W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-tracking@w3.org > July 2012

Re: Frequency Capping

From: Chris Mejia <chris.mejia@iab.net>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 23:12:42 +0000
To: Tamir Israel <tisrael@cippic.ca>
CC: "Grimmelmann, James" <James.Grimmelmann@nyls.edu>, W3C DNT Working Group Mailing List <public-tracking@w3.org>, Mike Zaneis <mike@iab.net>, Brendan Riordan-Butterworth <Brendan@iab.net>
Message-ID: <CC237C79.1FC9D%chris.mejia@iab.net>
Hi Tamir,

Thanks for your reply--I appreciate the friendly nature of our back and forth based on reaching a mutual understanding of positions. It's only through this kind of friendly exchange that it might be possible for this group to reach any sort of consensus, so I sincerely applaud you sportsmanship.

I wish I could agree with this assertion:

I am not remotely convinced this spec is going to lead to ubiquitous
DNT-1, and I don't think this working group is currently considering
anything that might make this the case;

With Microsoft already shipping IE10 with DNT:1 defaulted to "on", there will soon be 30+ percent of users broadcasting the DNT:1 signal.  30% may not be ubiquitous in its own right, but if you factor in say one of two more large 'trusted agents' defaulting to DNT:1 OR encouraging DNT:1, I think we might reach ubiquity fairly quickly.  If the W3C has the power to stop companies like MSFT from shipping this way, I'd love to see that happen (unfortunately I don't think it's a likely outcome). Further to my point, what happens when the UI of a trusted agent (say a Norton and/or Symantec) asks users the question, "Do you want to be tracked?" without any other context offered (this case is supported by most advocates on this forum)?  Naturally, people will opt to answer that context-lacking question "no" and DNT:1 will be broadcast.  Unfortunately, controlling the ubiquity of DNT:1 signals being sent may now be well out of reach of the W3C's prevue in the US, as it would be a voluntary spec here.  Some companies will encourage the setting of DNT:1, others will not discourage it and I think we are at ubiquity (or close to it).  This gets back to my original point when joining the working group: without a clear definition and understanding of DNT:1 to the user (what it means to the user AND to publishers), any mechanism relying on the signal as a user-set-intention is fundamentally flawed.

Chris Mejia | Digital Supply Chain Solutions | Ad Technology Group | Interactive Advertising Bureau - IAB

On 7/11/12 5:29 PM, "Tamir Israel" <tisrael@cippic.ca<mailto:tisrael@cippic.ca>> wrote:

OK Chris, I agree. I think my point was that DNT-1 is less a rejection
of the value exchange than, say, AdBlock or a similar plugin.

I understand that targeted impressions are worth more and I've heard
they generate more click-through.

I simply meant to say that DNT-1 a.) still allows impressions; and b.)
still allows contextual targeting (by site, etc.), so its value is not '0'.

Two quick side notes:
I am not remotely convinced this spec is going to lead to ubiquitous
DNT-1, and I don't think this working group is currently considering
anything that might make this the case; and

Also, I am no longer saying there is no value to F-capping for DNT-1s.
It makes sense to me that at least some types of advertisers would want
to just reach 'everyone' so would purchase, say, 10 million impressions
hoping to reach 5-10 million people (whether targeted or not). On this
scale, there is a definite risk of a DNT-1 user seeing the same
advertisement more than once, and also there is a benefit to maximizing
the ad campaign's reach, as desired, so some form of frequency capping
would seem to have value.

On 7/11/2012 5:08 PM, Chris Mejia wrote:
Thanks Tamir.  I stand corrected--consumers who elect to express DNT:1 MAY
not have completely opted out of the value exchange, you're right.
However, their relative value to the value exchange certainly goes down.
To further explain, when users see un-targeted (randomly placed) ads that
are not based on their general interests, they are likely to ignore those
ads.  In ignoring those misplaced ads, it's a double-whammy on industry:
we pay to serve ads that the consumer will never engage with, nor buy
their products/services.  Obviously this decreases the relative value of
that consumer engagement and lowers the overall revenue the publisher may
charge an advertiser in connection with the serving of the advertiser's
ads to that non-targeted consumer.  In this case, f-capping would be even
more important from a cost-savings perspective; the more non-relevant ads
I serve a consumer, the more cost associated-- f-capping limits delivery
and thus limits costs.  Also, it's probably not a stretch to assume that
many advertisers may not want to serve their ads at all to consumers who
are expressing DNT:1.  Enter the digital divide once again: anti-targeting
may lead to a situation where the only ads being served to 'lower-value'
DNT:1 users are the ones everyone would rather avoid (annoying content ads
that are served only on a CPA basis).  Premium content ads are generally
very expensive to produce and serve (premium rich media ads cost more to
serve), so my educated guess is that advertisers wont want to take a
chance on where they will spend money serving these ads.  So imagine that
premium advertisers contractually obligate their publishers to set
f-capping at 0/24 for DNT:1 users (this means that the premium ad would
never be shown to the DNT:1 user).  To play the end game, if DNT:1 signals
were ubiquitous on the Web, the overall value of "free access" publishing
would go down and I believe there would be a rapid proliferation of
payment gateways in response (the money to pay for content and innovation
has to come from somewhere). Once again, enter the new digital divide
(where the 'haves' pay for access and the 'have nots" are denied access,
based on financial ability to pay), courtesy of this working group, IF we
don't get it right.

Chris Mejia | Digital Supply Chain Solutions | Ad Technology Group |
Interactive Advertising Bureau - IAB

On 7/11/12 1:15 PM, "Tamir Israel"<tisrael@cippic.ca<mailto:tisrael@cippic.ca>>  wrote:

Chris -- I personally found your explanation very useful so thank you.

On 7/11/2012 3:27 PM, Chris Mejia wrote:
Advertisers have plenty of
reasonable business reasons to require f-capping in their contracts:
a) not annoy consumers with overdelivery when such annoyance leads to
negative advertiser brand association, and b) not needlessly waste ad
impressions and money on serving ads over and over again to users who
opted out of the value exchange in the first place.
It's not clear to me that selecting a DNT-1 means opting out of the
value exchange. The very fact that you need to F-cap those who have
chosen to send a DNT-1 seems to imply that these impressions remain
valuable, at least to some extent (or, I imagine, no ad would be served
at all and we need not worry about annoying users with repeated
exposures or maximizing ROI).

Received on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 23:13:31 UTC

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