• Marketecture
  • Posts
  • DoorDash interview, plus the sandbox strikes back

DoorDash interview, plus the sandbox strikes back

It's impossible! Actually it is possible if you read the spec.

Another exciting week for Marketecture. We’ve got our in-depth vendor interview with DoorDash, our podcast focusing on deep tech and open source with Mike Driscoll, and Ari’s POV on the tree-killing documents from the IAB and Google.

Vendor interview: DoorDash

Hungry? Hungry for advertising, that is.

Commerce Media (nee Retail Media) is the new hotness with eye-popping growth rates. Last week we heard about Uber speed-running to a billion dollar run-rate and this week had rumors of Wal-Mart getting into the TV business with a Vizio buy.

Well, we’re here to deliver (get it?) on the promise of commerce media with an in-depth interview of Toby Espinosa, Vice President of Ads for DoorDash. In this interview we learn about ad offerings to merchants (like restaurants) and brands/manufacturers (like CPG companies).


Reminder: Vendor Interviews are always free for 1 week, then are subscribers-only. Subscribe for only $39/month.

Adelaide Waldo

Marketecture is sponsored by Adelaide

Digital ads can be a lot like Where’s Waldo —100% viewable but obscured by a sea of distractions. Adelaide helps advertisers move beyond viewability with its attention metric, AU. Advertisers use AU to get a precise read on media quality and drive better outcomes. Available in major DSPs and SSPs, AU is easy to use across planning, optimization, and activation. Learn more at AdelaideMetrics.com.
Learn more.

Podcast: Tech and open source in advertising

Ad Tech is to technology innovation what porn is to media innovation

Mike Driscoll, CEO Rill Data

Would Hadoop have existed in Google hadn’t struggled with counting clicks? In this fascinating interview we talk to Mike Driscoll, creator of the Druid open source database and long-time ad tech nerd, about the forces that bring advanced technology to life in the advertising world.

We also tell a very complex tale about the corporate history of Metamarkets and how Ari tried to buy the company like four different times.

Listen to the pod now:

The Privacy Sandbox strikes back

In last week’s newsletter we went through the IAB Tech Lab’s critiques of the Privacy Sandbox from their 120-odd page doc. This week, Google strikes back with 30-ish pages of their own doc. And, as is the motto of this newsletter, we read them so you don’t have to.

The thrust of the IAB doc was that many expected functionalities of digital advertising are not currently supported in the Sandbox. The theme of Google’s response is that the functionality is totally available but in the most complex and convoluted way possible.

…the [IAB] analysis contains many misunderstandings and inaccuracies … the report appears to ignore the broader objectives … to enhance user privacy while supporting effective digital advertising

Google’s Privacy Sandbox response (Feb 15)

Will Not Fix

One of the IAB’s themes is that many of the current functionalities critical to advertising are not supported in the Sandbox. Google agrees, writing:

“[The Sandbox proposals] are not designed to offer 1:1 replacements for third-party cookies… In order to deliver meaningful improvements to user privacy, it’s not viable to recreate every marketing tactic as it exists today.”

Google’s Privacy Sandbox response (Feb 15)

Based on Google’s responses we’ve create a list of what functionalities are not supported and aren’t going to be. Here’s our list:

IAB request

Google response (paraphrased)

Create and modify an audience across sites

Each site puts the user into a group, no visibility across groups

Advertisers can’t see existing interest groups

You can put the user into the groups and bid on them, but you can’t interrogate a user’s groups to do things like boolean logic.

Avoid bidding against myself

You can see multiple groups on the same site but not across sites, so while Google says this is possible, my reading says it is not.

Bidding on multiple groups for same user

If a user is both in the “shoes” and “boots” group you will bid on both and potentially 2nd price yourself. Google says this is a feature not a bug.

Competitive exclusion

Doesn’t work with 3P cookies so STFU

X-device (targeting and reporting)

Doesn’t work with 3P cookies so STFU

Running a 2P auction

No one wants this, go cry about it

Cannot bill on CPA

No one wants this, go cry about it

Deal IDs reporting

Since Deal IDs are arbitrary strings if we supported this reporting it could be misused to identify individual users

Buyer macro reporting

Would enable identification of individuals, so no

Campaign-level frequency capping

Freq cap works at the interest group level only

Go ask Alice … how to serve my ads

A large category of responses from Google fit into the theme of “supported, but in a way that will require you to take pharmaceuticals to understand”. Dear reader, I am doing my best here.

IAB request

Google response (paraphrased)

Creatives must be associated with interest groups at the start so you can’t build audience in advance

There’s an API for updating creatives/campaigns once per day per group. (This is a common misconception i’ve heard from a lot of people)

DSP “No bid” reporting

This can be done with the Private Aggregation API and the IAB Tech Lab should create a standard way to do it (natch!)

Add a user to an audience outside the browser

“We acknowledge that coordination is required between parties…” Basically very difficult.


Supported, RTFM

Creative pre-registration with SSPs

Honestly I didn’t understand Google’s response

Runtime data for brand safety

Actually the Sandbox verifies the browser contextual information so it is more accurate than current systems, STFU

A lot of stuff about security, fraud detection, etc

I have no idea, read it yourself


Some of Google responses actually made me a bit more concerned than I was previously. Like a kid listening to his parents quarrel, I gleaned some tidbits, which I will leave to the reader:

  • Second price auction reporting is only provided to the seller and the winner, no loss data sent to other bidders

  • Viewability measurement is totally TBD (seems important!)

  • Link decoration changes for tracking click-through attribution — not now but maybe in the future

  • The key-value service published by DSPs and SSPs is not secure, potentially third parties could glean budgets and creatives

The spicy bits

You know I love the drama. The vibe of the Google response is RTFM. But my favorite side-by-side is regarding whether protected audiences will use more resources, to which the IAB says:

This is a simple physics problem - if you ask a system to do more work, it will require more compute, network and power.

IAB Tech Lab

Google’s response:

This overlooks the possibility that removing cookies from the traditional programmatic auction could reduce compute and costs.

Google’s Privacy Sandbox response (Feb 15)

Next steps

I imagine the IAB is now going to respond with a 100 page paper that I’ll be forced to read. But we’re hitting some level of diminishing returns. The reality is that the biggest problem with the Sandbox right now is the density of technology documentation, and until tutorials, sample code, and production testing is widespread we’re going to be talking past each other.

Reading list

Here are some of last week’s stories, especially those referenced on the pod.


or to participate.