Media snippets of the week – Was this ad ever seen?

Digital advertising now accounts for 69% of total media spend globally. This is set to increase to 74% in 2028. With new technologies, the ecosystem is becoming more complex and opaqueness continues to rise. Questions raised on the effectiveness and ROI of digital spend is now louder than ever before, while concerns over brand safety comes to the forefront. This week, we have seen different studies and reports on this specific issue. NewsGuard has highlighted the recent sharp rise of low quality AI-generated “made for advertising” websites, where advertising for blue chip brands have been found. The Association of National Advertisers believes that 15% of brands’ ad spend is wasted on these websites, while in total 23% of overall spend is wasted on ineffective ad placements on bad websites. This comes as Google faced scrutiny over whether its practices for video advertising has broken standards by misleading advertisers and placing their ads on lower quality websites. On another front, the industry continues to search for more superior methods of advertising measurement across mediums. The latest phase of Origin - a new ads measurement platform in the UK developed by ISBA – has been launched. Meanwhile, Twitter’s new CEO is taking a range of measures to boost Twitter’s ad revenue and Apple may have to pay for news under the new UK digital market bill. 

AI-generated websites and content poses risks to advertisers
NewsGuard, a service that rates the reliability of news sources, has raised concerns about the presence of programmatic ads from major blue chip brands on websites featuring low-quality AI-generated content. These websites have been churning out a high volume of articles, often containing plagiarized news pieces, click-bait headlines, and questionable health claims. According to NewsGuard, there has been a significant surge in the number of these AI-generated websites in June. With the increasing adoption of Generative AI, content creation has become easier, cheaper, and faster, allowing for the exploitation of programmatic advertising revenue. However, due to the automated nature of programmatic advertising, brands face difficulties in controlling the placement of their ads, as they are automatically displayed on websites. This situation has raised concerns not only about the effectiveness of digital ad budgets but also about brand safety. Digiday
Google’s video ads faces scrutiny
Advertisers are raising doubts about the effectiveness of Google video ads following a report by Adalytics. The report accuses Google of serving video ads on low-quality websites instead of within high-quality YouTube videos, potentially misleading advertisers. Adalytics found that TrueView ads, which are skippable YouTube-style ads, were appearing on low-quality websites with hidden video players and muted sound. This compromised the visibility and performance of the ads, raising concerns about whether they were even seen by viewers. Ads from major brands like Johnson & Johnson, American Express, and Samsung were among those found affected. Advertisers are now scrutinising their historical Google video campaigns for discrepancies and may seek refunds for ads that did not meet standards or were placed in unauthorised locations. Google disputed the report's claims, stating that the majority of video ad campaigns were run on YouTube, not the Google Video Partner network. The findings highlight issues of viewability, brand safety, and transparency in ad tech, as well as the challenges advertisers face in understanding and controlling their ad placements on Google's platform. Adage, FT
ISBA launches new phase of its new ad measurement platform
One of the challenges facing the media industry is finding a standard way to measure advertising across different channels. The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) has been developing a solution called “Origin” for this problem for the past two years. Origin is a cross-media ad measurement platform that can collect and analyse data from linear TV, digital video and digital display. It also assigns privacy friendly IDs to viewers, ensuring their data protection. It has the support of major brands such as EE and L’Oreal, as well as global platforms like Google and Meta. According to ISBA, this platform can provide transparency to advertisers and help them ‘measure, report and plan cross-media campaigns’. Origin has raised £32m so far and plans to charge advertisers a fee for access. The trial launch will involve up to 30 advertisers before opening to others in 2024. FT, Campaign
Twitter’s new CEO takes measures to attract advertisers
Linda Yaccarino, the new CEO of Twitter who started earlier this month, is implementing various strategies to boost the platform’s advertising revenue. She intends to attract prominent celebrities, politicians and content creators to join Twitter in order to build stronger content that appeals to audience and advertisers. Her plans also include launching video ads services on Twitter's short-video feed and possibly creating a digital wallet for online transactions on the platform. With a subdued presence at the Cannes advertising festival last week, Twitter said that it’s currently seeking third-party services that would offer more control and transparency to advertisers over where their ads are shown. The social media company had been facing challenges with slow product innovation and a weaker ads offering compared to competitors like Meta and TikTok even before Musk took over. Yaccarino's new plan might help overcome these challenges. However, the market has reacted differently to her plan. Some brands see her as a positive force for Twitter, while others are still cautious of Musk's influence. FT
Apple could be forced to pay for news under the new UK digital market bill
The new Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, which seeks to regulate the online dominance of big tech firms and safeguard the interests of consumers and businesses, has received submissions from news publishers. Among them, DMG Media, the owner of Daily Mail, and News Media Association have discussed the possibility to include Apple in the scope of the bill, which could request the tech giant to pay for news content. This comes when Meta and Alphabet are already facing similar demands from lawmakers and publishers around the world. Apple News is the UK’s most popular news app. Publishers on Apple News are currently offered a share of advertising revenues depending their reach and can sell subscriptions through the app. The premium version of the app already directly pays partners for their content. The fight to get big tech to pay for news will not be an easy one. Post Canada passing legislation to force tech companies to pay news publishers for news content, Google this week has followed the footsteps of Meta to end news access on its platforms in the region. Pressgazette
Other news
•    Ascential's WGSN attracts at least two bids. Reuters
•    Ladbible launches US studios with a trio of digital formats. Broadcastnow
•    Tiktok introduces a new monetization feature to creators. The Verge
•    Reach launches its first pay-walled news membership. Pressgazette