Home Ad Exchange News All Mathed Out; No Need For An iOS SOS?

All Mathed Out; No Need For An iOS SOS?

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Tough Math

MediaMath came to the end of its decade-long venture capital tether last year when it sold a stake to PE firm Searchlight Capital, wiping out the equity of its founders, early investors and employees.

It’s a bitter outcome, reports Insider in a deep-dive feature on MediaMath’s long journey from “the brink of greatness” to, well, less than.

MediaMath missed multiple opportunities for a fairy-tale exit and failed to take advantage of that brief window when ad tech was running hot in 2020 and 2021. Founder and CEO Joe Zawadzki wanted a billion-dollar deal, and potential buyers, including IBM and Singtel, were always just south of a billion, according to Insider.

Deals were close but never materialized. And, in the meantime, MediaMath bled dry.

“No third-party was willing to advance funds to the company to consummate any of the alternatives,” according to a MediaMath board note to investors, as in disappointed investors who were being informed that their shares were worth $0.

The DSP market is like a horse race. One horse was always going to take the purse (that would be The Trade Desk), and two or three others may still finish “in the money,” as they say.

Most people expected that MediaMath would be in that latter runner-up category. Apparently not.

Most of the field finishes with nothing to show for it, including the early favorite in this case.

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Spend On The Mend

Ad spend on iOS dropped significantly in 2021 as a result of Apple’s ATT. It was a painful year for developers.

But, over the course of 2022, iOS advertising recovered and then some, according to mobile measurement provider Singular.

Historically, Singular’s clients spent roughly 55% of their user acquisition budgets on iOS and 45% on Android. That remained the case in 2020, before the ATT anvil dropped. In early 2021, however, iOS spend dropped by 10% (the iOS tithe) and hit a low of 36% in January 2022, VentureBeat reports.

But iOS ad spend has crept back and is now approaching half of all ad spend on Singular’s platform.

What gives?

For one, Singular does most of its business in key iOS markets, including North America. Apple is also selling more devices, which translates to more iOS users, who marketers are keen to reach. iPhone users typically spend more than Android users, making them more lucrative acquisition targets.

But there’s another reason: Developers are accustomed to the new normal. They’ve had time to familiarize themselves with SKAdNetwork and revamp their approach to performance advertising.

It’s Apple’s world, and developers learn to live in it.

Rx Marks The Spot

Sports betting app ads were so 2022. The new hotness is ketamine and ADHD treatments following people around social media.

That’s been the experience of Jessica Grose, who writes about it in an essay for The New York Times.

By taking a quiz prompted by TikTok and Instagram Reels ads and reading the literature about telehealth access to drugs and treatment, Grose brought down a horrible tracking deluge upon her head. It’s another reminder of how social marketing funnels and “lookalikes” can be a danger.

When the algorithms identify prospects with the potential to convert, they go hard. A social feed will rather quickly reinforce the notion that someone has ADHD or may need ketamine treatment and will continue hammering until that person follows through.
Grose also discusses how the ketamine and ADHD ads were booked via influencers who never touch on the potential downsides and don’t possess the information to even have a sophisticated conversation about the products.

Prescription drug ads are legal in just two developed countries: the US and New Zealand. The FDA hasn’t updated its guidance on social media DTC advertising for pharma companies since 2014.

So you can bet on this: Until this issue is resolved, pharma marketers will continue to take advantage of people and their supposed preferences.

But Wait, There’s More!

Marketers seek adaptability amid a fragmented post-cookie landscape. [Digiday]

Playtika suspends new game launches until the marketing landscape improves. [MobileGamer.biz]

The death of the undifferentiated SSP isn’t hitting all of ad tech. [Adweek]

How the new CMO of Molson Coors will approach the job. [Ad Age]

You’re Hired!

Magnite names David Buonasera as its new CTO. [release]

Former Amobee chief Nick Brien joins Enthusiast Gaming as CEO. [release]

Goodway Group announces four new executive hires, including a chief media officer and SVP of client experience. [release]

Ozone appoints Stephen Windegaard to the newly created role of programmatic sales lead. [release]

Linktree hires a new CTO, CMO and chief product officer. [blog]

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