EU Criticises US Approach to Privacy Shield; Guardian Sues Rubicon Project

ExchangeWire round up some of the biggest stories in the European digital advertising space. In this week’s edition: EU to vote again on Privacy Shield; Guardian takes legal action against Rubicon Project; Ireland enjoy high digital ad spend; New partnerships for Bitposter; Integral Ad Science Media Quality Report; and Signal launch customer identity solution.

EU warns over US Privacy Shield Agreement

The data exchange between the EU and the US may still not be legally secure, even after agreeing on the EU US Privacy Shield. The EU will decide next week whether the agreement adequately takes into account the privacy rights of EU citizens.

An executive order by President Trump in January 2017 initially caused concern that the data of EU citizens could be excluded from US privacy regulations. EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova is critical of the order and has already signalled to the US that the agreement may be suspended if the requirements are not met by the Americans.

Last week, a resolution was issued by the European Parliament's Judiciary Committee, in which the European politicians reiterated that the potential mass monitoring of European data, implied by the US, did not correspond to the agreements.

As a follow-up to the Safe Harbor regulations, which were suspended in 2015, the EU and US have decided on the new EU-US Privacy Shield agreement in 2016. This refers to, among other things, the transfer of personal data to the US, for example regarding user data for online services, search engines or social networks. Controls and checks on how companies deal with the data transfer are not obligatory per agreement, as the companies themselves simply have to commit to the rules in order to benefit from the simplified data traffic to the US.

The committee not only criticised the self-monitoring by US companies, but also the alleged mass surveillance of data by US authorities. The Committee also expressed doubts about the independence of the ombudsmen and arbitrators in the US. A further vote on the Privacy Shield Agreement will take place next week in the EU Parliament.

As early as the beginning of 2016, critics of the Privacy Shield had concluded that the Safe Harbor-replacement did not provide legal certainty over the protection of EU user rights.

Guardian sue Rubicon Project

Programmatic trouble: the Guardian are apparently preparing to sue Rubicon Project, one of ad tech's largest service providers for programmatic advertising worldwide. The paper is accusing Rubicon of a lack of transparency, not providing information on the earnings made with advertisers using the Guardian online inventory.

A spokesman for the Guardian confirmed the legal action to Business Insider. The publisher is currently preparing for the submission of the case to the relevant court. Rubicon Project, on the other hand, is rejecting the accusations in a statement: the company argues they disclose charges in detail, both in the contract initially signed with the Guardian, as well as in documents submitted by Rubicon to the SEC.

“Our marketplace fees on transactions support the considerable and compounding costs of performing an open auction – including our extensive brand protection and inventory quality screening, and malware protection. As we add new buyers and sellers onto the platform, the resulting impact is compounding infrastructure costs”, Rubicon says.

The Guardian have repeatedly criticised the lack of transparency in programmatic transactions, in particular since they conducted a test last year, that showed only 30p of every advertising pound spent on their inventory ends up in the Guardian's coffers.

Apart from spearheading the fight for more transparency, the newspaper is also calling for better control of the environments in which their ads are shown. Thus, the Guardian have already ceased advertising with Google and Youtube.

Digital ad spend in Ireland among Europe’s highest

Digital ad spend is going to reach new records in Ireland this year. According to a forecast by eMarketer, digital ad spend will surpass all other ad spend in Ireland in 2017, reaching €433m (£373m). This represents a 51.4% share of the country’s total ad spend. Compared to last year, the 2017 ad spend will have increased by 12%.

Digital’s growth is driven by mobile. Almost two-thirds of the digital ad spend is earmarked for mobile, eMarketer finds. By 2021, the share of mobile in digital investment may even rise to 80%.

“Thanks in part to a tech-savvy, outward-looking young population, Ireland has outpaced many other developed economies in terms of how much advertising and marketing spend is devoted to digital channels”, says analyst Karin von Abrams, eMarketer. “2017 will be a tricky year for the country, in some respects. For one thing, the UK – Ireland’s nearest neighbour and most significant trading partner – will begin the process of leaving the European Union, while Ireland remains within the EU.”

