The Mediaocean-4C Merger, With CEOs Bill Wise And Lance Neuhauser

Bill Wise Lance Neuhauser

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Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise has strong words for The Trade Desk.

This week on AdExchanger Talks, Wise sits for a joint interview alongside Lance Neuhauser, CEO of 4C, which Mediaocean has agreed to acquire for approximately $200 million. The deal gives Mediaocean more inroads into digital and advanced TV advertising, and it puts it in a new competitive set that includes demand-side platforms such as The Trade Desk.

Wise notes that The Trade Desk has managed to sustain a 20% margin from billings, but he says those mostly digital margins won’t port easily to television – where The Trade Desk has set its sights.

“When you’re dealing with long tail, open web, mobile, [10% to 20% margins are] generally OK because it’s not a huge portion of a publisher’s yield curve,” he says. However, those supply chain economics can’t be ported to the TV ecosystem, where supply chain margins are sub-3%.

“They’re going to run into a wall, and that wall is Mediaocean.”

Also in this episode: getting an acquisition done during the pandemic.

Cast Away But Not Lost: How Publishers Can Navigate Their New Surroundings

This article is sponsored by Criteo.

Consider being suddenly plunged into unfamiliar territory. Tom Hanks’ character surveying his island in “Castaway” comes to mind. Whether you’re alone on an island or are a publisher contemplating your next move, it’s essential to identify the elements for survival.

Since we don’t yet have the full set of tools to face a future with severe limits on ad identifiers, the key to resilience is finding near-term solutions without jeopardizing the potential for long-term ones. On a desert island, a blunt instrument can be sharpened to a point or a coconut can be split to provide sustenance. Publishers face equivalent requirements in the form of tech and partner selection.

Publisher strengths

There’s no question the environment will continue shifting with regulations and new approaches surrounding online identity. Publishers can adapt in ways that provide benefits to advertisers –and end users too ­– if they make use of the tools at their disposal and work with the industry to develop new modes of privacy-friendly identification. There’s significant value in the ecosystem publishers create through free quality content, but their ability to sustain is under threat. Longstanding partners and tech platforms are here to help.

Already, there are several potential solutions to the loss of the third-party cookie and likely more that we don’t yet know of with industry forums iterating on proposed approaches. What’s important is assessing options available today and being open to adopting or creating new solutions along the way, thinking both inside and outside the box. A tool that didn’t suit previously may serve well in a transformed industry. The coming months will determine which publishers stagnate and which surge ahead. Here are two opportunities to help them stay competitive. 

1. Take control of a privacy-centric, persistent data asset

Traditionally, third-party cookies have provided users with personalized experiences resulting in ad revenue that funds the open internet. Without this mechanism, publisher revenue is likely to drop. A 2019 study conducted by Google showed a 52% average decline in publisher ad revenue in browsers without third-party cookies. And a Facebook Audience Network 2020 study of personalized and non-personalized ads lends consistency to these findings, with a more than 50% drop in publisher revenue observed between test treatments.

Publishers and advertisers must find other ways to identify eligible users in a privacy-centric manner. This could include alternative sources of persistent identifiers such as hashed email addresses, gathered by implementing registration walls or prompting logins to access premium content. If a user provides an email address to access content, this data could later be employed to serve relevant ads and properly attribute performance.

However, a majority of solutions will ideally focus on keeping the free flow of information available for people to access content and stay informed. Approaches for reaching the most relevant audiences will make use of 1:1 personalization where possible and will further explore targeting based on interest groups. Within the range of scenarios there won’t be one solution that fits all publishers – or all advertisers for that matter – but the use of a persistent identifier will be key. Any effective model must also provide a transparent value exchange that makes it clear to users what they receive in return for their personal data.

2. Expand their use of privacy-by-design tools

Publishers need tools that will enable them to access data to reach relevant users in a way that remains privacy-centric. As one example of looking at existing tools to fit new needs, publishers may explore data clean rooms which have long been used across industries when conducting due diligence and for M&A. Privacy-focused by design, the concept has notable benefits when applied in ad tech.

Imagine a space where user insights obtained from media properties can be connected to first-party data sourced from advertisers. As data is matched to form a user ID, inputs are guarded so the granularity of data on both sides remains protected. If either party wants to alter or leave the relationship, there is no artifact of the data remaining that would conflict with respective privacy policies. While this particular approach would be most fitting for larger scale publishers, the concept illustrates how we can assess the options available with fresh perspective.

Protecting user rights while tapping into the value of publishers’ unique data is imperative in the shift toward prioritizing consumer privacy. Tools like clean rooms afford publishers and advertisers the ability to aggregate and analyze data while putting privacy first. As with any solution, ensuring transparency of how data is used is a foundational step.

Adjusting and building resilience

In the evolving effort to find lasting replacements for today’s ad identifiers, direct relationships bear critical importance.

