Brands Were On Guard Before The Inauguration; Young Audiences Flock To Local News

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Time To Reassess

Marketers were hawkeyed in the lead-up to Inauguration Day on Wednesday, ready to pause, tweak or block ads from appearing against problematic content should things have gone sideways, Digiday reports. While some marketers said they planned to stick to blunt tactics, such as blocking ads from news sites entirely, many are turning to more nuanced strategies so that their dollars can continue to support quality journalism. Even so, there will always be those marketers whose first response in any crisis is to steer ads clear of all news. It happened when rioters stormed the Capitol building in Washington D.C. earlier this month. [Related in AdExchanger: “Brand Safety Shouldn't Be Reactionary – Advertisers Need To Do Better”]. Often, however, kneejerk brand safety reactions are mainly precautionary pauses and ads return to the sites they abandoned within 48 hours or so. Ahead of President Biden’s inauguration, media agencies advised clients not to rely on keywords lists and instead to “take a more considered approach to where they invest in media to protect their brands,” Joshua Lowcock, global brand safety officer at Universal McCann, told Digiday.

Local Youth

Local news is gaining popularity among Gen Z and millennial readers. They’re flocking to local news stations, according to data from Nielsen, Variety reports. The trend is fueled by their hunger to make sense of current events, from the pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement to the riot on Capitol Hill. Nielsen found that growth by age for news has skyrocketed by as much 100% among 18 to to 24-year-olds, and viewing behavior among young audiences surged by as much as 100% for local news following the Capitol siege. National news broadcasters also enjoyed a 50% uptick among this young demographic so coveted by marketers. “What we’ve seen during the crisis is that local news is the star: even younger audiences of 12 to 17-year-olds are up by 30%,” said Catherine Herkovic, executive VP and managing director of local TV at Nielsen. “News is the bread and butter for local TV – so the fact younger audiences are watching more news now is an incredible opportunity.” The data vindicates broadcasters who have made moves to launch their own Gen Z and millennial-focused local news stations, such as NBC’s over-the-air and digital brand LXTV.

Transfer Of Power

The Biden administration may now have control over the official @POTUS handle and other related Twitter accounts, but the handoff was far from as seamless as it was four years ago when Barack Obama left office and handed the keys to then President Trump, The New York Times reports. Trump inherited Obama’s millions of followers and since then Trump’s digital team used the accounts as megaphones for his administration’s agenda and built the follower numbers even higher. But this time around, Twitter did not carry over the followers of each account when Biden assumed control. Instead, Twitter migrated the much smaller followings from the Biden team’s previous handles to the new accounts. @PresElectBiden, for example, is now @Potus. That means the Biden digital operation now has to build new followings largely from scratch. Twitter said it would alert users about the transfer. And here, folks, is Biden’s first tweet from @POTUS on Wednesday: “There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That’s why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.”

But Wait, There’s More!

Adthena is expanding its partnership with market research company Kantar by acquiring Kantar’s paid search business. [TechCrunch]

Wattpad has been acquired by Naver, the South Korean internet conglomerate which is also home to the digital comics platform Webtoon. [Deadline]

Silicon Valley investment firm Andreessen Howowitz is ramping up its media efforts with the launch of an opinion section. [The Information]

Is the free, ad-supported streaming TV bubble nearing an inflection point? [Digiday]

The pandemic is boosting media consumption to its fastest growth in years even as advertising and marketing spending falls. [Ad Age

Parler was rejected by at least six large web hosts after Amazon took it offline. [Business Insider]

Citing posts calling for violence, Google Play suspended Wimkin, a small self-described “uncensored” social-media network that was also booted from Apple’s App Store last week. [WSJ]

Fyllo has bought retail point-of-sale company DataOwl to bolster its cannabis marketing stack. [TechCrunch]

Trump pardoned ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, who faced 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets before working for Uber. [Business Insider]

You’re Hired!

Criteo expands its roster with four new hires, including a global VP of agency business development and a senior VP of product. [MarTech Series]

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