Monthly Archives: February 2020
Every day we read data breach scandals by ad tech vendors. We are getting tracked every day with hidden cookies, and permissions we give unconsciously. According to Juniper research, advertising losses were to reach $ 42 billion in 2019 and were predicted to be driven to reach $ 100 billion by 2023. Blockchain came into action to provide transparency while serving ads and paying for the real human interactions on the ads, not automated traffic.
Blockchain is emerging into the technology market these days and transforming the way we have been doing the online transactions lately. This technology is not only limited to the finance market, but it is also impacting the advertising and marketing industry too.
In this article, you’ll learn how blockchain is going to impact the digital advertising supply chain in the year 2020.
People generally associate blockchain with bitcoin, a well-known cryptocurrency market but it’s not the same. Bitcoin is the name of a cryptocurrency developed through blockchain technology.
So, what exactly is blockchain?
Blockchain is the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) which contains the record of multiple distributed transactions between different people. It doesn’t require any central control, because the data is not located in any local server, it’s stored in a secured server distributed globally.
The application of blockchain in digital advertising is very significant. From the last few decades advertising firms using user’s personal data to understand their buying habits and designing campaigns by invading their personal space.
It offers a secure environment for the advertisers and the publishers and allows them to connect the right audience and make safe transactions.
A look into what data says
Digital advertising is expected to climb to $ 427.26 billion by 2022.
“Blockchain advertising” – According to Google Trends data
Why is blockchain technology entering into digital advertising?
The industry space opened up for blockchain recently when data inflation and data discrepancy news surfaced online – advertisers and publishers started looking for a better alternative for transparency.
Advertising platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and others, were enjoying the monopoly in the digital advertising place since the last decade. These advertising giants were manipulating the data and information to make a huge profit margin.
Some news to read on data inflation
Advertisers sued the social networking platform for overstating video-viewing metrics over an 18-month period from 2015-16, which led the advertisers to pay extra for video ads based on the inflated data. Read more here.
A lot of other news reported about the fake bot traffic advertisers were paying for. It is all because of a lack of control. The publishers and advertisers don’t control the data, hence restricted to see only information ad tech vendors are offering. Data is very vulnerable today, digital advertising tools are using this as their new profit-making plan.
How would publishers know that they’re receiving a fair share of profit?
Kanstruktor over at Steemit explains:
“Decentralized network between advertisers and publishers through caching, and logging of clicks and leads, key statistics, personalized nodes in the blockchain operator MetaHash (fork of Ethereum – ERC20). It is a basic principle of protection against fraud and concealment of data on actual transactions from advertisers, or making unrealistic target bots in the traffic of publishers instead of real users.”
Ad vendors employing illegal techniques to access users’ personal data for their benefits, in exchange for rewards, and similar scenarios is a major threat and blockchain basically came into the picture of digital advertising to give the user control over their data.
Blockchain applications in digital advertising
1. Ad Buying and selling without the mediator
No intermediaries will be benefitted by employing blockchain-powered online advertising platforms. Blockchain is solving the transparencies and trust issues the ad tech industry has.
2. Fraud prevention and transparency in the ad supply chain
It’s very difficult to find the fraudulent clicks and impressions you are paying for. Blockchain technology integrated with the tools helps find and flag sites with click discrepancy and bot infiltration which would flow the ad budget to the right sites with genuine clicks.
3. Targeting the right audience
Driving an ad campaign according to their customer journey is important. With the help of blockchain, ad tech platforms can automate campaigns based on the specified set of rules. If the audience falls into those certain criteria, then only an ad will be visible to them. By doing this advertisers can utilize the budget on better sites to show ads.
Audience engagement will be credible now with very much accurate data that will help design better campaigns. The leads and subscriptions would be genuine and identifiable.
4. Data management
Data and insights play a key role in drafting a great campaign strategy. Blockchain makes it simple to retrieve the right KPIs utilize the data for better decision making.