Publisher connections with consumers and advertisers are key. Media sellers must demonstrate value to both partners by using consumer data in a manner that earns trust. Additionally, publishers’ direct relationships with tech platforms ensure that as they navigate new territory, they do so with the confidence they’re retaining the full value of every impression and avoiding unnecessary fees. Couple this with the ability to lean on those platforms to provide useful tools while signaling the way to long-term solutions for the future state of identity, and the hope is that publishers will never feel cast away and isolated while working to protect their position and revenue.

New York Times Names Meredith Kopit Levien Next CEO

CEO Meredith Kopit Levien

Meredith Kopit Levien will assume the role of CEO and President of The New York Times Sept. 8, the company said Wednesday. She will succeed Mark Thompson, who has served as CEO since 2012. Read the release.

“I see a big opportunity to expand journalism’s role in the lives of millions more people around the world, and to invest in product and technology innovation that engages our readers and grows our business,” Levien said in a statement.

Levien joined the Times as chief revenue officer in 2013, one of Thompson’s first big hires. She previously spent five years at Forbes, where she pioneered its branded content offering, BrandVoice.

After first heading up the Times’ advertising business, she took on a dual role that made her responsible for both advertising and subscription revenue. The position allowed the Times to shift from a mostly ad-supported to a mostly reader-supported publication while minimizing conflict between the two sides of the business.

She then stepped into the even more senior role of EVP and chief operating officer in June 2017.

In February, Bloomberg reported that she was going to be named the next CEO.

Thompson said he chose to leave on a high note: “I’ve chosen this moment to step down because we have achieved everything I set out to do when I joined The Times Company eight years ago — and because I know that in Meredith, I have an outstanding successor who is ready to lead the company on to its next chapter.”

Levien will earn $900,000 in salary in the role, with an annual incentive plan targeted at 100% (but up to 200%) of her salary, according to an SEC 8-K filing accompanying the news. She’s also eligible for long-term incentive bonuses which could amount to $2.6 million for the period of 2020 to 2022. The terms of her current contract will run for just over two years, ending Jan. 1, 2023. She will also join the Times’ board.

What The Inventor Of The Shipping Container Can Teach Us About Platform Data

Ruben Schreurs headshot

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Ruben Schreurs, CEO at Digital Decisions.

In the early 1950s, Malcolm Purcell McLean stood in a massive line of trucks waiting to be offloaded by dock workers. The tedious process involved buckets of sweat and universal backache for the many men that formed the highly unionized dock crews.

He had a light bulb moment: What if, instead of the inefficient and time-consuming process of offloading the contents of his truck into storage facilities, where it would sit until it was loaded onto a ship or another truck, possibly multiple times, a pulley or crane system could just lift his entire trailer off the truck’s chassis? The trailer, later called a container, could be sealed and delivered in its entirety, eliminating many manual off- and on-loading steps, improving shipment speed and reducing cargo theft.

In the programmatic ecosystem, data, just like old-school cargo such as sand, grain or steel, is a commodity. But for such a modern commodity, we are arguably in worse shape than the cumbersome pre-container logistics era.

Data suffers from a lack of standardization. We have broadly accepted working with a patchwork of APIs and other middleware that tries to connect data from system A to system B. In their recent study, ISBA and PwC rightly called out the need for standardization of platform data in order to create a more efficient and transparent programmatic supply chain. Only being able to match 11% of all data, and within that having a 15% unknown delta, makes a clear business case for the need of standardization.

Standardization was the key that ensured containers would become a cornerstone of freight transport once Malcolm successfully proved the concept. Many competitors had seen the potential in the container model, but to design a ship capable of fitting all of the many different sizes of containers was practically impossible, not to mention the truck trailer chassis across the world that would have to fit the containers for land transport.

There was a massive competitive bidding process. Global standardization offices fell over each other to claim the universal standards, and commercial firms tried to get their existing standards to become the global norm, so that they would have a major head start on their competition, not having to write off their redundant containers and invest in new inventory.

The standardization process completed, and a number of container and fitting sizes were globally approved to be the norm. And this changed everything.

Today I hope that someone might read this and recognize themself in Malcolm’s personality and create the ad tech container that will leapfrog our industry into the next generation of efficient data management and sharing across platforms and partners.

The main components of the standardization effort in our industry would include a clear and uniform data taxonomy specifying standard dimensions and metrics in a way they can be easily matched across platforms. There should be clear guidelines for the access and export capabilities that should be offered by platforms. To wrap it all together should be the ability to export data structurally using an easy-to-manage and highly portable data container.

Considering there are several leading analytics platforms, a common adapter standard to plug in the account seat without having to set up a network of API connections would be a major win in addition to this, but an initial major leap forward would be a standardized CSV template that can be automatically delivered on a schedule.

The RTB protocol has helped create some level of matchability of data across platforms, but there is still a high level of variation in terms of the level of data granularity different platforms make available in their reporting interface, and in what format. As soon as we have a clear industry standard we will unlock advertisers’ and publishers’ ability to properly manage and assess their activity using different partners – all the way through the ecosystem.

It will take some lobbying and applying pressure in the right places, but from a technological point of view, a standardized “data container” would be straightforward to design and implement for the platforms that drive our industry ecosystem.

