AdTech Weekly Roundup

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

Facebook may pay publishers to put their stuff in a dedicated news section
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has floated an interesting idea–he wants to create a section of the social network that would be devoted to “high-quality news,” and may even pay publishers that share their stuff there. This coming more than a year after announcing Facebook would feature less news.

In a published discussion on Recode, Zuckerberg refers to creating a feature so that “users who want more news content can do that,” and says his company could “potentially have a direct relationship with publishers to make sure that their content is available, if it’s really high-quality content.”

So is Zuckerberg thinking about paying publishers some kind of licensing fee? “That’s definitely something that I think we should be thinking about here, because the relationship between us and publishers is different in a surface where we’re showing the content on the basis of us believing that it’s high-quality, trustworthy content,” Zuckerberg said. Zuckerberg didn’t mention any plans to charge Facebook customers who read news stories on the site, and a person familiar with his thinking says the news tab would be free to users.

What Snap Inc. Revealed at its first Partner Summit
Snap Inc. recently held its first-ever Partner Summit in California, and Mobile Marketing is reporting that the Snapchat parent company announced a variety of new features and products for the popular app. One of them will be “App Stories”, in partnership with platforms including Tinder and Houseparty. Users will be able to link their Tinder and Houseparty accounts to their Snapchat profile and share their stories on the third-party apps.

The company also unveiled “Snap Games”, a gaming platform which will include both original and third-party content. Snap will be working with game developers like Game Closure, PikPok, Spry Fox, Zeptolab, and Zynga to bring its newly launched library of games to life.

Although Snap Games will be free, users will be required to watch Snap’s non-skippable, six second commercials. Additionally, Snap is adding more options to one of its most popular feature, Lens Studio, the free, publicly available desktop app that lets anyone create a Lens. These new options include templates for hand tracking, body tracking, and pet tracking.

City-sized Facebook hacker markets shut down
Axios is reporting on a research team from Cisco discovering and Facebook beginning to remove a total of 74 Facebook groups where hackers bought and sold cybercrime tools and services. The article states the groups networked together as many as 385,000 members speaking a bevy of different languages.

Axios says a member of Cisco’s Talos research team said the group collectively was “basically the size of Tampa.” This is not the first roundup of criminal Facebook hacker groups but it is the largest, to this point. A news reporter discovered 120 groups hiding 300,000 members in 2018. The discovery, according to the article, shows moderating these groups is difficult. Many had the same or similar names to the groups discovered in 2018, suggesting they had been restarted after Facebook took them down.

Facebook has dismantled several groups discovered by Talos, according to the report, but some that were taken down have already resurfaced. A Facebook spokesperson offered this statement: “These groups violated our policies against spam and financial fraud and we removed them. We know we need to be more vigilant and we’re investing heavily to fight this type of activity.”

Google Page Speed Ranking Factor Drew Up To 20% Increases for Some Sites
MediaPost is reporting on data release by Google regarding speed as a ranking factor for mobile websites. Including page speed as a factor is a practice that Google started in 2018. The ranking factor applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page.

The data shows the slowest one-third of traffic had an improvement in performance metrics by 15% to 20%. In comparison, the company saw no improvements in 2017. The report indicated Google observed improvements across the web and on a per-country basis, more than 95% of countries had improvements in speeds.

When a page loads slowly, users are more likely to abandon the navigation. Speed improvements help to reduce abandonment rates by 20% for navigation initiated from Search, a metric that site owners can now also measure via the Network Error Logging API available in Chrome, according to Google.

U.S. Local Digital Advertising Forecast to Rise In 2019
U.S. local digital advertising is rising as a percentage of all U.S. local advertising to a 63% share and is expected to climb 9.2% this year to $77 billion, according to a MediaPost report based research by Borrell Associates.

In 2018, the local ad research consultancy says digital had a 53% share of the $126.3 billion total U.S. local ad market — $67.4 billion. The research says much of this digital ad activity comes from “pure-play” digital media companies — $57.1 billion — with $10.3 billion from traditional media companies. In 2018, Borrell says 70% of all “pure-play” local digital advertising came from Google and Facebook, with the remaining piece from Autotrader, Craigslist, Zillow, Yelp and other digital media companies.

Comparing overall U.S. local advertising in 2018, digital media pulled in $67.4 billion, with print media at $27.8 billion; broadcast media (TV, radio) and cable, $24.0 billion; and outdoor, $7.6 billion. Growth in local digital advertising is expected to level off in the coming years — rising 9.2% this year; 4.9% in 2020; 0.3% in 2021, and 0.1% in 2022.

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