Cross-Device Tracking Gets FTC Attention; Twitter Highlights Live Stream Measurement Differences

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Tracking Ramirez

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez tells MIT Technology Review, “Tracking is taking place not only across websites but also across apps, and increasingly across devices.” OK, so what do appropriate notice and consent look like in that complex environment? She sees an opportunity for technology (read: self-regulated) solutions: “I’ve been trying to figure out how companies could use technology to give consumers more control. I want to urge companies to be thinking more creatively about how to tackle some of these challenges, as opposed to saying, ‘It’s too hard, we give up.’ We can’t say that. It’s too important.” Read the Q&A.

Next Of Kin

Broadcast nets measure TV viewership on “average minute audience,” or the average number of viewers across a program. But streaming platforms look at the cumulative number of people who have watched a video (which typically inflates the number). Twitter learned that the hard way: The platform saw only 327,000 people tune into its live football stream when measured by linear metrics, compared to CBS and NFL Network’s 17.5 billion viewers. “The attitude toward Nielsen ratings is simply: ‘We’ve been working off of this for years and we all agree to it, so let’s not mess with it,’” said Alan Wolk, TV analyst at Toad Stool Consultants. But advertisers should be aware of the differences when budgeting for TV and video spend. More.

Ad Tech City

Crain’s New York Business released its list of New York City’s fastest-growing companies, noting digital advertising technology “once again dominates the list.” Tapad, AppNexus, Taboola, Kargo, LiveIntent, xAd,, Persado, ConvertMedia, Bounce Exchange, Kepler Group, Yext and Integral Ad Science all made the list. Companies with $10 million or more per year in revenue were considered, and the rankings are based on a measured or estimated three-year growth rate. More.

Talking Points  

Political marketing is hard. Speaking on a panel that was covered by Adweek, Danielle Butterfield, a digital ad staffer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, counted the ways. First, “Voter turnout is an extremely hard thing to measure it’s why digital is a very difficult thing to get credit,” Butterfield said. Second, earnings from campaigns are hard to apply in a standardized way. For example, Hillary Clinton only joined Instagram in 2015, so her audience there is a different crowd than she’s had on Twitter for the better part of a decade. Third, it can be hard to move quickly. “We kind of did too much the first debate – We booked a lot of placements to go up the next morning and found out that we weren’t able to turn things around as quickly as we wanted to.” More.

Last Pick

Twitter’s stock fell 15% on Monday as two of its suitors reportedly lost interest in a deal, Bloomberg reports. After a whirlwind of rumors that Disney, Google and Salesforce were considering buying Twitter, all three are now considered unlikely to bid mainly due to investor reluctance. If Twitter can’t find a new home soon, it may go full-court press into live video; it’s already inked a myriad of partnerships to stream sports, political and entertainment content. If that doesn’t work, Twitter could explore divesting the assets not central to its business. More.

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