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The Week in Brief

by Bench September 18, 2020

Friday 18 September

Death of the cookie

“The countdown to the end of cookies is on. And with that, third-party data will cease to exist. As one door closes, this could finally be the opportunity for publisher first-party data to take center stage.” Learn more.

It’s about “re-architecting the entire process”. Here’s how Vice is planning to tackle life after the cookie.

Big Tech news

Facebook has announced that it will start limiting how many ads can run on a page at any particular time in order to improve ad performance.

Technology company Oracle has taken over Microsoft in the bid to partner with TikTok in the US.


Nine has announced Audience Match, its new data partnership with Adobe, which will allow marketers to activate people-based audiences across all of Nine’s properties using Adobe Audience Manager.

oOh! Media has launched a Melbourne campaign that showcases meaningful contemporary works by Australian artists from art gallery STATION to reach the city’s commuters and essential workers.

In other news…

Now is the time to start planning your festive marketing. IAB Australia has asked advertising experts for their advice on preparing for the silly season.

Actors Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds have paired up to create a hilarious advertisement for Jackman’s Laughing Man coffee.

Stay updated

Looking back…

Friday 11 September

Data and identity

“In the cola wars, it was Coke vs. Pepsi. In the battle of the coasts, it’s New York vs. Los Angeles. Rap? Tupac vs. Biggie. And of course, Google vs. Facebook in the battle for identity supremacy.” How can we move forward in the identity wars?

Google has introduced Consent Mode to help advertisers effectively measure conversions, without compromising on user consent choices.

According to new research, 55% of Australians have viewed Google’s campaign against the proposed News Media Bargaining Code on its homepage.

IAB Australia has released its latest Digital Device and Usage Report.


This month, OOH leader JCDecaux is using VR technology to continue the conversation for R U OK? day

Music consumption is surging globally on connected TVs, and now, music video streaming service Vevo is available on Telstra TV.


COVID-19 has altered how consumers behave across all aspects of life, and marketers must engage with this shift. 

In other news…

At Bench, we understand the importance of mental health in and outside the workplace, and that a simple conversation can be life-changing. For this year’s R U OK? day, the theme is, “There’s more to say after R U OK?”. It can be as simple as showing support by starting a conversation.

Friday 4 September

Big Tech: Facebook and Apple spotlight

Facebook has caused a huge stir by revealing that it will prevent publishers and users from sharing news on its platforms in Australia if the proposed News Media Bargaining Code goes ahead. 

What does Facebook’s strategy for the iOS 14 update mean for developers? 

Plus, Apple is now delaying its iOS 14 privacy rule that will require permission for the gathering and tracking of user activity. 

Insights and data

Global advertising company WPP has come out of an economic low point to announce dividends. What does this signal for roadmaps to prosperity in the wider industry?

The anticipated death of the cookie will shake up entire digital marketing approaches. It’s time to rewrite the rules.


Don’t miss IAB’s upcoming webinar on the growth of online retail and e-commerce.

In other news…

How has remote work blurred our work-life boundaries? “Digital, or Slack, presenteeism isn’t new but thrown into sharp relief now the future of team communication and company culture, without a physical headquarters, is being reconfigured.” 

Friday 28 August

Insights and opinion

Growth in the Australian digital advertising market has declined by 12% in Q2 this year due to the impact of the pandemic. Read IAB’s latest report.

Do some ad tech companies create confusion to oversell AI-powered solutions?


During lockdown, audiences have gravitated to the biggest screen in the house. BVOD viewing has lifted 48% and it’s here to stay.

Snapchat has created new lenses to be used for viral TikTok dance challenges.

In other news…

B&T has released its Women in Media Power list for 2020, which includes our Commercial Director Esther Carlsen. 

Nike’s new Mamba Forever ad by creative agency Wieden+Kennedy honours basketball player Kobe Bryant. 

Friday 21 August


According to a new study, Australians are watching more ads than they think. 51% of ads tracked had “eyes on screen”, which is double the time participants believed they spent watching ads.

