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The Centre Of Attention; Ad Tech Ignoring Apple Users; And Industry Divorced From Privacy Reality
Lumen, The Centre Of Attention
FPC had its annual planning session with Lumen this week. We are excited to be working with an ad tech company that’s already having a huge influence in shaping the future of measurement and addressability.
Lumen - the new name - is now leading the charge in one of the hottest segments in ad tech: attention. FPC believes attention will be table stakes for both measurement and targeting in this fragmented and privacy-focused marketing ecosystem.
Lumen’s team is busy innovating around areas like measurement outcomes, curation and progressive programmatic buying. Who knew an ad tech company could actually innovate?
A number of transformational deals will be announced in the coming months - so keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime, FPC will be offering a small allocation of this round to loyal and active syndicate investors.
The syndicate deal will follow the usual process (tech overview, revenue forecasts, deep dive interview etc) - but for this one time only, we have decided to host the Lumen Q&A in the heart of ad tech (Farringdon, obviously).
It’ll be open to prospective investors only.
This live Q&A will likely take place at the end of this month. Discussion will doubtless be followed by beers (complimentary, of course). News on all of this to follow.
Anyone interested in this limited Lumen allocation, please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. Attention FTW.
Rich Apple Users Blanked By Ad Tech
Rob Webster penned an excellent article this week on how ad tech is failing to target the lucrative Apple user.
Apple users are the type of high earners that most marketers want to engage - but recent privacy restrictions on Safari and iOS have made them unpalatable to programmatic buyers.
In short: everyone is over-indexing to Chrome because it makes the current model work. Let’s just keep kicking that can down the road.
As Rob points out, legacy ad tech just isn’t designed to work within the new privacy framework:
“DSPs struggle to activate and measure on Safari and in-app on IOS due to Apple’s tracking restrictions. Moreover, algorithmic media buying optimizes to where the trackable sales are, resulting in most users skewing their advertising away from this wealthy target audience. This is absurd and means that ad-technology and tracking used like this is in many cases, making marketing campaigns worse than if no targeting or tracking technology were used at all.”
This is an important point for FPC, our LPs and our portfolio companies: ad tech is broken in terms of targeting and measurement.
We are in the midst of an innovation cycle - and if ever there was a time to invest in this space it is now.
A Few Thoughts On Privacy & That IAB Keynote In Florida
The fallout from the keynote at the recent IAB ALM continued this week with a strongly worded scolding from the 4A’s and ANA.
It was probably the sensible move from the advertising groups after David Cohen labeled Apple, privacy advocates and politicians as “extremists” and “political opportunists”.
FPC was not in the room at the time so maybe the “context” was lost on us. Cohen is paid the big dollars to push back against what some might see as overreach by the government and self-appointed privacy guardians like Apple.
This tirade against perceived “extremists” is a symptom of a wider problem. Senior industry figures have chosen to ignore the memo about the changed business landscape.
Preserving the status quo has become the obsession - and having any kind of scalable ID, the only panacea.
Addressability (this term needs to be reframed) must be preserved at all costs. The consequence would be dire, we have been told: effectively, the end of days for ad tech.
This hot take has been trotted out so many times that it has become reductive.
It may be uncomfortable reading for some, but it’s probably time we had a reality check. Below we outline some unvarnished truths about the current state of play:
IDs will not scale because of platform issues, opt-in issues and login issues so let’s park that one for a bit
You cannot fight Apple on privacy functionality
You cannot fight government, especially the EU, on privacy legislation
The impression level bidstream will be phased out eventually as it dawns on industry that RTB is a source of data leakage and is responsible for a good chunk of that ugly digital marketing carbon footprint
Contextual targeting (page level, adjacent contextual like weather etc and hybrid contextual) can easily replace audience targeting
Panel-based solutions and, more importantly, attention will replace IDs and cookies in measurement
The next wave of ad tech will not depend on cookies or IDs, and those unable to evolve will ultimately hit the wall
Our simple view is that we must innovate our way out of this problem. At FPC we are funding and growing the companies shaping the new privacy-first world.
Sometime soon the penny will drop for the rest of the industry, including the trade bodies.
Have a great weekend, readers.