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The demand for cookieless targeting is fueling ‘SPO 2.0’

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The demand for cookieless targeting is fueling ‘SPO 2.0’

The term supply-path optimization (SPO), has plagued ad tech companies for years and now has a renewed resonance as media buyers still demand precise targeting, even as traditional tools of the trade have eroded.

It’s a trend highlighted by Havas Media Group’s recent search for ad tech partners, a process that saw PubMatic named among its roster of “preferred supply-side partners” for its clients in the North American market.

The process saw it further reduce its number of SSP partners from five to seven (in 2018 this number was as high as 42) with the latest iteration of HMG’s annual hunt for ad tech echoed elsewhere on Madison Avenue.

At the core of the pair’s renewed partnership is “data activation,” or more plainly, the ability for HMG’s clients to target audiences on PubMatic inventory without third-party cookies. This is enabled through the recently unveiled audience management platform Converged which can identify audiences via a partnership HMG struck with LiveRamp, a separate ad tech company.

From here, HMG sends a list of audience types its clients want to target to PubMatic via LiveRamp’s encrypted identifier with the SSP subsequently using its platform Connect, a tool that supports a range of cookieless identifiers, to flag relevant opportunities. HMG then purchases the corresponding inventory via a third-party demand-side platform.

Evolving RFIs

In a statement, Andrew Goode, evp managing director, investment, HMG, said the latest iteration of the tie-up will help clients bolster their return on ad spend, especially in a “shifting addressability landscape” that requires scale and efficiency.

“The RFI [request for information] process is to ensure that we are able to adhere to the principles we originally set out as we enhance access to data,” Goode told Digiday. “These things evolve and one of the things we look at is preparedness for ways of working in the cookieless future and those that will enable us to work within the growing maturity of the data marketplace.”

SSPs, they have data signals we can’t necessarily get from a DSP

Tom Grant, svp, group director, investment operations, HMG

Meanwhile, Tom Grant, svp, group director, investment operations, HMG, said such tie-ups were crucial, especially as “about 75% of bid requests” it sees don’t have cookies anymore. He added, “We need these new ways of working… We’re acknowledging the increasing importance of SSPs and this partnership [with PubMatic] is a reflection of that, they have more data signals that we can’t necessarily get from a DSP.”

John Speyer, senior director, advertisers solutions, PubMatic, characterized the renewed partnership as indicative of how buyers’ SPO efforts had grown more sophisticated compared to the days of simply culling shady partners.

“We’re focused on a new level of SPO, where it’s moving beyond [quality of media] supply and more into an addressability play,” he said. “Supply-side data activation is key… I would characterize it as 2.0 of how SPO looks.”

Such partnerships, or “trading deals” as some would characterize them, are always subject to commercial T&C’s although both HMG and PubMatic’s spokespeople declined to comment on such details when probed by Digiday. Albeit, they also come at a time when the traditional roles of online media are in transition, and this is likely to have an impact on commercial relationships.

Blurred lines

The HMG partnership is not the only such deal that PubMatic has struck this year, as it was also named as part of the GroupM Premium Marketplace along with fellow SSP Magnite — such deals are now key to the ad tech companies’ messaging to Wall Street.

Partnerships between media agencies and SSPs — relationships that were traditionally facilitated by DSPs — are increasingly being formed at a time when the fault lines between buy- and sell-side ad tech companies have become increasingly blurred.

For instance, earlier this year, The Trade Desk announced an initiative that proposes direct integration with premium publishers in a move that many interpreted as a direct threat to the traditional role of SSPs. Although, not all are convinced of the inevitability of conflict among the industry’s intermediate tiers of ad tech with Bob Walczak, MadTech Advisors CEO, pointing out how such arrangements often involve the DSP executing a media-buy.

He further told Digiday that partnerships between SSPs and holding companies are necessary for agencies to continue their traditional mode of targeting addressable audiences at scale while adhering to privacy requirements.

It is a small leap of logic to suggest we will see both DSP and SSP offering competitive solutions

Andrew Goode, evp managing director, investment, HMG

“It’s been happening for years, now they [SSPs] are going direct to the agencies and trying to get a preferred relationship… now that agencies have the kind of technology to support that type of relationship,” he said.

“These deals have to continue to happen because [when] third-party cookies go away you need to have a face-to-face relationship to be able to do these kinds of first-party transactions… needing to know your counter-party better was what started ads.txt and what we’re seeing is the evolution of this.”

However, HMG’s Goode explained to Digiday his opinion that while both parties aid in the transition to ad targeting without reliance on cookies, the “increasingly fuzzy” roles of the DSP and SSP could soon prompt change.

“Both DSP and SSP today have intrinsic value in the activation of campaigns, however, it is a small leap of logic to suggest in the near future, we will see both DSP and SSP offering competitive campaign activation solutions, independent from each other, and maybe consequentially a potential reduction in tech tax,” he concluded.

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign


Author: Mark Hachman
, Senior Editor

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon


Author: Michael Crider
, Staff Writer

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more
Google Pixel watch



The Google Pixel Watch is incoming
(Image credit: Google)

We’re expecting the Google Pixel Watch to make its full debut on Thursday, October 6 – alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro – but in the meantime a major leak has revealed much more about the upcoming smartwatch.

Seasoned tipster @OnLeaks (opens in new tab) has posted the haul, which shows off some of the color options and band styles that we can look forward to next week. We also get a few shots of the watch interface and a picture of it being synced with a smartphone.

Watch faces are included in the leak too, covering a variety of different approaches to displaying the time – both in analog and digital formats. Another image shows the watch being used to take an ECG reading to assess heartbeat rate.

Just got my hands on a bunch of #Google #PixelWatch promo material showing all color options and Watch Bands for the first time. Some details revealed as well…@Slashleaks 👉🏻 https://t.co/HzbWeGGSKP pic.twitter.com/N0uiKaKXo0October 1, 2022

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Full colors

If the leak is accurate, then we’ve got four silicone straps on the way: black, gray, white, and what seems to be a very pale green. Leather straps look to cover black, orange, green and white, while there’s also a fabric option in red, black and green.

We already know that the Pixel Watch is going to work in tandem with the Fitbit app for logging all your vital statistics, and included in the leaked pictures is an image of the Pixel Watch alongside the Fitbit app running on an Android phone.

There’s plenty of material to look through here if you can’t wait until the big day – and we will of course be bringing you all the news and announcements as the Google event unfolds. It gets underway at 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm BST / 12am AEDT (October 7).


Analysis: a big moment for Google

It’s been a fair while since Google launched itself into a new hardware category, and you could argue that there’s more riding on the Pixel Watch than there is on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro – as Google has been making phones for years at this point.

While Wear OS has been around for a considerable amount of time, Google has been leaving it to third-party manufacturers and partners to make the actual hardware. Samsung recently made the switch back to Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, for example.

Deciding to go through with its own smartwatch is therefore a big step, and it’s clear that Google is envious of the success of the Apple Watch. It’s the obvious choice for a wearable for anyone who owns an iPhone, and Google will be hoping that Pixel phones and Pixel Watches will have a similar sort of relationship.

What’s intriguing is how Fitbit fits in – the company is now run by Google, but so far we haven’t seen many signs of the Fitbit and the Pixel lines merging, even if the Pixel Watch is going to come with support for the Fitbit app.

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

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