July 9, 2018 | by Alexian Chiavegato

AdTech Weekly Roundup

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

Does AT&T Prove Telcos are Sleeping Giants of Mobile Marketing?
AT&T clearly believes this is the case and can see itself opening up a whole new revenue stream, combining the data it knows about its own customers and the vast data banks AppNexus has and will be able to collate in the future. However, this is aimed at advertising where people already expect to find it. Buying a mobile programmatic exchange isn’t opening up a new channel — it’s combining what you have with what they already have and hoping the result is bigger than the two constituent parts. There is nothing wrong with this approach — and it is likely it will not be the first major foray, particularly if the venture works well. However, for the telecoms operators to fully become digital marketing giants, they need to not only buy in to the advertising infrastructure that exists, they really could do with inventing something new.

Facebook Acquires UK AI and Natural Language Startup
UK startup Bloomsbury AI has been acquired by Facebook, with the social network reportedly interested in using the firm’s natural language processing (NLP) technology to help fight back against fake news. Founded in 2015 by Guillaume Bouchard, Luis Ulloa and Sebastian Riedel, Bloomsbury is an alumni of Entrepreneur First, an accelerator that invests in technical and domain expertise talent, and has seen backing from Seedcamp, IQ Capital, Fly.VC and angel investor William Tunstall-Pedoe, who was also instrumental in the development of Alexa. The deal is thought to be worth $23m – $30m (£17.4 – £22.7m) and while Bloomsbury’s natural language AI is thought to have considerable value, industry analysts are also calling the purchase an ‘acqui-hire’, with Facebook more interested in the expertise of Bloomsbury’s employees, in particular Riedel, the company’s chief technical officer and head of research. As well as being a leader in NLP and professor at University College London, Riedel co-founded Factmata, another UK startup that focuses on combating fake news.

Data says Search Still Drives Mobile for Now
Search remains the strongest media for mobile advertising, but social will take the lead beginning in 2019, according to data released Monday. The two channels will account for 81% of the incremental mobile ad dollars spent between 2017 and 2022. Advertisers spent $20.6 billion on mobile search in 2017, or 44% of the market, according to Forrester’s research. The study — Forrester Analytics: mobile Advertising Forecast from 2017 to 2022 (US) — highlights growth for mobile through 2022 for a variety of channels, from search and social to video and display. Despite mobile search’s slow compounded annual growth rate of 12.5% from 2017 through 2022, the channel will still account for 36% of marketing and advertising dollars spent on mobile ads during those years. Forrester estimates that growth, in part, will come from the number of mobile phone users, which is estimated to rise at a 3.5% CAGR from 204.4 million in 2017 to 242.8 million in 2022.

Mobile Marketing to Influence Auto Sales in India by 2022: Facebook-KPMG
With India becoming a mobile-first country, smartphones will decide nearly 8 in 10 four-wheeler purchases and approximately 7 in 10 two-wheeler sales by 2022, a new Facebook-KMPG report said on Thursday. Approximately one in two four-wheeler purchases (47 per cent) and two-wheeler purchases (45 per cent) will be influenced by Facebook, said the latest “Zero Friction Future” report. The findings showed that media friction causes one-third of the total friction loss in four-wheeler purchase and almost half of friction loss in two-wheeler sales. The Indian automobile market is expected to sell 5.6 million and 30.9 million four-wheeler and two-wheeler units, respectively, by 2022. Optimizing mobile in auto marketing media mix can help create a potential sales opportunity of over 3.6 million vehicles between brands by 2022, the report noted.

Facebook’s Issue Ads Policy Sweeps Up Brands
Facebook’s new political ads policy has drawn scorn from publishers — and now a constituency more near and dear to Facebook is bothered: ad buyers. In the wake of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook has taken an extra-cautious approach for political advertising. Anyone who wants to spend money on Facebook to promote political topics must register with an official government ID, and once approved, they must mark all political ads as political. Yet frustration has mounted since ad buyers — even executives at major media-buying agencies — have been unable to properly identify what ads need to be labeled as political. Brands’ corporate responsibility efforts, such as ads during Pride Month, have been swept up in the madness and have led to delayed campaigns. Facebook’s automated system has also erred. It’s all left buyers feeling like Facebook is just guessing and not doing enough to be transparent.