GE Considers Native Ad Success Online And Off

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Alexa ChristonComing from the agency world three years ago, Alexa Christon brought creative rather than media experience to her evolving role at GE, where she is now head of media innovation.

And, with responsibility for GE’s US media today and an eye toward what her mega-corporation can produce globally, she’s helping to push the envelope of more standard media fare both online and off.

“GE has always positioned around the innovation idea that comes from the many businesses that GE has. It's exciting they think about media in that way,” she said.

Paid media partnerships, such as her company’s NBC partnership, are one area for media exploration. When considering recent, successful “native advertising” campaigns, Christon nodded toward the power of integrating with television.

“Right now, in some cases, native advertising is new and in others it’s not," she said. "For us, rather than looking at an [advertising] category and saying it's native advertising, we're looking at smart ways of connecting to various audiences and doing it in meaningful ways.”

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How Much Cross-Device Clout Do Facebook And Google Actually Have?

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crossdevicenumberbattleIf cross-device tracking is a room, then Facebook and Google are the elephants – except Google is the only elephant that isn’t talking.

Facebook hasn’t been shy about its cross-device intentions. At the time of the Atlas acquisition in 2013, its ads product director, Gokul Rajaram, noted that Facebook’s goal is to “be able to measure cross-device insights” and “to be the best ad-serving platform on the Internet.”

Lately, the race to make this happen has accelerated. Facebook, it has been widely rumored but not yet publicly confirmed, will bake logged-in user ID into its rebuilt Atlas ad server. Some industry experts think this replaces the increasingly irrelevant cookie, allowing Facebook to track ads along the path to purchase, deduplicate impressions and perform other functions that allow for more consistent and reliable ad serving, campaign measurement and attribution of conversion.

The impact on media-buying practices could be large. Megan Pagliuca, VP and GM for digital media at Merkle Inc., wrote in a recent AdExchanger column. "To date, neither [Atlas nor DoubleClick Campaign Manager] has been strong in either mobile or cross-device capabilities but, as they integrate identity, they have the potential to provide long-awaited salvation from inaccurate measurement that has prevented budgets from moving to mobile and digital overall."

But a cross-platform measurement system is only as good as its reach, and sizing up the two rivals in terms of multidevice logins is a challenge.

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Beware Of Publishers’ Walled Gardens

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john-lee“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is by John Lee, executive vice president at Merkle.

First-party data-driven marketing is becoming increasingly pervasive.

Marketers use data to individually match and engage their own customers and prospects on addressable platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Spending on this first-party data approach is scaling quickly and paying dividends in ROI, particularly for advertisers in data-rich industries like financial services, insurance, retail and travel. Publishers are investing heavily in products and integrated tech stacks that enable automation and optimization of this spend. Generally, this is a good thing.

However, a core principle of data-driven marketing is an integrated customer experience across touchpoints. This requires a master record and identity “currency” that allows trading among multiple platforms. A single cookie and demand-side platform (DSP) enables you to manage audience and frequency for your entire anonymous real-time bid buy. But this doesn’t work for first-party data. The capabilities that major publishers are creating for first-party data are great within their networks, but they create “walled gardens” that make cross-platform audience management complex.

Three macro trends propel this story and influence the future of data-driven marketing.

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IPONWEB Buys Adternity; Havas' Earnings Report

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nl1Here's today's AdExchanger.com news round-up... Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Buying For Display

IPONWEB gobbled up Adternity, a company specializing in workflow implementation and ad-serving solutions. The vision, according to IPONWEB CEO Boris Mouzykantskii, is to integrate IPONWEB's media-trading technology with Adternity's front-end capabilities and deepen the company's presence in the German marketplace and abroad. Are Boris and Co., known for building and selling ad tech to others such as Yahoo’s Right Media, starting to get more proprietary? Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Read the press release.

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Could a Publicis-Criteo Takeover Transpire?

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POGshopIt wouldn’t be the first summer weekend French agency holding company Publicis Groupe sent shock waves through the advertising ecosystem.

Close to the anniversary of the infamous ad merger of equals that never quite materialized as Publicis Omnicom Group (POG), French pub Boursier reported on a rumor the holding company could be close to extending a takeover bid for 9-year-old French ad tech company Criteo, which went public last October.

French financial daily Les Échos followed that report with a claim the deal has been in the pipeline for three months and could conclude in the coming days. Criteo’s stock shot up 19% in early trading Friday before the markets closed for the Labor Day weekend.

Will it happen?

