A look at Digiday’s most popular WTF explainers in 2023

This article is a WTF explainer, in which we break down media and marketing’s most confusing terms. More from the series →

It’s been another year of acronyms and jargon for the advertising industry — especially as the fediverse and generative AI entered our lexicon.

As always, Digiday aimed to breakdown what these topics mean with easy-to-understand explainers as part of our WTF franchise. Here’s a look at some of most popular explainers from 2023:

WTF is a data clean room?

Advertisers’ attempts to break down data’s walled gardens have found a second wind. The emergence of so-called data clean rooms — safe spaces where insights gleaned from the walled gardens are commingled with first-party data from advertisers for measurement and attribution — is gathering pace as media trading becomes more addressable. Read the explainer (and watch a video on it) here.

WTF is California’s proposed ‘Delete Act’?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) have made the Golden State a pioneer in crafting modern data privacy legislation. Now, another bill is gaining momentum that could give California residents even more protection against data brokers — but it’s one that has the ad industry rushing to stop it. Read the explainer (and watch a video on it) here.

WTF are made-for-advertising sites (MFAs)?

What’s deceptive, fueled by profit and involved in ad arbitrage? Made-for-advertising sites (MFAs). These cunning sites masquerade as prime real estate for online advertising, luring gullible advertisers into their web of trickery. With each passing day, their misleading practices grow more refined, perpetuating a lucrative grift that shows no signs of abating. Read the explainer (and watch a video on it) here.

WTF is automatic content recognition?

Your TV is listening. And watching. Whether a TV is listening or watching along with a viewer depends on whether it’s a smart TV, but an increasing share of TV watch time is happening on smart TVs. Originally published in 2022, read the explainer (and watch a video on it) here.

WTF is the Global Privacy Control?

Do Not Track is dead, long live Do Not Track. Although Do Not Track failed as an effort to make it easier for people to opt out of being tracked and targeted online, its spirit lives on in the Global Privacy Control. Despite their similarities, the Global Privacy Control seems more likely to succeed where Do Not Track struggled: getting companies to actually comply with it. Read the explainer (and watch a video on it) here.


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