Future of Media: Google birds promise, retail media evolution, ad revenue boom

John McCarthy

The Drum's media editor John McCarthy rounds up the latest media trends each Thursday, this is also available in your inbox. Sign up here.

Welcome to The Drum's weekly Future of Media briefing from media editor John McCarthy.

A wing and a prayer

Google's market-shaping power can't be understated, many players in advertising are best trying to position for when it enforces its solutions upon the world's most prominent web browser and ad network. Kendra Clark touched down with its director of product management for ads privacy and user trust, David Temkin. Some highlights:

  • There is no hard and fast definition on the regulatory basis [of privacy]

  • There is a general consensus [that is] strong with users and well established across the industry ... that tracking is undesirable. It makes users uncomfortable. We do not want to see a further degradation in trust for ads

  • When third-party cookies are removed, we will not be tracking users as they browse across the web. We also will not be working around ... the removal of third-party cookies to create some other things

For those rallying against Floc, "FLoC is a proposal – it will evolve. There will be other birds. There are already a lot of birds..."

Read here.

Every little (insight) helps

We've been probing the implications of Tesco's big media launch at the end of November. Retail media's acoming, spearheaded by Amazon, but for many media agencies it is a new rhythm to work in.

  • James Bailey, chief executive officer of iProspect UK, says Tesco will need to do a lot of "handholding" to get agencies into the right habits.

  • VCCP's Rob Seller's is skeptical top FMG's will find much of the data Tesco unveils more useful than what they already have.

  • Johnathan Lewis-Jones, managing director, Publicis Commerce, is warmer on the potential and calls it a retail "arms race".

More here.

'Surprising' GroupM

It takes a lot to "surprise" GroupM's Brian Wieser, but that's just what 2020 did from a media owner ad revenue perspective.

Wieser says: "The economy was at its worst since at least the Great Depression ... you'd have thought you'd have the worst ad markets since then too but the ad market was not that bad.

"Most markets around the world have raised their forecasts for 2021 and 2022 in terms of how fast they would think the advertising market is growing."

The good news is the pie is growing – the bad news is that usual suspects will be aggressively grasping at it.

Another interesting point he shared was that Apple's ATT didn't appear to impact ad revenue levels. It's instructive how we can expect to see big privacy policies impact spend

"Marketers [always] look for the 'least bad' available data at any given time, recognizing that no data is ever perfect. With that constraint, they continually adjust spending and budget allocations to satisfy goals as best as they can."

That's a constant we can probably assume will remain a constant. Good to know. Soak it all up here.

How procurement could be better

Sam Bradley explored how agencies could better work with brand procurement teams – they don't have to be the bogeymen...

"It's not just about negotiating rate cards," said one source, in fact, there are gains to be had by looking at outcome-based pricing for example. But that's a question of rethinking remuneration first, which we know can be almost impossible.

One respondent suggested inviting brands' procurement teams into discussions at an earlier stage to set down terms, build trust and transparency, and set a single agenda.

More tips here.

Media first

And finally, a media first, Metro is the first national newspaper in the UK to run a braille front cover. A big step for accessibility and a new case study to inspire more attempts to reach underserved audiences.

Check it out.

That's all for this week. As the year begins to shut up, I'll dig into some of the big trends we can expect from 2022. If you've got a big prediction, please share it. I might include it.

Read the last Future of Media briefing.

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