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Facebook Unveils Cross-Platform Tools, Plans To Stop Breaking Things

f8Over the last decade, Facebook has evolved from a forum for college students to poke each other to a company trying to position itself as a maturing, cross-device communication platform for marketers and consumers.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg certainly hopes this maturation is reflected in the company’s evolving slogan, from “move fast and break things” to the more staid “move fast with stable infra.”

While buzz around Facebook’s f8 Developer Conference largely focused on its mobile ad network, the Facebook Audience Network, the company also revealed an assortment of cross-platform tools.

App Links, for instance, is an open-source SDK for app-to-app deep linking intended to work across different platforms like Apple, Google and Windows operating systems. A number of vendors have already signed on to use the standard, including Spotify, Dropbox, Pinterest, Hulu, Flixter, Vimeo and Flickr.

The company also unveiled a mobile "like" button that users can click to share pieces of content from an app on Facebook and allow apps to receive more earned exposure. Facebook will show app publishers the number of people who have liked their content, but it is unclear how many impressions each "like" will receive and how Facebook will determine who sees the shared content.


Facebook, Twitter Ads Partner Unified Acquires

unifiedUnified, a company that helps brands with social ad buys, has acquired social analytics startup for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced Thursday.

Unified is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer and Twitter Ads API Partner. The core of its product is a “Social Operating Platform,” a cloud-based tool that combines social marketing capabilities ranging from audience and performance analytics to automated ad-buying on Facebook and Twitter.

Unified was one of five social ads platforms to be inducted into LinkedIn’s Certified Sponsored Updates Partners program last week.

Now with the acquisition of, Unified could potentially gain access to broader marketing datasets beyond the social sphere.’s CEO Fred McIntyre told AdExchanger in a recent interview that the company, yes, connects brands and agencies with users in a social context, but also tackles “multichannel attribution” challenges, such as tracking the trail of social shares and links that led to an in-dealer purchase in the case of customer BMW., which was founded in 2009, is backed by a number of investors like Foundry Group and kbs+ Ventures. The team is small ( pins the number at around 10) and a Unified spokesperson says five members will join the acquiring company. CEO Fred McIntyre, a former AOL exec, will support the transition and remain on as an advisor to the company.


A New Star At Facebook: David Jakubowski To Head Atlas Solutions

jakubowski atlas

UPDATE: Facebook has confirmed that David Jakubowski will be joining the company, and that he will have a role that extends beyond Atlas.

UPDATE 8:15PM ET: Jakubowski, through Neustar's public relations agency, released the following comment via email: "I have been presented with an opportunity that I simply couldn’t refuse. I can assure you that Neustar has a very talented team and the right technology and people in place to provide marketers with a complete workflow solution. I’m more confident than ever in the strengths of Neustar’s technology and assets."

Facebook’s Atlas Advertiser Suite has a new boss – one that solidifies the importance of the ad server in a tech stack (which includes an ad server, an exchange and, as of Wednesday, a mobile ad network) that pushes beyond the confines of the Facebook social network.

David Jakubowski will leave his position as SVP of marketing services at Neustar to oversee the ad tech solution, acquired from Microsoft in early 2013, AdExchanger sources said.

Atlas was originally Microsoft’s answer to Google’s DoubleClick acquisition, functioning as an ad server and as a measurement platform through which advertisers could evaluate their digital campaigns.

But the product never took off the way Microsoft envisioned; it sold the suite to Facebook, where it had seemingly been gathering dust until recently when, in a flurry of sudden activity, the social network launched a new logo as well as product updates including support for programmatic direct buys and a rich media API program. (more…)

LinkedIn Launches Ads API, Certified Content Partners Program

JonWilliamsLinkedIn has been ramping up its marketing offerings over the last year in the form of self-serve Sponsored Updates and brand Showcase Pages. The professional social platform moved forward Thursday with the roll-out of a Sponsored Updates API the company has alluded to in recent months. It has also formalized two new Certified Marketing Partner programs.

First, the ads API. What marketers can do that they couldn’t do before, according to LinkedIn, is enable targeting of native, in-stream ad units through a new Certified Sponsored Updates Partners program that includes AdStage, Brand Networks, SHIFT, Unified Social and the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. Marketers were looking for ways to scale their Sponsored Updates campaigns by using the social ads dashboards brands and agencies had previously invested in, the company said.

Although LinkedIn worked with companies such as AdStage prior to this deal, the extent of the ads platform partnership only covered LinkedIn Text Ads; the Sponsored Updates API echoes steps Twitter and Facebook have taken toward programmatically enabled native ad placements in-stream.

LinkedIn has also created a LinkedIn Certified Content Partners program to increase brand access to publisher content. On the flip side, publishers see value in LinkedIn's business-attuned audience.

What differentiates LinkedIn, according to publishers, is its audience specificity on 300 million professionally minded people.


Facebook's Q1: Mobile Contributed 59% Of Ad Revenue In Q1

fb-q1Facebook reported first-quarter earnings Wednesday, exceeding analyst estimates with ad revenue growth of 82% to $2.3 billion. In contrast, Google's Q1 revenues were seven times larger at $15.4 billion, but its growth was only 19%. Read the earnings release.

Mobile was the star of the show, from both an audience and revenue standpoint. The number of users accessing Facebook via a mobile device jumped 43% year over year to 609 million globally, and monthly active mobile users surpassed 1 billion for the first time. Mobile now contributes 59% of the company's total ad revenues, up from 30% in Q1 2013.

As part of that shift to mobile, Facebook showed fewer ads in Q1. Its total impression volume declined 17% year over year – offset by price increases.

