Facebook Under EU Microscope; Mobile Ad Market To Hit $101B

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Platforms Under Siege

Privacy officials from France, Spain and Italy are looking into Facebook’s data collection practices, The Wall Street Journal reports. “The pile-on is a sign of an increasingly acrimonious environment for US technology companies in Europe,” writes the Journal’s Sam Schechner. “Antitrust officials at the EU plan to move in coming weeks against Google in a long-running competition probe. Amazon and Apple have been named in EU investigations into corporate-tax affairs. France and Germany are pushing for new rules to regulate big Internet companies.” A recent Belgian Privacy Commission study appeared to prepare the ground for legal challenges to Facebook’s use of cookies. Read AdExchanger’s coverage of that.

$100B For Mobile

The global mobile ad market is poised to hit $101 billion in 2016, eMarketer predicts. That’s a 430% increase from 2013, and will account for more than 50% of all digital ad spend. China and the US are leading the global market in both device use and mobile ad spend. “Growth in mobile ad spending is being driven by consumer adoption of mobile devices,” writes eMarketer, adding that in 2016 there will be more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, a fourth of whom will be based in China. In China and elsewhere, “Many consumers are accessing the internet mobile-first and mobile-only, so leading advertisers allocate their digital expenditure to mobile accordingly.”

Weather’s Trifecta

The Weather Company’s decision to focus on video across mobile and desktop is paying dividends. “On desktop alone, the company drew more than 13.2 million unique video viewers” in February, Digiday reports, putting the company in the enviable position of offering audience tracking and branded video experiences across the triple crown of websites, mobile apps and TV. The problem for The Weather Company mirrors that of many in the industry: a mobile ad system that requires “optimization” and consumer pushback on video ad formats. More.

Wanted: Publisher Revenue Diversity

In a Q&A with NiemanLab’s Joseph Lichterman, The Economist deputy editor Tom Standage says digital publishing’s reliance on advertising is problematic. “An awful lot of [news organizations] seem to have business models that are dependent on advertising, and I don’t think it’s going to work.” Instead, the Economist wants to reinvent. “We’re switching toward what we call thought leadership, which is we sell sponsorship of conferences, with white papers, with online advertising as well,” Standage said. “It’s not straightforward display advertising. It allows advertisers to associate themselves with particular topic areas, or raise their profiles in particular areas.” It remains to be seen if the many VC-backed outlets can stand on their own feet, but for Standage, “I don’t think the current model is sustainable.”

Programmatic Turns 10

Wednesday marked the first online ad exchange’s 10th anniversary. In 2005, Brian O’Kelley was at Right Media, where “almost by accident, I built a feature that allowed companies to bid into each other’s auctions.” A patent that O’Kelley shares with Amy Kang would go on to “spawn hundreds of companies and billions of dollars of IPOs and acquisitions.” At 10 years old, programmatic digital spending just topped $10 billion in 2014, and according to eMarketer is expected to more than double that by 2016. Happy birthday indeed. Brian O’Kelley’s look back is at the AppNexus blog.

Programmatic Zinged In Viewability Study

Sizmek claims mobile ad viewability tops desktop, and ads served programmatically are less viewable than those served direct. Its study of 240 billion impressions found “desktop standard banner ads had a 48% viewability rate, way behind those of mobile at nearly 80%,” reports Mumbrella. And, the press release.

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