PubMatic’s latest report on trends in the mobile space has revealed that mobile ad spend is skyrocketing with a 71% increase over the last year, and that publishers are increasingly turning to programmatic tactics.

Channels: VOZ

The Total TV database VOZ promises the first true all-screen, cross-platform picture of national TV viewing. “But the question remains: will it deliver as the final piece of the measurement puzzle?

Big Tech

This week, Google posted an “Open Letter to Australians” claiming that new government regulation will “hurt how Australians use Google Search and YouTube”. The ACCC, however, has accused Google of spreading “misinformation” about the new rules. Read additional commentary here.

In other Google news, many of its services including Gmail and Drive were down due to a mass outage on Thursday.

Mi3 argues that the “Stop Hate for Profit” Facebook boycott needs a more meaningful and sustainable solution as many businesses “won’t be able to operate for long without switching this advertising back on”.

There’s another strong bidder for TikTok as it was revealed that software company Oracle is in talks with the Chinese-owned social media platform.

Friday 14 August

Publishers, channels and effective advertising

Google is introducing programmatic audio to Ad Manager, which will allow publishers to monetise their podcasts and other audio content.

The Facebook advertising “boycott” may now be over for some, but the social media platform is still combating hate speech.

“How much time does an ad need in front of a user or viewer to be effective? On average around 50% of ‘time-on-screen’ has no viewer attention paid at all.” “Attentive” seconds may be the answer.

Don’t miss IAB Australia’s upcoming webinar on the revenue models available for new and niche publishers with a focus on the role of digital advertising. 

Data and consumer insights

A new report by Almeida Insights has found that 42% of respondents worry about their data privacy but feel like they can’t do anything about it, and that 83% use social media at least daily.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Australian consumers have consistently been more concerned and cautious than consumers in countries that were far less effective at handling the health crisis.” McKinsey looks at Australia’s cautious consumers.

In other news: rethink and listen

“Rethink is an investigative journey into the biggest issues facing marketers today.” Check out the new marketing podcast by Think with Google.

Friday 7 August

Programmatic spotlight

Programmatic has been the biggest disrupter of digital marketing. And as current trends point out, it’s the way of the future. Read our take on the evolution of programmatic.

Google’s upcoming changes to its search ranking algorithm may mean that slower programmatic ads could impact SEO.

IAB has revealed that programmatic advertising is expected to reach 68% of digital ad spend worldwide this year.

By 2022, 8% of podcast ads are expected to be traded programmatically in the US (double the amount this year).

Social media: news and updates

Google and Facebook will be forced to pay for news as part of new mandatory code of conduct developed by the ACCC. This code aims to support traditional news media and address the power imbalances in the market.

Snapchat has launched a new marketing campaign, The Snapchat Generation, to connect brands with its unique community.

Introducing Instagram Reels. The social media platform has released “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos” in a move that appears to take on popular social media app TikTok.

And speaking of TikTok… there’s a lot happening in this space. Earlier this week, shares of Microsoft rose nearly 5% (around $US77 billion) after the company confirmed that it’s continuing discussions to purchase the social media platform in the US. Discussions are still ongoing.

Listen: discussions on OOH

OOH was arguably the media hit the hardest by the pandemic, but the recovery is well underway. Listen to this deep dive by Mi3 with global industry leaders

Friday 31 July

Innovation and strategy
As large holding groups have shed jobs, many agencies in the indie marketing sector have retained staff. Now, it’s time for them to take on the global groups.

Unilever has overhauled its advertising strategy, and it’s here to stay for the post-COVID world.

The pandemic has widened the gaps between the ends of economic profit. According to this report by McKinsey, “Companies with resilient, future-ready business models positioned to ride these trends have pulled further away from their industry peers.”

Privacy and data issues

Apple’s privacy announcements for iOS 14 have caused a stir recently. IAB Tech Lab lays out what advertisers need to know.

According to the ACCC, Google misled Australian consumers in order to obtain additional personal data to use in targeted advertising.

