YouTube Reforms ‘Preferred’ Program; Pubs Hurt By Facebook Changes May Resort To Buying Traffic

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The Creator Crater

The past week brought significant change to YouTube’s content creator community and attendant ad revenue. The first major tweak brought a new layer of human review for content in the “Google Preferred” program, a curated video network created as a brand-safe (and higher-CPM) option for advertisers. YouTube is also cutting off advertisements for any accounts without 4,000 hours of “watchtime” in the previous year and at least 1,000 subscribers. The new rules “significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors),” write YouTube CPO Neal Mohan and business chief Robert Kyncl in a blog post. As the two YouTube execs hint there, the change could drive up rates for creators who meet the new standards. More at Recode.

Black Market

Facebook’s news feed algorithm update could push publishers to make up their losses by buying sourced traffic from resellers that often peddle cheap and low-quality inventory, Digiday reports. Publishers who go this route risk buying fraud at low CPMs, said Jonathan Mendez, board member at Yieldbot. And it will be difficult to point the blame by gathering data on how many publishers start buying source traffic, as most don’t want to admit that they’re doing it. “If the publishers are running light on traffic, they will take steps to buy the traffic, and so they are contributing to fraud,” an anonymous ad fraud expert told Digiday. “In their desperation, they may make the entire ecosystem worse.” More.

Mobile A-Go-Go

App Annie released its annual global app store recap tracking overall downloads and consumer spending through the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and other third-party Android app stores. India saw a major download surge after the mobile carrier Jio began offering free 4G, and India overtook the US as the No. 2 country by total downloads (trailing China). Raw download numbers, though, still aren’t the most optimistic data point from the report. That would be in-app spending in top markets. US consumer spending is up 75% from 2015 and was above $15 billion last year. In China, spending was almost $34 billion, and is on a hockey stick growth trajectory. TechCrunch has more.

A Turn Of Speed

Google will incorporate page speed into mobile search rankings beginning in July. Site speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010. Intent remains the strongest signal, “so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content,” according to Google’s announcement in a blog post. The update will affect a small percentage of queries and only the worst-performing sites. Google says it “applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology,” though previous attempts to speed up the mobile web, like its AMP program, favored publishers who bought in to Google. More at Search Engine Land.

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