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Digital Advertising Developments: A Comprehensive Overview

Digital advertising is undergoing its most significant period of change since programmatic buying became popular a decade ago, driven by both legislative and consumer expectations.

In recent years, digital advertising has undergone several critical changes, including technological advancements, a commitment to quality, and a shift from brand safety to brand suitability. These changes are shaping the future of digital advertising.

Here are the key takeaways:

Technological Advances: Impact of ITP and ATT

The demise of third-party cookies has significant implications for digital advertising technology. The Safari browser attempted to block privacy-sensitive tracking options with Intelligence Tracking Prevention (ITP), and Apple has introduced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) technology. With ATT, users must give permission to track their activities, allowing developers to show targeted advertisements. The impact of ITP and ATT has made it more challenging for advertisers to conduct effective online campaigns, and publishers are finding it more difficult to earn money from their content.

The second wave of a privacy-focused approach to marketing is underway with Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which aims to remove common tracking mechanisms and block secret tracking methods. Whether Google can strike the right balance for all stakeholders remains to be seen. In the interim, privacy-first solutions that are ready for testing, such as contextual targeting and first-party data strategies, are essential.

More Transparency in Programmatic Buying

Quality Under the Microscope
Advertisers have become increasingly quality-conscious as programmatic buying has become more transparent. This is to the advantage of high-quality publishers, but there is still work to be done.

Many advertisements end up on low-quality sites with clickbait and non-original content. Advertisers’ investment will flow into direct deals and private marketplaces to reduce supply chain complexity.

Shift from Brand Safety to Brand Suitability

Advanced advertisers are shifting from brand safety to brand suitability, a more nuanced approach. Safe content was often blocked in brand safety due to exaggerated, extensive lists of blocked keywords, even though the content was appropriate.

In the United States, an ANA working group called the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), which includes P&G, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, among others, has been pushing for positive change. GARM brand suitability targeting is now available to advertisers, offering them extra quality impressions, while advertisers with overly restrictive approaches miss out.

This approach increases the number of buying opportunities on ad impressions, and there is less competition in these auctions.
The ability to adapt quickly to changes is vital. To achieve this, marketers need to understand how their capabilities to reach customers change and conduct tests to learn how they can leverage new opportunities to gain a competitive advantage.