Ad Tech Weekly Roundup

A look at how last week’s news affects mobile publishers…

Facebook Calls Truce With Publishers as It Unveils Facebook News
A truce between Facebook and the publishers of news websites has been hashed out as the social media giant’s latest attempt at digital publishing has been unveiled.

Facebook News can be found on the platforms’ mobile app. It is fully made up of news content from a mix of publications—including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. It will also cull stories from online only digital publishers such as Buzzfeed and Business Insider. And Facebook will be paying for the content, in some cases shelling out millions of dollars, to the dominant publishers. It will also be adding local news through smaller publications in various metropolitan markets.

For a long time now, news publishers had a strained view Facebook and Google because they felt the two tech companies thwarted their digital expansions, ostensibly by drawing 80 percent of online advertising revenue. Facebook, in the past, has tried to mollify news sites with products such as Instant Article and Facebook Live. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged his company’s changing strategies had soured many of its relationships with news publishers. But he said this iteration will feature long term commitments.

Twitter to Ban Political Ads
Twitter has decided to go the other way in dealing with the thorny issue of political advertising on social media. Facebook recently announced it won’t “police” political ads, leaving it up to the public to discern the content. Twitter has decided to simply ban political advertising, which has political operatives and media buyers up in arms.

The issue is how social media handles the potential false and misleading information from political ads on their platforms. Twitter is simply opting out—its new policy against political ads begins in late November. The company said there will be some exceptions allowed such as neutral ads promoting voter registration.

Financially, Twitter’s position won’t hurt it much as it represents a small portion of its overall ad revenue. Twitter generated $2.11 billion from advertising, 86 percent of its total revenue, in the first nine months of 2019. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said it’s worth stepping back to address how the “significant ramifications” of political advertising that the democratic infrastructure currently may not be prepared to handle.

Facebook Sees Shares Rise on Impressive Third Quarter
It was a tumultuous quarter for Facebook with all sorts of criticism from governments and the public, but the social media giant continues to turn in impressive financial numbers. The company beat third quarter expectations from Wall Street and saw revenue grow 29 percent year-over-year. Facebook earned $17.65 billion in Q3 compared to 12.73 billion during the same period of 2018.

Facebook also saw gains in daily active users and monthly active users. And the company is now reporting that 2.2 billion people every day are interacting with all of its platforms (including WhatsAp, Instagram and Messenger) and 2.8 billion using at least one of its properties at least once each month.

Experts are saying Facebook’s impressive third quarter was ignited by the overall success of Instagram Stories and the increased utilization of the platform by major brands. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the growth comes from making progress on social issues and building new experiences but he is also tempering expectations for revenue growth in the 4th quarter.

LinkedIn Data Finds Marketers Measure ROI Too Quickly
A study by LinkedIn shows that digital marketers are too quick to measure ROI and generally expect too much too soon. Four thousand were included in the research and it shows marketers are not exhibiting patience while the pressure to immediately access information has never been higher.

Of course, marketers always have to “prove” return on investment to justify their existence, but LinkedIn says its study shows there are areas of improvement for assessing their campaigns. First, marketers should let a full sales cycle to occur before measuring ROI. The study showed that 77 percent of marketers measure ROI within the first month of a campaign. Fifty-two percent of that group had sales cycles that were actually three months or longer, yet they measured after one month anyway. In addition, results showed that 90 percent of digital marketers will make optimization decisions within one month and 75 percent will do it after two weeks.

On the other side, the survey showed that only 4 percent of the 4,000 participants would measure after a six-month sales cycle or longer, which is closer in length to an average sales cycle for companies. LinkedIn said the downside to measuring too quickly is lowering the confidence a marketer has in the metric and lessens the motivation to share the results internally.

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