Publishers Reduce SSP Partners; Facebook Monetizes WhatsApp

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New Year’s Diet

Vendor culling is real, at least on the sell side. And the advent of GDPR will likely shrink the vendor community even more [AdExchanger coverage]. But this year, publishers cut the number of supply-side platforms they work with by 20% on average, according to a Pathmatics survey of 500 large US publishers. Publishers tended to use about six vendors in 2017, down from eight a year ago. And some cases are extreme: Turner went from using 30 supply-side vendors to six. In 2017, just 23% of publishers increased the number of SSPs they worked with, down from 45% in 2016. Publishers are trimming their vendor rosters to limit data leakage, arbitrage and fraud while increasing page speed and simplifying the supply chain. “Many of them are undifferentiated duplicate technology that don’t add incremental value,” Jeremy Hlavacek, head of global automated monetization at IBM Watson Advertising, tells Digiday. “It’s more work to manage all of them, and it’s more third-party tech on our pages.” More.


Facebook launched an ad unit with buttons that send messages or calls through Facebook-owned WhatsApp. Though Facebook is pitching the product as a customer service or communications tool, it also allows the social network to finally monetize WhatsApp. WhatsApp previously held a strong anti-advertising position despite its acquisition by one of the largest media sellers in the world. The click-to-WhatsApp feature is similar to how Facebook used Messenger in the early days of that messaging app, eMarketer principal analyst Debbie Williamson told TechCrunch. More.

Mind The Gap

As venture capital investments in advertising technology startups run dry, the fin tech startup FastPay has seen a surge of lending to media exchange companies in the past year [AdExchanger coverage]. Since its founding in 2009, FastPay has lent $2 billion to digital media companies, and half of that was in 2017. Ad tech companies need a service like FastPay because of a divide in their incoming and outgoing payment models: Publishers are paid for inventory right away, but brands and agencies often wait 90 days or more to pay their ad tech partners. The Trade Desk opened a $200 million line of credit earlier this year to have the cash on hand to bridge its billing gap. FastPay UK director Matt Byrne says it’s a great opportunity for fin tech startups to grow with digital media as banks and lenders “fail to keep up with the evolving business models of the industry.” Read the release.

Blocking And Tackling

Adblock Plus said it has added 15 million new downloads across Android-operated devices in 2017. Read the blog post. The company didn’t break down the new downloads by geography and aren’t releasing numbers on iOS downloads. ABP has had trouble reaching critical mass in the US mobile market, where data overages aren’t as big a concern and users rely on default ad blocking services in Safari and Chrome. Check out the recent AdExchanger Talks podcast with Adblock Plus CEO Till Faida.

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