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‘We felt uncomfortable with the lack of control’: How DPG Media is reducing its reliance on Google ad tech



DPG Media is joining the likes of Axel Springer, Salon and Bloomberg in taking back control over how its media is monetized.

“We felt uncomfortable with the lack of control we had over the spend coming into our network, which was on the Google platform,” said Stefan Havik, DPG Media’s chief digital officer. “We didn’t know who was buying or for what price as a result of this so we changed our advertising stack.”

To do this, the publisher recently rolled out its own version of Google’s Ad Manager tool, but with a more streamlined approach.

Like its namesake, DPG Media’s Ad Manager functions similarly to an ad exchange, but with a unique twist — now it’s the publisher that has direct control over which inventory is sold to advertisers. And the best part? Advertisers can buy it all directly, without Google or any other middlemen getting in the way. Normally, they’d have to go through demand-side platforms and other ad tech vendors, but not anymore.

However, don’t mistake it for a typical demand-side platform (DSP). DPG Media’s Ad Manager doesn’t prioritize extensive brand safety or fraud controls.

According to Havik, those issues are more prevalent when buying through ad tech intermediaries rather than directly from publishers. He emphasized that when advertisers purchase ads on their platform, they know exactly what they’re getting and where the ads will appear.

In theory, this should mean more of that money goes toward showing ads — i.e. “working media” — than on things like ad tech fees and other costs. So let’s say a marketer wanted to bid on DPG Media’s inventory at €2.50, for instance. If the bid was made through ad tech then they’d probably have to bid more — say €3.50, for example — to make sure the publisher gets the €2.50 after all the ad tech fees have been subtracted.

“We made our platform free so we don’t take any fees,” said Havik. “And the fee that gets freed up from not having to be spent in the traditional supply chain is left with the advertiser to decide what they do with it.”

Advertisers can still use their own independent DSP to buy ads from DPG Media. They just won’t be able to do so for any of its customized formats nor will they be able to use the ad tech to buy ads with an alternative ID. Instead, those advertisers will have to use DPG Media’s audience data to target its readers.

“From an identity perspective, the identity in our network is first party and is stable,” said Havik. “If you buy from our network [Ad Manager] then the identity of the audience lasts a lot longer than the typical week-long-period you’d get if you used a DSP.”

This stance isn’t likely to change. Like other publishers, DPG Media doesn’t back alternatives to the third-party cookie it can’t control. As Havik explained: “We don’t support any of those universal ID solutions because we believe they’re not sustainable.”

There aren’t many publishers that can afford to take this stance. Refusing to work with those solutions means refusing the ad dollars that get spent on the back of them. DPG Media, however, can do so because it has a scale that alternative IDs don’t. Moreover, DPG Media’s ad tech seems to perform well against other ad tech vendors — at least according to the early tests.

For the last year or so, the publisher has been running closed beta tests with advertisers and agencies including IPG’s Matterkind, Omnicom, Renaul, Decathlon, Accenture and Germany’s MediaMarkt. During this time, the publisher said ads bought via the DPG Ad Manager had a 39 percent lower cost per thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) and 43 percent lower cost per conversion (CPA), compared to other established platforms.

“With performance up to three times better than the campaign average, we manage to create relevant value for our clients within Ad Manager and exceed expectations,” said Tim Rowinkel, the programmatic director at OMD.

Getting to this point has been a long and arduous uncoupling from Google. Since 2019, it has replaced Google Analytics with competitor Snowplow, built its own platform for sharing its data, and also decided to reduce the amount of ad inventory it sold in the open market where the price of ads is determined in real-time auctions.

“We’ve tried to focus on creating products that will make our advertising work better, rather than focusing on doing what we can to increase margins or CPMs,” said Havik. “I don’t care about those things. I only care about making sure our network is performing well, and competitively from a direct response or branding perspective, versus Facebook and YouTube.”

It’s uncertain if this will be persuasive enough to sway more advertisers to join the movement, as they tend to stick with the established norms. However, if there’s ever a right time for them to embrace the vision of publishers like DPG Media, it’s now. As the industry moves close to limitations on third-party addressability, it will become increasingly challenging for advertisers to overlook the moves made by these publishers.

Whether this is enough to convince more advertisers to follow suit remains to be seen. They’re not known for deviating from the status quo. That said, if they are going to buy into what publishers like DPG Media are trying to do then now is as good a time as ever. The closer the industry gets to third-party addressability being throttled the harder it’s going to be for advertisers to ignore what these publishers are trying to do.

“This type of move could work, particularly with publishers that have a large direct business,” said Sasha Auzins, co-founder and chief operating officer at media consulting business Elaboration. “Integrations would be the key, how the platform connects into the programmatic ecosystem as well as what segmentation capability is built in. GAM is a full featured product, so the detail on which features the DPG platform includes would be important.”



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Ryan Reynolds Jokes About Taylor Swift’s Astronomical Babysitting Rates



Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are a Hollywood power couple with four adorable children. But juggling busy careers and a growing family can be a challenge, even for A-listers. Enter their close friend, pop icon Taylor Swift, who, according to Reynolds, might be their go-to babysitter. However, her services come with a hefty price tag (at least according to Reynolds‘ playful exaggeration).

During a recent E! News interview promoting their upcoming movie “Deadpool & Wolverine,” Hugh Jackman playfully suggested that Swift was the real nanny for Reynolds and Lively’s four children. This lighthearted jab sparked a humorous response from Reynolds.

Known for his sharp wit, Reynolds responded to Jackman’s comment with a hilarious quip. He stated that the cost of having Taylor Swift babysit would be “cost-prohibitive,” implying that her rates would be astronomically high. He even playfully added, “But I think what he meant was, ‘Cost-insane-what-are-you-doing-I’m-no-longer-you’re-accountant.'”

