that people make is to take the assumptions about other forms of media and try to take it into the world of gaming,” David Messinger, CMO of Activision Blizzard.

“You have to take your time, approach things properly and build out to those big bets,” Douglas Veney, influencer and esports marketing manager at Nestlé.