Some People Are Easing Off Phone Use, Hearts & Science Finds; YouTube Revamps Ad Targeting On Kids Videos

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Mobile Detox

Are people cutting back on their mobile phone use? Media agency Hearts & Science tracked the phone usage of more than 2,000 Americans over 14 months and found that 64% scaled back their app usage during that period, with the average down from five hours a day to four, The New York Times reports. If this shift continues, advertisers will have to scale back the money they’ve poured into mobile over the past few years ($99 billion on mobile ads in the last year alone, per eMarketer) and find a new way to reach those consumers. “Less time spent with mobile devices means fewer chances to reach consumers on these devices, increasing the cost of mobile advertising in the near-term and forcing marketers to rethink where and how they spend advertising dollars in the long-term,” wrote Renee Cassard, Hearts & Science’s chief audience officer, in the study. More.


YouTube overhauled its targeting practices for children’s videos on Monday, after settling with the FTC over data collection from minors. To comply with the landmark FTC ruling, YouTube will now label all videos for children as “made for kids” and will cease ad-targeting on that content. The FTC’s guidelines for videos that are “made for kids” is broad, including those with clips that have animation or feature kids playing with toys. YouTube will rely on creators to designate their videos and use machine learning to determine whether ad targeting is appropriate. “YouTube now treats personal information from anyone watching children’s content on the platform as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user,” the company wrote in a blog post on Monday. It’s unclear how these changes will impact Google’s revenue and that of its creators, some of which expect to lose the majority of their ad sales along with targeting capabilities. More.

DTC Slog?

Has the direct-to-consumer advertising model plateaued? DTC brands across almost every consumer category – clothes, skincare, home goods, etc. –  found their first wave of customers courtesy of Facebook and Google’s programmatic platforms. But “the limitations of Facebook’s advertising mechanisms likewise limit the distribution potential of products from DTC companies,” writes Zach Benjamin Seufert, a media and marketing consultant at Mobile Dev Memo. The DTC category was inflated by entrepreneurs and investors who mistook performance advertising success for brand-building and long-term viability. And the honeymoon is over with Facebook in terms of early startups in DTC categories that benefited from low CPAs and having whole look-alike audience pools to themselves, writes Seufert. A lot of brands that thought they’d made strong connections learned the hard way that their traction was actually more about Facebook’s targeting skills than effective branding. More.

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