Why Political Ad Bans Are Hard; Digital Retail Up Big

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Playing Politics

Google’s and Facebook’s political advertising policies have been at the center of a heated debate over election ads. Smaller platforms like Twitter and Pinterest have said they will block political ads, but have discovered how complicated political ad policies can be. Twitter has been fine-tuning its plan to stop serving political ads since October, but it still faces intractable policy corner cases, like how climate change advocacy groups would be blocked from serving ads on the hot-button issue while energy companies could promote their climate views, including content used for lobbying. Google sharpened its ad policies to block candidates and political groups from using data for user-level targeting. That works for YouTube, where Google manages both demand and supply. But political advertisers can “skirt this policy and still access the (Google) exchange” by layering in data with an outside DSP, which wouldn’t trip Google’s targeting ban. More.

’Tis The Season … For Online Shopping

Online shopping will hit $143.7 billion this holiday season, up 14% over last year, Adobe predicts in its Online Holiday Shopping Trends report. Read it. Meanwhile, total retail spending will grow just 4%. Online holiday shopping will get a big boost from Cyber Monday, which is almost certain to be the largest online shopping day of the year once the total is rung up, and is expected to bring in $9.4 billion in ecommerce sales, up by almost a fifth year over year. Retail companies are banking on BOPIS (buy online pickup in store) order growth, which is up 39% from last year, to counter weakness in brick-and-mortar traffic. Retailers and merchants stand to lose out on up to $1 billion of potential sales this year due to the shorter holiday season, which cuts out six days of peak holiday shopping.

Social Butterfli … Caterpillars

Entrepreneurs and venture capital investors are interested in new social media startups, after a long period of having ceded the category to incumbents like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. “That is despite the fact that there is no meaningful technological shift on the horizon and customer acquisition costs have never been higher, at least in the strict sense of advertising cost,” according to The Information. Competing with post-IPO social media companies at their own game is a losing proposition, but there is a potential market for curated and moderated networks positioned as trustworthy alternatives. Nobody thinks Facebook, Twitter or Snap is about to disappear. “But many … believe that we face a future where people are going to be engaged in more networks simultaneously.” More.

But Wait, There’s More

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