The Deloitte Australian Privacy Index for 2020 has revealed that 83% of consumers are concerned about their activity being tracked online for marketing purposes.

Sign up to IAB Australia’s upcoming webinar on how the removal of third-party cookies and other identifiers will impact publishers.

Audio and video

In the US, podcast advertising revenue is nearing the US$1 billion mark. Expect to see the Australian market to follow suit, too.

Facebook has announced it’s launching officially licensed music videos for artists, in a move that will present a significant challenge to YouTube. 

In other news: Big Tech

The CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google testified to defend their companies’ behaviour and power in the market. Listen to the latest episode of Wall Street Journal’s The Journal, “The ‘Emperors of the Online Economy’ Testify”, for more.


Friday 24 July

The data conversation 

IAB Australia has brought its Data Handbook up to speed for 2020. 

Nielsen is planning a new digital measurement methodology to prepare for a cookieless future.

Innovation and consumer insights

“Innovation can be defined as ‘change that adds value’. And without the ability to change and adapt quickly, across all areas of a business, survival is unlikely.” Here’s why innovation is key to success at this time.

Think with Google has decoded consumer purchase decisions in order to reveal how marketers can show up when it matters most.

Channels and social

TV’s new combined audience trading currency, VOZ, is being rolled out to agencies this month after many delays and roadblocks.

Spotify has launched a new video podcast feature in order to enrich the audio experience.

Netflix is now spending less on marketing. Here’s why.

Mindfulness in a Snap.” Headspace and Snapchat have collaborated for Headspace Mini, which will allow for Snapchatters to access short meditations and mindfulness exercises. 

In the US, advertising spend on Facebook is down by more than 31% due to advertiser pullback.

In other news…

Conversations about mental health and wellbeing are more important than ever. Heart On My Sleeve has partnered with the Mentally Healthy Change Group to reveal what this period has been like for leaders in the media and marketing industry.

Friday 17 July

Future planning

Consumer sentiment and spend continues to reflect the uncertainty of the crisis. Explore McKinsey’s global view.

Consumer behaviours and attitudes have shifted significantly in recent months, and may not return to pre-pandemic norms anytime soon.

As COVID-19 cases rise around the world, brand strategies will need to pivot once again.

The value of connected TV

As many brands leave Facebook spending behind, budgets could shift to connected TV instead.

In case you missed it… check out our insights on the value of BVOD, and our full-length interview with BVOD industry leaders on why now is the time to invest.

Data and tracking

Since Apple announced that IDFA tracking will become opt-in for consumers, there’s no denying the huge impact this will have on media spend and strategy.

As data privacy discussions continue, one study finds that only 9% of consumers will provide GDPR consent to be tracked

Will Google’s proposed changes to third-party cookies impact your marketing and brand strategy? Check out this guide by Cheetah Digital for more information.

In other news…

Snapchat has launched Brand Profiles as a permanent home for brands on the platform.

Keen to learn more about programmatic? Sign up for AdNews and PubMatic’s upcoming webinar: A Marketer’s Guide to Programmatic.

Friday 10 July

Spotlight: programmatic transparency

The author of a recent ISBA study that highlighted the need for a reform of programmatic supply chains has reflected on the lessons learnt since its publication.

Following on from an update to its Australian Digital Advertising Practices, IAB Australia has called for the industry to adopt transparency standards across the programmatic supply chain.

Channels: BVOD and social media

Now is the perfect time to invest in connected TV as audiences expand rapidly. 

Don’t miss our insights on the value of BVOD and our full-length interview with BVOD industry leaders.  

Trump considers banning TikTok in the US over tensions with China. This comes after a ban in India and amid similar discussions over security concerns in Australia.

Just for fun

Even during a pandemic, the advertising industry has remained as creative as ever. Check out some of the best ad campaigns of 2020 so far.

Friday 3 July

Security and privacy issues

Apple has announced a huge change to mobile-ad technology. With its new iOS update in September, users will now have to opt-in for IDFA tracking.

