Issue No. 3, September 2020

We’ve all spent the last several months navigating seemingly insurmountable challenges, experiencing constant change, and adapting over and over again. Now, as we enter the final quarter of 2020, businesses are gearing up for one more push to end the year as strong as possible.

There’s a lot ahead in the next few months. The 2020 US presidential election is a little over a month away. Digital ad campaigns have been more important than ever to help reach target voter audiences while in-person events are on pause.

Retailers are days away from launching their holiday shopping campaigns, giving the season an earlier start than usual. These campaigns will be paramount for advertisers as they look to drive revenue during an uncertain holiday season.

Media owners and publishers have the data available that will give advertisers a very important competitive edge in understanding their audiences and efficiently allocating budgets.

In this issue, we’re discussing how to activate data efforts for political, holiday, and other end-of-year campaigns. Of course, data regulations keep evolving, so these efforts must be executed in a privacy-centric way.

These strategies will help you attract new buyers, grow repeat budgets, and capture the full value of each impression all while adhering to privacy standards so that you can make the most of your Q4.

Kristen Williams
VP, Strategic Partnerships

How to Prepare for
2020 Holiday Shopping
Ad Sales

This holiday season will look quite different than recent years thanks to the continued effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Retailers including Target, Best Buy, and Kohl’s plan to start holiday campaigns as early as October. When you consider that the 2020 back-to-school shopping season is expected to be bigger and last longer than previous years, the fall of 2020 is shaping up to be filled with non-stop shopping campaigns. Retailers are hoping that an extended season will help boost sales while preventing large in-store shopping crowds and easing the already-high pressure on the USPS and other delivery firms.

We’ve seen OTT and CTV viewership skyrocket as consumers spend more time at home, and advertisers will be looking to shift budgets here in addition to online video. We can expect an increase in categories like comfortable clothing, kids’ toys, electronics for both remote learning and entertainment, and other household essentials as they relate to consumers’ socially distant lifestyles.

Media owners and publishers can implement a variety of strategies to capture a larger share of 2020 campaign budgets, such as creating unique inventory packages, providing rich reporting and targeting, and leveraging audience data. Here’s how to get started.

Create unique inventory packages:
Consider creating unique inventory packages that help advertisers optimize their reach across various genres or specific categories. For example, as live sporting events remain in flux, buyers are looking to supplement their ad plans with other programming that offers the same lean-in experience as sports, and other content with similar demographics (i.e. male-skewing content).

Provide rich targeting and reporting:
We’ve heard from media owners and buyers alike that providing more insights about the content ads will play within highlights the value and relevance of inventory and generates increased demand. Media owners are utilizing key value pairs to allow targeting and post-campaign reporting on specific programs, episodes, genres, and live vs. on-demand environments.

Leverage audience data:
Consumers around the globe have altered their behavior during the pandemic, which has been reflected in the redistribution of ad category spend. These trends will continue through the holiday season. With the SpotX Audience Management Engine (AME) and SpotX’s many data management platform (DMP) integrations, you can target campaigns using first- or third-party audience data segments directly from the SpotX platform. Applying these audience segments enables you to boost performance of advertisers’ KPIs, increasing CPMs for programmatic campaigns.

Build stronger 1:1 relationships:
The decline of cookies will push advertisers to form closer relationships with publishers. Establishing trust between both parties to understand how data is collected, stored, and used is key to building a lasting relationship. Requiring authentication or logged-in users provides data that can create a valuable, differentiated asset that helps to gain advertising dollars. You can also partner with advertisers to help them understand and implement broader targeting or contextual targeting.

Ask an Expert:
What happens
without IDFA?

Apple announced it has killed its identifier for advertisers (IDFA), leading to major changes for ad-supported mobile publishing. To learn what this means for publishers, we asked Eric Shiffman, Director of Product Marketing at SpotX, to share more.

What is Apple’s latest IDFA announcement and what is changing?
Soon after the release of iOS 14, the IDFA will be disabled by default. Users must actively opt-in to share it with each app through the AppTrackingTransparency framework. Here’s an example of the opt-in message a user might receive in iOS 14:

Eric Shiffman
Director of Product Marketing at SpotX

Apple’s language isn’t likely to inspire many to allow tracking, though publishers will be able to customize the second explanatory sentence, represented in the screenshot as “your data will be used to deliver personalized ads to you.” The opt-in is app-specific, not device-wide, so each publisher will have a chance to communicate with their user.

If publishers can achieve even a small increase in opt-ins, that could help increase revenue. Initial expectations of opt-in rates are quite low, in the 10-20% range.

When will this take effect?
iOS 14 is expected to be released this fall. However, Apple announced at the start of September that it will delay implementation of this opt-in requirement until early 2021 to give developers more time to make necessary changes.

