Third-Party Cookies Are Still Here (For a Time At Least)

On June 24, Google released a statement stating that it was delaying policy changes it plans to make for third-party cookies. The deadline for the transition period, which is expected to be completed in March 2022, has been extended to the end of 2023.

Google cited the reason for this change as “to allow sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions, continued engagement with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services”. However, it is known by everyone that one of the biggest reasons for this delay is the problems Google has with the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which it sees as an alternative to third-party cookies.

What is FLoC?

FLoC is a system that enables the display of interest-based advertisements without sharing user IDs with advertisers in any way. The user’s browsing history will be evaluated by the browser and assigned to the user cohorts. During this process, the privacy of the user’s browsing history will be protected, and this data will not be shared with anyone in whatsoever way.

What Is the Problem?

Google is not alone in this move. Another giant of internet advertising, Apple, has taken important steps to block third-party cookies. These steps taken by the advertising giants will cause very few companies to collect user data, thus causing these companies to dominate the digital advertising market permanently.

What Will Happen Now?

As we said, Google is not the only one with an agenda for blocking third-party cookies. Other companies, national and international organizations are also interested in this issue. On the other hand, Google also delayed this change for a while. So not much has changed for advertisers and publishers. They just have more time to adapt to the new system.

Blocking third-party cookies does not only affect advertising. This change also complicates the operation of systems that offer personalized experiences to the user.

As nothing has changed as a result, advertisers and publishers need to continue to develop systems that need to get rid of dependencies on third-party cookies. With the latest developments, they have had more time for that too.

The concept of first-party data has become very important. Publishers, in particular, will need to develop new strategies to create and use this data in a meaningful way. In this regard, we can say that the importance of AIs capable of content analysis will rise in the coming period.

Providing a good user experience will also be beneficial for publishers. A personalization experience that makes a difference can get publishers more registered users. On the other hand, the steps to be taken by DSPs in the field of contextual advertising will also help solve the cookie crisis.

In conclusion, if you are on the side affected by this crisis, you need to know that nothing has actually changed. You just have more time to perfect the changes you plan to make.

Is Contextual Advertising the Next Big Thing in Advertising (Again)?

Contextual advertising has been on the agenda of online marketers lately. Undoubtedly, the biggest reason for this is the regulations that both brands and governments have brought one after another in the field of user data privacy. It seems that contextual advertising will be a hot topic in the new media buying world to emerge after these regulations.

What is Contextual Advertising?

It’s pretty simple. Contextual advertising is ads that are displayed based on the context the target audience is in. It’s like seeing a cooker ad on a recipe website.

Contextual advertising focuses on the context of the user rather than who the user is. In this way, the need for demographic and psychological data of the user to show the right ad is eliminated.

Is Contextual Advertising Something New?

No. If you’ve been in internet advertising for more than a decade, you know that the answer to that question is no.

Contextual advertising has been used for years in all media, not just online ads. However, thanks to the recent development of user tracking techniques, advertisers have moved away from contextual ads.

Why Advertisers Moved Away from Contextual Ads

Advertisers have moved away from contextual advertising because cookie-based behavioral ad models outperform contextual ad models. However, it is not possible to say that contextual advertising has wholly disappeared.

Brands that specifically own a particular niche continued to be customers of contextual advertising. For example, most of the ads for sports betting brands are still published on sports-related websites.

What are the Advantages of Contextual Advertising?

Contextual advertising has many advantages, including the following.

Less dependency on User Data

Contextual advertising can be a solution to the cookie problem, which is the biggest problem faced by advertisers in the current period. Since the targeting in contextual advertising is based on the context, not the behavioral data of the user, the dependency on cookies that create data privacy problems is reduced.

High Relevance

Behavioral targeting can often cause us to see unrelated ads. It’s weird to see an ad for diapers on a website we visit to read news about the latest model cars.

Contextual targeting doesn’t have such problems. Since the ad impressions are made according to the media they are in, the ads are relevant to the content.

Less Ad Fatigue

One of the biggest disadvantages of behavioral advertising is that it shows the same ad to the same user over and over. In behavioral targeting, although the same ad is shown to the user repeatedly, ad fatigue is reduced because these ads are related to the content that the user is consuming.

If Contextual Advertising Didn’t Work in the Past, Why Should It Work Today?

This is a question that is probably on the agenda of anyone who sees contextual advertising as an alternative to behavioral targeting these days.

We mentioned that contextual advertising had performance issues in the past. The biggest reason for this was that the technology of the period made it necessary to place the ads manually. This was a huge problem for publishers with large inventories of ad space. Therefore, the performance optimization of the ad spaces could not be fully performed.