If you are interested in reading more about Malcolm McLean, I highly recommend “The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger,” by Marc Levinson. It’s an amazing story with a wide merit on innovation principles across any industry.

Follow AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

Mobile Ad Tech Companies Try To Adapt To Likely Loss Of Apple’s IDFA

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Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

–>

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Although Apple didn’t actually kill it, the IDFA will become opt-in for consumers starting with iOS 14 in September. Without user permission, IDFA tracking will be zeroed out, just like when Limit Ad Tracking is enabled.

Some are predicting opt-in rates as low as 5%.

Here’s how mobile ad tech players are adapting now that user-level tracking just got way trickier on iOS.

Singular’s support for SKAdNetwork

A mobile measurement partner (MMP) is an independent third-party that tracks mobile performance and helps attribute installs. An IDFA is necessary to do that on iOS.

For users that don’t opt into tracking, Apple’s API SKAdNetwork passes limited attribution info directly to the ad network when an ad click leads to an install. In other words, no need for the IDFA in that transaction and, according to some, no need for an MMP.

But there is still a meaningful role for MMPs to play in this setup, said Gadi Eliashiv, CEO and co-founder of mobile marketing analytics company Singular, which rolled out support for SKAdNetwork in late June.

Although with SKAdNetwork the App Store acts as the mediation layer between the publisher and the advertiser, ad buyers will still want their installs verified by a neutral party and help with aggregating data across their various ad network partners, Eliashiv said.

Adjust’s attribution hash

For others, SKAdNetwork is a nonstarter.

“It’s well intentioned, but sadly doesn’t live up to the needs of our clients,” said Paul Müller, CTO and co-founder of app attribution provider Adjust. “I also don’t think, though, that Apple wants to nuke the whole app ecosystem.”

After all, Müller said, Apple didn’t outright kill the IDFA and even created a few exceptions. For example, Apple will allow companies to track users without obtaining consent and to link that information with third-party data as long as the data is read locally and never leaves the device.

In order to tie an ad click to downstream metrics, Adjust proposes creating a secure hash when a user first opens an advertiser’s app of the person’s IDFA and IDFV, which is an ID associated with vendors in the iOS ecosystem. The hash would never be the same between two apps on the same device (unless the apps belong to the same publishers), and so couldn’t be used for retargeting or profiling purposes.

Adjust can then use the hash to connect ad engagements with subsequent user behavior without the IDFA or the IDFV leaving the user’s device, because both were only used locally to create the hash.

But there’s a catch. The publisher app in which the ad runs still needs an IDFA opt-in for Adjust to connect it with the hash.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.Branch’s Persona graph

Alex Austin, CEO of deep-linking startup Branch, is far less sanguine. “The IDFA is dead,” he told AdExchanger in a previous interview. “There is no other way to interpret this.”

User-level attribution, retargeting and look-alike audience creation are therefore pretty much broken.

Branch’s answer is a persona graph that it’s been developing for the past few years, designed to use an “anonymous, probabilistic algorithm that incorporates attributions” to accurately match when there’s no universal ID.

Most of the data comes from Branch deep links in apps, ads, emails and on websites. Branch collects identifiers every time a user clicks on one of the links, and rounds out the graph using machine learning to draw matches between personas that likely belong to the same user.

Branch claims it’ll still be able to provide high coverage rates even without the IDFA and that its graph does not depend on fingerprinting, a practice many believe Apple will start cracking down on in apps.

Kochava’s Identity Locker

Mobile analytics company Kochava is taking a different and deterministic tack with a solution called Identity Locker.

Advertisers and publishers onboard their first-party data into a secure area (aka, “locker”) hosted by Kochava. Demand and supply partners can then prompt users for consent and manage data permissions within their locker using secure identity tokens. The tokens are resolved through Collective, Kochava’s data marketplace/identity graph of hashed emails, household IDs and other device and user attributes.

It’s unclear whether Apple will frown upon the concept of a token whose sole purpose appears to be as a replacement for the IDFA.

Fyber’s take on contextual

App monetization company Fyber is operating under the assumption that the IDFA is as good as dead and anything that resembles it is dead on arrival.

“What can we tell a DSP in real time about the opportunity rather than about the user?” said Fyber’s president, Offer Yehudai.

But contextual targeting is a whole different ball game in apps compared with on the web, where it’s possible to infer context by reading the text on a page. Fyber is working on a solution that combines app-specific contextual signals and includes them in a bid request to enable targeting that doesn’t hinge on a specific identifier.

Bits of information, such as how much space someone has on their device, battery level, network speed, impression depth – which is whether someone is seeing their first ad impression of the day or the 100th – session duration, time of day and app type can paint a clear picture when blended together. None of the data will be tied to a specific profile.

AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer is one of the biggest and most penetrated mobile attribution providers in the ecosystem and it’s still in the process of figuring out its post-IDFA strategy.

The company is planning on presenting its iOS 14 solutions soon, according to a blog post last week from CEO and co-founder Oren Kaniel.

