GroupM NA CEO Castree Leaves; TikTok Is Testing A Self-Serve Ad Platform

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Castree Out

GroupM North America CEO Tim Castree has stepped down from his role after less than a year on the job, Business Insider reports. Castree was promoted to CEO in late 2018, after leading the merger of media agencies MEC and Maxus, with a mandate to get back to growth by streamlining the organization and cutting costs. But GroupM is still lagging in the region. Castree’s future at the company became especially uncertain, according to Business Insider’s agency sources, when former Essence CEO Christian Juhl came on as global CEO of GroupM in July. But in a statement following his exit, Castree said he was “bullish” about GroupM’s future. More.

TikTok Targeting

TikTok has been pitching a self-serve ad buying product over the past quarter. It believes the shift from direct managed sales to a platform model will open the video-sharing app to more advertisers. Advertisers in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States can purchase TikTok ads with partially self-serve tech, Digiday reports. Company staffers need to actually run the ads after they’ve been purchased. A pitch deck obtained by Digiday outlines TikTok’s two self-serve business models. The first allows bidding based on cost per click. The second model is based on cost per acquisition, targeting users most likely to convert. Among the usual audience parameters – age, gender and location – advertisers can also target based on device price, interests like beauty or travel and with look-alike segments. More. Also in TikTok news, United States lawmakers are increasingly concerned about its ownership by Chinese company ByteDance, and US employees are bristling at censorship coming from its Beijing-based ownership.

The French Are Coming

Martin Sorrell’s S4 has new competition, but it’s not from the traditional holding companies. French holding company Fimalac has taken a majority share in London-based digital marketing agency Jellyfish, bringing its valuation to over $640 million. The firm will merge Jellyfish with its digital marketing specialist group, Tradelab, to expand internationally and compete with the new model of digital-first marketing groups like S4, the Financial Times reports. Jellyfish was founded in 2005 as a Google reseller (similar to S4’s MightyHive), works with clients including Uber, Disney, Spotify and Ford and recorded $69 million in sales last year. Fimalac will own 74% of the combined company and plans to grow its headcount from 780 to 3,000 within two years. “We’re taking similarly aggressive ambitions to S4 Capital because we’re right in the same place and we’re looking at the same opportunity,” said Jellyfish CEO Rob Pierre. More.

Playing Politics

Twitter’s political and issue ads ban has been a PR “slam dunk,” according to the Guardian. But is it smart policy? Some say the loss of digital platforms empowers incumbents, since challenger campaigns can’t rely on expensive TV commercials or otherwise reach potential supporters. And Twitter is now in an uncomfortable situation having to define what is and isn’t political. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has certainly had fun at Mark Zuckerberg’s expense announcing Twitter’s ad policy change in a thread trolling Zuck. But while dunking on Zuck probably feels good, enforcing a political ads ban is tricky, and even small changes at the platform level would have serious ripple effects in the US election. More.

But Wait, There’s More

 

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