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What was new in adtech, in April

What's New in Publishing 01 May 2020 07:00

Rounding up the stories of the month, there is no escaping the word “coronavirus” or “Covid-19”, as the pandemic continues to take hold and affect every corner of the ecosystem.

As news brands state they are due to lose £50m in ad revenue over the next three months as advertisers don’t want to be seen alongside coronavirus content, AI media company GumGum actually found 62% of Covid-19 related keywords to be safe. GumGum’s machine-learning-based content analysis and brand-safety engine, Verity, identified 2.85 million unique web pages that contained relevant coronavirus keywords across its publisher network, It found brands which rely on keyword blocklists for brand safety reasons had been blocking certain pages because they contained words such as “covid”, “covid19”, “covid-19”, “covid 19”, “coronavirus”, “corona virus”, “pandemic”, or “quarantine”, Campaign reports. Yet, GumGum’s analysis tool deemed 1.5 million of these pages to be brand safe.

Industry representative for UK newspaper publishers, Newsworks, aimed to raise awareness of the damaging impact on publisher revenues caused by overzealous blocklists and launched an initiative called #BackdontBlock. As part of the campaign, Newsworks on behalf of the news industry asked advertisers to remove blocklists from trusted UK news brands to ensure they can continue to fund journalism, The Drum reports.

The latest IPA Bellwether report for Q1 2020 was also released during April, and it painted a sobering picture, with marketing budgets down and declining at their fastest rate since the global financial crisis a decade ago. With broad-based cuts to all forms of marketing activity, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, as 18.9% of respondents signalled growth for the quarter, and many were confident growth will resume later in the year. You can see how the industry reacted to the findings, here.

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