Reynolds and Lively, who tied the knot in 2012, share four children: James (9), Inez (7), Betty (4), and a one-year-old whose name and gender remain private. The couple has maintained a close friendship with Swift over the years. This strong bond is evident in their recent attendance at a stop of her Eras Tour in Spain, along with their three eldest children.

Swift’s friendship with the Reynolds family extends beyond casual hangouts. During the concert in Spain, she gave a heartwarming shout-out to the couple’s daughters. While introducing her album “Folklore,” she mentioned the names James, Inez, and Betty, sending the audience into a frenzy. This sweet gesture further highlights the special bond between the singer and the Reynolds children.

This isn’t the first time Swift has incorporated the girls’ names into her music.  Her 2020 album “Folklore” features a song titled “Betty” that tells a story of a love triangle involving characters named James, Inez, and Betty. Additionally, her 2017 album “Reputation” included a voice recording of James on the song “Gorgeous.”

Whether Swift truly babysits for the Reynolds family or not remains a playful mystery. However, one thing is certain: the singer holds a special place in the hearts of the Reynolds children and their parents.

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The Simmering Feud Between Eva Mendes and Rachel McAdams



The 2004 romantic drama “The Notebook” continues to be a pop culture phenomenon, captivating audiences with its passionate love story between Noah and Allie, played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. But beyond the on-screen romance, rumours of tension between the actors and Gosling’s current partner, Eva Mendes, have added a layer of intrigue to the film’s legacy.


From Clashing Personalities to Real-Life Romance

While their undeniable on-screen chemistry led to a blockbuster performance, Gosling and McAdams reportedly had a tumultuous time during filming. “We inspired the worst in each other,” Gosling admitted to The Guardian. However, their initial animosity blossomed into a real-life romance in 2005, sending shivers down the spines of fans who had rooted for Noah and Allie.


Love Found, Love Lost

Their off-screen love story, however, wasn’t a fairytale. After two years, the couple went their separate ways. McAdams found happiness and a family with screenwriter Jamie Linden, while Gosling met his current partner, Eva Mendes, on the set of “The Place Beyond the Pines” in 2011. Together, they have built a life and share two daughters.


A Post-Breakup Conundrum: Maintaining a Friendship

While McAdams and Gosling’s romantic flame fizzled out, reports suggest they remained amicable post-breakup.  This friendly dynamic, however, is said to have shifted when Mendes entered the picture.


A Shadow of Jealousy? Unconfirmed Rumors of Tension

Unverified reports claim that Mendes is allegedly uncomfortable with McAdams being around Gosling.  Unnamed sources allege that Mendes discourages any interaction between the former co-stars, fearing it might upset her. This has reportedly limited Gosling’s ability to maintain a casual friendship with McAdams.

The validity of these claims remains shrouded in mystery.  Mendes and Gosling are known for their privacy, making it difficult to separate truth from speculation.



Beyond the Rumors: The Power of “The Notebook” Endures

While the rumors of off-screen tension add another chapter to the “The Notebook” narrative, the film’s enduring power lies in its timeless portrayal of love and loss. Whether Gosling and McAdams remained friends or not doesn’t diminish the on-screen magic they created. The film’s ability to resonate with audiences continues, reminding us of the intensity of first love, the pain of heartbreak, and the enduring power of memories.

The Notebook’s legacy is a complex one, weaving together a captivating on-screen love story, rumored off-screen tension, and a reminder of the film’s lasting impact on pop culture.

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From Mansion to Moat: Drake’s Million Dollar Home Gets Soaked



Toronto residents woke up to a soggy Wednesday morning after the city was pummeled by record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday. The downpour caused widespread flooding across the city, and even the opulent mansion of rap superstar Drake wasn’t spared.


Drake’s “Embassy” Flooded

Drake shared a video on his Instagram story showing the extent of the water damage at his Toronto mansion, nicknamed “The Embassy.” The sprawling 50,000-square-foot estate boasts an NBA-regulation basketball court and an art-deco theme, but on Tuesday, it was battling ankle-deep murky water flooding its halls.

The video shows Drake himself, clad in shorts and holding a broom, wading through the water. Someone else can be seen desperately trying to hold a large glass door shut as water surges in, presumably from a flooded patio or balcony.  Drake captioned the video with a touch of humor: “This better be espresso martini.”

The extent of the damage to the mansion remains unclear at this time.


Historic Rainfall Causes Citywide Flooding

The flooding at Drake’s mansion was just one symptom of the unprecedented rainfall that lashed Toronto on Tuesday. The city saw over 100 millimeters of rain in a single day, easily surpassing the average rainfall for the entire month of July (71.6 mm). This deluge makes it the fifth-wettest day ever recorded in Toronto’s history.

The heavy downpour overwhelmed the city’s drainage systems, leading to widespread flooding across neighborhoods. Emergency services were inundated with over 700 calls reporting flooded basements.  A major artery, the Don Valley Parkway, became an impassable waterway, with cars submerged almost entirely and some drivers forced to wait for rescue on the roofs of their vehicles.


Toronto Cleans Up After the Storm

As of Wednesday morning, the city is in cleanup mode.  Emergency crews are working to clear debris and assess the damage caused by the floods.  The extent of the financial losses incurred by homeowners and businesses is still being determined.

While Drake’s mansion may have gotten an unwelcome soaking, the true story of this weather event lies in the impact it had on ordinary citizens across Toronto. The city is now focused on recovery efforts and ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents.

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