AdAge: Digital

Advertising Age - Digital
Advertising Age - Digital

IAB Chief 'Can't Deal With This Shit,' Demands Members Join TAG

The digital ad business has made another move to regain the high ground, when the Interactive Advertising Bureau ordered all of its members to register with the anti-fraud Trustworthy Accountability Group.

TAG was conceived in 2015 by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau to act as a stamp of approval for ad sellers.

While about 100 of the 450 publishers, ad tech firms and ad exchanges in the IAB have already registered with TAG, industry fears about ad fraud continue to plague the business.

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Publishers Voice Cautious Optimism On Google's Ad-Blocking Browser

Google may indeed be working on a browser with ad-blocking capabilities built in, as the Wall Street Journal reported today. In a series of interviews, publishers reported being cautiously optimistic about the idea. However they issued a warning: If Google oversteps, it could lead them to rethink buying its ad technology. Beyond that, they said, the move could raise antitrust concerns.

The search giant is working on an ad filter that would be built into its Chrome web browser, people familiar with the plans confirmed. The browser would have an option for users to stop ads from loading on sites that Google blacklists for having poor ad experiences, such as videos that play automatically with the sound on and other annoying formats, according to multiple people familiar with the plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Google has discussed its ad-block browser option for months with publishers. It has also been floating other components of the strategy: Helping publishers collect payments from people who employ ad blockers when visiting their sites -- a program being called "Funding Choices," according to one person familiar with the initiative.

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Ad Industry Powers Consider Adopting Ad Blocking on a Wide Scale

The biggest players in advertising and tech are mapping out a strategy to kill off the digital ads that have been deemed as the absolute worst by consumers.

The most likely approach is the adoption of a "technology" -- the term "ad blocker" has baggage among many of the participants in talks on the subject -- that would prevent browsers such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge from displaying autoplaying video ads with sound, pop-up ads and ads that quickly flash or change colors.

The discussions are taking place among members of the industry's Coalition for Better Ads, including Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, WPP's ad-buying giant GroupM, Facebook, Thomson Reuters, The Washington Post, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Association of National Advertisers, according to Stu Ingis, counsel to the coalition and attorney at Venable LLP.

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The Martech That Helped Neutrogena Sell 'Scary'

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Boost Mobile and 180LA Win Campaign of the Year in Ad Age's First Creativity Awards

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Financial Times Says Paid Posts Up 400% Following Acquisition of Alpha Grid

For the first time in its 129-year history, the Financial Times said digital advertising and services revenue have surpassed print. The company credits a chunk of its success to content marketing studio Alpha Grid, which it acquired a controlling stake in last June.

The Alpha Grid acquisition was part of a larger trend among premium publishers last year, as many looked to bolster their bottom line by acquiring digital agencies who specialize in areas like branded content, targeting or creative.

Gannett, for example, purchased ReachLocal for $158 million and the New York Times paid $21 million for HelloSociety and another $11 million for Fake Love, according to global marketing consultancy R3. Time Inc. and Vice also made similar acquisitions totaling $50 million.

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Agencies Brace for Impact as Marketing Clouds Loom

Marketing clouds are beginning to look like rough weather for ad agencies and like silver linings for a host of others.

Salesforce is pouring cash into tech, including AI, in pursuit of category leader Adobe, and says its own four-year-old Marketing Cloud is on track to top $1 billion in revenue for the first time this year. An alliance of sorts is emerging between martech companies offering services in "the cloud" and the consultancies already gunning for agencies' clients. And tech is emboldening big marketers to see how far they can go without others' help.

Some agencies are responding by signing on to use the same cloud-based tech tools or, in some cases, by offering related consulting services themselves. Whichever faction best gives marketers what they want will hold the keys to the next stage in marketing.

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How Marketo is Transforming Its Brand From Science to Storytelling

One might think that a conversation with Chandar Pattabhiram, chief marketing officer of Marketo, would eventually lead to the aspirational, grandiose vision of someone who believes automation is the future of marketing. While Pattabhiram certainly does feel this way, he also touts the power of a more human side of marketing, in the form of storytelling.

Recently, Pattabhiram helped Marketo rebrand -- not a programmatic company, but as one bent on engagement. An automation company that makes emotional connections? Yes! And it makes complete sense. Read on to learn why.