In a statement shared with AdExchanger, AppsFlyer said that it “will continue to provide customers with a robust attribution solution that puts the end user’s privacy first” while also maintaining a positive user experience.

Mobile Ad Tech Companies Try To Adapt To Likely Loss Of Apple’s IDFA

<!–

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

–>

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Although Apple didn’t actually kill it, the IDFA will become opt-in for consumers starting with iOS 14 in September. Without user permission, IDFA tracking will be zeroed out, just like when Limit Ad Tracking is enabled.

Some are predicting opt-in rates as low as 5%.

Here’s how mobile ad tech players are adapting now that user-level tracking just got way trickier on iOS.

Singular’s support for SKAdNetwork

A mobile measurement partner (MMP) is an independent third-party that tracks mobile performance and helps attribute installs. An IDFA is necessary to do that on iOS.

For users that don’t opt into tracking, Apple’s API SKAdNetwork passes limited attribution info directly to the ad network when an ad click leads to an install. In other words, no need for the IDFA in that transaction and, according to some, no need for an MMP.

But there is still a meaningful role for MMPs to play in this setup, said Gadi Eliashiv, CEO and co-founder of mobile marketing analytics company Singular, which rolled out support for SKAdNetwork in late June.

Although with SKAdNetwork the App Store acts as the mediation layer between the publisher and the advertiser, ad buyers will still want their installs verified by a neutral party and help with aggregating data across their various ad network partners, Eliashiv said.

Adjust’s attribution hash

For others, SKAdNetwork is a nonstarter.

“It’s well intentioned, but sadly doesn’t live up to the needs of our clients,” said Paul Müller, CTO and co-founder of app attribution provider Adjust. “I also don’t think, though, that Apple wants to nuke the whole app ecosystem.”

After all, Müller said, Apple didn’t outright kill the IDFA and even created a few exceptions. For example, Apple will allow companies to track users without obtaining consent and to link that information with third-party data as long as the data is read locally and never leaves the device.

In order to tie an ad click to downstream metrics, Adjust proposes creating a secure hash when a user first opens an advertiser’s app of the person’s IDFA and IDFV, which is an ID associated with vendors in the iOS ecosystem. The hash would never be the same between two apps on the same device (unless the apps belong to the same publishers), and so couldn’t be used for retargeting or profiling purposes.

Adjust can then use the hash to connect ad engagements with subsequent user behavior without the IDFA or the IDFV leaving the user’s device, because both were only used locally to create the hash.

But there’s a catch. The publisher app in which the ad runs still needs an IDFA opt-in for Adjust to connect it with the hash.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.Branch’s Persona graph

Alex Austin, CEO of deep-linking startup Branch, is far less sanguine. “The IDFA is dead,” he told AdExchanger in a previous interview. “There is no other way to interpret this.”

User-level attribution, retargeting and look-alike audience creation are therefore pretty much broken.

Branch’s answer is a persona graph that it’s been developing for the past few years, designed to use an “anonymous, probabilistic algorithm that incorporates attributions” to accurately match when there’s no universal ID.

Most of the data comes from Branch deep links in apps, ads, emails and on websites. Branch collects identifiers every time a user clicks on one of the links, and rounds out the graph using machine learning to draw matches between personas that likely belong to the same user.

Branch claims it’ll still be able to provide high coverage rates even without the IDFA and that its graph does not depend on fingerprinting, a practice many believe Apple will start cracking down on in apps.

Kochava’s Identity Locker

Mobile analytics company Kochava is taking a different and deterministic tack with a solution called Identity Locker.

Advertisers and publishers onboard their first-party data into a secure area (aka, “locker”) hosted by Kochava. Demand and supply partners can then prompt users for consent and manage data permissions within their locker using secure identity tokens. The tokens are resolved through Collective, Kochava’s data marketplace/identity graph of hashed emails, household IDs and other device and user attributes.

It’s unclear whether Apple will frown upon the concept of a token whose sole purpose appears to be as a replacement for the IDFA.

Fyber’s take on contextual

App monetization company Fyber is operating under the assumption that the IDFA is as good as dead and anything that resembles it is dead on arrival.

“What can we tell a DSP in real time about the opportunity rather than about the user?” said Fyber’s president, Offer Yehudai.

But contextual targeting is a whole different ball game in apps compared with on the web, where it’s possible to infer context by reading the text on a page. Fyber is working on a solution that combines app-specific contextual signals and includes them in a bid request to enable targeting that doesn’t hinge on a specific identifier.

Bits of information, such as how much space someone has on their device, battery level, network speed, impression depth – which is whether someone is seeing their first ad impression of the day or the 100th – session duration, time of day and app type can paint a clear picture when blended together. None of the data will be tied to a specific profile.

AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer is one of the biggest and most penetrated mobile attribution providers in the ecosystem and it’s still in the process of figuring out its post-IDFA strategy.

The company is planning on presenting its iOS 14 solutions soon, according to a blog post last week from CEO and co-founder Oren Kaniel.

