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MoPub CEO Leaves; Tumblr Install Ads

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No Payne

Twitter’s game of musical chairs continues with the partial exit of MoPub CEO Jim Payne, AdAge’s Mark Bergen reports. Read it. Payne will serve as an ad tech advisor to CFO Anthony Noto, but will no longer run Twitter’s programmatic exchange. That job falls to Janae McDonough. Related: In a Tuesday DM slip-up, Noto signalled his intent to acquire a mystery company. Re/code speculates Drawbridge could be on its short list. Read it.


Forrester On Brands Sharing Data; Outbrain's API

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Data Sharing Is Data Caring

A Forrester report released Monday examines how brands share data with each other, and what benefits they derive from doing so. The key advantage of so-called “second-party data,” in brief, is that it’s not as scarce as first-party data but it provides unique insights not always available in third-party data sets. “Dell and Intel ... share data so Dell can benefit from Intel’s demand generation marketing activities and close the sales loop.” As always, there are issues with sharing, including finding compatible partners and the fact that the practice might freak out consumers and regulators. Get it. [Paid download]


L.L. Bean Testing iAds Programmatically

LL Bean test drive iAdsWhen Apple announced last week it was dipping its toe into programmatic via partnerships with ad tech companies, it cited retailer L.L. Bean as an early purchaser of iAds inventory via MediaMath.

It’s the first time the outdoor-focused retailer has bought through Apple’s iAds, though it’s gradually devoted more marketing spend to mobile initiatives.

“We didn’t get into it pre-programmatic because the buy-in prices were relatively expensive,” said Jeff Allen, VP of ecommerce for L.L. Bean, echoing what other advertisers have said about Apple’s iAd inventory. “We like to test and learn into new media, so we did things that were more proven.”

Apple enables programmatic buying on a flat price on a CPC or a CPM basis, not through true real-time bidding. While the advertiser can adjust the targeting, bid or budget throughout the day, the bid price can’t change on an impression-by-impression basis.

L.L. Bean’s willingness to test iAd stems from Apple’s rich targeting capabilities.

“We’re a data-driven marketer from a catalog heritage, so we have a good sense of what our audiences are going to be,” Allen said. “The richer the targeting capabilities, the better we’re able to hone in on specific audiences that our historical data suggests will buy our products.”

Because iAd inventory is tied to email addresses in the iTunes store, it provides precise targeting. Allen compared it with Facebook.

“They know who everyone is,” he said. “Obviously they’re not revealing any PII [personally identifiable information], but they have rich demographic data and make that available for targeting, similar to Facebook.”

Measuring the success of the campaign will be trickier. (more…)

Native Spending To Increase; Google's EU Legal Troubles Worsen

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Native ‘Working’

Marketers will spend $4.3 billion on native advertising in 2015, up 34% from 2014, according to eMarketer. "I would expect our spending in this area to increase considerably over the next 18 months, specifically in the area of video," HP’s director of strategy, Ed McLoughlin, told Ad Age. “We just dipped our toe into the water this year, but I would say we'll see a five- to 10-times increase over what we spent this year," added Matt Eaves, VP-engagement at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Eaves thinks native advertising is "definitely becoming a line item in the budget that we'll have dedicated dollars to put against because I believe it's working." By 2018, eMarketer predicts native ad spend will reach $8.8 billion.


Rubicon CEO On Adding 'Guaranteed' To Automation

rubicon-frankIt’s been a busy week for Rubicon Project.

It acquired programmatic direct players iSocket and Shiny Ads on Monday, adding guaranteed capabilities to its platform. It partnered with Apple’s iAd, ramping up its mobile supply. And last Friday, it hired Adam Chandler as SVP of revenue as the company builds out its buy side.

Rubicon’s CEO, Frank Addante, talked to AdExchanger about the iSocket and Shiny Ads acquisitions, and what’s ahead for Rubicon and the industry at large. The interview was conducted before news broke of Rubicon’s iAd relationship, but Addante provided comments on iAd in response to a followup request.

AdExchanger: Why make this deal, and why make it now?

FRANK ADDANTE: The simple answer is that the market is ready for direct orders, and automation has become top-of-mind for the largest buyers and sellers in the world.

We already have the integration in place with the sellers and the buyers. Because we’ve got such massive scale, we’re able to apply this capability as another set of features to our platform rather than treating it as a new business.

Were Shiny Ads & iSocket ahead of the market?

