March 25, 2019 | by Alexian Chiavegato

AdTech Weekly Roundup

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

Facebook Axes Age, Gender and Other Targeting for Some Sensitive Ads
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook has settled some discrimination lawsuits by removing age, gender and ZIP Code targeting for housing, employment and credit-related ads.

The amount comes to payments of just under $5 million to settle five discrimination lawsuits filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Communications Workers of America and others.

The WSJ says this move was sparked by a 2016 report from investigative-news site ProPublica. The organization said it had been able to buy ads targeted to house hunters that excluded certain groups based on ethnicity. Because of that report, Facebook said it would no longer let marketers target housing, employment and credit-related ads by ethnic affinity. It used to let advertisers seek consumers by criteria it calls “ethnic affinity” but never technically allowed targeting specifically by race.

The report said Facebook “will now add further restrictions on targeting such ads to U.S. consumers. Geographic targets, for example, will have a minimum 15-mile radius from any specific address or city center, according to Facebook. And the “Lookalike Audience” tool, which lets advertisers try to find Facebook users who resemble the customers they already know, won’t incorporate factors such as age, religious views or Facebook Group membership when targeting these ads.”

Inside The Agency Turf War over Connected TV
What’s known as Connected TV (CTV) is becoming more popular with TV buyers, encroaching on a space originally dominated by digital buyers.

Ad Exchanger reports “TV buyers are rebranding as “video investment” teams and swooping in to control CTV. Digital buyers – who successfully laid claim to the “digital video” category that included desktop and mobile video – aren’t giving up CTV easily. Both groups are showing off their expertise – the economic prowess of TV buyers and the sophistication in targeting, measurement and attribution of digital buyers – to claim the rapidly growing CTV market.”

The article claims “While CTV only makes up about $2 billion of the $70 billion TV market, according to GroupM’s global president of business intelligence Brian Wieser, its growing fast. If digital buyers can’t purchase CTV now, they’ll lose the potential to control billions of dollars of advertising spending.”

Instagram Could Turn Pics into Clicks
The Wall Street Journal is also reporting on Instagram’s effort to raise the value proposition of the popular photo-sharing app to its base of 7 million advertisers.

The Facebook owned Instagram has been embedding shopping tabs in posted images, including those from popular “influencers.” “Offering immediate gratification for users and advertisers alike,” the article says products can be directly purchased via these shopping tabs.

In the past, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has called Instagram a “visual shop on mobile” where ads are a powerful discovery tool for business looking for new customers. Others have taken note. The WSJ says Alphabet’s Google introduced shoppable ads for the first time earlier this month, embedding the prices of items directly within Google image results. According to the article, Google says about 50% of online shoppers say images of products inspired them to make a purchase.

Amazon to Push Video Ads Triggered by Search Queries
MediaPost is reporting Amazon has plans to add mobile video ads triggered by searches after capitalizing on searches for products on mobile. The pub says the mobile video ads appear in response to search results in its shopping app, according to one report, which provides better targeting options than the open web.

The same report mentioned that it turns out people searching on apps have a higher propensity to buy than those scrolling through Facebook or watching videos on YouTube. Apparently, Amazon has been testing the ads on Apple’s iOS platform for several months, and a similar product for Google’s Android platform is planned for later this year.

The article says brands will spend nearly $16 billion on mobile video advertising in 2019, up from 22.6% in 2018, according to eMarketer. Running video ads triggered by product searches within Amazon’s closed environment in the shopping app on the mobile phone could prove lucrative for the marketplace.

LinkedIn Brings In Bing Data for Interest Targeting, Adds Lookalike Audiences
Also according to MediaPost, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has added lookalike audiences, audience templates and the addition of search data from Microsoft’s search engine Bing into its recently introduced interest targeting feature.

The news aims to help marketers improve their target accuracy, Abhishek Shrivastava, director of product management for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn, told Search Marketing Daily.
Shrivastava said the new tools would analyze search activity on digital marketing, for example, and map it to interests on LinkedIn.

The article also mentioned LinkedIn announcing lookalike audiences, “A one-step process that helps marketers discover audiences similar to those that previously engaged with a company’s marketing materials such as website pages, pricing page, or case studies.” The article claims those participating in the pilot were able to “improve campaign reach by between five and 10 times the normal reach. The audience templates tool launches with more than 20 templates from which marketers can choose, such as financial decision makers or event planners. These templates include audience characteristics such as member skills, job titles, and groups.”