In a statement shared with AdExchanger, AppsFlyer said that it “will continue to provide customers with a robust attribution solution that puts the end user’s privacy first” while also maintaining a positive user experience.

Mobile Ad Tech Companies Try To Adapt To Likely Loss Of Apple’s IDFA

<!–

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

–>

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Although Apple didn’t actually kill it, the IDFA will become opt-in for consumers starting with iOS 14 in September. Without user permission, IDFA tracking will be zeroed out, just like when Limit Ad Tracking is enabled.

Some are predicting opt-in rates as low as 5%.

Here’s how mobile ad tech players are adapting now that user-level tracking just got way trickier on iOS.

Singular’s support for SKAdNetwork

A mobile measurement partner (MMP) is an independent third-party that tracks mobile performance and helps attribute installs. An IDFA is necessary to do that on iOS.

For users that don’t opt into tracking, Apple’s API SKAdNetwork passes limited attribution info directly to the ad network when an ad click leads to an install. In other words, no need for the IDFA in that transaction and, according to some, no need for an MMP.

But there is still a meaningful role for MMPs to play in this setup, said Gadi Eliashiv, CEO and co-founder of mobile marketing analytics company Singular, which rolled out support for SKAdNetwork in late June.

Although with SKAdNetwork the App Store acts as the mediation layer between the publisher and the advertiser, ad buyers will still want their installs verified by a neutral party and help with aggregating data across their various ad network partners, Eliashiv said.

Adjust’s attribution hash

For others, SKAdNetwork is a nonstarter.

“It’s well intentioned, but sadly doesn’t live up to the needs of our clients,” said Paul Müller, CTO and co-founder of app attribution provider Adjust. “I also don’t think, though, that Apple wants to nuke the whole app ecosystem.”

After all, Müller said, Apple didn’t outright kill the IDFA and even created a few exceptions. For example, Apple will allow companies to track users without obtaining consent and to link that information with third-party data as long as the data is read locally and never leaves the device.

In order to tie an ad click to downstream metrics, Adjust proposes creating a secure hash when a user first opens an advertiser’s app of the person’s IDFA and IDFV, which is an ID associated with vendors in the iOS ecosystem. The hash would never be the same between two apps on the same device (unless the apps belong to the same publishers), and so couldn’t be used for retargeting or profiling purposes.

Adjust can then use the hash to connect ad engagements with subsequent user behavior without the IDFA or the IDFV leaving the user’s device, because both were only used locally to create the hash.

But there’s a catch. The publisher app in which the ad runs still needs an IDFA opt-in for Adjust to connect it with the hash.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.Branch’s Persona graph

Alex Austin, CEO of deep-linking startup Branch, is far less sanguine. “The IDFA is dead,” he told AdExchanger in a previous interview. “There is no other way to interpret this.”

User-level attribution, retargeting and look-alike audience creation are therefore pretty much broken.

Branch’s answer is a persona graph that it’s been developing for the past few years, designed to use an “anonymous, probabilistic algorithm that incorporates attributions” to accurately match when there’s no universal ID.

Most of the data comes from Branch deep links in apps, ads, emails and on websites. Branch collects identifiers every time a user clicks on one of the links, and rounds out the graph using machine learning to draw matches between personas that likely belong to the same user.

Branch claims it’ll still be able to provide high coverage rates even without the IDFA and that its graph does not depend on fingerprinting, a practice many believe Apple will start cracking down on in apps.

Kochava’s Identity Locker

Mobile analytics company Kochava is taking a different and deterministic tack with a solution called Identity Locker.

Advertisers and publishers onboard their first-party data into a secure area (aka, “locker”) hosted by Kochava. Demand and supply partners can then prompt users for consent and manage data permissions within their locker using secure identity tokens. The tokens are resolved through Collective, Kochava’s data marketplace/identity graph of hashed emails, household IDs and other device and user attributes.

It’s unclear whether Apple will frown upon the concept of a token whose sole purpose appears to be as a replacement for the IDFA.

Fyber’s take on contextual

App monetization company Fyber is operating under the assumption that the IDFA is as good as dead and anything that resembles it is dead on arrival.

“What can we tell a DSP in real time about the opportunity rather than about the user?” said Fyber’s president, Offer Yehudai.

But contextual targeting is a whole different ball game in apps compared with on the web, where it’s possible to infer context by reading the text on a page. Fyber is working on a solution that combines app-specific contextual signals and includes them in a bid request to enable targeting that doesn’t hinge on a specific identifier.

Bits of information, such as how much space someone has on their device, battery level, network speed, impression depth – which is whether someone is seeing their first ad impression of the day or the 100th – session duration, time of day and app type can paint a clear picture when blended together. None of the data will be tied to a specific profile.

AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer is one of the biggest and most penetrated mobile attribution providers in the ecosystem and it’s still in the process of figuring out its post-IDFA strategy.

The company is planning on presenting its iOS 14 solutions soon, according to a blog post last week from CEO and co-founder Oren Kaniel.

In a statement shared with AdExchanger, AppsFlyer said that it “will continue to provide customers with a robust attribution solution that puts the end user’s privacy first” while also maintaining a positive user experience.