Although neither of the companies confirmed anything (“It’s not our policy to comment on rumor or speculation,” said a Criteo spokeswoman), a prospective deal would be expensive, leading some industry insiders to question the rumor’s validity. Criteo has a $2 billion market cap and did $221 million in revenue for the second quarter, meaning it could cost Publicis an estimated $3 billion minimum.

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Mercent CEO: The Next Phase Of Commerce Is Amazon Vs. Google

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EricBestGoogle and Amazon are going after each other.

Google has ramped up commercial search and fulfillment, and Amazon is building a Google-like ecosystem around ads  a project involving an ad-buying platform to rival AdWords, according to The Wall Street Journal. And of course, both are investing heavily in video content and advertising. What is Amazon's Twitch acquisition if not a bite out of YouTube?

Mercent, as a commerce and analytics partner to both companies, has a front-row seat to the rivalry.

The company's software platform is used by more than 500 unique ecommerce brands. Last year it processed just less than $2 billion in retail on behalf of those retailers, and more than half of that revenue came from Amazon Marketplace and Google Shopping Campaigns.

According to Mercent's CEO Eric Best, during the fourth quarter Amazon volume tends to outpace Google's, but at various points over the course of the year, Google took top position as the No. 1 driver of retail sales volume through the Mercent platform.

Best spoke with AdExchanger about Google and Amazon’s ads face-off.
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Fraud-day With DoubleVerify: Bad Actors Are Getting More Sophisticated

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fraudThis is the fifth in a series of interviews with vendors combating the problem of ad fraud. Other companies participating in this series include White Ops, Moat, Telemetry, Sizmek, comScore, Dstillery and Asia RTB. Read previous interviews with Forensiq, Integral Ad Science, PubChecker and Videology.

DoubleVerify is not new to the ad fraud game.

When the company first opened its doors in 2009, it was, as its name denotes, primarily focused on the verification process that ensures ads appear where they’re intended to appear in compliance with regulations. DoubleVerify collaborated with the IAB back in 2012 to develop the “Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification,” now considered the industry standard.

Today, DoubleVerify aims to be a full-service solution, said Chief Operating Officer Matt McLaughlin.

“We’re not just attacking one element of the fraud problem,” McLaughlin said. “There are a number of different types of online ad fraud that crop up wherever bad actors can make money in new and creative ways by generating impressions.”

Hidden ad fraud (impressions concealed behind other content or ads displayed in a tiny 1x1 pixel iFrame), laundering fraud (discussed below) and nonhuman bot traffic are par for the course.

Bots in particular are becoming more clever, and therefore insidious, making it harder to tell the humans from the robots.

“We apply hundreds of data points against billions of impressions and combine that with unique external information to identify an individual nonhuman browser,” McLaughlin said. “We take a deterministic approach to bot identification where we look at hundreds of data points per user/browser in a variety of environments so that we’re absolutely certain that the activity that we’re flagging is nonhuman and that we’re catching as many as possible.”

McLaughlin went into more detail with AdExchanger.

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How To Build A Programmatic Sales Team

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brianmikaliseditedThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Brian Mikalis, senior vice president of monetization at Pandora.

Publishers that sell directly to advertisers and agencies are now faced with how to handle programmatic sales.

Traditional RFPs have recently started including questions about publishers' programmatic capabilities and data sharing, as well as requirements around automating the buying process for upfront and longer-term deals. This has shifted rapidly over the past year, and publisher sales teams without answers to these questions will be at a disadvantage.

So how should publishers set up their sales organization so they’re equipped to take advantage of this ever-changing landscape?

The first thing to do is consider which stage your organization is in with regard to understanding programmatic and its willingness to adapt, embrace and devote resources to making programmatic a part of the sales offering.

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Conventional Wisdom Vs. Big Data

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matt-greitzerData-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is by Matt Greitzer, co-founder and chief operating officer at Accordant Media.

It’s always surprising to me when marketers don’t fully leverage their data. It is only logical that a brand would analyze and leverage relevant data at its fingertips, which is now being amassed at an unprecedented level.

Yet with all of this information at marketers’ disposal, many don’t exploit the opportunity to dig into the information and glean new insights, which could in some cases radically alter media approach and channel allocations. Instead, many advertisers and agencies continue to rely on default assumptions or conventional wisdom.

By not applying a diligent, rigorous analysis of available data, as it relates to their advertising efforts, brands are making bad decisions, losing out on revenue and missing opportunities they could be exploiting.

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