It’s better to be early than late, for sure. When we started Rubicon Project in 2007, I wouldn’t say the market was ready for automation; it was something we pioneered, and we spent a lot of time educating the market. They were doing the same thing. Now we get that benefit. 

Why structure the deal the way you did, acquiring both companies at the same time? 

We wanted to double down and put us in a position to own this market, so we decided to do both. We believe this is going to be a $60 billion direct-order automation market.

We looked at both companies, and they both have great teams and great products, and have specialized in different areas. Both of them have great integrations into the ad servers. Shiny Ads is really focused on the self-service interface.

Where was Rubicon in the market pre-acquisition? Post-acquisition?

We’ve been in market with our direct-orders product for years. It’s another area of the market we pioneered. It didn’t exist before we created it.

We’ve already made great traction, and now Shiny Ads and iSocket give us the rest of the capabilities, particularly around guaranteed automation. We were already ahead of the market, and now we’re squarely ahead of it. (more…)

Firefox Chooses Yahoo For Search; WaPo Kindle Tech

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Yahoo Search On Fire(fox)

Late on Wednesday, Firefox struck a deal to make Yahoo its exclusive and default search engine, after a 10-year-long relationship with Google. In a statement, Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer called the deal “the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years,” adding that it “helps to expand our reach in search and gives us an opportunity to work even more closely with Mozilla to find ways to innovate in search, communications, and digital content.” A notable condition of the deal was that Yahoo agreed to Mozilla’s “do not track” feature, that lets users opt out of cookie tracking. But what’s Yahoo scheming to do will all that search data? The NYT has more.


Yahoo Still Shopping; Nielsen Measures Streaming


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Yahoo’s Appetite

Marissa Mayer is still shopping for ad tech in the wake of Yahoo’s BrightRoll and Flurry deals, and she’s cast an acquisitive eye on a few demand-side players, including MediaMath and Turn, writes Re/code's Kara Swisher. Her piece also mentions RadiumOne, whose founder Gurbaksh Chahal sold Blue Lithium to Yahoo for $300 million in 2007. (Chahal was removed as RadiumOne's CEO earlier this year.) Separately, Swisher cites the possibility of a much larger deal to buy Research In Motion. Why? Aside from giving Yahoo a mobile device to play with, a RIM deal could alleviate the company’s tax burden resulting from its Alibaba gains.


Time Inc. Picks Outbrain; Merkle Buys 500friends

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Time Inc. Recommends

Time Inc. has picked Outbrain to be the exclusive content discovery platform for its owned and operated sites. The multiyear deal is expected to earn the publisher an estimated $100 million. Read the press release. Time Inc. will also adopt Outbrain’s premium publisher network to drive audiences to its digital properties. Content recommendation can get a bad rap for spreading click-bait around the web, but Outbrain CRO Tom Foran says the company has purged some offenders from its customer base. "Low quality is in the eye of the beholder,” Foran told Ad Age.


YouTube Challenger; Programmatic Creative

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Poaching YouTube’s Users

Ex-Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has been working on a platform to challenge YouTube’s online video dominance. The video streaming service, dubbed Vessel, is staffed by a fleet of ex-Hulu, Netflix and Amazon leaders, and Ad Age reports that it could debut as early as this month. Vessel will offer both free and subscription-based access, with both versions slated to serve ads and work across apps, desktop and mobile sites. Naturally, there are possible ties to connected-TV services like Apple TV, Roku and Xbox. Purportedly, Vessel’s secret sauce will be signing YouTube creators to yearlong contracts that require creators to upload new content to Vessel and wait 72 hours before posting elsewhere.


Facebook Reducing Newsfeed Ads; Publishers Struggle With Innovation

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FB: Money Talks, ‘Likes’ Walk

On Friday, Facebook revealed plans to remaster news feed content with controls that edge out promoted posts from brands. In a blog post, Facebook explained that it’s not ads that irk users. According to its research, it’s an oversaturation of posts from pages users have “liked.” So, beginning in January, unpaid posts will further dwindle from the news feed. “It’s a clear message to brands: If you want to sound like an advertiser, buy an ad,” said Rebecca Lieb, a digital advertising and media analyst for the Altimeter Group. Though Facebook insists this will not decrease the number of ads users experience, Mindshare NA Chief Strategy Officer Jordan Bitterman points out, “Facebook is basically saying that their algorithm will be the arbiter of what’s promotion and what’s not promotion.” The New York Times has more.