5. Customize ad delivery
No one likes to see the same ads multiple times and increase ad fatigue. But, advertisers were not able to control the delivery of the ads in most of the top advertising platforms. With blockchain, advertisers will be given control to limit the ad frequency according to their campaign objectives.
6. Social media ads
A lot of fake news used to surface online through social media channels, now it can be controlled as blockchain technology is the distributed system is highly transparent and trackable. It can limit the social media ad frauds.
7. Data safety
Data safety and privacy is a major challenge in the digital advertising industry. The users browsing behavior is no longer the reason you serve your ads to them. Now, audience permission is required to use their personal data. A lot of countries are taking initiatives to stop the illegal practices. Security compliance like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and a lot more came into the picture for data privacy and safety.
Blockchain reduced the role of third-party platforms to verify ads if they comply with the guidelines and save a lot of time for the advertisers.
9. Ad automation
Ad auctioning process and more easy and transparent with the help of blockchain-based advertising platforms. The ads will now be more effective and relevant.
10. Content management
The delivery of the content is more data-driven and accurate with blockchain. Content monetization, content personalization, content discovery, and content creation would be easier in these blockchain technology ad platforms.
Some digital advertising platforms using blockchain
Today the market is flooded by blockchain-powered ad platforms. Tech giants like IBM Corporation, Amazon Web Services, Inc., Accenture Plc, Microsoft Corporation, SAP SE, Oracle Corporation, Infosys Limited are investing in this technology.
Big companies like Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer, Unilever McDonald’s, Nestlé, and Virgin Media have joined a new blockchain pilot seeking to increase transparency in advertising online. Automobile giant Toyota uses blockchain tech to reduce fraud in their digital advertising campaigns.
Kat Howcroft, senior media and budget manager at McDonald’s, said:
“This technology offers us the opportunity to see a truly transparent picture of our investment across the digital supply chain. We are also eager to understand the potential impact that this may have on our ROI and efficiency.”
According to Babs Rangaiah, Global Marketing, IBM iX:
“Blockchain is creating new ways of doing business across industries, particularly where greater trust and transparency are required. As it relates to media, we expect blockchain to be able to provide a single source of truth to any given media buy, eliminating the doubt and uncertainty that is common today.”
Benefits of blockchain in the digital advertising industry
Accountability and transparency are required in the digital advertising ecosystem across the globe. Blockchain brings that trust factor to the table. With the help of blockchain ad tech vendors are now able to show the comprehensive actionable view of the ad distribution and transactions.
For every advertiser, data is the key to define their business success. With blockchain now, the advertisers receive the right high-quality data and reduce the chances of its alteration because of the distributed ledger approach.
The cost of the transaction is reduced significantly by removing various payment gateway platforms. Blockchain-powered ad platforms assure safe transactions while maintaining users’ anonymity.
Conclusion: Blockchain is the future in the digital ads industry
It will be too early to say if this could stop the whole of digital advertising scandals, ad frauds, and bot traffic. But, definitely, blockchain is impacting the digital advertising ecosystem positively and gradually. Ad tech giants like Google are adapting the blockchain-powered tools to enhance their functionality.
Blockchain topped the list of the digital marketing trends 2020. It’s time to show zero tolerance for the ad frauds, data alteration, and data breaches. The companies considering an upgrade to their advertising platform with blockchain will lead the way going forward, and it’s time you added your business to this roster.
The post How blockchain will dominate the digital advertising industry in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Three-quarters of Americans lack confidence in tech companies’ ability to fight election interference
A significant majority of Americans have lost faith in tech companies’ ability to prevent the misuse of their platforms to influence the 2020 presidential election, according to a new study from Pew Research Center, released today. The study found that nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) don’t believe platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google will be able to prevent election interference. What’s more, this sentiment is felt by both political parties evenly.
