Google Is Working Toward Better Ads; Amazon Accepts Trump’s Win

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Google’s Balancing Act

Google wants an ad-supported internet that doesn’t drive people crazy. Back in September it helped launch the Coalition for Better Ads with major platforms and publishers, and it decided not to build an ad blocker into Chrome – in contrast to browsers Opera and Brave. “If publishers and advertisers do ads the right way, it can be great for the users and for the ecosystem,” said Darin Fisher, VP of Chrome engineering. But Google’s fight against bad user experience may have repercussions for advertisers. For users on slow 2G networks, the search giant will ban a programming feature that analyzes ad performance. More at CNET.

Grin And Bear It

Amazon is making nice with Trump now that his presidency is a reality. CEO Jeff Bezos spoke openly against Trump during the election, but needs the president as an ally for Amazon to continue growing. Amazon’s businesses depend on government policies regarding sales taxes, cybersecurity, net neutrality, data privacy and shipping, and it spends millions of dollars each year lobbying Washington to ensure that they are. Because Trump’s antitrust sentiment could result in major taxes and regulation, Bezos is extending the olive branch to protect the company’s interests. “If a CEO and …  the president of the United States don’t have a good relationship, then it’s going to be that much harder for that company to be heard and their concerns to be taken seriously,” said Tim LaPira, associate professor of political science at James Madison University. More at Business Insider.

Commerce + Media + China  

Alibaba racked up $18 billion in sales on Singles’ Day, the Chinese ecommerce holiday (more than triple Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined). In addition to the discounts, Singles’ Day is a media event with all-day shows, events and concerts meant to generate streaming viewers and ad space. ”Putting more emphasis on entertainment makes the shopping event more festive and social – and it also draws in ad revenue,” Angela Dolan writes at Ad Age. “Alibaba said it took the ad revenue … and gave it back to shoppers in the form of ‘red envelopes’ – virtual cash handouts distributed on their mobile devices, which could be used to shop.”


With earnings in from almost all the major media owners, digital continues to dominate advertising growth, according to an investment recap from Pivotal Research senior analyst Brian Wieser. Factoring out the Olympics and an incremental boost from politics, cable and broadcast TV spending remained flat or even decelerated this quarter. Radio and out-of-home treaded water, and print continues to take a beating. Wieser estimates digital as a channel had a quarterly growth rate in the mid to high teens, but says Facebook and Google (50% and 22% growth, respectively, in Q3) are the real winners. The two powerhouses combined for $2.9 billion in domestic ad revenue growth, while the entire category (including Olympics and the election) saw revenue growth of $3.2 billion.

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