"We don't have a strategy to decrease ad impressions," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during its earnings call with investors. "We have news feed ads which are higher quality and perform better, and we have this legacy of right-hand ads on desktop that perform less well. As we shift to news feed, raw impressions are decreasing but value is increasing. Overall, we're trying to make it so the individual load on a per-person basis isn't increasing; instead we're … increasing quality especially on news feed ads."


Twitter's MoPub Rolls Out Native Ads To All Publishers, Includes Direct Sold Inventory

mobile-twitter-mopubFour months after first introducing support for native advertising, Twitter's mobile exchange MoPub is pitching the solution to all publishers.

Consisting of an native ads SDK, a publisher-side ad server,  and an RTB extension, the MoPub native product is a "a complete solution for direct sold and exchange traded native ads, delivering the same control and transparency to publishers that we are known for," according to Twitter.

Here's a little more detail from the blog post:

  • The native ad SDK, which can be used to create a customized ad unit inside of your app
  • The ad server, which allows you to traffic your own ad campaigns into your native inventory. Publishers have full budgeting support, a rich array of targeting options, integrated reporting and a full order and line items system for trafficking native ad campaigns for in-house campaigns and direct sold campaigns alike
  • Our native ad extension to OpenRTB, which allows demand partners to bid on your native ads no matter how they are rendered in your app


Twitter Embraces App Install Ads

twitter app installTwitter, as rumored, is developing an ad product specifically designed for app installs.

On Thursday, Twitter acknowledged the existence of the mobile app promotion suite, the first product that connects Twitter with the mobile ad exchange it inherited when it acquired MoPub last September.

Advertisers shouldn’t try to jump on board quite yet, however: The app promotion suite is available to some US advertisers in private beta and will likely remain so for at least the next few months, though the company will consider adding more beta test partners. It's unclear how many there are now, and Twitter is proceeding methodically. By mid-year, it hopes to have enough information around how both Twitter users and advertisers react to the app install ads. (more…)

SnappyTV Releases Social Playback Of TV Clips, Fox Sports Hopes To Capitalize

snappytvOnline video, especially online video embedded in social networks, is essentially a free-for-all. There are few rules or best practices and brands and vendors are still figuring out what works best for consumers. SnappyTV is figuring its one-tap native video playback on Facebook and Twitter, a feature the video content platform is releasing Tuesday, will be one such innovation.

“[Facebook and Twitter is] where the audiences are when they talk about live events,” said CEO Mike Folgner. SnappyTV is a platform that allows clients, like Fox Sports, to quickly clip highlights from live events and slap them onto a social media platform in near real-time. This is designed to take advantage of the second screen phenomenon and drive engagement with the media company’s digital properties. Additionally, it potentially presents more online content to monetize with, say, pre-roll video ads.

“Out of the gate, we saw a performance increase in having real-time delivery, mostly because these conversations about sporting events happen in real-time,” said Josh Baird, senior manager, social media at Fox Sports, a SnappyTV customer. “For us to deliver a piece of content that would show up in somebody’s stream while they’re actually watching on air is a powerful way to make our [digital] accounts a destination for content.” (more…)

Is A Second Wave Of Social CRM Consolidation Upon Us?

SocialWaveCall 2011 and 2012 the first wave of social CRM, when companies like and Oracle snapped up social media analytics and marketing companies.

Little more than one year later, all signs point toward paid media becoming a part of the enterprise social stack with more M&A and partnerships likely to come.

Although CRM, in its truest form, is defined as a trifecta of customer service, marketing and sales, early social solutions that by heritage owned one piece of that puzzle are rapidly moving toward broader life-cycle management.

Oracle Social Cloud has opened up paid media partner APIs to social ads platforms Kenshoo, SHIFT and Nanigans following its social acquisitions of Vitrue, Collective Intellect and Involver. In addition, enterprise social media-management system Sprinklr acquired social data analytics company Dachis Group in February, and will soon release a paid social media product.

Last week, Lithium Technologies acquired social influence platform Klout. Originally sold as a customer service and social communities solution, Lithium has “had to create context for the marketer to create more competitive advantage,” CEO Rob Tarkoff told AdExchanger at a news conference in San Francisco announcing the deal.

He added, “We have very broad consumer reach now and capture signals and data from one half of a billion consumers. … This brings digital relationship [management] into the CRM world.”

And this week, Mass Relevance and Spredfast merged to “serve all social marketing needs for brands, media companies and agencies.”


Will Twitter Ignite The App Install Wars?

InstallathonMobile app install ads have proven to be lucrative for Facebook, and sources say Twitter is close to releasing its own version of such ads along with a new mobile app install partner program.

“Given the prevalence of Twitter app usage in mobile, which has an even higher percentage of mobile vs. desktop than Facebook, it’s no surprise to see Twitter move forward with mobile app install ads,” said Paul Steketee, head of paid social and emerging media at CRM agency Merkle.

As originally reported by Bloomberg, sources identified ecommerce and game industry marketers as viable users of a prospective Twitter mobile app install product.

App developers represent an attractive new ads opportunity for Twitter because of built-in demand. Such a product could help satisfy the classic need for more visibility and engagement in crowded mobile apps marketplaces. Additionally, advertisers could potentially buy more directly from Twitter, instead of going through a salesforce or intermediary.

Steketee recalls recently spotting an app install ad placement in his newsfeed and observed how the unit provides a direct link to download the app along with a media-forward preview image for the app.

“We’re excited to turn these ads on for our clients,” he added. “Many folks are using Twitter in short-but-frequent bursts on their mobile devices and won’t mind having an app download in the background while they are waiting in line or commuting while using Twitter.”