TWIPN's Jen Antoniou on SDA, Digital Media Ad Spend, and 'Free Speech' Twitter

On this week’s episode of TheMadTech Podcast, the Women in Programmatic Network's Jen Antoniou joins ExchangeWire’s Anne-Marie Sheedy and Lindsay Rowntree to discuss the implications of SDA, digital media platforms' ad revenue woes, how advertisers might respond to free speech on an Elon Musk-owned Twitter, and TWIPN's 'Parents in Programmatic' research.


IAB Tech Lab introduces SDA


Could the post-cookie future be built on SDA? Will DSPs and SSPs buy into it?

The IAB Tech Lab has introduced a new standard called “seller-defined audiences” (SDA), which promises to give publishers greater control over how their audience data is transacted. The “technical specification” was presented at the industry body’s Addressability Systems Design event last week.

SDA will work by allowing publishers to split their audiences into different groups based on their activity or interests, which they can then share with advertisers for targeting. Unlike Google’s cohort-based Topics solution, SDA uses publishers’ first-party audience data and not browser data to sort web users into groups. 

The IAB Tech Lab have expressed their hope that publishers will share the rationale behind their grouping of audiences by adopting its Data Transparency Label alongside SDA. With a high take-up rate, SDA could enable publishers to scale and monetise their audiences by facilitating buys across outlets, and with the ability to add contextual labels to their content, publishers won’t need to sell their first-party data for targeting. However, this success depends wholly on adoption by all sides of programmatic.


YouTube misses revenue expectations as digital media marketing spend wavers


What is causing advertisers to pull back from digital media platforms? Is short-form content the key to user attention? 

YouTube fell short of quarterly revenue expectations, reporting growth of 14% rather than the 25% predicted by its parent company, Alphabet. According to data from StreetAccount, the video platform garnered advertising revenue of USD $6.87bn (~£5.49bn), a significantly lower amount than the USD $7.51bn (~£6bn) forecast by Wall Street.

The result reflects the reversal of the digital media advertising market’s fortune in the current climate, where inflation and uncertainty amidst the conflict in Ukraine and cost of living crisis (amongst other things) have seen a reversal of the positive growth achieved during the height of the pandemic. Yet the picture is different for rival platform TikTok, whose ad revenue is expected to triple to USD $11bn (~£8.8bn) this year. In an attempt to get a piece of the short-form video pie, YouTube has released Shorts, but this is yet to bear fruit.


Elon Musk emphasises free speech in Twitter takeover


Could advertisers pull away from Twitter if Musk makes changes to how it is moderated? Will users stay onboard?

Elon Musk’s emphasis on ensuring freedom of speech on Twitter has sparked speculation over the future of the platform, with some wondering whether advertisers will desert the social media site if changes are made to how it is moderated. Critics have expressed their fear that the new owner’s vision for the platform could end up undoing Twitter’s past efforts to create a safe space by drawing more bullying, disinformation, and harassment.

Such an environment would naturally deter advertisers, who would not want to be perceived as funding an arena where hate speech, conspiracy theories, and other inflammatory speech is proliferated unchecked. Other commentators point out that fewer content restrictions could mean there’s a smaller audience to pitch to anyway: many people already steer clear of Twitter because of its more public (and consequently, sometimes more confrontational) format, and it’s not unlikely that more will depart the platform if it becomes riddled with offensive and dangerous views. 

However, Musk’s declaration that he intends to “authenticat[e] all humans” who use Twitter could assuage fears over how the platform’s ‘free speech’ future will pan out.