Native Isn’t There Yet; Pharma Advertisers Face Targeting Roadblocks

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Native Friction

Native programmatic startups like ShareThrough, TripleLift and Nativo have raised tens of millions, and native volume has jumped on the exchanges. But native still pales in comparison to the banner biz, reports The Wall Street Journal. Fewer than 10% of marketers running ads on the top 200 websites used native programmatic units. “Our ad partners are not there yet,” said Kavata Mbondo, VP of digital revenue and strategy at Time Inc. Other sources in the story say publishers are the real bottleneck. “You don’t have as many experienced tech people who can make this happen at those companies,” says Todd Sawicki, CEO at Zemanta. More.


The heavily regulated pharma sector faces some tough roadblocks to targeting. According to HIPAA , pharma advertisers can’t use first-party data to target or retarget users with known medical conditions. “A lot of [the targeting] is based on contextual targeting in lieu of audience data,” said Dan Raffe, director of programmatic at Centro. As workarounds, pharma advertisers target ads to relevant content (but they can’t retarget users based on their browsing histories) and use third-party data to serve as a proxy for related conditions. Viagra, for example, can’t target a user with erectile dysfunction, but it can target related conditions like heart disease. More at Digiday.

Slimming Down

Google triggered serious Twitter speculation with its purchase of Fabric, Twitter’s mobile developer toolkit. Alphabet is at the top of a shortlist of potential Twitter buyers, so absorbing Fabric (which includes Crashlytics, the tool that tracks software crashes on Twitter) and the 60 or so Twitter employees on the Fabric team could be seen as a first bite. Or not. “Twitter executives have been seeking ways to sharpen the company’s focus as user and revenue growth slows. During a failed process last year to find a buyer for the whole company, management also discussed spinning off non-core assets,” Bloomberg reports. Read it.

Fad / Not A Fad

Quartz has acquired, a research firm that analyzes artificial intelligence for businesses. The firm will help Quartz expand its reporting on AI as it becomes more prevalent across the tech ecosystem. “AI has the potential to transform nearly every industry, and forward-thinking companies will have to figure out what it means for them,” Quartz wrote in an article announcing the acquisition. Read it. The publisher will also create a “new specialized product aimed at providing global business professionals with valuable insights into how AI affects their organizations,” which Recode’s Peter Kafka says may be a new subscription product for AI-related content. More.

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