Apr 6, 2017

How digital advertising became a total mess

Because so much advertising and content is automatically distributed, the digital supply chain has become confusing and messy, lending itself to more ad fraud, malware, extremist content and fake news. Here's a look at how much more complicated the system has gotten over the past ten years:

Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: Digital advertising has become an unpleasant experience for nearly everyone involved:

  • For publishers: It's much harder to profit when Google and Facebook dominate the digital ad market, and when so many new ad tech players are separating them from receiving ad dollars directly.
  • For advertisers: It's easy for ads to end up on sites that host bad content or for ads to be viewed by bots instead of people
  • For consumers: The Internet has become so saturated with pesky automated ads that it's easier to either install an ad blocker or avoid some websites altogether.

What's the solution? There are a few ideas being tossed around:

  • Start over: Several premium publishers (CBS, ABC, Vox, etc.) are teaming up to create a private marketplace where they can recreate a cleaner version of the system through a non-profit called TrustX.
  • Build a new network: Other publishers have discussed using Blockchain (the technology behind Bitcoin) to create their own transparent ad networks.
  • Create financial incentives: Speaking at an advertising law policy conference in Washington last week, former Subway CMO Tony Pace said the industry should place more importance on brand value as a part of financial reporting to incentivize everyone to clean up the system.
  • Cut the crap: There's a movement by publishers to only run ads on trusted websites, which could incentivize other sites to clean up their content and stop publishing click-bait. Chase, for example, cut the number of sites they advertise on by 99% from 400,000 to 5,000 and got the same results.

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2020 rules of the road for the Age of Misinformation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With just weeks to the Iowa caucuses, social media platforms have finalized their rules governing political speech — and fired a starting pistol for political strategists to find ways to exploit them from now till Election Day.

Why it matters: "One opportunity that has arisen from all these changes is how people are trying to get around them," says Keegan Goudiss, director of digital advertising for Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign and now a partner at the progressive digital firm Revolution Messaging.

The future of owning content online

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thirty years into the internet era, content creators in many industries, like digital news publishing and music, still believe copyright regulations favor the interests of digital content distributors and make it difficult for them to make money.

The big picture: Countries around the world are trying to address outdated copyright rules to protect the owners of intellectual property across several industries.

Go deeperArrowDec 17, 2019

Vox Media launches new privacy-focused ad-targeting platform

Vox Media chief revenue officer Ryan Pauley. Photo: James Bareham/Vox Media

Vox Media announced Monday the launch of Forte, a new ad-targeting data platform designed to help advertisers reach Vox's monthly audience of 125 million consumers efficiently — without using shady data practices to target them.

Why it matters: It's Vox Media's first big commercial announcement since it merged with New York Media last year, and it comes amid regulatory changes and an industry reckoning around data privacy in advertising.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019