Mobile Ad Tech Companies Try To Adapt To Likely Loss Of Apple’s IDFA

<!–

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

–>

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Although Apple didn’t actually kill it, the IDFA will become opt-in for consumers starting with iOS 14 in September. Without user permission, IDFA tracking will be zeroed out, just like when Limit Ad Tracking is enabled.

Some are predicting opt-in rates as low as 5%.

Here’s how mobile ad tech players are adapting now that user-level tracking just got way trickier on iOS.

Singular’s support for SKAdNetwork

A mobile measurement partner (MMP) is an independent third-party that tracks mobile performance and helps attribute installs. An IDFA is necessary to do that on iOS.

For users that don’t opt into tracking, Apple’s API SKAdNetwork passes limited attribution info directly to the ad network when an ad click leads to an install. In other words, no need for the IDFA in that transaction and, according to some, no need for an MMP.

But there is still a meaningful role for MMPs to play in this setup, said Gadi Eliashiv, CEO and co-founder of mobile marketing analytics company Singular, which rolled out support for SKAdNetwork in late June.

Although with SKAdNetwork the App Store acts as the mediation layer between the publisher and the advertiser, ad buyers will still want their installs verified by a neutral party and help with aggregating data across their various ad network partners, Eliashiv said.

Adjust’s attribution hash

For others, SKAdNetwork is a nonstarter.

“It’s well intentioned, but sadly doesn’t live up to the needs of our clients,” said Paul Müller, CTO and co-founder of app attribution provider Adjust. “I also don’t think, though, that Apple wants to nuke the whole app ecosystem.”

After all, Müller said, Apple didn’t outright kill the IDFA and even created a few exceptions. For example, Apple will allow companies to track users without obtaining consent and to link that information with third-party data as long as the data is read locally and never leaves the device.

In order to tie an ad click to downstream metrics, Adjust proposes creating a secure hash when a user first opens an advertiser’s app of the person’s IDFA and IDFV, which is an ID associated with vendors in the iOS ecosystem. The hash would never be the same between two apps on the same device (unless the apps belong to the same publishers), and so couldn’t be used for retargeting or profiling purposes.

Adjust can then use the hash to connect ad engagements with subsequent user behavior without the IDFA or the IDFV leaving the user’s device, because both were only used locally to create the hash.

But there’s a catch. The publisher app in which the ad runs still needs an IDFA opt-in for Adjust to connect it with the hash.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.Branch’s Persona graph

Alex Austin, CEO of deep-linking startup Branch, is far less sanguine. “The IDFA is dead,” he told AdExchanger in a previous interview. “There is no other way to interpret this.”

User-level attribution, retargeting and look-alike audience creation are therefore pretty much broken.

Branch’s answer is a persona graph that it’s been developing for the past few years, designed to use an “anonymous, probabilistic algorithm that incorporates attributions” to accurately match when there’s no universal ID.

Most of the data comes from Branch deep links in apps, ads, emails and on websites. Branch collects identifiers every time a user clicks on one of the links, and rounds out the graph using machine learning to draw matches between personas that likely belong to the same user.

Branch claims it’ll still be able to provide high coverage rates even without the IDFA and that its graph does not depend on fingerprinting, a practice many believe Apple will start cracking down on in apps.

Kochava’s Identity Locker

Mobile analytics company Kochava is taking a different and deterministic tack with a solution called Identity Locker.

Advertisers and publishers onboard their first-party data into a secure area (aka, “locker”) hosted by Kochava. Demand and supply partners can then prompt users for consent and manage data permissions within their locker using secure identity tokens. The tokens are resolved through Collective, Kochava’s data marketplace/identity graph of hashed emails, household IDs and other device and user attributes.

It’s unclear whether Apple will frown upon the concept of a token whose sole purpose appears to be as a replacement for the IDFA.

Fyber’s take on contextual

App monetization company Fyber is operating under the assumption that the IDFA is as good as dead and anything that resembles it is dead on arrival.

“What can we tell a DSP in real time about the opportunity rather than about the user?” said Fyber’s president, Offer Yehudai.

But contextual targeting is a whole different ball game in apps compared with on the web, where it’s possible to infer context by reading the text on a page. Fyber is working on a solution that combines app-specific contextual signals and includes them in a bid request to enable targeting that doesn’t hinge on a specific identifier.

Bits of information, such as how much space someone has on their device, battery level, network speed, impression depth – which is whether someone is seeing their first ad impression of the day or the 100th – session duration, time of day and app type can paint a clear picture when blended together. None of the data will be tied to a specific profile.

AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer is one of the biggest and most penetrated mobile attribution providers in the ecosystem and it’s still in the process of figuring out its post-IDFA strategy.

The company is planning on presenting its iOS 14 solutions soon, according to a blog post last week from CEO and co-founder Oren Kaniel.

In a statement shared with AdExchanger, AppsFlyer said that it “will continue to provide customers with a robust attribution solution that puts the end user’s privacy first” while also maintaining a positive user experience.