For more insights on brand transformation from Pattabhiram, listen to my podcast with him:

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Is This AI or BS? Artificial Intelligence Is All the Rage, but Sometimes It's Just Hype

It seems like artificial intelligence is everywhere. No longer the stuff of Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick flicks, AI has rapidly wormed its way into everyday news coverage and real-world business conversations. Since last April alone, the amount of published articles, blog posts and multimedia content featuring the words "AI" or "Artificial Intelligence" has more than doubled, according to Factiva.

Talk of AI often centers around life-altering technological advancements such as driverless vehicles or genomic medicine. But the ad and marketing tech industry, always willing to capitalize on a trend, has joined in with a flood of new digital ad and marketing platforms and services branded as AI-fueled technologies.

The question is whether marketing AI is the real deal, or just marketing of its own.

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Watch Out, Snap: Mark Zuckerberg Outlines Facebook's AR Ambitions

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Wikipedia Editors Ask Burger King to Apologize for its Google Home Stunt

Burger King made waves last week with an ad that prompted Google Home devices to read off a list of ingredients from the Whopper article on Wikipedia. Now, some of the online encyclopedia's editors are accusing the burger chain of editing the site with "hidden ads."

An open letter on Wikipedia, signed by nine editors, said the burger chain's corporate employees inserted ad copy onto its Wikipedia page, breaking several of the site's rules. According to the letter, the complaints were sent to Burger King and others on Tuesday.

The letter says Wikipedia forbids advertising, marketing or promotional material; requires paid editors to prominently post the fact that they are paid, as well as who is paying them; and discourages editors with a conflict of interest from directly editing an article. Anyone can write or edit most Wikipedia articles; administrators and others are responsible for monitoring the site. The editors of the letter said it represents their own views and don't necessarily represent the views of the Wikimedia Foundation or of the entire community of Wikipedia editors. Wikipedia could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Return of 'Ostrich' Gives Samsung Three-Spot Domination on Viral Video Chart

With 10.5 million views, Samsung's VR promotional spot "Ostrich" has returned to the Viral Video Chart at No. 5, giving the marketer three placements on this week's list of the most-watched clips. The ad centers around an Ostrich who is transported to another world when he strays from his flock and stumbles into a pair of Samsung VR goggles. Rounding out the electronics giant's three-spot domination are "Unbox Your Phone" at No. 6 with 10 million views and the reigning No. 1 clip "Galaxy S8 Official Introduction" with 30 million views.

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Glossary: What Martech Buzzwords Really Mean

Attempting to speak with someone who's fluent in martech is not easy.

For starters there is the jargon, a miasma of buzzwords and phrases. You might, in the very same sentence, encounter both "holistic consumer experience" and "tag management system." Although smiling and nodding does help, trying to make sense of what they actually mean is far more effective.

In short, the idea behind martech goes like this: Today's consumers are empowered and demand more from the brands they engage with. Marketers want to meet these expectations -- they really do! -- but doing so requires a deep understanding, or one-to-one relationship, of who they are and how they engage with them.

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Marketing Technology Explained: Everything You Need Know

Let's say you've recently been in a conversation about marketing technology where at least somebody didn't exactly know what martech is. They got through by saying things like "consumer journey," "Lumascape" and "Marketing tech is going to be the hottest trend this year, no doubt."

We're not saying that person was you. But to help end the confusion one sometimes encounters over marketing technology, here's an easy explainer.

What is martech, anyway?

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'Consumers Are Angry': Understanding the Internet Backlash Over Snapchat

The reaction offers yet another brand study in the fury of consumers empowered by social media and an inkling of a cause.

"There's someone new to villainize every day," said Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist. "Snapchat may or may not deserve it, but consumers are angry, anxious and looking for ways to vent a little bit of this rage."

Snapchat could be harmed based on these allegations that may or may not be true, Yarrow said.

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Industry Plays Whack-a-Mole to Fight Slew of State Privacy Bills

When President Donald Trump signed a law killing Federal Communications Commission privacy rules for internet service providers, it created widespread consumer privacy fears: Would ISPs run roughshod over their data? Could their personal data be sold to the highest bidder?

Amid the confusion, legislators across the country have been bombarded with calls from constituents hoping their state governments would fortify online privacy protections.

The result is upwards of 21 new privacy bills in 11 states, some intended to replicate the deflated federal regulations at the state level.

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Introducing Ad Age's 25 Marketing Technology Trailblazers 2017

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Listen to the New 'Tagline' Podcast With Melissa Etheridge

Artist and activist Melissa Etheridge joined the latest episode of Ad Age and iHeartMedia's "Tagline" podcast series to talk about collaboration, mashups and creativity.