Pew says that nearly identical shares of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (76%) and Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents (74%) have little or no confidence in technology companies’ ability to prevent their platforms’ misuse with regard to election interference.
And yet, 78% of Americans believe it’s tech companies’ job to do so. Slightly more Democrats (81%) took this position, compared with Republicans (75%).
While Americans had similar negative feelings about platforms’ misuse ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, their lack of confidence has gotten even worse over the past year. As of January 2020, 74% of Americans report having little confidence in the tech companies, compared with 66% back in September 2018. For Democrats, the decline in trust is even greater, with 74% today feeling “not too” confident or “not at all” confident, compared with 62% in September 2018. Republican sentiment has declined somewhat during this same time, as well, with 72% expressing a lack of confidence in 2018, compared with 76% today.
Even among those who believe the tech companies are capable of handling election interference, very few (5%) Americans feel “very” confident in their capabilities. Most of the optimists see the challenge as difficult and complex, with 20% saying they feel only “somewhat” confident.
Across age groups, both the lack of confidence in tech companies and a desire for accountability increase with age. For example, 31% of those 18 to 29 feel at least somewhat confident in tech companies’ abilities, versus just 20% of those 65 and older. Similarly, 74% of youngest adults believe the companies should be responsible for platform misuse, compared with 88% of the 65-and-up crowd.
Given the increased negativity felt across the board on both sides of the aisle, it would have been interesting to see Pew update its 2018 survey that looked at other areas of concern Republicans and Democrats had with tech platforms. The older study found that Republicans were more likely to feel social media platforms favored liberal views while Democrats were more heavily in favor of regulation and restricting false information.
Issues around election interference aren’t just limited to the U.S., of course. But news of Russia’s meddling in U.S. politics in particular — which involved every major social media platform — has helped to shape Americans’ poor opinion of tech companies and their ability to prevent misuse. The problem continues today, as Russia is being called out again for trying to intervene in the 2020 elections, according to several reports. At present, Russia’s focus is on aiding Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign in order to interfere with the Democratic primary, the reports said.
Meanwhile, many of the same vulnerabilities that Russia exploited during the 2016 elections remain, including the platforms’ ability to quickly spread fake news, for example. Russia is also working around blocks the tech companies have erected in an attempt to keep Russian meddling at bay. One report from The NYT said Russian hackers and trolls were now better at covering their tracks and were even paying Americans to set up Facebook pages to get around Facebook’s ban on foreigners buying political ads.
Pew’s report doesn’t get into any details as to why Americans have lost so much trust in tech companies since the last election, but it’s likely more than just the fallout from election interference alone. Five years ago, tech companies were viewed largely as having a positive impact on the U.S., Pew had once reported. But Americans no longer feel as they did, and now only around half of U.S. adults believe the companies are having a positive impact.
More Americans are becoming aware of how easily these massive platforms can be exploited and how serious the ramifications of those exploits have become across a number of areas, including personal privacy. It’s not surprising, then, that user sentiment around how well tech companies are capable of preventing election interference has declined, too, along with all the rest.
The National Transportation Safety Board says the automaker should restrict use of its Autopilot feature and better detect when drivers are paying attention.
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Much like private businesses, the United States government is in the process of moving workloads to the cloud, and facing a similar set of challenges. Today, CircleCI, the continuous delivery developer service, announced a partnership with AWS GovCloud to help federal government entities using AWS’s government platform to modernize their applications development workflows.
“What this means is that it allows us to run our server offering, which is our on-prem offering, and our government customers can run that on dedicated pure cloud resource [on AWS GovCloud],” CircleCI CEO Jim Rose told TechCrunch.
GovCloud is a dedicated, single tenant cloud platform that lets government entities build FedRAMP-compliant secure cloud solutions (other cloud vendors have similar offerings). FedRAMP is a set of government cloud security standards every cloud vendor has to meet to work with the federal government
CircleCI builds modern continuous delivery/continuous integration (CI/CD) pipelines for development teams pushing changes to the application in a rapid change cycle.