Mobile Ad Tech Companies Try To Adapt To Likely Loss Of Apple’s IDFA

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Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

–>

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Although Apple didn’t actually kill it, the IDFA will become opt-in for consumers starting with iOS 14 in September. Without user permission, IDFA tracking will be zeroed out, just like when Limit Ad Tracking is enabled.

Some are predicting opt-in rates as low as 5%.

Here’s how mobile ad tech players are adapting now that user-level tracking just got way trickier on iOS.

Singular’s support for SKAdNetwork

A mobile measurement partner (MMP) is an independent third-party that tracks mobile performance and helps attribute installs. An IDFA is necessary to do that on iOS.

For users that don’t opt into tracking, Apple’s API SKAdNetwork passes limited attribution info directly to the ad network when an ad click leads to an install. In other words, no need for the IDFA in that transaction and, according to some, no need for an MMP.

But there is still a meaningful role for MMPs to play in this setup, said Gadi Eliashiv, CEO and co-founder of mobile marketing analytics company Singular, which rolled out support for SKAdNetwork in late June.

Although with SKAdNetwork the App Store acts as the mediation layer between the publisher and the advertiser, ad buyers will still want their installs verified by a neutral party and help with aggregating data across their various ad network partners, Eliashiv said.

Adjust’s attribution hash

For others, SKAdNetwork is a nonstarter.

“It’s well intentioned, but sadly doesn’t live up to the needs of our clients,” said Paul Müller, CTO and co-founder of app attribution provider Adjust. “I also don’t think, though, that Apple wants to nuke the whole app ecosystem.”

After all, Müller said, Apple didn’t outright kill the IDFA and even created a few exceptions. For example, Apple will allow companies to track users without obtaining consent and to link that information with third-party data as long as the data is read locally and never leaves the device.

In order to tie an ad click to downstream metrics, Adjust proposes creating a secure hash when a user first opens an advertiser’s app of the person’s IDFA and IDFV, which is an ID associated with vendors in the iOS ecosystem. The hash would never be the same between two apps on the same device (unless the apps belong to the same publishers), and so couldn’t be used for retargeting or profiling purposes.

Adjust can then use the hash to connect ad engagements with subsequent user behavior without the IDFA or the IDFV leaving the user’s device, because both were only used locally to create the hash.

But there’s a catch. The publisher app in which the ad runs still needs an IDFA opt-in for Adjust to connect it with the hash.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.Branch’s Persona graph

Alex Austin, CEO of deep-linking startup Branch, is far less sanguine. “The IDFA is dead,” he told AdExchanger in a previous interview. “There is no other way to interpret this.”

User-level attribution, retargeting and look-alike audience creation are therefore pretty much broken.

Branch’s answer is a persona graph that it’s been developing for the past few years, designed to use an “anonymous, probabilistic algorithm that incorporates attributions” to accurately match when there’s no universal ID.

Most of the data comes from Branch deep links in apps, ads, emails and on websites. Branch collects identifiers every time a user clicks on one of the links, and rounds out the graph using machine learning to draw matches between personas that likely belong to the same user.

Branch claims it’ll still be able to provide high coverage rates even without the IDFA and that its graph does not depend on fingerprinting, a practice many believe Apple will start cracking down on in apps.

Kochava’s Identity Locker

Mobile analytics company Kochava is taking a different and deterministic tack with a solution called Identity Locker.

Advertisers and publishers onboard their first-party data into a secure area (aka, “locker”) hosted by Kochava. Demand and supply partners can then prompt users for consent and manage data permissions within their locker using secure identity tokens. The tokens are resolved through Collective, Kochava’s data marketplace/identity graph of hashed emails, household IDs and other device and user attributes.

It’s unclear whether Apple will frown upon the concept of a token whose sole purpose appears to be as a replacement for the IDFA.

Fyber’s take on contextual

App monetization company Fyber is operating under the assumption that the IDFA is as good as dead and anything that resembles it is dead on arrival.

“What can we tell a DSP in real time about the opportunity rather than about the user?” said Fyber’s president, Offer Yehudai.

But contextual targeting is a whole different ball game in apps compared with on the web, where it’s possible to infer context by reading the text on a page. Fyber is working on a solution that combines app-specific contextual signals and includes them in a bid request to enable targeting that doesn’t hinge on a specific identifier.

Bits of information, such as how much space someone has on their device, battery level, network speed, impression depth – which is whether someone is seeing their first ad impression of the day or the 100th – session duration, time of day and app type can paint a clear picture when blended together. None of the data will be tied to a specific profile.

AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer is one of the biggest and most penetrated mobile attribution providers in the ecosystem and it’s still in the process of figuring out its post-IDFA strategy.

The company is planning on presenting its iOS 14 solutions soon, according to a blog post last week from CEO and co-founder Oren Kaniel.

In a statement shared with AdExchanger, AppsFlyer said that it “will continue to provide customers with a robust attribution solution that puts the end user’s privacy first” while also maintaining a positive user experience.