Etheridge was joined by host and Publicis Media President of Global Innovation Adam Shlachter, Visa Chief Brand and Innovation Officer Chris Curtin and JinglePunks President and Chief Creative Officer Jared Gutstadt, not to mention the mixologist Brian Floyd, courtesy of "Tagline" sponsor Bulleit Frontier Whisky.

Here's a taste:

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World Wide Whitelist: Will Brand Safety Strip the Web of Its Color?

Now that marketers have been reminded of the internet's dark side, whitelists are top of mind.

Last year, many digital ad players felt like they'd gotten a handle on fraud and celebrated passing TV in U.S. ad revenue for the first time. Then the perils of programmatic advertising roared back in the form of fake news sites and offensive YouTube videos, all underwritten by unwitting major marketers. Brands like Procter & Gamble and Chase are now scouring the web to reassert control, assembling lists of preapproved publishers worthy of their budgets. Major ad buyers such as GroupM and Omnicom Media Group are working on similar solutions to offer clients.

The ad-supported world wide web is abruptly in danger of shrinking from a sprawling, inventive and untamed territory to a set of safe spaces for advertisers, possibly changing the character of the internet in the process.

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Amid PR Struggles, Uber Lifts the Veil on Its Business Results

Uber Technologies isn't required to report its finances publicly, but the privately held company has decided to forgo that luxury for the first time. Uber said its revenue growth is outpacing losses, hoping to show the business is on a strong trajectory as it attempts to address a recent cascade of scandals.

The ride-hailing giant more than doubled gross bookings in 2016 to $20 billion, according to financial information Uber shared with Bloomberg. Net revenue was $6.5 billion, while adjusted net losses were $2.8 billion, excluding the China business, which it sold last summer.

Uber declined to report first-quarter numbers, saying they were in line with expectations but that the company hasn't yet presented them to investors. The company said it's pleased to see revenue growth far exceeding losses last year and that its business is still performing well this year even as it faces unyielding controversy. "We're fortunate to have a healthy and growing business, giving us the room to make the changes we know are needed on management and accountability, our culture and organization, and our relationship with drivers," Rachel Holt, who runs Uber's U.S. ride-hailing business, wrote in an emailed statement.

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Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which Stories Format Is Winning?

Instagram Stories is this year's "little black dress" of advertising--the hot-yet-versatile new look all brands need to have in the lineup.

"It's so relevant and brings forward this real-time moment for brands to really wrap themselves in," said Kyra Ulmer, evp of partnerships at Brand Networks.

Snapchat may have invented the vertical story format, but the Instagram clone has outpaced it with 200 million daily users, giving advertisers yet another reason to create commercials in portrait mode.

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United Has Facebook's Most 'Engaging' Brand Post of the Week

Normally brands aspire to generate the most engagement with their posts in social media. But United won't be happy with this trophy: Its now-infamous statement referring to dragging a paying passenger from a flight as "re-accomodation" was the most engaging brand post on Facebook in the week through Tuesday.

Wendy's is also winning, more in the style that brand managers aspire to, with a pledge to give high-schooler Carter Wilkerson free chicken nuggets for a year if he got 18 million tweets. (He's now on his way.)

Check out all the week's most engaging posts on social-media platforms, according to ListenFirst Media, and click on the chart to see the original posts in their native social habitat.

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Oracle Plans Aggressive Move Into TV Advertising

Oracle is gearing up for an "aggressive" move into TV advertising. To kick off what should lead to more partnerships like it, the company's Data Cloud division has joined with linear TV data firm Simulmedia. Oracle hopes the pair-up will coax advertisers still spending big bucks in TV to look to its platform and audience-linked transactional data offerings, typically employed for digital advertising, before planning TV media buys.

"This is our first big move into the TV space," said Joe Kyriakoza, VP and GM of automotive at Oracle Data Cloud.

To put the partnership to use, an auto advertiser might work with Simulmedia to target luxury SUV buyers. The TV data firm would connect its viewer data to Oracle's data on in-market SUV buyers, which the firm gets through several purchase transaction data relationships with credit card firms, research firm IHS Automotive and others. Oracle can also layer in a brand's own CRM data and push it through Simulmedia's system. All of that helps marketers determine where on TV to best allocate their budgets.

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Kofax CMO Proves That in Marketing, United We Stand

If "every village has its idiot" had an antithesis, it would be "every community has its organizer." In any group setting, he or she is that person who naturally brings together disparate individuals with a common bond and, most important, mobilizes them for action.

