Eight Things From Q3 Worth Knowing

Now, ten days into October, we have had time to digest on the events of the last quarter. As is ever the case with history, only some of the headlines of the last three months will have any lingering impact. But of all the events in the past three months the following eight are worth knowing about. This post is a quick digest of the ones that will shape the environment.

Here are the Eight Things From Q3 Worth Knowing… (or you can skip the post and click here for a single slide of highlights)


1. New EU – US data protection rules 

The EU and US launched “Privacy Shield”, a set of new regulatory requirements for data transfers across the Atlantic. This followed a decision at the European Court of Justice to invalidate the previous “Safe Harbour” agreement, which had operated for sixteen years. Separately, the standard model contracts still used by many companies to transfer data between EU and US are the subject of another case before the Irish courts. These developments are part of a wave of EU data protection reform that will disrupt the online advertising system.

2. Brands versus Agencies: fallout from the ANA Transparency report 

JP Morgan’s CMO began to audit their agency following the American Association of National Advertisers’ report into agency kickbacks, which was released in June. The CMOs of many major brands followed suit thereafter.


3. The world’s biggest ad spender begins to back away from targeting 

P&G, the largest spender on advertising in the world, announced that it was reducing its focus on the targeting of individual consumers on Facebook and shifting back to contention broadcast reach. As a mass-market brand this made particular sense, but reporting on the announcement hinted at a deeper malaise in digital direct marketing.

4. Facebook started to show ads to adblock users 

After a study of user reactions Facebook took initial steps to show ads to users who visit the site with adblockers installed. A back and forth ensued in which AdBlock Plus and Facebook countered each other for a period, with Facebook ultimately the victor. Now both of the two Web giants, Facebook and Google, are actively showing ads on The Blocked Web (Google’s ads appear in Search).


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5. The biggest adblockers tried to become ad merchants 

Eyeo, the company that operates AdBlock Plus, announced that it had established an SSP in collaboration with ComboTag that would facilitate publishers serving certain kinds of ads to people that had installed its adblocker. The following day Google and AppNexus, which Eyeo said it was working with, publically shunned the venture and kicked ComboTag off their platforms.

6. A new coalition forms to tackle bad ads 

A Coalition for Better Ads was established by a mix of advertising platforms, an agency, several premium publishers, and publisher trade bodies, the two big tech platforms, and several big brands. We are heartened to see that the Coalition appears to build upon PageFair’s global roundtables.

7. Facebook miscounted 

Facebook disclosed that it overcounted video ad viewing time for two years, prompting consternation.

8. Premium publishers unite 

DCN, the trade body that represents the premium media groups in the English-speaking world, launched TrustX, a not for profit advertising exchange to clean up the advertising system’s metrics, fraud, and UX. Equally importantly, TrustX gives DCN’s publishers a space to collaborate. DCN has done what the music industry failed to do: build a common platform for fixing the consumer and industry issues that will otherwise lead to disaster. Kudos to Jason Kint (see PageFair podcast with Jason Kint here), David Kohl, and the DCN team.

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Three months in one sentence… 

In short, it was a busy quarter. CMOs investigated agency kickbacks, data regulation got tougher, digital lost some of its luster, Facebook engaged with The Blocked Web, and premium publishers finally started to leverage their most sacred asset: trust.

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