Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The things that mattered the most in adtech this March

By Zoe Baptie, Account Director,  Bluestripe Communications

Zoe is the resident adtech expert at NDA’s sister company Bluestripe Communications and our monthly columnist rounding up the most important developments in the market each month.

The global pandemic of Covid-19 is changing the landscape for the way many of us work. It’s still unclear what the impact on the adtech ecosystem — or business as a whole — will be as some verticals take a hit.

But while we are all adjusting to this new normal, it’s important not to panic, and to continue business as usual where possible. While some companies hold back on marketing activity — for whatever reason — it will be those, who adapt and who continue the conversation that will remain front of mind when we can leave our homes and return to our offices. 

We’ve seen some great examples of brands, agencies and digital publishers changing tactics in response to the coronavirus crisis. From BrewDog brewing hand sanitiser in its Aberdeenshire distillery, to publication Time Out temporarily rebranding as Time In to encourage readers to stay at home, stop the spread, and save the NHS.

In this digital age, social networks have also played their part in bringing communities together, with neighbourhood app Nextdoor seeing a surge in the creation of groups to offer local support to those impacted by the virus. 

Other digital platforms have also seen a boost due to the reduction of personal contact, with social video app Houseparty seeing two million new downloads world wide in one week, according to WARC. The app topped the charts in all three European countries with strict restrictions — Italy, Spain, and the UK — allowing users of the app to stay connected and enter each other’s houses…albeit virtually.  

A temporary reprieve for the cookie

And there may also be a silver lining in this crisis, as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) plans to ask Google to delay the phasing out of third-party cookies in Chrome. AdExchanger reports that W3C will be requesting Google extend the two year deadline by another six to 12 months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In other news unrelated to the chaos caused by coronavirus, Apple trumped Google and decided to make the move to being the first major internet browser to fully block third-party cookies. It will cause publishers further issues trying to monetise traffic from Safari, but according to Adweek, the move will enhance user privacy by preventing Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) workarounds which enable cross-site tracking.

This was also the month that Xandr announced its enhanced TV solutions for US advertisers. Working with AMC Networks, Disney, and WarnerMedia, the TV solutions will enable data-driven audience-based buying at scale for linear TV via Xandr Invest.

According to Advanced Television, advertisers will now be able to define a single audience across all participating TV media owners using Xandr or Nielsen data, as well as customising with their own first or third-party data through the platform. 

CMO action

Lastly, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has formed a new coronavirus coalition — a working community group of CMOs to help the marketing community manage the ongoing global crisis posed by the pandemic.

Comprised of a select team from the Global CMO growth Council, the group represents many of the world’s biggest brands. It was founded by the ANA and operates together with Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

It focuses on brand experience and innovation — the two areas which will be greatly impacted by the crisis. You can read more about the coronavirus coalition set up by the ANA here.

Until next month, stay safe, healthy, and happy.