Google Gives An Inch On Search Network Transparency; The Consumer Adpocalypse

Google Gives An Inch On Search Network Transparency; The Consumer Adpocalypse

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

Network To Get Work

Google has made a rare concession to transparency. It agreed to allow placement-level reporting for ads served via the Search Partners Network, which includes third-party site operators that license Google Search for their sites.

The new reporting function is only for Performance Max, Ad Age reports. 

Previously, although advertisers could opt out of the search network itself, PMax buyers were exposed to this inventory by default.

Last year, a damning Adalytics report found that the Search Partners Network was harboring a hellscape of horrific sites. Beyond Breitbart and other more run-of-the-mill brand-unsafe sites, the network included hardcore porn and sanctioned Iranian and Russian domains.

Google’s arguably somewhat lackluster response at the time included removing some problematic sites, as well as alerting advertisers as to whether their ads had appeared on any of 30 some-odd sites explicitly mentioned in the report – as if Adalytics had only found a few bad apples and not a systemic issue.

But now Google has given in, and it’s an important change, too, because walled garden platforms have become synonymous with a lack of transparency. They lock away their campaign and inventory data in black boxes even when they don’t have a privacy, competition or security rationale to do so.

Google withheld placement-level search network data because that data looks bad for Google, which is not a legit reason. Microsoft, for example, has a search network with similarly dark corners, but it’s always reported on the sites where ads appeared.

Can’t Spell ‘Bad’ Without ‘Ad’

Advertising ruined the internet, writes The Atlantic.

Smart TVs and streaming apps now automatically blast trailers and teasers unless viewers scroll away immediately, habituating millions to a new ad-blocking tactic.

The Atlantic describes this dynamic as the “adpocalypse,” because it’s the end of the good times.

As in, remember when Uber wouldn’t make you watch a 90-second video ad to see your ETA?

The same goes for finding matches on dating apps or highlights in a sports app or nutrition and fitness apps that suggest commercial snack brands.

The “customer” is no longer the individual. The advertising account is the customer.

Ironically, this trend was precipitated by efforts to prohibit advertising and tracking. By shifting potential marketing budgets away from the open web and social media to closed first-party data owners, companies with revealing personal data are practically forced to launch an ads business.

If Instacart didn’t monetize its inventory and data, public shareholders would sue for breach of fiduciary duty.

“After all, they had proprietary data from troves of customers buying their products,” Shoshana Wodinsky tells The Atlantic, in reference to non-advertising companies becoming ad-dependent, “which is the exact type of audience an advertiser wants to spend money to reach.”

The Scrape Of Things To Come

Google is paying publishers to experiment with a generative AI tool that aggregates content from other sites, Adweek reports.

First, publishers compile a list of sites from which they frequently aggregate news. The tool scrapes these sites to create content, which must be reviewed by an editor before publication. 

Participating publishers receive an undisclosed five-figure sum to trial the tool. They must also commit to using the AI to generate three articles per day, one newsletter per week and one marketing campaign per month over the next 12 months.

In exchange, Google receives analytics on how this content performs and feedback from participants.

Google is offering the tool through its Google News Initiative, a training and tech program for publishers. While the initiative has benefited some sites, its critics say Google uses the initiative as a way to drum up positive media coverage without actually providing much value to news companies.

Critics also say the tech could siphon traffic from the original publishers. After all, sites don’t opt in to the solution, nor are they aware that their content is being reused. Not that it matters much, since they can’t opt out anyway.

But Wait, There’s More!

Amazon is quietly developing an internal ad tech team called ID++. [Ad Age]

The FT launched a VC arm, and its first investment is Charter, a media startup covering the future of work. [Axios]

Wawa is launching a retail media business, dubbed the Goose Media Network, backed by Publicis-owned Sapient, Epsilon and CitrusAd. [Convenience Store News]

Software has eaten the media. [Where’s Your Ed At]

TikTok-native brands. [Marketplace Pulse]

OpenAI claims The New York Times used prompt hacking to produce instances of plagiarism for its copyright suit against the company. [Bloomberg Law]

You’re Hired!

TEGNA promotes Tom Cox to chief growth officer and Daniel Spinosa to president of Premion. [release]

Dstillery elevates Evan Hills to chief commercial officer and Ryan Perone to SVP and head of sales. [Adweek]

Search ad company adMarketplace promotes Adam Epstein to co-CEO. [release]

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Google Gives An Inch On Search Network Transparency; The Consumer Adpocalypse


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Google Gives An Inch On Search Network Transparency; The Consumer Adpocalypse Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want…

Google Gives An Inch On Search Network Transparency; The Consumer Adpocalypse

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