Today, with the development of AI technologies, it is possible to overcome this problem. Thanks to an AI that can better detect the content, and therefore the context, more accurate ad impressions have become possible.

Google Might Be a Problem

Contextual advertising has a major obstacle to re-popularity: Google.

Since February 2020, Google has removed the ability for advertisers to target by content category. It is possible to say that Google wants the behavioral targeting models dominated by it to continue.

Although Google dominates the world in behavioral targeting, the same does not go for contextual advertising. Many alternative DSPs are developing strong products in this area where Google is weak.

To Summarize…

We’re sure to talk more about contextual targeting models in the coming months. It is helpful to closely follow the developments in AI technologies working in the field of content analysis and the position that Google will take.

6 Tips for Better Performing Facebook Ads

With its high number of users and advanced targeting features, Facebook is one of the most valuable platforms for advertisers. However, there are some points to be considered in order to get maximum efficiency from Facebook ads.

1- Turn Actual Posts into Advertisements

Here’s a fact: No one likes ads, except advertisers. Therefore, instead of creating an ad from scratch on Facebook, you can turn your previously shared posts into ads. Especially if you turn your posts with high number of likes and shares into advertisements, your advertisement will have a social value.

2- Set Your Calendar Correctly

Depending on the product or service you are promoting, the reaction of your target audience to the advertisements may vary. If you have a hotel close to a big city, which is usually preferred for short weekend breaks, your target audience will give more feedback to the ads you run on Thursdays and Fridays. Therefore, keep track of how the scheduling of your social media posts impacts your target audience and plan your ad accordingly. You will find that some timeframes perform better than others.

3- Fast Takeoff

It may take a long time for your ads to optimize, especially if you are working with small budgets. Keep the daily budget high at the start of your campaign so you can optimize your ads in less time. Then, when your data starts to make sense, switch to the normal budget level.

4- A/B Tests

The success of your ads will affect the creative performance as well as the media planning performance. Since media planning performance depends on numbers, it is possible to have more foresight. However, we cannot say the same for creative performance. Therefore, it would be wise to prepare your advertising creatives with alternatives and monitor each alternative’s performance during the campaign start period.

5- Don’t Overwhelm Your Audience with Ads

If you are appealing to a narrow audience, it is likely that your target audience will see your ads many times. It is known that CTR and CPC rates of Facebook ads increase noticeably after 3-4 impressions. To avoid this, if you are targeting a narrow audience, use multiple ads within a campaign and run these ads in different time periods.

6- Be Creative

All the tips we’ve given so far have been mostly about technical issues. However, there is a magic side to it as well.

Keep in mind that your Facebook ads are content that divides users’ Facebook experience and is not actually requested by users. So create your ads in accordance with the nature of Facebook. You will find that ads with social value are much more successful than other conventional ads.

5 Key Trends to Shape the Future of Programmatic Advertising

Thanks to its powerful targeting abilities, day by day programmatic advertising becomes the standard digital media buying. According to a research by e-marketer, 88.2% of digital display ad spending will be made through programmatic. We’ll take a brief look at the key trends which will shape the future of programmatic.

1- The Rise of Programmatic in OTT and CTV

Till today, programmatic advertising is mostly considered as a media buying method related to display ads. But this is quickly changing as there are more advertising mediums that can connect to the internet.

Connected TV (CTV) is the fastest-growing segment in this group. According to e-marketer, there will be 204.1 million CTV users in the US by 2022.

2- Privacy Regulations

Many national and international organizations are taking important steps to protect user data privacy. Giants like Apple and Google also impose significant restrictions to protect their users’ data. Undoubtedly, the cookie-dependent world of programmatic advertising will be deeply affected by these developments. In this period, when the importance of first-party data will increase, technological solutions in the field of advertising optimization will be a hot topic.

3- Smarter AI

Especially in an environment where the use of cookies is greatly restricted, the importance of artificial intelligence that can make accurate inferences with limited data will increase. In a future where access to user identity and data will be limited, the benefits of systems that can make accurate predictions will be golden.

4- Digital Audio

Although it failed, it is true that Napster changed the music industry forever. Digital audio streaming services, which have become the standard for listening to music, are also attracting the attention of programmatic advertising. It is a big plus that the applications of these services are installed on almost every smartphone, and the taste of music gives great clues about personality. Podcasts, which have become increasingly popular lately, also make this channel much more attractive.

5- Fighting Ad Fraud

Ad fraud has been a major issue since the early days of programmatic advertising. It is believed that there was a loss of $42 billion in 2019 due to ad fraud. Considering these figures, it is possible to say that advertising fraudsters make more money than drug dealers.