As the Australian government commits to a massive investment in cybersecurity, it’s important to consider how to protect digital channels and consumer identity.

Social media platforms

Many brands are now boycotting advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook in an effort to stop the spread of hate speech. Brands taking a stand include Starbucks, Unilever and Microsoft.

In other Facebook news, the platform will now prioritise original news content and stories with transparent authorship.

Channels: audio and OOH

Spotify is currently testing new interactive in-app offers for podcasts to create a more direct funnel for advertisers.

The City of Sydney has awarded QMS with one of the largest advertising contracts in Australian history, which will lead to a complete reinvigoration of the city’s outdoor advertising assets.

Meanwhile, JCDecaux has launched a national OOH campaign to say “hello” to Australians returning to public spaces after lockdown.

In other news: industry spotlight

The Rubicon Project and Telaria brands have merged to form Magnite.

According to Gartner’s 2020 CMO Spend Survey, marketing budgets are suffering cuts but many CMOs believe the negative impacts of the pandemic won’t be long-lasting.

Friday 26 June

Economic forecasts

Two leading authorities on the effectiveness of advertising, Rob Brittain and Peter Field, have published a new report titled “Winning or Losing in a Recession” to examine the impending recession and the impacts of the pandemic on the advertising industry.

As restrictions start to ease, consumer spending behaviour begins to return to the next normal.

Google’s ad revenue forecast in the US is expected to fall for the first time. Revenues for Facebook and Amazon, which are less reliant on travel advertising, will continue to grow. 

Even with this year’s economic decline, GroupM has reported that it expects “global advertising to grow by 8.2% next year”.

Digital futures and programmatic transparency

Accelerating your digital transformation is the key to future-proofing your business. This continues to be important.

There’s a need for more transparency in adtech as the programmatic-advertising space grows. Calls for a reform and a study by the ISBA earlier this year are efforts in the right direction to ensure open supply chains and fair rates.

Data rights

A new global survey by iProspect reveals that 87% of consumers believe data privacy is a right, and that 91% are concerned about the amount of data companies can collect.

Data Dividend Project claims “data rights are human rights”, and is calling for people to be paid for the data they create on platforms such as Facebook and Google.

In other news…

Menulog’s new advertising campaign features a catchy jingle by Snoop Dogg.

Did TikTok users and K-pop fans really sabotage Trump’s recent rally in Tulsa?

Friday 19 June

A snapshot of the industry: social platforms and media buying

Google is updating its Misrepresentation Policy with a Clickbait Ads Policy in order to avoid misrepresentation and enhance consumer trust. This new policy will cover the use of clickbait tactics, sensationalist text and strong negative emotions in advertising to drive traffic.

LinkedIn now allows retargeting capabilities and the ability to build target audiences from page visits, video views and lead-form opens. And in a move that follows Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, users can now post Stories on the professional-networking platform.

In a submission to the ACCC, Facebook has claimed that removing news from its platform wouldn’t have a significant impact on its business. And in other news, the ACCC has flagged Google’s recent acquisition of wearable-tech company Fitbit

Leading industry bodies have agreed on a set of working practices to help build trust and transparency in programmatic and the digital advertising supply chain.

The way that media-buying strategies are implemented has changed. Knowing how to adapt is essential for success and survival.

CTV, audio and DOOH are on the rise

As the value of CTV rises, 59% of buyers in the US are increasing their CTV budgets (according to an IAB study).

New data from Roy Morgan has found that 61% of Australians use audio streaming services, and Spotify is by far the most popular.

Nine Radio has announced a new commercial offering and exclusive sponsorships for its news, sport, weather and traffic coverage. 

Following on from our recent Q and A with leading DOOH experts, Broadsign’s Ben Allman outlines why now is the time to get serious about programmatic DOOH.

In other news…

The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) has launched MFA support in response to Australia’s unemployment rate of 7.1%, which is the highest percentage in 19 years. The program will support media professionals who have recently lost their job by providing access to continued education and re-employment opportunities.

