July 16, 2018 | by Alexian Chiavegato

AdTech Weekly Roundup

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

Top Twitter Users Lose Two Percent of Followers on Average as Policy Changes
A Twitter policy change to increase the service’s credibility cost its 100 most popular users about two percent of their followers, on average, according to social media data firm Keyhole. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey posted that Twitter is no longer counting as followers any accounts that have been locked because of suspected fraud. Locked accounts had already been kept out of Twitter’s daily and monthly active user figures. The accounts are locked if Twitter detects unusual behavior such as a burst of activity after months of dormancy. The new policy could be substantial for some Twitter users because follower totals serve as a top selling point when celebrities and so-called social media influencers negotiate deals with advertisers. For other users, follower counts are a point of pride. As the change went into effect, Twitter’s “@Twitter” account lost 12.4 percent of its followers compared with Wednesday, the steepest drop among the top 100 accounts by followers, according to Keyhole data.

Facebook is Bringing AR Ads to the News Feed
At its F8 developer conference, Facebook announced it has started testing augmented reality (AR) ads in its news feed, a few months after revealing it was working with businesses on using AR in Messenger. Early partners for the test include Michael Kors, Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, and King – all of which will be running AR ads tests in the coming months. Of these, Michael Kors was the first brand to try out AR ads with an ad enabling people to ‘try on’ sunglasses and buy them straight from the ad. On top of the AR ads, Ahmad-Taylor also announced a Video Creation Kit, enabling advertisers to create mobile video ads using their existing images. This feature is also currently being tested and will roll out to all advertisers in August.

YouTube Steps up the Fight Back against Fake News
As part of the Google News Initiative, YouTube has announced steps it is taking to stem the flow of fake news videos. YouTube is committing $25m (£19m) to a number of initiatives and products aimed at supporting legitimate publishers and helping their content reach audiences. It has established a working group with news organizations and experts from around the world, including Vox Media, Jovem Pan and India Today to develop new product features, improve the news experience on YouTube and tackle emerging challenges. Funding will be provided across approximately 20 global markets to support news organizations in building sustainable video operations. Grants will be available to news organizations of all sizes and types, and will be used to build key capabilities, train staff on best practices, enhance production facilities and develop formats optimized for online video. The team focused on supporting news publishers will also be significantly expanded.

U.S. Firms Budget more for GDPR than EU, UK Outfits
In a recent survey, almost all companies have made some strides toward GDPR compliance. But U.S. firms lag behind those in the UK and EU, although they spend the most money on it, according to GDPR Compliance Status, a study from TrustArc, conducted by Dimensional Research. Some 25% of U.S. firms allocate at least $1 million on GDPR compliance, versus 10% in the UK and 7% in the EU. Among all firms, 31% plan to make substantial investments in technology, and 49% expect to make fairly large investments. Still, 27% of the EU outfits are compliant, compared with 21% of the UK firms and 12% of U.S. firms. But large percentages have started their implementation — 26% in the UK and 22% apiece in the EU and the U.S. Only 4% have not begun the process. Overall, only 20% are fully compliant.

Google’s Algorithms Learn to Automate All Parts of Advertising Across its Services
Google will introduce several ad tools built on artificial intelligence, aimed at helping marketers automate and develop more effective advertising campaigns. The idea is to let artificial intelligence fine-tune ads. The automation will now be integrated into every form of campaign management, from bidding to dynamic headlines, as well as creative and targeting. The tools unveiled for Google range from responsive search ads that use machine learning to mix, match and optimize content to optimizing ad performance on YouTube by automatically adjusting bids. Google VP of Product Management Jerry Dischler in a blog post explained that the growing complexity of platforms far surpasses the ability of marketers to design highly effective advertising campaigns. He wrote that marketers will have the ability to choose from up to 15 headlines and four description lines, and Google will do the rest by choosing the best combinations. Google learns which ad creative performs the best for any search query by testing different combinations, so people searching for the same thing might see different ads based on context.