“What GovCloud allows us to do is now provide that same level of security and service for government customers that wanted us to do so in an on prem environment in a dedicated single tenant environment [in the cloud],” Rose explained.
While there are a number of steps involved in building cloud applications, Rose said they are sticking to their core strength around building continuous delivery pipelines. As he says, if you have a legacy mainframe application that changes once every year or two, using CircleCI wouldn’t make sense, but as you begin to modernize, that’s where his company could help.
“[CircleCi comes into play] when you get into more modern cloud applications that are changing in some cases hundreds of times a day, and the sources of change for those applications is getting really diverse and managing that is becoming more complex,” Rose said.
This partnership could involve working directly with an agency, as it has done with the Small Business Administration (SBA), or it might involve a systems integrator, or even AWS, inviting them to be part of a larger RFP.
Rose says he realizes that working with the government can sometimes be controversial. Companies from Chef to Salesforce to Google have run afoul with employees who don’t want to work with certain agencies like DoD or ICE. He says his company has tended to focus on areas where agencies are looking to improve citizen interactions and steered away from other areas.
“From our perspective, given that we’re not super involved in a lot of those areas, but we want to get in front of it, both commercially, as well as on the government side, and determine what falls within the fence line and what’s outside of it,” he said.
Average position as a metric has been retired since the end of September. This is a big change since for years clients, agencies, and any advertiser has always had at least a little bit of vanity management. By that I mean, everyone at some point submitted a bid with the sole goal of being “number one” and not any actual business metric.
This change was implemented to acknowledge that the average position is not meaningful when you are in a world of personalized search. Stopping vanity bidding is just a beneficial side effect. I wanted to take a look at some data, specifically CPC and CTR, to see how performance varies for top and side positions. I also wanted to look at how these metrics vary on Google.com vs. Search partners. What I found were some very interesting insights that might impact how you think about your campaigns.
When it comes to the differences between Google and it’s partners and top vs. other the keys are:
- Google top vs. other has the biggest differences when it comes to CTR. The data showed a >900% increase in CTR across desktop, mobile, and tablet. This was the highest delta across the entire data set, expect for Partner top vs. other which was nearly 4x the difference.
- Mobile for Google vs. the Partners was also a significant difference at 918%. This was noticeable because the desktop variance was only 30% (basically a tie). The importance of mobile can’t be understated.
When it comes to cost per click differences the variances were really noticeable when it comes to cost per click. The drop off between Google and partners was at least 100% and as high as 268%. The differences are driven primarily by demand. Many advertisers do not participate in the partner network. Therefore, demand is down and the cost per click would fall as well. This is where if the conversion rates are right you would be able to pick up some additional scale. The difference when looking at Google and Partners top vs. other is a much smaller delta. This just highlights the demand point above. The difference in mobile was only 13%. There are such a high demand and fewer spaces for mobile that the difference between top and side was the smallest of any data set that was reviewed.
While the CPCs weren’t that different the CTRs for Google mobile top were significantly higher than the search partners top. I thought this was worth showing the actual data to show the differences between mobile and desktop. The drop in mobile top is very high indicating a different search experience and relevance. The differences are very small and much lower CTR when looking at the “Other” positions.
What action should you take based on this data?
1. Don’t manage to these metrics – Optimize them
Ultimately, you shouldn’t really care what the CPC is or what your CTR is. The goal is hitting your KPIs. If you need to pay $ 100 per click, but convert 100% of the clicks then it’s no different than paying $ 20 per click and a 20% conversion rate. That’s not to say you shouldn’t optimize to improve, you should. I’m just suggesting that metrics like top vs. side CTR are simply indicators on how you can improve. These are not your true KPIs.