If you missed IAB Australia’s webinar on behavioural changes in media consumption, catch up here.

Friday 12 June 

Moving forward

The need for flexibility and agility has always been important for marketers, and it’s only increased in response to the pandemic. A survey by Dentsu Aegis Network revealed that 95% of marketers have changed their 2020 strategies since March.

Research by Emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) reveals that digital news media now reaches more than nine out of 10 Australians – a 10% increase from the previous period.

Programmatic spending is picking up across the globe with markets in the US and Asia on the rise. 

When companies invest in inclusion and diversity, it results in more adaptive teams as we move forward. McKinsey’s 2019 analysis found companies that had higher ethnic diversity outperformed those with lower diversity by 36% in terms of profitability.

Moving away from the pandemic, the conversation around data and privacy continues. A discussion among industry leaders considers how agencies can improve their first-party data capabilities to understand consumer needs.

In an episode of Fear and Greed, Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia, discusses the huge growth of online advertising in recent years – and how it isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Channel updates

We look to what channels add value to marketers, and how increased movement impacts media trends and consumption. Check out our June insights for the latest updates and research.  

We sat down with industry leaders to hear about the evolving programmatic DOOH space, and in case you missed it, check out IAB’s webinar on DOOH. Brands are increasingly using digital avenues to be smart, creative and engaging. For example, sport retailer Rebel has launched a DOOH campaign to promote the post-lockdown return of AFL.  

Radio is continuing to hit new records. SCA has reported a 42% increase in May live-radio streaming compared to the same month last year.

Social video platform TikTok is having a monster year, and has launched its programmatic buying capabilities in Australia. It’s also looking to launch a new augmented-reality advertising format, which will allow advertisers to add interactive visual effects to their videos. Watch this space. 

Advertisers can create product ads in real-time on Snapchat as the company has now launched Dynamic Product Ads in Australia.  

In other news…

Many brands have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement on social media – see why some responses work, and others miss the mark

One powerful example includes a post by Aesop which highlighted that, “We cannot look away, and words are not enough.” The skincare brand has committed US$100,000 to support organisations that fight racial injustice and promote opportunities for Black people. 

There are many ways to support the movement here in Australia. A few important organisations that support Indigenous communities include Common GroundJawunThe Aboriginal Health Justice Project and Reconciliation Australia.

And in Sydney’s Surry Hills, a huge mural of AFL legend and Indigenous leader Adam Goodes has appeared. The mural was painted by advertising agency Apparition Media.

Friday 29 May

The future is digital

As we mentioned last week, it’s clear the road to recovery is digital. McKinsey looks at how the Australian lockdown experience has created a new set of digital users, and how businesses can emerge stronger

There’s been a huge increase in all things digital and there are clear shifts in the age segments that have been hardest to convert, which means a broader reach of people moving forward. Australians are consuming more digital media from engaging with social platforms to reading news, and participating in online activities such as exercise, shopping and video catch-ups at an increased rate.

These insights are important for marketers to consider when keeping pace with digital strategy as restrictions across the country continue to ease. Check out the change in movement in Google’s latest mobility report for Australia.

Channel insights

Audio usage is on the rise. Southern Cross Austereo has reported that its live-radio streaming and audio-on-demand platforms continue to break records, with weekday listening hours up by 19%. As more cars are on the road with easing restrictions, this increase will only become more significant.

Spotify has removed its library song limits in a move that signals the immense popularity of the platform. 

In TV news, Seven has announced that from June it will be reducing the length of its advertising breaks. This comes after research into the effectiveness of advertising and viewing habits – reduced ad loads will increase the opportunity for brand recall by 25%.

As the free-to-air partner of the AFL, Seven can also expect increased viewership with the start of the sport’s season next month.  

BVOD channel 10 Play has unveiled new experiences for Telstra TV users and advertisers. There will be a simpler design, as well as a compulsory log-in feature, which will allow for additional data and targeting capabilities.  

