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The Telegraph's Guarantee; Facebook Bumps Up Ad Frequency

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Publisher’s Promise

The Telegraph released a letter to its advertisers in an effort to soothe any concerns regarding a lack of transparency in programmatic trading. The letter reads like a list of guarantees, and The Telegraph is calling it its “Customer Charter.” Sales and trading director Jim Freeman and client director Melanie Danks co-authored the letter, in which they promise clients that every investment on ad impressions will deliver "Real people (No Click Bots); a quality and engaging environment to ensure context and attention; a more affluent audience than Facebook, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and all other Newsbrands; quality and engaging content produced by a network of over 500 journalists across the world with the most sophisticated state of the art tools at their disposal; and the most loyal and data rich audience in Newsbrands." The Drum has more. (more…)

Small Shops Embrace Arbitrage; Google's Adwords Update

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Boutique Arbitrage

On Monday, Ad Age profiled a small digital agency whose atypical business strategy might signal a growing trend. IMM is a Boulder, Colo.-based shop with a head count of 100, and the company is practicing arbitrage (typically undertaken by much larger companies). But shouldering the risk of buying media for clients before receiving compensation seems to be paying off for IMM, and the shop already works with some heavyweight clients like Chili's and Quiznos. The secret to success, according to Ad Age, is taking a cue from the major industry players: "On the programmatic front, IMM's arbitrage model is not too dissimilar from that of GroupM's Xaxis." Read more. (more…)

Yahoo Acquires ClarityRay; Keyword Search

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Buying Into Anti-Fraud

Yahoo gobbled up Israel-based startup ClarityRay on Friday for an undisclosed sum. ClarityRay began as an ad-blocking firm, but has since evolved to an ad-security and fraud-detection company. A spokesperson for Yahoo told TechCrunch, "Advertising is an essential part of our business here at Yahoo, and we’re committed to getting it right. ClarityRay is a company with deep expertise in ad-malware detection and prevention. The bottom line for Yahoo is that search is going to get better and safer for users, and advertising will become more reliable and profitable for partners." Read more. LinkedIn says ClarityRay has six employees, and so does a mouseover of the ClarityRay logo here. It’s an acqui-hire for a Yahoo ads future. (more…)

Fraud-day With Forensiq: Detection Requires A ‘Holistic’ Approach

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

There’s fraudulent inventory out there. That’s just a fact of online advertising life right now. But if you don’t bid on it, then you don’t buy it. And if you don’t buy it, then you don’t get burned.

That’s Forensiq’s approach to fraud detection: Prevention is better than cure, especially in programmatic. Although Forensiq does provide a reporting service, its focus is on trying to deflect a risky bid before it’s made.

“We have a proactive solution that can sit in a pre-bid environment and return a risk score in five or 10 milliseconds to say, ‘No, don’t buy that impression,’” said David Sendroff, founder and CEO of Forensiq, which rebranded from CPA Detective back in March. “We also have JavaScript that can sit alongside an ad and allow us to gather aggregate details around things like viewability and traffic sources."


Wage Wars; Marketing Automation And Ad Tech Collide

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A Battle For The Wages

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, 4A CEO Nancy Hill comes to a pretty grim conclusion as to why the ad industry is starved for talent. With student loans on the rise, and with low average entry salaries in the ad biz, not all grads can afford to work in the industry. On Wednesday, ANA CEO Bob Liodice stepped into the ring. Agreeing with an apparent industrywide thirst for talent, Liodice argues that low entry wages have been endemic to advertising for decades. And the adoption of programmatic strategies and a move to take media in-house have compounded the problem, he says. WSJ's Mike Shields takes a look at both sides of the debate.


AOL Bonds; LinkedIn's B2B Scheme

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More AOL Acquisitions?

On Tuesday, AOL said it will offer $300 million of convertible senior notes. This marks the first time that AOL has offered bonds since 2009, when the company broke away from Time Warner. According to The Wall Street Journal , AOL will use its bond earnings to fund new acquisitions and to buy back a portion of sold AOL stock. The notes will be exclusively available to qualified institutional buyers, and are expected to mature on Sept. 1st, 2019. Read the release. (more…)

Programmatic Growing Fast in Display, Mobile And Video Categories, But For Different Reasons

AOL Programmatic surveyEighty-seven percent of brands and agencies plan to spend at least 50% more on programmatic buys of desktop display, mobile and video advertising in the next six months, according to a survey conducted by AOL Platforms of executives at 25 advertisers, 96 agencies and 56 publishers.

Display’s growth is driven by access to premium formats and reserved inventory, said AOL Platforms CMO Allie Kline.

“I hear people talk about display being less important, and that is a myth that this survey debunks,” she said. “Display is not only where the majority of money is spent, but also where the majority of increase will come from.”

Eighty-six percent of agency senior executives bought display programmatically, while 60% each bought mobile and video programmatically.

Mobile’s increase is driven by consumer consumption on handhelds and tablets, Kline said.

“We have so much data around how consumers are buying,” she said. “They are being exposed to display and video all day, and then at six o’clock at night, they go on their tablet to buy. We will see this category skyrocket.”

In the video category, Kline said she sees a need to create quality inventory to keep up with the increased spend. Brands and agencies plan to spend 8% more in programmatic television in the next six months, a small number that has a big impact because television budgets are so huge.

“We’re starting to see television play a material role,” Kline said. “To see that at 8% is pretty powerful for us.” It’s also an area where AOL has a lot of skin in the game, having acquired video platform and television audience-targeting company PrecisionDemand. (more…)

Pursway Connect; TV Still Wins

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Friends Of Friends

Pursway unveiled an audience extension platform on Tuesday, dubbed Pursway Connect. Simply put, the platform helps markets identify and reach “real-life” friends of their known target audience, thereby extending a marketer's overall pool of targets. Pursway Connect is only available for direct mail and social media targeting, but the company plans to expand to online and mobile channels as well. The more (people) you know. Read on at Adweek.


BuzzFeed Gets $50M; Thrillist's Native Success

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BuzzFeed Optimizes Bank

On Monday, BuzzFeed closed a $50 million investment deal from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. With the new injection of cash, BuzzFeed boats a $850 million valuation, according to The New York Times. The online publisher will likely use the funds to broaden its content offerings and deepen its in-house advertising arm. Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, explained that the investment in BuzzFeed had a lot to do with the company’s huge social reach. “We think of BuzzFeed as more of a technology company. They embrace Internet culture. Everything is first optimized for mobile and social channels.” Read on.


M&A Trends; WPP Gets Flexible

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What’s With The M&A?

The NY Times explores the recent mergers and acquisitions trend – and what it means. NYT writers explain, “To some on Wall Street, the deal-making may not in fact be an indicator of golden years ahead. Optimism about economic growth may not be the sole driver of the boom in acquisitions, they assert. Instead, some chief executives may have come to view takeovers as the only way to obtain big increases in revenue in a still lackluster economy. If the deals then disappoint, the economy could also suffer.” Read it.