Mobile Ad Tech Companies Try To Adapt To Likely Loss Of Apple’s IDFA

<!–

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

–>

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.

Although Apple didn’t actually kill it, the IDFA will become opt-in for consumers starting with iOS 14 in September. Without user permission, IDFA tracking will be zeroed out, just like when Limit Ad Tracking is enabled.

Some are predicting opt-in rates as low as 5%.

Here’s how mobile ad tech players are adapting now that user-level tracking just got way trickier on iOS.

Singular’s support for SKAdNetwork

A mobile measurement partner (MMP) is an independent third-party that tracks mobile performance and helps attribute installs. An IDFA is necessary to do that on iOS.

For users that don’t opt into tracking, Apple’s API SKAdNetwork passes limited attribution info directly to the ad network when an ad click leads to an install. In other words, no need for the IDFA in that transaction and, according to some, no need for an MMP.

But there is still a meaningful role for MMPs to play in this setup, said Gadi Eliashiv, CEO and co-founder of mobile marketing analytics company Singular, which rolled out support for SKAdNetwork in late June.

Although with SKAdNetwork the App Store acts as the mediation layer between the publisher and the advertiser, ad buyers will still want their installs verified by a neutral party and help with aggregating data across their various ad network partners, Eliashiv said.

Adjust’s attribution hash

For others, SKAdNetwork is a nonstarter.

“It’s well intentioned, but sadly doesn’t live up to the needs of our clients,” said Paul Müller, CTO and co-founder of app attribution provider Adjust. “I also don’t think, though, that Apple wants to nuke the whole app ecosystem.”

After all, Müller said, Apple didn’t outright kill the IDFA and even created a few exceptions. For example, Apple will allow companies to track users without obtaining consent and to link that information with third-party data as long as the data is read locally and never leaves the device.

In order to tie an ad click to downstream metrics, Adjust proposes creating a secure hash when a user first opens an advertiser’s app of the person’s IDFA and IDFV, which is an ID associated with vendors in the iOS ecosystem. The hash would never be the same between two apps on the same device (unless the apps belong to the same publishers), and so couldn’t be used for retargeting or profiling purposes.

Adjust can then use the hash to connect ad engagements with subsequent user behavior without the IDFA or the IDFV leaving the user’s device, because both were only used locally to create the hash.

But there’s a catch. The publisher app in which the ad runs still needs an IDFA opt-in for Adjust to connect it with the hash.

Companies that rely on Apple’s proprietary ad ID are seeking solutions for a post-IDFA world.Branch’s Persona graph

Alex Austin, CEO of deep-linking startup Branch, is far less sanguine. “The IDFA is dead,” he told AdExchanger in a previous interview. “There is no other way to interpret this.”

User-level attribution, retargeting and look-alike audience creation are therefore pretty much broken.

Branch’s answer is a persona graph that it’s been developing for the past few years, designed to use an “anonymous, probabilistic algorithm that incorporates attributions” to accurately match when there’s no universal ID.

Most of the data comes from Branch deep links in apps, ads, emails and on websites. Branch collects identifiers every time a user clicks on one of the links, and rounds out the graph using machine learning to draw matches between personas that likely belong to the same user.

Branch claims it’ll still be able to provide high coverage rates even without the IDFA and that its graph does not depend on fingerprinting, a practice many believe Apple will start cracking down on in apps.

Kochava’s Identity Locker

Mobile analytics company Kochava is taking a different and deterministic tack with a solution called Identity Locker.

Advertisers and publishers onboard their first-party data into a secure area (aka, “locker”) hosted by Kochava. Demand and supply partners can then prompt users for consent and manage data permissions within their locker using secure identity tokens. The tokens are resolved through Collective, Kochava’s data marketplace/identity graph of hashed emails, household IDs and other device and user attributes.

It’s unclear whether Apple will frown upon the concept of a token whose sole purpose appears to be as a replacement for the IDFA.

Fyber’s take on contextual

App monetization company Fyber is operating under the assumption that the IDFA is as good as dead and anything that resembles it is dead on arrival.

“What can we tell a DSP in real time about the opportunity rather than about the user?” said Fyber’s president, Offer Yehudai.

But contextual targeting is a whole different ball game in apps compared with on the web, where it’s possible to infer context by reading the text on a page. Fyber is working on a solution that combines app-specific contextual signals and includes them in a bid request to enable targeting that doesn’t hinge on a specific identifier.

Bits of information, such as how much space someone has on their device, battery level, network speed, impression depth – which is whether someone is seeing their first ad impression of the day or the 100th – session duration, time of day and app type can paint a clear picture when blended together. None of the data will be tied to a specific profile.

AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer is one of the biggest and most penetrated mobile attribution providers in the ecosystem and it’s still in the process of figuring out its post-IDFA strategy.

The company is planning on presenting its iOS 14 solutions soon, according to a blog post last week from CEO and co-founder Oren Kaniel.

In a statement shared with AdExchanger, AppsFlyer said that it “will continue to provide customers with a robust attribution solution that puts the end user’s privacy first” while also maintaining a positive user experience.