September 4, 2018 | by Alexian Chiavegato

AdTech Weekly Roundup

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

Facebook creates tool to boost news publishers’ reach on the platform
Facebook has been testing a tool with five publishers including BuzzFeed to help them improve their reach on the platform. The organic content testing tool lets publishers test up to four versions of a piece of content, with variations in elements like headline, description and image, in real time — something publishers would otherwise have to pay for by boosting a post. Using the tool, the publisher can see data like interactions and click-through rate and predictions of those metrics in real time so it can pick the best-performing version to show all its followers. Facebook said it was too early to share any test results, but a company representative said that more than half the time, publishers in the test have ended up selecting a version of the story that was different from the one they would have originally used. This suggests that the tool is helping publishers get more traffic back to their sites.

What in the World is Bid Shading?
Bid shading (no not bid caching) is a term that’s cropping up a lot more due to the shift from second-price to first-price auctions used in programmatic advertising. In a first-price auction, the highest bidder determines how much an impression gets sold for. In a second-price auction, the second-highest bidder determines the sale price of an impression. So in a second-price auction, if two buyers bid $10 and $15, respectively, the buyer who bid $15 will win but will only pay $10.01. Bid shading has cropped up as a compromise between the two. So the buyer will pay something in between what the second-price and the first-price value would have been, based on a calculation made by the ad tech partner. The tech is predominantly available in supply-side platforms as a free service and is becoming a feature increasingly used in DSPs because of the shift toward first-price auctions. The vendor will analyze bid-history information, such as what bid rates typically win on a certain website, or in a certain ad position, or at what price bids are lost, for example, to calculate what a bid should be that is somewhere in between what the first and second bids would be.

Facebook Watch Rolls Out Internationally
Facebook has announced the international rollout of Facebook Watch, its video destination for episodic content, which first launched in the U.S. a year ago this month. The social media giant said Wednesday that the VOD service would be “available everywhere” from Thursday, giving publishers and content creators a worldwide market for their videos. Watch launched in the U.S. in August 2017 with the goal of offering users a place on Facebook to discover shows and video creators and to start conversations with friends, other fans and even the creators themselves. The company said that, since the launch, it had made the experience more social, including making it easier to see which videos friends have liked or shared, and creating shows with audience participation at their core. In June, Facebook said it would launch a slate of new shows boasting interactive features such as polls and quizzes to fulfill the platform’s goal of fostering a sense of community between creators and users.

BuzzFeed News Asks Readers to Chip In With Donations
BuzzFeed News is becoming the latest newsroom to ask its readers to help shoulder the cost of newsgathering. The digital-media company plans to unveil a feature at the bottom of its news pages that allows readers to donate between $5 and $100. The donation feature asks readers to “help us report to you” and calls upon them to join a community that will shape the future of BuzzFeed News. Contributors will get timely updates on big investigations and new programming from BuzzFeed News, a person familiar with the program said. If successful, it could be a prelude to a membership program with more perks, the person said, noting that the company has no plans to charge its readers for content. In recent months, the company has tried out new money-making tactics, including the introduction of automated or “programmatic” ads, production deals with companies including Netflix Inc. and Twitter Inc., and licensing of merchandise around brands like its Tasty food vertical.

YouTube ads are about to get a little less skippable
You soon might be seeing less of that “skip ad” button over on YouTube as it has announced a big change for its YouTube Partners. Any channel that can monetize its videos will soon be able to implement non-skippable ads. Previously, as mentioned in the video, only select YouTube channels were able to run non-skippable ads. In the video announcement, YouTube points out that advertisers pay more money for non-skippable advertisements, which in turn means more money for the creators who run these ads. Earlier this year, YouTube set the maximum video length for non-skippable ads at 15-20 seconds, depending on a viewer’s location. YouTube seems to be pushing its non-skippable ads as the preferred ad format over TrueView, ads viewers can skip after 5 seconds. Older video content that has TrueView ads enabled will be switched over to non-skippable ads by default, even if a channel wasn’t previously eligible for non-skippable ads. This means that if YouTube creators want their viewers to still be able skip ads on their video archives, they need to take action and switch the default or change the video ad settings in bulk.