It’s the spooky season, which to me, as director of ad tech here at Crenshaw, is the perfect time to address some of the scariest business and PR issues looming in the ad tech space today. It can be challenging to address some of the highly sensitive issues in the media, but there is usually a way to do so that benefits the company and industry at large. Here is my list of ad tech “scaries” and how ad tech providers can manage these issues with the press.
Privacy laws spook marketers
GDPR was the slow-moving zombie that eventually arrived at our doorsteps in 2019. Now the privacy zombies are coming faster and more frequently. In reality the privacy regulations are well-intended and will protect consumers. The best way to address privacy in the press is to talk about how the company has invested in privacy, and how privacy has been folded into the product roadmap. Have you hired a Chief Privacy Officer? How are you getting consent from consumers? How have you adjusted your partnerships to account for privacy? However, beware! You must be careful to not to BS reporters about privacy policies, they can smell it a mile away. It’s essential to offer proof points that support all protocols.
Apple’s changes threaten doom
The loss of IDFA was the jump-scare that none of us were prepared for. And, just last week we saw Snap Inc.’s stock tumble after it forecast slower growth this quarter due to recent changes in Apple App Store privacy rules. The changes have marketers scrambling, which gives ad tech the opportunity to be Ellen Ripley, the hero of this horror story. Marketers need guidance, and these changes are the perfect way for ad tech companies to use thought leadership to assure brands that they are not alone. All players are working on solutions to keep advertising effective.
Behemoths build ‘walled gardens’
After years in the industry it’s hard not to think of Facebook and Google as the Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger of ad tech. They take most of the money in advertising, play by their own rules, and face few consequences. It’s frustrating. However, PR gives ad tech companies the chance to have a voice as well. If you aren’t partnered with these godzillas, go ahead and speak out against them–reporters LOVE it. Comment on bad news, discuss why marketers and publishers get screwed, or better yet, conduct research about the impact on marketers and publishers. There are endless opportunities in PR to challenge the giants.
Third-party cookies disappear
Meanwhile, cookies are going poof! This news has been known for a while, but like Michael Myers, the news and its consequences keep rearing their ugly heads. We see new reports and studies highlighting the money at risk when this frankly outdated technology disappears. Marketers and publishers are right to fear the decline of cookies, but again, it’s another opportunity to shine. Everyone has been testing solutions, and it’s time to talk about them. Promote case studies of the incredible work you’ve done with your identifier or new contextual solutions. Media want to see what is getting results, and who offers innovative solutions.
A dreaded result of change: layoffs
As a serious consequence of changes in the ecosystem, some companies will face layoffs. From a communications perspective, it is vital to prepare clear reasoning and outline support steps for both the impacts and the press, addressing why staff reductions happen and what the future looks like as a result. Companies that don’t adequately prepare for an unpleasant communication like this are my idea of a true horror story.
If you’re an ad tech company struggling to handle these “scary” topics from a comms perspective, please reach out. We’d love to help you navigate your way through this haunted house.