Many regulatory names, especially the IAB, are working to prevent fraud. Having revealed the sellers.json mechanism after the ads.txt, the IAB seems to have slowed the growth trend of ad fraud, if not eliminated, with these solutions.

Top 10 Blogs for Digital Marketers to Follow In 2021

Digital marketing is an area where you shouldn’t stop for a moment when it comes to learning new things. Blogs are a great resource for learning new things in modern times. We have compiled a few of our favorite blogs that we think will contribute to your professional development. Enjoy!

Google (https://www.blog.google)

It’s fair to say, most of the internet is Google. So, it will be a good idea to follow their blog. You can have a general view of the recent developments on the internet and get product updates on Google’s blog.

Neil Patel (https://neilpatel.com/blog/)

Neil Patel is around for some time, and he creates valuable content for marketers (especially for those involved with search engine marketing). His easy-going style makes things easy to understand.

MOZ (https://moz.com/blog)

MOZ is one of the essential tools used by SEO experts. Their blog is one of the most important domains on the internet to get news and tips about search engines. If you want your website to have higher rankings in search results, you should definitely check their blog.

Convince & Convert (https://www.convinceandconvert.com/blog/)

It’s all about conversion, isn’t it? Convince & Convert is a digital marketing consultancy firm based in the US, and they publish valuable content to let you get higher conversion rates in different branches of digital marketing.

Quick Sprout (https://www.quicksprout.com/blog/)

Quick Sprout is a very informative website for digital marketing newbies and provides lots of valuable information for masters of this world too. They cover many different topics in their blogs, from project management to using WordPress.

Content Marketing Institute (https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/blog/)

Content Marketing Institute is probably is one of the most important meeting points of content marketers. Throughout the year, they organize events and publish reports. Their blog contains valuable “how to’s” and opinions of the most influential people in the business.

Think With Google (https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com)

Another blog from Google, but this one is more specific about solutions provided for marketers by Google. You can find case studies and industry trend reports here.

Buffer (https://buffer.com/resources/)

Buffer is one of the most preferred social media tools used by experts, and if you need some tips and tricks about social media marketing, their blog is a good domain to start with. You can have a better social media presence using the things you’ll learn from their blog.

Unmarketing (https://unmarketing.com)

Unmarketing believes real marketing starts when you stop doing marketing. For them, engagement is the key to success. If you are looking for new ways to raise people’s engagement with your brand, check this blog.

How to Conduct a Technical SEO Audit for Your Website

We all know that constantly posting new and original content on your website will be good for your website’s SEO power. But having lots of original content is not enough to have higher rankings. SEO is a holistic business, and you should pay attention to its different aspects.

Technical Audit

Probably this will be the most painful part of an SEO audit if you had not set up everything in the right way when beginning. But you have to get through anyway. And you can always take steps to make things better in the future.

The first thing you have to do is to go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This is one of the fundamental tools to check your web page’s technical SEO.

PageSpeed Insights will provide lots of valuable information about your website’s technical situation. This tool provides information on the page level, but most of the suggestions for a page can be of use for your entire website. You can find lots of information about your pages’ loading time, optimization level of the scripts, and visuals. It would be a good idea to regularly check at least your main page’s situation on this tool.

PageSpeed Insights is a very powerful tool, but it will tell practically nothing about the technical structure of the content on your website. For this, you have to go to Bing Webmaster Tools.

You can generate SEO reports under the SEO tab in Bing Webmaster Tools. These reports will tell you what to fix in the content structure on your webpage.

Broken links and missing images can hurt your websites’ search ranking position. To prevent that, there is a tool you can use: Screaming Frog.

Screaming Frog is an SEO spider, and its free versions allow you to scan 500 pages on your website. If you don’t have a huge website, it will be more than enough.

Screaming Frog will tell you about broken links, missing images, 4xx errors, etc. on your website.

All these tools will give you a “to do” list. Prioritize the tasks and start working.

Permanent Success

If you are doing a technical SEO audit for the first time on a website that has been live for a long time, you will see that your list of things to do is quite long. To prevent this situation, you must create permanent solutions and policies.

Server Speed: Everything starts with your server. If your website isn’t hosted on a fast and always online server, all your SEO efforts will be worthless. So, evaluate the quality of your hosting provider, and if you are not satisfied with the service you get, change it before it’s too late.

CMS: The structure of the content management system of your website will play a key role in your success in SEO. A clean-coded CMS with built-in SEO features will help you more than you think for higher rankings.

Educating Content Creators and Publishers: You have to make sure that content creators and publishers know content structure requirements for a better SEO. Training them and developing content publishing policies will take less effort than correcting their mistakes later does.