House Dems Inquire About Facebook Weapons Ads; Networks Push Linear Ad Dollars To Streaming

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Guns And Misinformation

Facebook is in the line of fire, with House Democrats demanding answers over how the company targeted gun accessory ads next to misinformation about the election as well as news about the Jan. 6 US Capitol riot. CNBC reports that 23 lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg on Monday asking how Facebook makes sure weapons-related ads are not targeted in ways that could harm public safety. The lawmakers also asked whether companies who advertise on Facebook are notified when their ads are placed next to misinformation or violent content. Following the insurrection at the Capitol, Facebook temporarily suspended ads promoting weapons accessories and protective equipment through Inauguration Day. The decision followed a BuzzFeed report finding that such ads were running next to misinformation about the election and news about the riot. A good first step, but not enough, and lawmakers want Facebook to inform advertisers on the context in which their ads would appear to users.

No Clout?

Linear TV is losing its clout. Traditional TV ad dollars don’t go too far these days when it comes to securing favorable ad prices, as TV networks prize deals that allow them the flexibility to move money to their streaming and digital video inventory. Digiday reports that the sheer volume of linear ad spend just doesn’t have the same leverage anymore. “If you say you have $10 million of linear money, as crazy as that sounds, that volume on the linear side works against you,” one agency executive said. The tightness of the traditional TV ad market has led TV networks to whittle down the money that advertisers are looking to spend on their linear networks’ inventory. As a result, an advertiser submitting a $10 million deal to a TV network for its linear inventory is likely to see that amount reduced to the point where a cut to $7 million is considered a win, said the agency executive. Other agency executives concur that linear TV ad budgets don’t carry the same weight they once did if an advertiser is unwilling to allow that money to be moved to the networks’ streaming and digital inventory. Still, the TV networks are putting such a premium on their streaming inventory that it is disincentivizing some advertisers from making the moves to be more flexible with where their ads appear. Read on

Ad Free

Chat startup Discord is balking at advertising. Specifically, the way Facebook, Twitter and Snap sell targeted ads built around sharing users’ personal information. Per the Wall Street Journal, Discord co-founder and CEO Jason Citron said that the targeted advertising model would be too intrusive. And besides, the money has been flowing without advertising, due to its subscription-based model. The company has seen not only its popularity rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, but its revenue soared to a cool $130 million in 2020 – up from nearly $45 million in 2019 – solely by selling subscription access to exclusive perks for users. Discord has said it has yet to make a profit, however, and the majority of its growth has been through word-of-mouth. Still, don’t expect Discord to turn to advertising to become profitable. Monetizing through ads would be difficult, analyst Mark Shmulik with AB Bernstein said, because it would put the platform in competition with the big boys like Google, Facebook and the other social platforms for ad dollars – not an easy task. “It is a heavy lift,” Bernstein said. Also, Citron says that consumers in general dislike ads and don’t want their data shared with brands. Read on

But Wait, There’s More!

Data Axle and Tru Optik have partnered to make Data Axle’s consumer, business and specialty data available in the Tru Optik Data Marketplace. [release]

Paragone.ai, Perion’s social marketing platform, has launched an Actionable Performance Monitoring system that’s being used by high-profile clients such as Disney and Havas Media. [release]

Amazon-backed Deliveroo is planning an initial public offering, a deal that would value the food-delivery company at around $10 billion. [WSJ]

A Global Web Index study has found that Americans simply want ads to tell them about products. [MediaPost]

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for sustainable consumer packaged goods has grown to more than $131 billion. [Adweek]

You’re Hired!

Former Kantar Media Global CEO Andy Brown has joined TVSquared as an executive adviser. [release]

WPP media agency MediaCom has hired Liza Davidian as executive vice president, investment and activation, and Yorlene Goff as executive director, people. [Adweek]

BBDO NY has hired Andrea Ring as chief strategy officer. [CampaignUS]

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