Retargeters Feel The GDPR Pressure; Facebook Tests Local News Feed

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Getting To Yes?

Tracking restrictions in Europe and on popular web browsers like Safari are putting retargeting companies in a bind – and “desperate times call for desperate in-browser messages,” reports Ross Benes at Digiday. Some retargeters now drop in-browser messages that opt in users if the message is closed. It’s a common strategy for publishers alerting readers to cookie tracking, but one that may not fly for companies like Criteo and AdRoll that have no connection to the individual or the content. Using these tactics is “going to become a high-stakes poker game for advertisers once GDPR goes into effect,” says Altimeter analyst Susan Etlinger. The EU is likely to make an example of someone, and with potential fines as high as 4% of annual sales – including media spend on the platform, not just revenue – a misstep could break the back and the bank of even a strong independent ad tech company. More.

Local Yokels

Facebook is testing a product called Today In that creates a feed of local news and entertainment. Facebook’s News Partnership team is evaluating local news sources to gather content, and the product is being tested in six medium-sized cities. “It’s possible that being part of a separate, local section of the app will help drive more traffic back to publishers’ stories and websites where they can make money through advertising,” reports Kurt Wagner at Recode, “but there is no way for publishers to make money off the new local section at launch.” The section could also help supplement Facebook’s other local-focused channels, such as a check-in feature that might compete with Foursquare. More.

TV’s New Rules

“People say content is king? I think [consumer] experience is the kingmaker,” says Kevin Reilly, president of TBS and TNT, in a Variety profile. Reilly is frustrated that cable distributors have failed to innovate for entertainment consumers. “Whether Amazon is good at making and sustaining an entertainment business remains to be seen. But they certainly are 100% focused every day on optimizing the consumer experience and reducing friction.” For Reilly, the lesson is to ramp up the Time Warner-owned cable group’s investments in analytics, ecommerce and multiplatform engagement. “We ain’t Google,” Reilly says. “But we’re trying to optimize everything we have, and build out our competency with data.” More.

Fashion Victims

Startup fashion and beauty brands have promulgated on Facebook and Instagram, but so too have scam manufacturers. With so many legitimate startups hawking near-luxury products at low prices, it’s harder for users to identify knockoffs. Most of these pop-up merchants use the ecommerce platform Shopify, which “solders digital advertising through Facebook onto the world of Asian manufacturers and wholesalers,” writes Alexis Madrigal for The Atlantic. These operations aren’t get-rich-quick schemes. Buying products in Asia is cheap, but the practice comes with real costs, and can require pumping thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a day back into Facebook advertising. But for Facebook and Shopify, this is big business, at least as long as they aren’t burdened with the kind of product and payment return policies found on Amazon. More.

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