Clearcode’s Top Posts Of 2018


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With privacy-centered themes dominating the headlines, 2018 could easily be hailed the year of privacy. It was a really busy time for the AdTech and MarTech industry.

GDPR and privacy issues sent ripples through the industry, and advertisers and publishers spent most of their time understanding and aligning with new privacy laws – not only in the EU, but also in other parts of the world (California Consumer Privacy Act). The ramifications of GDPR dictated activities for many publishers and AdTech companies, who have since been trying to fully grasp its impact and comply. But this was just one of the many themes of 2018 in the online advertising and marketing industries.

For those of you needing a quick recap of the big stories, we’ve compiled a list of our most popular blog posts from last year. Here are our top articles published in 2018.

1. In a Post-GDPR World, Who Will Be the Emissions Cheaters of AdTech?

After GDPR, AdTech vendors were faced with the same situation as car manufacturers who were forced to change the way their engines worked – to comply with the Clean Air Act (CAA). In the same way the Clean Air Act is designed to protect the health of US citizens and residents, the GDPR’s purpose is to protect the data of those living in the EU and EEA—something that, let’s face it, is traditionally not in the direct interests of online advertising companies. We explained the connection between these emission scandals and the GDPR through the similarities both stories share.

2. How Can Publishers Detect if Someone is Using an Ad Blocker?

The tug of war between publishers and those who resist display ads has been going on for some time now and is far from over. There is no way for users to make ad blockers completely invisible to sites or services that show anti-ad-blocking messages. Conversely, there is no way for publishers to make their websites completely and consistently immune to ad blockers.

The rise of ad-blocking software means publishers have to come up with new ways to make up the lost revenue, whether by using various custom-made ad re-insertion software or by putting up paywalls.

3. What is Ad Verification and How Does It Work?

In the age of ad fraud, an increasing amount of advertisers’ money is wasted on ad impressions that appear on fraudulent sites, don’t reach the desired audiences, or are not properly displayed in the user’s browser.

Ad fraud is only one area eating away at advertising dollars, however. There are many variables at play when it comes to verifying whether an ad was seen by the intended user, such as ad placement and context. Ad verification has emerged as a partial remedy to the problem and consists of spotting the areas that stop the ads from reaching the widest possible audience. We explain how it works.

4. What Is Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) Advertising and How Does It Work?

Imagine a world where billboards dynamically display ads targeted to each individual as they’re walking past them. Imagine ads sold in real-time auctions dynamically, and displayed across the city (or country) in a matter of minutes. Imagine a world where outdoor real-time marketing is really real-time, and billboards change dynamically depending on the time of day or weather condition.

The transition may change the traditional out-of-home ad-buying process; DOOH, as opposed to OOH, reduces human intermediaries and slow, manual insertion orders. In this post, we discuss what digital OOH could have in store for us.

5. What’s the Difference Between First-Party and Third-Party Cookies?

Over the years, cookies have become the bread and butter of the Internet, and are currently the most common method of identifying users online and providing a personalized browsing experience. With growing awareness of privacy issues, and the introduction of laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy, comes a stronger need to educate users about what cookie files actually do, what information they can contain, and what types of cookies exist. In this post, we offer a deep dive on the topic.

6. What the EU Copyright Law Means for Online Advertising and Marketing

The world of programmatic ad buying is increasingly threatened by ad fraud. This includes fraudulent representation of ad impressions and clicks, or manipulation of bid requests for monetary gain. Ads.txt came as a way to partly curtail the phenomenon, and the recent addition of ads.cert makes a robust countermeasure to fraud. We explain how it works.

7. What Is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and What Does it Mean for AdTech & MarTech?

Back in May 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (aka GDPR) came into force and spelt the biggest change in EU data protection law in 25 years.

It’s not only the EU regulating and taking a tough stance on data protection and user privacy. California government is also getting fully on board with the California Consumer-Privacy Act (full bill text here) and CONSENT Act, which came on the heels of the European law.

8. MadTech: 3 Use Cases for Marketers and Advertisers

MadTech is not quite here yet, but the novel concept attracted a lot of attention.

MadTech is founded on the principle of data synergy and takes the idea of SCV (single customer view) to another level. This is done through de-siloing and combining related sets of data into easily accessible, shared repositories enriched with data pulled from multiple devices that a single person could use, including emerging technologies like IoT and wearables. This synergy makes the related parts of AdTech and MarTech data more valuable and available (although not for free). Most importantly, the data isn’t siloed into individual companies’ systems.

9. What Is a Consent-Management Platform (CMP) and How Does It Work?

Collecting and using personal data from EU/EEA citizens and residents must follow relevant notices for data processing under Article 6 of the GDPR. For this reason, publishers and website owners now need to obtain freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous user consent when collecting and using cookies for advertising and marketing purposes. We go technical to explain how it works.

10. Netflix Tests Ads: Here’s What You Need to Know

Netflix ad-gate made a lot of people jump to hasty conclusions about the company’s greed. However, lots of the criticism was simply unfounded. What frenzied users unfairly referred to as ads or commercials, Netflix really calls promos – ads of other Netflix shows that the person might like. This is a far cry from watching a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream ad in the middle of your cable TV binge session.

News of Netflix testing ads quickly escalated and caused outrage among many loyal Netflix subscribers, which only showed that most people have little idea about what these ads are and how they work.

11. Understanding RTB, Programmatic Direct and Private Marketplace

The online advertising industry is populated by an array of media-buying methods, making it increasingly difficult to comprehend, even for the most seasoned marketers. While terms like programmatic direct, real-time bidding (RTB), and private marketplace (PMP) all fall under the programmatic umbrella, it is worth remembering that they are quite different concepts.

12. Waterfalling, Header Bidding and New Auction Dynamics

Due to recent trends and an increased push for transparency of vendor fees, we are witnessing a steady transition to an array of new auction models, which are, in essence, more similar to the first-price auction. In this post, we describe the new mechanics in more detail.

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