A look at how last week’s news affects mobile publishers…
AT&T to Acquire AppNexus to Establish Foothold in Digital Ad Sales
AT&T has confirmed reports that it plans to buy advertising technology company AppNexus in a deal that will propel the growth of the carrier’s advertising platform and combine ad technology with AT&T’s content portfolio. AppNexus today offers a global advertising marketplace and provides enterprise products for digital advertising for publishers, agencies and marketers. Together, AT&T hopes to strengthen its TV advertising strategy. The Dallas-based carrier said AppNexus will become a part of AT&T advertising and analytics, led by the business unit’s CEO, Brian Lesser. The two companies have not disclosed financial details of the transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, AT&T said. AT&T said that AppNexus’ technology will integrate with the carrier’s premium video content and distribution platforms. The technology will also help to extend AT&T’s advertising and analytics footprint globally into Asia-Pacific, Australia, Europe, and Latin America.
Google Rebrands its $100 billion Advertising Business
Google, which books more than $100 billion per year in advertising revenue, announced that it is streamlining multiple advertising technologies into three main products called Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager. While the change is mostly cosmetic, it’s a subtle acknowledgment that consumers are increasingly accessing the internet and viewing ads on a variety of devices, not just on their computers. About 85 percent of Google’s total revenue comes from its technologies that place advertising on its properties and partner sites. It dominates online advertising alongside Facebook, with the two companies taking in 56.8 percent of all U.S. digital advertising spending, per eMarketer. Despite this massive success, the company is eliminating the AdWords brand, which launched in 2000 as one of Google’s first advertising products, and the DoubleClick brand, which it acquired in 2007.
Facebook Launches Tools to Stop Fake Accounts
Facebook has rolled out new features designed to make it easier to identify fake pages, an issue that Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said was the company’s priority ahead of the midterm elections.
The new tools are designed to help people understand what they see on Facebook and who paid for it, Ms. Sandberg said, and are part of the social media giant’s push to increase transparency on its platform. The tools will allow users to see all of the ads that run across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, even if the user isn’t directly targeted by those ads. Facebook is also providing more information about individual pages, including when they were created and changes the page made to its name. As the U.S. congressional midterm elections approach, Facebook is under pressure to root out nefarious actors that used its platform in an attempt to sow misinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Twitter Ramps Up Efforts Against Bots
Twitter has made changes to the way it deals with malicious automated accounts as it steps up its fight against the big issue of abuse on its platform. The microblogging site is making it more difficult for automated accounts to be created by now requiring new accounts to confirm either an email address or a phone number when they sign up. Twitter says it will work closely with experts on this to ensure that users in high-risk environments where anonymity is imported are not harmed by the change. This update can be expected later this year. In addition, Twitter said it is auditing existing accounts to look out for signs of possible automated signup, making sure that all accounts have passed a security check. So far, the change has prevented over 50,000 spam signups a day, according to the company.
Brits are Addicted to their Smartphones, Checking Them Out of Habit Nearly Half the Time
Thirty three per cent of Brits would consider themselves addicted to their smartphones with mobile phones having become an intrinsic part of their everyday lives and having their device ‘to hand’ for more than 16 hours each day. That’s according to research from TextLocal which found that 15 percent of Brits now check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning, while the average user checks their phone 10,000 times a year – 4,000 coming entirely out of habit. 85 percent of the UK’s adult population now owns a smartphone, an increase of more than 63 percent in the last five years, with the figure expected to reach 93 percent by 2023. Mobile devices are no longer about making calls, with just 59 percent making calls via their phones each day. Meanwhile, 92 percent use their phones for SMS, 91 percent for taking pictures, and 86 percent for checking emails. Further burying the need to make calls, over 60 percent of UK consumers are using at least one messaging platform daily. And 75 percent use their devices to regularly browse the internet, 67 percent to check social media, and 61 percent to send an SMS. Of those using social media and SMS daily, 33 percent say they ‘constantly’ check social media and 22 percent are constantly messaging friends, family, or colleagues.
Instagram’s Stories Feature Now Twice as Big as Snapchat, with 400 Million Daily Users
Instagram has announced that it now has 400 million daily active users of its Stories feature. That’s more than twice the number of people that visit Snapchat every day. Instagram’s Stories are a personal feed of photos and videos users can add to, which then disappear after 24 hours. The format was created by Snapchat, but Facebook has since pinched the idea and incorporated it into many of its major apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Messenger. It’s been a huge success for Instagram, and its daily user base has grown by 150 million in the last year. Back in June 2017, it had announced it hit 250 million daily users. The new 400-million figure dwarfs Snapchat, which said in its Q1 2018 earnings report it has 191 million daily active users overall.