Where Is Google On Political Ads?; Gannett Sees Digital Gains

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

Hiding In Plain Sight

Facebook and Twitter have opened up a very public debate about political ads, but where is Google? The internet giant was still working on its pitch to lure political ad buyers away from Facebook and onto YouTube with new tools as little as a month ago, and has largely stayed quiet as debate rages, CNBC reports. YouTube ran the same Trump campaign ad that made false claims about Joe Biden’s son and sparked a national uproar against Facebook while avoiding criticism. The video ad platform hasn’t revealed any policies around fact-checking political ads, but states that all ads must comply with its “misrepresentation policy,” which bans ads that intend to deceive users. Politicians aren’t as visible on Google properties as they are on Facebook or Twitter, but they’re certainly paying top dollar for visibility. The Trump campaign is the largest spender on Google at $8.23 million. Overall, Google has cashed in $121.9 million on 167,901 political ads since May 2018, according to internal numbers. More.

Digital News

Newspapers are digital: Gannett’s online ads and marketing services accounted for 53% of its Q3 revenue, or $184 million. Meanwhile, digital-only subscriptions were up 27% to 604,000. It was Gannett’s last earnings call before the company merges with GateHouse Media to create the largest newspaper company in the country by circulation. One way Gannett has grown digital revenue is through an expansion of video content. Video-related revenue rose 20% for the quarter, and video views rose 37% as the company pursued a syndication strategy and enjoyed higher CPMs, said USA Today President Maribel Wadsworth. Read the release.

Rebrand, Effectv Immediately

Comcast Cable’s ad sales division, Comcast Spotlight, has rebranded as Effectv. Along with the rebrand, Effectv has launched two ad products designed to improve addressability in linear TV advertising. The first, Audience Intelligence, allows advertisers to incorporate dayparts when looking for specific audiences, such as in-market SUV buyers. The second, Addressable Full Avail, lets advertisers use Comcast viewership data and third-party data to message specific households. “For instance, an auto advertiser could send truck copy to truck intender Comcast households, sports car copy to sports car intender Comcast households, and default brand copy to all other homes in their selected markets,” according to a release. For both the rebrand and the two new products, Effectv’s common theme is that advertisers can more precisely target without having to sacrifice broad reach. Read the release.

Not Just Another Pretty FACE

Facebook isn’t rebranding exactly, but it did introduce its first corporate brand on Monday, the all-caps “FACEBOOK” (distinguishing it from the Facebook platform), which will be included moving forward for sites, apps and marketing material across Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as well as lesser-known subsidiaries like Portal, Oculus VR and Calibra, a fintech unit. Now Facebook’s arsenal of apps and products will be explicitly under one holding company – which is not a cosmetic change. Most Americans don’t know Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and users form more favorable opinions about Facebook after finding out the company owns other apps they like, CMO Antonio Lucio told Bloomberg. That said, there’s a “brand tax” with platforms like WhatsApp, where users value privacy and tend to engage less with “FACEBOOK” on the page, he said. The biggest change is that Facebook is consolidating the teams, technology and data across its consumer apps. Disclosing and promoting the fact that Instagram or WhatsApp data funnels back to Facebook is increasingly important for consent-based data regulations. More.

But Wait, There’s More

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