However, thanks to a strong bond with the EU, and sufficient digital infrastructure, von Abrams expects Ireland to deal with the changing political situation in the British Isles without detrimental effect on the digital landscape.

New partnerships for Bitposter

Bitposter have inked new partnerships with Metropolis Digital Outdoor, Verifone Media, and Sherbet Media. The automated platform for trading out of home (OOH) media also have an existing partnership with Exterion.

Thanks to the new partnerships, Bitposter increase the number of OOH media owners available on their platform to 25, equalling over 95% of all UK media owners. Those who already partner with Bitposter include JCDecaux, Primesight, and Clear Channel.

Craig Mytton, CRO, Bitposter, comments: “With the majority of OOH moving media owners now trading on Bitposter, we are able to deliver the largest marketplace of these specialists in one place. This has significant benefits for the moving media owners on our platform, who together are able to leverage the scale of their combined inventory to attract and gain access to a wider number of buyers. Media buyers will also benefit from access to the huge scale of moving media inventory on our platform, and in being able to deliver highly targeted local campaigns in real time through this media.”

Video advertising outperforms desktop display

Integral Ad Science have found that video advertising outperforms desktop display for the first time. According to the data provider's Media Quality Report, video viewability has significantly increased from 40% to 58.2%, when comparing H1 2016 to H2 2016. Completion rates in-view grew from 26.7% to 35.1%.

At the same time, video brand risk has seen an improvement. In H2 2016, brand risk decreased from 11.2% overall to 8.9%, a decrease that is also apparent in display: display brand risk fell from 7.8% during the first half of 2016, to 6.8% during the second half of the year.

“With the rise in discussions around fake news, ad fraud, and brand safety, marketers need to demand greater transparency. The recent headlines have increased awareness of these issues, highlighted clear areas where improvement is required, and reinforced that context is key”, warns Nick Morley, EMEA MD, Integral Ad Science. “Everyone in the industry has a duty of care to address brand safety issues, we’d encourage all to do their part and use third-party verification technology.” Overall, the UK viewability rate is 49.9%.

In terms of ad fraud, IAS found a significant difference between campaigns using ad fraud prevention and those that did not. Advertisers employing prevention technology recorded ad fraud rates of 0.3%, compared to 4.9% when no fraud prevention measures were taken.

For the first time, the H2 2016 report also incorporates consumer-level insights. The report concludes that, for most campaigns, the vast majority of consumers are underexposed; with 70-85% of consumers served no more than one viewable impression, and 50-65% of consumers only recording an ad exposure time of five seconds or less.

The report is based on insights collected from over 100 billion ad impressions analysed globally between 1st July and 31st December 2016.

Signal introduce enterprise-wide customer ID solution

With a new customer identify solution, Signal are promising marketers the freedom to instantly and continuously recognise customers for improved relevance.

Signal’s Customer Identity Solution bundles several capabilities in a purpose-built platform to deliver an enterprise-wide identity asset. Thus, customer profiles can be used to fuel connections across the business, personalising communication across the various digital touchpoints. Marketers can use the solution to build identity assets that recognise customers wherever they engage with the brand. Profiles update instantly as new signals are received to reflect the most current customer information, even outside of static campaign schedules.

Nick McCarthy, MD for UK & EMEA, Signal, stresses the ownership of brands over their customer profiles. “Think of it as a foundational layer of known customer information that is completely transparent and accessible anytime, for any purpose. This means that brands can build their identity graph to suit their specific needs now and into the future, pulling from and plugging into physical, digital, and human touchpoints.”

How is this solution different from already existing DMPs? McCarthy tells ExchangeWire: “Other solutions approach identity as a campaign-based function of media targeting, or lock data inside siloed platforms. And, while DMPs are great for acquiring new customers by creating third-party data segments and pushing them to addressable media endpoints, brands are increasingly selecting an identity solution to live alongside their DMP or marketing tech stack. Persistent identity gives a more consistent view of the customer that can scale across touchpoints to complement and fuel the rest of a brand’s marketing and advertising tech investments.”