A quick summary of what we’ll cover today:
Things are picking up in August, hopefully indicating that we’ll see a strong end to the year. We’re working hard now, behind the scenes, to prepare for the fourth quarter.
We’ve made updates to our compliance solution for GDPR, keeping your ads in line with recent updates to the legislation and working to optimize opt-in rates.
We’re also looking at how heading back to school is different this year and how advertisers and publishers can respond to readers’ unique needs in the time of COVID-19. And our Creativity and Data series is in full swing — exploring tools and tactics to help you create high-traffic content.
AdThrive COVID-19 coverage
Click here to browse all of our posts about the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the digital media industry.
What’s fresh with ad trends
From an advertising perspective, July tends to be one of the slowest months of the year and August begins to pick up the pace. August 2020 shows similar advertiser spending patterns (from day to day and week to week) to this time last year. Even though 2020 spending isn’t much stronger than 2019 due to the continued effects of COVID-19, the fact that underlying trends are consistent is a good sign.
Anyone who has been an ad-supported publisher in years past knows that the fourth quarter (October, November, December) has the highest advertiser spending by far. A consistent third quarter means that we can probably expect similar spending increases at the end of this year. Q4 2020 likely won’t be significantly better than Q4 2019, but we can hope that things are roughly similar. Considering how much uncertainty we’ve all seen this year, that certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing!
Because Q4 is so big for advertiser spending, we try to get as much of the behind-the-scenes work done in Q3 as possible. Our sales team is out (virtually) meeting with tons of advertisers, and our revenue operations teams are pushing through a myriad of updates to get our ad code and advertising technology partnerships in tip-top shape. We have a raft of new advertising partners we’re setting up right now, and we’re optimizing our existing partnerships to help publishers get the absolute most out of the rest of 2020.
On the engineering side, our leadership position within the Prebid organization is giving us early insights into the latest features. Prebid is the underlying code that almost all publisher advertising systems run on, and they just released version 4.0, a big upgrade from the prior versions. AdThrive/CafeMedia was the only publisher or ad management firm to contribute code to this release, so AdThrive publishers will be best positioned to benefit from these latest and greatest features!
A hot topic this week: TCF 2.0 and GDPR
Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) specifies users’ rights over the use of their data. With advertising heavily reliant on information about users to deliver the smartest ads, this has translated into lots of consent messages littered across websites since the GDPR went into effect in May 2018.
That’s why the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) introduced their Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF), as a standardized way for publishers to manage gathering user consent for advertising purposes.
The IAB stops supporting version 1.1 of the TCF on August 15, 2020, meaning publishers everywhere must switch to TCF 2.0 by that date.
That’s a lot of jargon and acronyms by this point, but the bottom line for publishers everywhere is that your consent management platform (CMP) for your ads must be compliant with TCF 2.0 by the end of this week.
The good news for AdThrive publishers is that we’ve already upgraded our CMP behind the scenes for TCF 2.0, safeguarding your ads for GDPR. The consent box European visitors will see on your site looks a little different now, since it’s designed to maximize opt-in rates (protecting revenue from your EU traffic) while including all the latest specifications for GDPR compliance.
You don’t need to take any action, but you can read more details about GDPR and advertising consent here.
Two things to help you with your content strategy right now
1. Use back to school insights to address this year’s unique needs
If the words “back to school” cause your blood pressure to spike at this point, you’re not alone.
For so many, the world is now divided into two main time periods, pre-COVID and post-COVID, and going back to school in a post-COVID world obviously looks nothing like previous years.
With so much uncertainty this fall, we surveyed moms of school-aged kids online to help our advertising partners and publishers shape their approach.
What best describes your school district’s plans for this fall?
- Remote (29%)
- Mix of remote & in-person (37%)
- In-person (21%)
- Don’t know yet (13%)
Back to school shopping is delayed this year, with 71% only beginning to shop in August (or later) this year.
But many moms are also planning to spend more on back to school shopping this year compared to last year, with a notable 56% saying they’ll spend the same or more on electronics.
How much do you plan to spend on back to school shopping this year (in this category) compared to last year?
- Overall: 59% plan to spend the same or more
- Electronics: 56% plan to spend the same or more
- Shoes: 56% plan to spend the same or more
- Crafts: 53% plan to spend the same or more
- Clothes: 52% plan to spend the same or more
- Supplies: 52% plan to spend the same or more
Where the first day of school has historically been a landmark to celebrate, it brings an entirely new set of emotions for parents this year:
The takeaway for publishers: With 74% of moms conducting their back to school spending online this year, there’s a strong opportunity for publishers to meet their needs with product guides and affiliate marketing, as well as by creating content that addresses this year’s unique back to school fears and concerns.
2. Jump into our new course, Creativity & Data
Head back to school yourself with our publisher insights team’s latest offering, our new Creativity & Data course. While these two topics are often thought of very differently, we’re excited to help you use both to make your content strategy smarter and more dynamic.
Through video walkthroughs and downloadable PDF work books, you’ll learn how to:
- Establish a creative process and frameworks for thinking creatively
- Unlock the full potential of Google Trends to identify content opportunities
- Use keyword research tools like SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner to flesh out inklings of ideas
- Locate industry research and follow the data to support your readers’ shifting interest
- Tap into emerging social media trends to pinpoint and take advantage of new topics
- Jumpstart your creativity with tactical approaches like “creative hacking”
- Build out your Creativity & Data toolkit, so you always have your next steps at your fingertips
Join the Creativity & Data mailing list to get the next lesson in your inbox!