At Kofax, that person is Grant Johnson, chief marketing officer. The automation software company was acquired in 2015 by Lexmark, which had recently subsumed two additional software brands. As the new CMO, Johnson set out to unify the various marketing functions of the now-global brand.

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'Fate of the Furious' Tie-ins Force Their Way Onto the Viral Video Chart (Which Excludes Movies)

Our weekly run-down of the most-viewed video campaigns as tabluated by Visible Measures deliberately bans movie and video game trailers because otherwise they would often swamp the chart.

But in a testament to the marketing muscle that goes into promoting big releases, movies often make their way onto our scoreboard anyway. Witness this week's Viral Video Chart, which includes not one but two tie-ins for "The Fate of the Furious," the latest installment in the mega-grossing "The Fast and the Furious" franchise. One helps out Comcast Xfinity with a pitch to consumers, and the other plays up Castrol motor oil (a pretty natural fit).

The rankings as always reflect not only "organic" views initiated by consumers who want to watch the clips but paid views that surface as pre-roll or other ad placements online.

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One Good Thing in the Air: Planes May Stay Call-Free as FCC Moves to Keep In-Flight Ban

Bad news for telco marketers will be welcome good news for airline passengers:

U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants to scrap a move to allow mobile-phone calls on flights, suspending a proposal that drew scornful comments from thousands of people aghast at sharing space with chattering seatmates.

Mr. Pai asked his fellow commissioners on Monday to join him in terminating the proceeding begun in 2013. One of the other three commissioners had previously voted with Mr. Pai against allowing calls, suggesting the measure will pass and end a debate that's simmered for years.

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Comcast Said to Plan Online Rival to Netflix Using Hit NBC Shows

Comcast Corp. plans to introduce an online video service offering hit shows from its NBC Universal TV networks in the next 12 to 18 months, an effort to compete with rivals Netflix and CBS Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

The new service will include programs from the NBC broadcast network, and could include shows from Comcast cable channels Bravo, Syfy and USA, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. Comcast is still determining many of the particulars of the service, including whether it will have a live feed of the broadcast network and whether it will include sports, the people said.

The service could help Comcast continue to adapt to a TV industry that has transformed before its eyes since the cable provider acquired a majority stake in NBC Universal in 2011. Tens of millions of customers signed up for services from Netflix and Amazon to get access to vast libraries of shows on-demand and over the internet, while viewership of live TV dropped among all but the oldest of viewers.

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Sans CMO, Build-A-Bear Tries TV

George, that curious little monkey, is getting a new playmate: a bear he could stuff himself.

Beginning today, toy brand Build-A-Bear Workshop is investing its marketing dollars in two PBS Kids programs, "Curious George" and "Wild Kratts." It's a first-time national PBS sponsorship for Build-A-Bear, but comes during a tough period for the 20-year-old retailer. The company recently parted ways with its chief marketing officer after a disastrous holiday sales season. Now, it's planning a return to traditional media like TV in order to reach more moms.

On a recent conference call, President-CEO Sharon Price John lamented that the brand had moved away from "historically effective traditional TV."

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Facebook Adds Signup Buttons to Win Over Skeptical Instant Articles Partners

Facebook is giving publishers new tools to attract digital subscribers as the social-media giant tries to ease concerns that its growing power threatens the media industry.

In recent months, Facebook has tested "call-to-action" features with select media outlets participating in its Instant Articles program. The tools, which are embedded within stories, prompt Facebook readers to sign up for publishers' newsletters or "like" their Facebook pages. The company is expanding those two features next week to all media outlets using Instant Articles.

The company is also working with publishers to promote free trials of digital subscriptions to newspapers or encourage readers to download their apps. The goal is to give media companies a more direct relationship with Facebook readers so they can convert them into paying customers, said Fidji Simo, VP-product for the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social-media leader.

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New YouTube Rules Restrict Ads to Vetted Channels as PewDiePie Declares The 'Adpocalypse'

YouTube updated its policies on Thursday to get more control over which videos can make money from ads, requiring for the first time that channels reach 10,000 lifetime views before they can start to generate revenue. Channels also have to go through a new application process to be approved for ads in the partner program.

The move gives YouTube more time to review new channels and weed out bad actors like terrorists, racists and pirates.

"This new threshold gives us enough information to determine the validity of a channel," YouTube said in a blog post. "It also allows us to confirm if a channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies. By keeping the threshold to 10,000 views, we also ensure that there will be minimal impact on our aspiring creators."

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