2019.06.28 Last Week in Digital Media

Welcome to another last week in digital media. Here’s the news you may have missed.

GENERAL

  • LiveRamp acquired Data Plus Math for ~US$150MM. Data Plus Math is a cross-screen analytics and measurement company with a particular focus on proving the value of television advertising.
  • the IAB has released their Data Transparency Standard 1.0 (aka Data Label), this is the nutrition-label like description of data segments. Companies that participate in the initiative will be required to undergo an annual audit to ensure their labels are accurate and consistent. This is an important initiative to get behind, as it will go a long way to improving the quality and transparency of data (including data pricing impacts).
  • the streaming music wars continue to be competitive, with Apple claiming 60MM global paid subscribers. This still places Apple behind Spotify, at 100MM, claimed subscribers.
  • Facebook published a list of updated Terms of Service, effective July 31. The updated terms clarify how Facebook makes money, what happens when you delete something and clarifies the intellectual property rights of users. There are no impacts to advertisers from the revised terms.
  • there’s often the perception that companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google don’t need to advertise but according to AdAge, they represent 7% of the Top 100 advertiser spend and drove 30% of the advertising increase. Keep this in mind the next time someone tells claims these companies succeed without advertising.
  • Microsoft’s next version of Edge (based on Chromium) will include tracking prevention, you can read more on the Windows blog. Edge has less than 2% global market share but continues the anti-tracking trend. For a perspective on what the decline of cookies means, there’s a good write up from Mediabrands Sarah Rose on AdExchanger.
  • as a further step in the war against cookies and ad targeting, a collaboration with Firefox is offering privacy through obscurity with something called Track This. Feel free to give it a try, you pick a personality type and then (warning) it will open 100 browser tabs to attempt to confuse tracking cookies. If you want to give it a try, it takes 2 clicks before 100 tabs open and you too could have the browsing profile of an influencer.
  • Instagram announced that they are bringing ads to the Instagram Explore feed. Ads will be, in Instagram’s words rolling out “slowly” and “thoughtfully” over the coming months.

RESEARCH

REGULATION

  • Senators Mark Warner and Josh Hawley have introduced a bipartisan bill that would force platforms and data aggregators to disclose the data collected on consumers, how it is used and the value of the data. The bill is called “Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight And Regulations on Data (DASHBOARD) Act” and a copy of the draft bill can be viewed here. The bill would direct the SEC to develop methods for calculating the value of user data and it does not propose users get paid for what data is collected. As an interesting aside, Wired points out that a number of politicians (including Hawley) use Facebook’s tracking pixels on their own site.
  • at the recent G20 in Japan, there was support for a proposal to hold platforms accountable for extremist and terrorist content (referenced in item 12, PDF link). While it doesn’t suggest regulatory measures or fines, the discussions did signal that all member countries (including the US who is a signatory) expect platforms to take action to remove dangerous content, preserve what is necessary for investigators, and to protect users.

PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY

  • US Senator Ed Markey has written to the FTC over allegations that YouTube has violated COPPA law (PDF link). Markey challenges YouTube to remove videos primarily targeted to children from the main YouTube site.
  • twitter is trying to find a way to strike a balance between public interest and community standards by flagging (rather than deleting) tweets that would otherwise be deleted. The change only applies to verified accounts of government officials. This will no doubt be controversial the first time it’s put into use.
  • Google has introduced the ability to delete the location history they have gathered about you. Located within Activity Controls on the app, you can delete location every few months or automatically. If you don’t see the control, it’s because the rollout is phased over the coming weeks.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the 4th of July weekend!

Joshua