Examining The Growth Tax; Influencer Marketing Influx Risks Quality

financialheadachesHere’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign-up here.

The Growth Tax

Some of the leading tech, media and commerce startups to IPO – Zendesk, Twitter, Etsy, Square, Coupons.com and Zulilly, for a start – took big venture capital rounds to get there. But did that money go to any actual use? The Information reports that those companies all spent more than a third of their cash infusions not on product or business development, but to pay out previous investors and execs. Ad tech players with IPO ambitions feel the same squeeze. The Trade Desk recently raised $60 million, which “predominantly went toward funding the buyback of shares from early investors,” per the release.

Lost In Brandslation

As brand dollars pour into social media influencer marketing, some are concerned the flood of automation and data will drag down quality and authenticity, reports Mike Shields of The Wall Street Journal. “This is terrible for the industry,” said 360i CEO Sarah Hofstetter. “It runs the risk of being exploitative and ruining it.” Influencers themselves feel little connection or loyalty to the cottage industry servicing them [AdExchanger coverage], they just appreciate making a living on social media. Of course, that’s mostly how they feel about the brands too. More.

Funding The SaaS Dream

Collective closed a $34M round, bringing the 11-year-old company’s total VC and debt financing to $100 million. TechCrunch says the money will fuel a dashboard product, Visto, capable of pulling information from DSPs, SSPs and PMP deals. “Visto will follow a contract based SaaS pricing model. The platform is a strategic move into the growing self-service niche in adtech,” the story declares. The great ad tech-to-mar tech pivot continues apace. More.  

Content With Your Content

The Washington Post’s in-house branded content studio, WP BrandStudio, is now publishing stories directly to Facebook Instant Articles, per a WaPo release yesterday. “We’re committed to providing superior reader experiences across the board, and that includes custom content we create for marketers,” said the Post’s head of of products, Jarrod Dicker. IBM Power Systems is on board as the first marketer. Meanwhile, Digiday reports Intel just became the first brand to publish its own content directly to Instant Articles. “The distinction between marketers and publishers is getting increasingly blurred.”


Imgur will let marketers embed gifs and videos in their promoted posts in a format immune to ad blockers, reports George Slefo at Ad Age. That’s good news for brands trying to reach Imgur’s young, tech-savvy audience, many of whom install ad blockers. “Users respond to our advertising in ways that aren’t seen in advertising,” said VP of marketing Steve Patrizi. “This community stands up and applauds its advertisers.” The platform had 33.1 million uniques last month, up 6% from last year, according to comScore data. Discovery Channel and CNN are already using the new format. More.

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