AdTech Weekly Roundup

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

Comscore and Neilsen Racing to Become the One True Cross-Platform Measurement Provider
There is no Santa Claus. If there were, then by now advertisers and media companies would have gotten the complete cross-platform measurement product they’ve been clamoring for: “The one impression to rule them all, defined one way that fits everywhere,” as described by Ed Gaffney, director of implementation research and marketplace analytics at GroupM. “Unfortunately it doesn’t exist.”

Industry executives continue to hold out hope that something at least approaching true cross-platform measurement is attainable. That hope is not unwarranted. After circling one another for years, the rivalry between Comscore and Nielsen to become the industry’s chosen cross-platform measurement provider has heated up. In 2018, both companies appointed longtime advertising executives to be their respective CEOs — Comscore with Bryan Wiener and Nielsen with David Kenny — and steer them past the corporate blunders that have dogged each company in recent years.

In 2019, both companies plan to roll out new measurement tools to give advertisers and media companies an equal look at cross-platform video audiences, whether people are watching a show or see an ad on linear TV or a streaming videos service.

2019 Trends: Martech Spending Continues to Rise
The upwards trend in martech spending will continue in the new year, but many companies still aren’t confident they’re getting the best bang for their buck. Forty-two percent of respondents to Chief Marketer’s 2019 B2B Marketing Outlook survey said their martech budgets would increase this year, and another 40 percent said theirs would hold steady. Only four percent saw a decrease on the horizon.

Marketing automation topped the list of planned expenditures (45 percent), followed by video (43 percent), email marketing (40 percent), customer experience (38 percent) and social media management (37 percent). Forrester projections show that global marketing automation tech spending was projected to hit $13.4 billion in 2018, a figure that will nearly double to $25.1 billion in 2023.
Gartner trending data shows that about a quarter of all marketing budgets are dedicated to martech, with the remainder almost evenly split between paid media, services and labor, notes Tom Stein, chairman of Stein IAS.

Zuckerberg Touts Facebook’s Positive Changes
Despite the myriad challenges confronting Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is trying to put a positive spin on 2018. In an end-of-year post, Facebook’s cofounder-CEO points to several accomplishments, including the company’s crackdown on political disinformation during the U.S. midterm elections.

“For preventing election interference, we’ve improved our systems for identifying fake accounts and coordinated information campaigns that account for much of the interference — now removing millions of fake accounts every day,” according to Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg also touted a broader shift to prevent bad actors from using Facebook’s immense platform to harm others.

“We’re a very different company today than we were in 2016, or even a year ago,” Zuckerberg said. “We’ve fundamentally altered our DNA to focus more on preventing harm in all our services, and we’ve systematically shifted a large portion of our company to work on preventing harm.”

US Government Shutdown Prompts FCC to Suspend Operations
The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it will suspend almost all operations if the US government continues to be shutdown. According to Laura Phillips, an established telecoms lawyer with Drinker Biddle & Reath, the FCC shutdown could have a major impact on current deals going on around the globe, specifically the $26bn merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.

“The effect of an FCC shutdown depends somewhat on the length of the funding impasse,” said Phillips. “But for companies with projects that rely on FCC licensing, it will have a very immediate effect on their business. If the shutdown is extended, the backlog on licensing is going to really be an issue for some.” Phillips also stated that the next FCC meeting, which was originally planned for January 30, could be further delayed, creating more problems for companies in the midst of deals.

The lawyer pointed out that the FCC has already suspended its ‘180-day shot clock’, which is the agency’s informal deadline for reviewing and approving mergers. Phillips, who has an extensive background in FCC equipment issues and policy compliance matters, says the current shutdown differs slightly from the 2013 shutdown, when almost all FCC databases were disconnected. Presently, the FCC has stated that they will still allow access to some frequently used databases, including the Network Outage Reporting System and the Electric Comment Filing System, but will not update any information.

Google Prevails In Privacy Battle over ‘Faceprints’
Siding with Google, a federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit accusing the company of violating an Illinois biometric privacy law by compiling faceprints.

U.S. District Court Judge Edmond Chang in Illinois said in a ruling that the Illinois residents who sued Google didn’t suffer any concrete injury from the company’s alleged faceprint practices. The legal dispute dates to 2016, when Illinois residents Lindabeth Rivera and Joseph Weiss alleged in a class-action complaint that Google violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by deploying facial recognition technology on photos uploaded by users.

Rivera alleged that she doesn’t have a Google Photos account, but that photos of her were uploaded to the service after they were taken by someone else. Google then scanned the photos, extracted “geometric data relating to the contours of her face and the distances between her eyes, nose, and ears,” and created a template, she alleged.

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