Monthly Brandtech Blend – April 2022

Home Blends & Trends 12 April 2022

What’s happening in the brandtech ecosystem?

Read the latest on the new trans-Atlantic data flow agreement; get the latest news on the investigation into ‘Jedi Blue’; read more about Meta’s new content tools and discover Staybl, an app to help Parkinson’s patients interact with digital devices.

EU and US agree, ‘in principle’, to a new trans-Atlantic data agreement

On 25 March, the EU and the US announced that they had reached an agreement ‘in principle’ on trans-Atlantic data flows. This news was welcomed by the business world and tech giants, following months if not years of uncertainty with EU data protection agencies issuing orders against flows of personal data passing via products including Google Analytics.

However, it is important to remember that this latest agreement is still at the ‘in principle’ stage, as two previous pacts – the EU-US Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield – were invalidated by the European courts. Privacy campaigner Max Schrems will be analyzing the final text very carefully and, if not satisfied that it respects EU privacy rights, will mount another legal challenge.

The conflict between EU privacy rights and US surveillance laws may not yet be resolved!

Read more on the EU-US data pact in this article on Tech CrunchReuters and Bloomberg.

Further investigations into ‘Jedi Blue’, the Google-Facebook secret deal

The European Commission and the British regulators are working together on an investigation into a so-called secret deal between Google and Meta, codenamed ‘Jedi Blue’. This agreement would have given the two US tech giants an unfair advantage over other ad tech publishers of online display advertising.

Both tech giants deny any wrongdoing. According to a Google spokesperson, Jedi Blue is a “procompetitive agreement” which does not give the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) exclusivity or advantages to help them win auctions. Meta also declared that they had a “non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google” as they do with other bidding platforms to help “increase competition for ad placements”. It is also possible, according to the European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, that Meta was unaware of the effects of the deal.

The outcome of these investigations may produce major changes to how companies can operate with regards to e-commerce, app stores and digital ads – though the conclusions will not be reached for many months!

Read more in The New York Times and Tech Crunch.

Advertisers to have greater control over ad placement, thanks to Meta’s new content tools 

Meta announced last month​ that they would soon start testing new content tools to enable advertisers greater control over the placement of their ads online. This comes after growing concern from advertisers ​that their ads ​are being placed next to unsuitable content ​for their brands.

Meta has teamed up with Zefr, the brand suitability provider, to develop a solution to better report, measure and verify the appropriateness of content adjacencies across ​its platforms.

​The World Federation of Advertisers has welcomed this move as the basis for further progress to be made, while addressing ​the marketplace needs for ​both transparency and​ accountability. With growing pressure over the lack of transparency of Meta’s practices, and Facebook’s algorithms being criticized for promoting dangerous misinformation, these new tools, which are scheduled to be rolled out beginning of next year, ​should ​be a ste​p in the right direction.

Read more about it in Tech Crunch, Media Week and Ad Week.

Staybl: an app launched by Havas to help Parkinson’s patients interact with digital devices

As part of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Havas, the global advertising company, has announced the launch of a new app called Stabyl​, which can be downloaded for free on the App Store.

With the ultimate aim of reducing the barriers to the use of smart devices for people suffering from Parkinson​’s or tremors, the app has been designed to stabilize the on-screen display when a device is shaken due to a tremor. Other features include the removal of swipe and slide motion, and other visual elements such as vertically-arranged buttons and larger typography.

Staybl is a first-of-its kind web browser technology app designed to compensate for hand tremors, giving hope to millions of users who, until now, faced many challenges.

Staybl, currently ​designed for iPads, should soon be ​accessible for other​ mobile devices. Stay tuned!

Read more about this groundbreaking app in The Drum and World Branding Forum.

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