2. Understand the value the search partner network brings your campaign
The search network provides scale to your campaigns and to Google for a revenue stream. That doesn’t mean in every case you need or require that scale. If you are struggling to perform break down your traffic by Google and the partner network. Look at not only CTR and CPC data, but also understand conversion rates. What would happen if you cut off the search partner network to both your volume and your cost per acquisition? Does this additional scale provide your business value or would it be better spent investing in other areas that perform better? This isn’t a one size fits all answer. You need to do the work and the result might be different by campaign or even keyword.
The post A look at performance post Google’s average position sunset: Top vs side appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Omnichannel advertising can be complicated. Digital marketers today have an unlimited number of tools at their disposal to get their message in front of the right audience through search advertising and others. While your channels or tactics may change, the goal of all marketers remains the same – to grow your brand and build your business.
But how do you know which channel or channels to use to achieve these goals? Many marketers with smaller advertising budgets start with paid search as the first channel to target, because of the simplicity of setting up a PPC campaign in Google Ads. There are no creative assets or media buyer required, and no fancy technology to learn or understand. Search also has advanced targeting abilities, offering companies the chance to get in front of in-market shoppers the minute they start their search. And the results of search campaigns are quantifiable, with insights into exactly which terms are resonating most.
Programmatic display advertising, on the other hand, can be a bit more difficult for some marketers to get started with. This channel has traditionally been considered best for brand awareness campaigns, as display ads can appear virtually anywhere your potential customers are online. Taking advantage of display requires either a direct relationship with a demand-side platform, or DSP, or a relationship with an agency to manage the campaigns on your behalf.
But choosing the right mix of channels for your advertising campaign doesn’t need to be an all or nothing affair. In fact, combining display and search together can have a positive impact on your return on ad spend (ROAS).
Here are three strategies to effectively combine search and display advertising for maximum results:
1. Cast a wide net
If you’re looking to find more new customers and don’t have a ton of traffic on your existing site or searching for keywords you’re targeting with search, the first step is getting more site visitors. This is where programmatic display advertising comes in handy — it offers a scale that paid search campaigns can’t, at a better price point. If you have a big promotion coming up in a few months, it’s a good idea to increase spending on brand awareness tactics well in advance, in order to have larger retargeting and lookalike pools ready to go when your promotion is ready to launch. So start by casting a wide net with display, and then continue to adjust and refine your targeting parameters as time goes by to optimize performance and find your next best customer.
Once you have brought all these new visitors to your site, it’s time to introduce cross-platform retargeting. For example, if you are running a paid search campaign for sneakers and roughly only 13% of this paid search traffic becomes a paying customer, that leaves another 87% of the audience you already paid for who abandoned the site without ever converting. Now that they have already visited your site, you can use retargeting to show them a new series of messages in the hopes of bringing them back to continue further down the sales funnel. Your specific retargeting tactics can be simple or sophisticated, but the bottom line is that they will help keep the conversation going with the visitors most likely to convert down the road.
3. Contextual targeting
If you have already identified your best-performing keywords from your search campaigns, you can use this same keyword list to add contextual targeting to your programmatic campaign. While this strategy doesn’t directly link the two channels, it does allow you to further refine your audience targets. For example, if “athletic shoes” is something that a lot of people are searching for and is driving people to your site, you could create an “athletic” contextual segment to target with display advertising.
Each of these tactics are a great way to build awareness for your brand and products right when your prospects are actively shopping, and a great way to complement ongoing search activity. If you already rely heavily on paid search for a large part of your advertising, consider adding display, along with some targeting strategies to increase the efficiency of your campaigns and decrease your cost per acquisition.
Jason Wulfsohn is Co-Founder and COO of AUDIENCEX, a programmatic advertising and trading desk.
The post Display and search advertising: Top three strategies to expand your audience across channels appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
The wildfires weren’t just unprecedented—scientists didn’t think such catastrophic conflagrations would happen until the end of this century.