What does a lack of IDFA mean for publishers?
The IDFA is used for ad measurement, attribution, and fraud prevention, and without it, the mobile ad ecosystem will be disrupted — the impact of which extends beyond just publishers. DMPs use IDFA to build their identity graphs for audience targeting, and DSPs use it to determine the value of an ad opportunity. It is also used for operational tracking and user experience improvements like frequency capping.

Removing the IDFA makes all parties in the ad transaction blind to the device on a given ad request and makes all of these activities impossible in their current form.

Apple has considered the attribution needs of mobile publishers and app developers, and made it possible for ad networks to get anonymous, privacy-friendly attribution information for activities like app installs through its SKAdNetwork.

What should publishers do now?
These are the three actions we recommend you take now:

  1. Remember that advertisers will still execute their ad budgets somewhere. We expect buyers will adjust to limited targeting and adapt contextual targeting strategies. In tandem, they may reallocate budgets to Android devices. Apple devices historically have yielded higher CPMs because their customers are more affluent, but this could change in the face of limited targeting.
  2. Think about whether you will collect authenticated logins for the use of your service and activate that first-party data for tracking. It’s still unclear if Apple will allow this, plus you should consider whether customers will like hearing that you are using other identifiers (like their login email) to track them when they’ve expressly asked you not to track them via the Apple interface. Note that Apple has retained the use of its identifier for vendors (IDFV) which app owners can use to measure usage of their own apps. The IAB is examining a solution that would allow vendors to use the IDFV to operationally track users for instances such as frequency capping. Apple’s delay is beneficial in that it will provide more time for the IAB to finalize this standard.
  3. Consider implementing a pay or subscription model on Apple devices. Ad dollars can flow to Android and other advertising-friendly services, while subscription dollars can stay in the Apple ecosystem. You may even be able to incent users to share their data using this method, though you’ll have to adhere to CCPA guidelines on service discrimination.

Product News:
Political segments

The 2020 election cycle is already unlike any this country has seen, especially given the effects of COVID-19 and broad shifts in media consumption habits. Media owners can unlock more value from their inventory by helping buyers target specific voter segments across all screens and streams.

SpotX has a complete taxonomy of data segments spanning all parties and issues available through our partnerships with best-in-class data providers. Examples include:


  • L2 > New registrant (after 2018 general or after 2016 general)
  • Data Trust > Voters who registered to vote after Nov. 8, 2018
  • i360 > Newly Registered Voters
  • TargetSmart > First-Time Voters


  • L2 > Hispanic Voters
  • Data Trust > Hispanic Voters
  • i360 > Hispanic Voters
  • TargetSmart > Hispanic Voters
  • Tru Optik > Deeproot > Political > Hispanic


  • L2 > African American Voters
  • Data Trust > African American Voters
  • i360 > African American Voters
  • TargetSmart > African American Voters
  • Tru Optik > L2 Political > Political > Standard Voter > Ethnic > Description > African or Af-Am Self Reported

Product News:
Holiday shopping segments

Holiday campaigns will start earlier this year and weigh heavier in importance than ever before. Following are audience segments from a selection of our leading DMPs that we recommend utilizing to help improve ad revenue during the upcoming holiday season.

  • Ziff Davis > In-Market Shoppers > Black Friday > All
  • Webbula > Holidays & Seasonal Events > Black Friday
  • ShareThis > Seasonal > Christmas > Black Friday Shoppers
  • Factual > Retail > Behavioral > Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shoppers
  • Acxiom US Retail > Seasonal > Thanksgiving Activity > Shop Online on Cyber Monday

  • Tru Optik > Alliant > Women’s Interests > Cosmetics/Beauty
  • Tru Optik > NinthDecimal > Consumer Journey > In-Market > Clothing and Accessories Retailers > Jewelry and Watches Shoppers
  • Tru Optik > V12Data > Seasonal/Holiday > Holiday Shoppers - Retail
  • Tru Optik > Media Source Solutions > Purchases > Seasonal > Gifts Purchaser

  • eXelate Interest > Events > Gift Giving Holidays
  • Nielsen Retail >Credit Card Data > Seasonal > Heavy Holiday Shoppers > Amazon > All Credit/Debit Buyers (Nielsen Buyer Insights)
  • VisualDNA Mobile & App > VisualDNA Travel > Interest > Holiday Type > Camping
  • eXelate Interest > Purchase Behaviors > Shopping > Holiday Presents
  • Nielsen Retail > Credit Card Data > Seasonal > Holiday Shoppers > Kids >All Credit/Debit Buyers (Nielsen Buyer Insights)

Coming Soon

Bringing 2020 into Focus

To gain 20/20 vision in this year marked by change, there is an urgent need to review our sightlines and adjust our focus.

Join SpotX for a four-day virtual experience from October 5-8.

We’ll be sharing concise daily talks to help you gain clarity on the future of advertising and the steps you can take right now to attain your objectives.