DOOH is set to add a lot of value for advertisers as people are on the move. With the gradual return to school, work and social normalcy, we’ll see the increase of opportunities for programmatic and digital out-of-home. A reliance on digital is a safe bet to improve campaign ROI

Get ahead of the curve with oOh!media’s latest pulse report, and sign up to IAB’s upcoming webinar “DOOH: from Go to Whoa” to learn more.

In other news
Actor John Krasinski has sold his popular YouTube show Some Good News to CBS. Let’s hope the good news and positivity keeps on coming after the move.

Friday 22 May

The road to recovery

Digital is the way forward in the COVID-19 recovery period. McKinsey Digital looks at how to keep pace and accelerate the use of technology effectively. It’s important for marketers to refocus digital efforts towards changing consumer expectations and enhancing the customer experience journey. Being agile and quick to adapt is a must, too.

As always, the marketing cycle is constantly in motion – and now more so than ever. It’s time to get back on track by revisiting marketing strategies, understanding the consumer and thinking long-term. We look to Kantar’s recent Marketing in Motion insights and trends forecast on getting media right.

And how can we emerge from this crisis stronger? Many advertisers have paused in this time, but that’s not necessarily the solution here. It’s all about connecting with people and investing in long-term branding.

Industry updates

As we mentioned last week, ISBA’s study on programmatic supply chains highlighted the need for a change. IAB Australia’s technology lead Jonas Jaanimagi contemplates how the industry should respond.

As the ACCC investigation into Google and Facebook continues, frameworks for how news media can be compensated for content have been put forward.


Where should marketers be focusing their efforts at this time?

DOOH will have significant value for marketers as restrictions ease across the country. Digital outdoor company QMS has won the outdoor advertising contract for City of Sydney from JCDecaux. It also recently won the digital portfolio for 7-Eleven’s advertising screens.

Mobile is at the forefront of digital advertising’s recovery. There’s been a shift away from desktop as mobile phone usage and content consumption have intensified. Video ads have taken a hit due to budget constraints, but the value of mobile video is here to stay.

YouTube has announced a relaunch of its premium ad offering as YouTube Select, which offers more flexibility to reach and target audiences.

Facebook and Instagram have introduced a new Shops feature. Now, sellers can connect with customers directly via in-app purchases on the social platforms. Watch this space!

Friday 15 May

Industry updates

As restrictions start to ease, spending has continued to increase in areas including online retail and subscriptions, supermarkets and food delivery. Gyms, public transport, travel and hospitality continue to be impacted with heavy falls in spend. 

The publication of a groundbreaking study by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) has called for a reform of programmatic supply chains revealing there’s “a lack of understanding and consistency among the ad tech suppliers as to how they could legally share data and what permissions were needed”. This study has augmented the efforts by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate Australia’s media supply chains. 

Data challenges

The conversation around data and value exchange has continued. Since Google announced it was making moves to build a more private web, there has been a lot of discussion around what this will mean for digital marketers.

Brands are starting to turn to first-party data and the growing demand for personalised experiences as a solution. Value exchange is key here, as is brand trust.

IAB Australia is running a webinar series on the responsible use of data and best practices. If you missed part one yesterday, make sure to tune in for the next two. 

Channels and publishing

Buzzfeed announced the closure of its Australian operations as the current climate continues to have a huge impact on the publishing industry.

Although times have been tough in publishing, native continues to be an important channel of value for advertisers. IAB recently hosted a webinar with local creative examples, and make sure you check out our guide on how native can help your brand throughout COVID-19.

In other news…

It’s important to stay connected, and especially now. There are many ways technology can help keep us sane and adapt to our new reality.

According to Google Trends, “coronavirus” is still highly searched but is no longer topping Google’s daily search trends. As restrictions start to ease, perhaps this is a sign of good things to come on the road to recovery.

And finally, Ryan Reynolds has produced a spot-on ad/presentation for Mint Mobile. It’s perhaps meant as a parody but also reveals how advertisers can pivot their campaigns in the current climate. It’s definitely worth a watch.