Video Competition Heats Up; Publishers Building Platforms

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Facebook-YouTube Showdown

Facebook Video is gaining speed, but YouTube has more inventory and offers advertisers more options. The WSJ polls buyers, who are impressed with Facebook’s video reach but aren’t fully sold. “The growth of video views on Facebook is staggering,” said Digitas CIO Adam Shlachter. “But it’s still not 100% clear what the opportunities are to capitalize on that.” Though YouTube is not a perfect platform and has struggled to reach profitability, industry execs don’t yet expect Facebook to steal its advertisers quite yet. “There is a huge opportunity for Facebook to grab video ad dollars because of its targeting,” said Brian Shin, Visible Measures’ CEO, “But we don’t see those dollars coming from YouTube.” Time will tell how Facebook’s latest branded content initiative, dubbed Anthology, alters the competition.

The Case For ‘Platishers’

Speaking to Digiday, Hearst Magazine’s president of digital media, Troy Young, says modern publishers must build platforms if they mean to survive in a digital world. “Platforms are incredibly strategic to the future of multibrand media companies,” Young said. “If you do not have a platform and data strategy that brings the scale and power of brands together as an organization, scale will only get in the way against pure-play, very focused competitors.” As proof, Young pointed to the success of young publishers like BuzzFeed and Vox – both of whom have deep-seated technological competency coupled with strong ad offerings. But according to Young, there’s still room for display. “Display media is really important to augment what you’re doing with content,” he said. “What display gives you is frequency. It gives you a systematic ability to deliver a message.”

App O’Clock

TechCrunch took an early look at the Apple Watch’s app ecosystem, which could reach some 20 million consumers in 2015, according to some estimates. Data from app store analytics firm App Annie suggests the watch is launching with 3,061 apps, many of which were designed specifically for Apple’s shiny new wearable. “The majority of Watch apps are the result of developers who extended their existing iOS applications to include Watch support,” explains TechCrunch reporter Sarah Perez, “but App Annie tracked 889 apps – or 29% of the total sample – built just for the Watch.” Separately, Ad Age reported Friday that the Apple Watch still lacks enough scale to sell ads, but marketers may find other ways to leverage the wearable.

SMBs On Twitter

Three years ago, Twitter rolled out self-serve ads for SMBs in the US, and on Friday Adweek followed up with data from BIA/Kelsey on the initiative’s progress. The local-media-focused firm surveyed 600 companies in the US that have between 10 and 99 employees and found that 9.5% had bought an ad on Twitter. According to the data, half those SMBs bought Twitter’s Promoted Tweet offering, and another 18.3% of respondents confirmed they used the social platform for Marketing. BIA/Kelsey said that the total average advertising budget for the surveyed companies hit $35,693, and that 21.4% of that sum got funneled into social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Looking ahead, 61% of respondents told BIA/Kelsey that social was an extremely high priority in terms of spending priorities for the coming year. Read it.

Power Of The Purse

Amid a period of tense introspection among brands and agencies regarding their digital advertising, the 4A’s and ANA announced the formation of a transparency task force on Friday. MediaPost reports that the task force, comprised of the groups’ chiefs, as well as leading agencies and marketers, is tasked with taking “decisive action to address concerns about media transparency.” Though digital has established itself as a core part of marketing budgets and continues to eat into TV ad spend, marketers are pushing back across the board on the ecosystem’s opacity.

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