A look at how last week’s news affects mobile publishers…
Google Experiments in Local News with an App called Bulletin
Google has confirmed it is testing an app called “Bulletin” that would allow anyone to publish local news stories and events. Bulletin is described by the company as a way for others to communicate information of local interest (bookstore readings, high school events or information about street closures). Google says “Bulletin is a lightweight app for telling stories, capturing photos and video clips from your phone, and then publishing them straight to the web—without having to create a blog or build a website for yourself.” Google is also said to be interested in working with local news organizations to help them find and publish some of the stories posted to Bulletin, while giving the author credit.
Twitter Working on SnapChat-style Video Feature
Twitter is seeking to make it easier to post videos on the company’s app and is working on a Snapchat-like feature to make that happen. The goal of the new feature is to entice people to share video clips of what’s happening around them. A report on Bloomberg.com says that Twitter has a working demo of the product to replace the current cumbersome process. However, neither the design or release date have been finalized. This report would indicate that Twitter is following in Facebook’s footsteps in aping Snapchat’s most popular innovations. The company appears to be banking on video to turn around its fortunes.
Amazon has a Plan to Become Profitable. It’s Called Advertising
For years, Amazon kept advertising on the site subtle for fear of alienating shoppers who had become used to choosing what to buy based largely on customer reviews and price. However, Amazon has been slowly giving more prominent placement to sponsored products in search results, forcing brands to buy ads to win top billing. It’s easy to see why. By 2021, advertising on websites and mobile devices will account for half of all ad spending in the U.S., capturing greater share than television, radio, newspapers and billboards combined, according to eMarketer. Amazon has an advertising platform no other company can match: a web store selling hundreds of millions of products combined with a streaming entertainment service and a trove of data about customer preferences. Amazon attracts 180 million U.S. visitors each month—all or most with shopping on their mind. Brands are beginning to view Amazon as the place to win the “digital shelf” in the same way they fought to win the physical shelf in supermarkets and will be forced to come up with an “Amazon Strategy” moving forward.
Annoyed by Targeted Ads? Google Says it has got you Covered
This week Google announced an update to “Mute This Ad,” the feature providing users the ability to control the ads they see and signal which ads aren’t interesting to them. When originally instituted in 2012, Mute This Ad was applicable only on individual devices. Google now says Mute This Ad will now allow users to keep ads from following them across all devices. Google is also expanding Mute This Ad to work inside apps and websites that partner with Google through DoubleClick. The move underscores the gradual shift happening with consumer data, as marketers lose some control in how and who they can target through efforts like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
UK Ad Viewability Reaches its Highest Levels in more than Three Years
A report about UK ad viewability levels indicating it has reached 56 per cent in the final quarter of 2017, the highest level since the second quarter of 2014. According to Meetrics, an advertising verification company, the proportion of ads that met minimum viewability guidelines rose from 52 per cent to the 56 per cent achieved in Q4 2017, meaning levels rose for the first time in three consecutive quarters. Meanwhile, the average time a UK ad was in view rose by 15 per cent to 24.3 seconds. The UK still lags behind Austria, Italy, France, and Sweden in terms of viewability, but has leapfrogged Switzerland, Poland, and Germany.