Here’s the last week in digital media, enjoy!
- A rumor doing the rounds (again) is that Facebook is planning to launch a competitor to TikTok (formerly musical.ly) called Lasso. No launch date has leaked. Lasso is being positioned as different to Facebook’s LipSynch live product.
- more Facebook and music news, Facebook is expanding the way users can use music. Soon you will be able to add a song to your Facebook profile and you can also now add music to Facebook stories.
- twitter is testing some new features, one of the more interesting proposed twitter updates for brands is “presence indicator” and “status” which would show when you’re online (it can be disabled) and more details on where you are. The latter is interesting, as it could be a useful way for brands to anchor a key message without having to pin a tweet.
- In an update to Google Maps, you can now follow businesses. The idea being that businesses can then push news, sales updates, etc. direct to interested users via their Google Business profile.
- in Amazon’s quarterly results it was revealed that their ad business is thriving, ~$2.5B in ad sales for the quarter. Amazon still doesn’t break out advertising as a line item in their financial statements (see pp13), still bucketing it under “other”
- Snap beat Q3 earnings estimates but user growth declined for the 3rd straight quarter (losing 2MM users) and declines expected to continue. There are also reports that publishers are leaving Snapchat Discover with Conde Nast discontinuing its Snapchat channels for Vogue, Wired and GQ brands.
- Alphabet missed Q3 analyst forecasts with speculation that the slowdown is occurring as people (and budgets) shift to Amazon for eCommerce searches. On the earnings call, Google’s CFO reported the bulk of ad revenue was “led by mobile search with a strong contribution from YouTube, followed by desktop search.”
- twitter beat Q3 analyst expectations (detailed report, PDF) but Monthly Actively Users (MAU) fell by 9MM from the last quarter. twitter attributes the drop in MAUs due to some platform/partnership changes but also to efforts to clean up the quality of users on the platform (less fake accounts).
- if you’re wondering, Facebook’s Q3 earnings report is next week (10/30).
- Microsoft is making adding enhanced targeting to Bing. A beta is underway that will let you target search keywords on Bing using Linked In profile data. More details on the Bing advertising blog.
FRAUD, TRUST, AND SAFETY
- the latest version of Firefox will include Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP), somewhat similar to Apple’s ITP offering. ETP will block cross-site tracking. Firefox has about 11% desktop market share.
- Facebook has been fined by the UK regulator for the Cambridge Analytica incident. The fine was £500,000 (about USD$645,000) and the maximum allowable under the pre-GDPR law (the regulator has said the fine would be higher if possible). The fine is equivalent to 0.0001% of Facebook’s 2017 revenue.
- IPG Media Lab / MAGNA study on brand safety with Cheq found that consumers see ads placed in unsafe environments as deliberate choices by advertisers and as having an absolute negative impact on purchase intent and brand sentiment. For a copy of the study or if you want to discuss the results, reach out to the Lab, or ping me.
- Facebook’s Ad Archive is now available that details ads (spend, impressions and advertiser) in the US related to politics and issues of national importance. Keep in mind that “national importance” can include categories where UM clients advertise such as healthcare and energy.
- an investigative report by Buzzfeed unearthed a multimillion-dollar Android-based mobile ad fraud scheme. I recommend reading the story, as it’s difficult to summarize other than to say it was a sophisticated scheme and involved monitoring real user behavior, replicating that behavior with bots, then blending the activity together to generate fake traffic. Google has also published a response to the story although pushes the blame onto 3rd party ad networks.
PS. If you have ever bought movies on Google Play, Google will upgrade eligible movies to 4K for free. You will need to login to your Google Play account to take advantage of the offer.