IAS Acquires Contextual Targeting Company; CPGs Create Retail Alliances

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All In Context 

Integral Ad Science acquired European contextual targeting company ADmantX for an undisclosed amount. Using natural language processing and machine learning, ADmantX identifies the context of an article and whether a piece of content is positive or negative, The Wall Street Journal reports. Contextual fits nicely with IAS’ viewability and verification solutions, and IAS already partnered with ADmantX. Contextual targeting is getting hot as regulation looms, the cookie crumbles under Apple’s ITP and other browser changes and as brands get burned by brand safety mishaps. Competitors to IAS, like DoubleVerify and Nielsen, have also acquired and invested in contextual ad tech this year. “It is critically important to ensure the content and context where our clients’ media may appear is not only brand safe but suitable for their brand,” David Murnick, EVP of digital operations and technology partnerships at Dentsu’s Amplifi, told the Journal. “That’s why you are seeing more acquisitions of this kind.” IAS will absorb ADmantX’s staff of 50 people. More.

CPGs Search For Data

As Amazon wades deeper into grocery, CPGs are fighting back by demanding more data from retailers. In an effort to prevent their valuable shopper data from getting locked behind Amazon’s walls, CPGs are teaming up with other major retailers as advertising platforms rather than just sales channels, Digiday reports. Conversations dominated by cost and margins are starting to include second-party shopper data as a negotiating point to make it easier for data-poor CPGs to target customers. Nestlé is working with Carrefour in Spain, for example, to target online shoppers programmatically, a test that could turn into a global strategy if successful. Brands like P&G and Heineken are pursuing similar strategies, with some ultimately hoping to put a pixel on retailer shopping pages that feature their products to better understand lifetime value. “In grocery, people aren’t looking for inspiration online,” said Patrick Munden, chief growth officer at Wunderman Thompson Commerce UK “Once they’ve done one shop they tend to use that same shopping list over and over again.” More.

Ad Platform Push

NBCU has brought on ex-Kargo exec Ryan McConville to lead ad platforms and operations at the network as it tries to become more digital. McConville, who reports into NBCU’s EVP of business operations and strategy, Krishan Bhatia, will build a new team focused on enhancing the network’s media offering with AI and implementing cross-platform measurement, Adweek reports. A big focus will be making it easier for buyers to execute across platforms, which is often difficult to do on networks’ legacy systems. “[What] Krishan and I are both focused on changing is centralizing product strategy,” McConville said. “We want to take a single platform approach.” But first, NBC will have to streamline access to its own inventory across linear and digital channels with a cleaner interface and standardized measurement. More.

Middle Of The Road

Facebook, the pressure’s on. Google said in a blog post on Wednesday that it’s going to start restricting how precisely advertisers can target people with political ads – aka, no more microtargeting – although political ad buyers will still be able to target based on age, gender and general location (nothing more granular than a ZIP code). The policy will apply to search, YouTube and display ads, according to Scott Spencer, VP of product management for Google Ads. Google’s stance is halfway between Twitter, which is completely banning political ads – although issue ads are OK with certain restrictions – and Facebook, which is (mostly) standing firm on its political advertising policy. After declaring on stage Monday at the Recode conference that Facebook has no intention of changing how political ad targeting works on its platform, Facebook exec Carolyn Everson almost immediately walked back her statement. She later told Axios reporter Sara Fischer that Facebook is still mulling its next move and that “nothing is off the table.”

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