Here’s your latest issue of Last Week in Digital Media and the news you may have missed:
- Google Ad Manager will move to first priced auctions by the end of this year. This is relevant (and news) because first priced auction offers more fee transparency. If you want to learn more about the broader implications for first priced acitions, there’s a great 2018 MAGNA report on programmatic that goes into specifics.
- In the lead up to SXSW, foursquare has released “hypertrending” which reveals real-time data on what’s trending in Austin. The services takes data not only from foursquare’s own app, but also of other apps that leverage the foursquare SDK. The demo is only in Austin, only during SXSW and foursquare has no plans to release it on a wider-scale and is a request for feedback. It will be interesting to see how SXSW attendees react given all of the conversations about location data provacy over the past few months.
- Google Duplex, where AI can make calls to business to make reservations, book appointments, etc. is now available in 43 US states. Currently only available on Google Pixel phones, it will be available to more Android and even IOS devices over the coming weeks.
- Sizmek is rumored to be facing financial challenges and a possible fire-sale of assets. The reports are linked to news that Sizmek requires an injection of capital and that they are actively looking for a new strategic investor.
- Instagram has developed a new ad format to make it easier for brands to promote influencer partnerships. The ad format, called “Branded Content Ads” enables brands to promote Influencer Instagram posts just like they would any other ad.
- twitter has announced a new publisher insight tool, which could be highly relevant for advertisers. The new “Timing is Everything” tool enables publishers to identify when is the best day and time of day to tweet video content based on when and how video is consumed on twitter. Useful to discuss with publishers if your video creative is time sensitive.
- If you’re after some research on the US smart speaker market, Voicify and Voicebot.ai published a 34page US smart speaker report with some interesting stats. They claim 26.2% of US adults have access to a smart speaker and the report has some useful breakdowns of smart speaker use cases. The report is worth reading.
- Reports have started surfacing of a patent for a Google game console controller (patent is here). This is significant given Google’s recent Project Stream beta and may signal an even more aggressive push by Google into the world of game streaming. Game streaming has significant potential to disrupt the entertainment and advertising industry (the battle for attention). This is because streaming games will eliminate the need for expensive hardware and open the door to anyone becoming a gamer.
- Pinterest has launched some new ad products, including catalog units and personalized shopping recommendations. Pinterest has also expanded the number of markets where it’s possible to buy ads, with Pinterest ads now available in Germany, Austria, Spain, and Italy.
- Google is testing shoppable ads in image search results. Shoppable ads can be identified by a price tag icon. Multiple items in an image can be shoppable e.g. an office image with a separate desk and shelves. You may not see this in the wild yet, as the test is being restricted to both a small number of advertisers and selected users.
- The French Government has unveiled plans to charge Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other major digital companies with global revenues over €750MM Euro and French revenues over €25MM with a 3% tax. Other EU countries are considering similar moves in the range of 2-6%, all of which could have knock-on effects on clients advertising across European markets.
- US Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren published a blog post advocating for the break up of big tech should she be elected President. This includes designating large platforms to be designated as “Platform Utilities” so that they could be broken apart from participants on the platform. Warren is also proposing that antitrust regulators to wind back some mergers (Google, Nest, Waze, and Doubleclick are cited). It’s worth reading Warren’s post in context on Tim Wu’s book “The Curse of Bigness” which makes similar proposals.
- US Senator Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party are working to re-introduce Net Neutrality. The new Net Neutrality bill (PDF link) looks to re-establish the rules in place before the FCC changes of 2017/8.
PRIVACY, TRUST, & SAFETY
- Mark Zuckerberg posted a blog post outlining a privacy-focused vision for social networking and Facebook’s future. Zuckerberg acknowledges Facebook’s failings when it comes to privacy and that people may question whether they can trust Facebook to be private. In the context of the regulatory review of Facebook, it’s easy to have a healthy dose of cynicism about Zuckerberg’s claims, like encryption, interoperability (merging services), and reducing permanence as collectively they would make it harder to break-apart Facebook’s various services. There’s a good write up on Columbia Journalism Review that summarizes the various industry POVs of the Facebook privacy announcement.
- In a disconnect from Zuckerberg’s privacy post, it was revealed that if you have provided your phone number to Facebook for Two Factor Authentication (2FA) then almost any user can search Facebook for your phone number to find you and there’s no ability to fully opt-out. The Irish Data Protection Agency, which is known for actively investigating GDPR breaches, has reached out to Facebook for comment so expect to hear more on this over the coming weeks.
Have a great rest of your week.