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After eBay, Visa, Stripe and other high-profile partners ditched the Facebook -backed cryptocurrency collective, Libra scored a win today with the addition of Shopify. The e-commerce platform will become a member of Libra Association, contributing at least $ 10 million and operating a node that processes transactions for the Facebook-originated stable coin.
If Libra manages to assuage international regulators’ concerns, which are currently blocking its roll out, Shopify could gain a way to process transactions without paying credit card fees. Libra is designed to move between wallets with zero or nearly-zero fees. That could save money for Shopify and the 1 million merchants running online shops on its platform.
Shopify stressed that helping merchants reduce fees and bringing commerce opportunities to developing nations as reasons it’s joining the Libra Association . “Much of the world’s financial infrastructure was not built to handle the scale and needs of internet commerce,” Shopify writes. Here are the most critical parts of its announcement:
Our mission is to make commerce better for everyone and to do that, we spend a lot of our time thinking about how to make commerce better in parts of the world where money and banking could be far better . . . As a member of the Libra Association, we will work collectively to build a payment network that makes money easier to access and supports merchants and consumers everywhere . . . Our mission has always been to support the entrepreneurial journey of the more than one million merchants on our platform. That means advocating for transparent fees and easy access to capital, and ensuring the security and privacy of our merchants’ customer data. We want to create an infrastructure that empowers more entrepreneurs around the world.
As part of the Libra Association, Shopify will become a validator node operator, gain one vote on the Libra Association council and can earn dividends from interest earned on the Libra reserve in proportion to its investment, which is $ 10 million at a minimum.
The Libra Association had lost much of its e-commerce expertise when a string of members abandoned the project in October amidst regulatory scrutiny. That included traditional payment processors like Visa and Mastercard, online processors like Stripe and PayPal and marketplaces like eBay. That threw into question whether Libra would have the right partners to make the cryptocurrency accepted in enough places to be useful to people.
As it works to convince regulators Libra is safe, Facebook has been working on its other payment plays, including Facebook Pay and WhatsApp Pay, that rely on traditional bank transfers or credit cards.
Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted that “Shopify spends a lot of time thinking about how to make commerce better in parts of the world where money and banking could be far better. That’s why we decided to become a member of the Libra Association.”
“We are proud to welcome Shopify, Inc. (SHOP) to the Libra Association. As a multinational commerce platform with over one million businesses in approximately 175 countries, Shopify, Inc. brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Libra project,” writes Dante Disparte, the Libra Association’s head of Policy and Communications. “Shopify joins an active group of Libra Association members committed to achieving a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people.”
A recent hire further tied the two companies together. Facebook’s former lead product manager for its payment platform and billing teams, Kaz Nejatian, in September became Shopify’s VP and GM of money.
Operating an e-commerce store can be difficult or impossible without a traditional bank account that can be tough to attain in some developing countries. Libra could allow these merchants to establish a Libra Wallet where payments are sent instantly, without steep credit card fees, and in theory could be cashed out at local brick-and-mortar establishments or ATMs for local fiat currency.
But for any of that to happen, the Libra Association will have to convince the U.S. government, the EU and more that it won’t help terrorists launder money, hurt people’s privacy or weaken nations’ power in the global financial system. “The French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, “the monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake from a possible privatisation of money . . . we cannot authorise the development of Libra on European soil.”
Libra was initially slated to launch in 2020. We’ll see.
Here’s the full list of Libra Association members:
Facebook’s Calibra, Shopify, PayU, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Illiad SA, Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Xapo, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking.
Vodafone, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, PayPal, Mercado Pago, Bookings Holdings, eBay.
- How blockchain will dominate the digital advertising industry in 2020
- Three-quarters of Americans lack confidence in tech companies’ ability to fight election interference
- A Safety Board Faults Tesla and Regulators in a Fatal 2018 Crash
- CircleCI-AWS GovCloud partnership aims to bring modern development to US government
- A look at performance post Google’s average position sunset: Top vs side