Buzzfeed Funds For Social Ads; Google's Anti-Trust Fortunes

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LOL! Buzzfeed Raises $19M

Social media sharing site Buzzfeed, sometimes cute and trivial, sometimes tart and political, has raised a $19 million third round as it plans to scale up and take greater advantage of its enormous traffic growth. BuzzFeed will use the proceeds of the funding round to nearly double the social ad department to 40 people, Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier reports. Ads on BuzzFeed’s affiliate sites drive about 30 percent of the company’s revenue, according to COO Jon Steinberg. “We see a big opportunity to be the leading social publisher. That’s how people are increasingly getting the vast majority of their media.” Read more.

Election Display

In Campaigns & Elections magazine, Moat CEO Jonah Goodhart discusses his company’s findings about display ad performance over the course of the November U.S. presidential elections.  One insight: “President Obama’s campaign employed almost 1,400 different creative designs in its display advertising campaign, yet there were some consistent features across many of them. Stylistically, they all refer to Michelle and Barack by their first names. They all had calls-to-action—the vast majority promoted voter registration or asked folks to ‘get started’ with the campaign effort by collecting contact info and registering with the Obama campaign online.” Fun piece. Read more.

RTB’s Ready For Primetime

Expect to hear a lot more about the idea of “programmatic guaranteed” this year. Rubicon Project SVP Jay Sears, writing in AdAge, says that by moving from its original position as a “spot market” -- i.e., strictly “real-time” -- and evolving to include a futures market model, RTB spending could go from $2 billion in annual spending to $9 billion. Eventually, RTB could influence TV upfront budget deals. Why? “Chief revenue officers at top comScore publishers and media heads at leading agencies are amused, and often confused, by the spot market's complexity,” Sears says. “They know that the real money is in guaranteed budgets.” Read the rest.

No Antitrust Rap for Google

Google’s antitrust settlement with the Federal Trade Commission is mostly favorable to the company, many outlets reported. Here is Search Engine Land: “Google comes away largely unscathed from the process. One can hear the celebrations getting started in Mountain View.” Meanwhile Forbes sees folly in the FTC’s decision to investigate at all: “It took the FTC 20 months to determine its investigation was largely fruitless.  20 months is nearly a full generation of technology development in the Internet industry.” And WSJ (subscription) speculates on the impact for Microsoft: “After being dinged big time for its own practices at the height of its imperial power, the company is now playing the role of underdog in the markets for search, mobile and more. A harsh ruling by the FTC today might have given the company a glimpse of momentum in markets it is clearly struggling to compete in.” Read the Official Google blog post mortem, too.

Yielding For Ads & More

On his company blog, Krux CEO Tom Chavez delivers observations on 2013. Among them the progressive move toward a more holistic look at yield which isn’t ads alone. He writes, “2013 will be the year we take critical early paces beyond ads into content and commerce. While data connectivity outside the realm of ads will need a little time to take root, its early proof points will most certainly occur in 2013, setting the stage for much greater uptick in 2014 and 2015.”  Read more.

Partner Flow

SocialFlow is the latest social marketing player to be given membership in Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developers (PMD) program. The company's Crescendo product, billed as an “Attention Buying Platform,” will allow it to better connect its clients to Facebook’s members. Missy Godfrey, CEO, SocialFlow said, “Our inclusion in the PMD program underscores our commitment to helping clients optimize their ad targeting and creative in real time. We are proud to be part of this Facebook program that helps developers create products to improve the ease of use and effectiveness of social marketing." Read the release.

FBX DSP Feedback

CEO Joe Zawadzki of demand-side platform MediaMath joined the talking heads on Bloomberg TV on Monday to discuss Facebook, its ad exchange and MediaMath’s offering. Zawadzki tells the interviewer, “The performance metrics are there. We've got hundreds of advertisers that are running on the Facebook Exchange and north of 90% of advertisers are seeing A) great performance and B) doing it at meaningful scale.”  See Zawadzki in action.  FBX remains the “cool kids” exchange.

The Google Panel

Google has taken steps to prop up its little-known online consumer panel, called Screenwise. With adoption reportedly stalling, Google began offering cash payments to some households. The New York Times reports on one. “With so many devices in her family, Google was offering to pay about $100 a month. That was tempting, but Carolyn had some privacy qualms.” Read the qualms.

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