China’s Tencent Could Rival Alphabet And Facebook; CPG C-Suite Turnover Accelerates

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China’s -opoly

Will China be home to the next advertising and digital media powerhouse to rival Alphabet and Facebook? Tencent has been flexing its muscles in advertising, and if those ambitions come true, it could pose a threat to Alibaba, Facebook and Google in the region. Tencent is unifying data from seven business units to deliver targeted advertising across its properties, which span social media, gaming, messaging, music and weather. The problem for Tencent can be turning down the growth spigots as it fine-tunes a balance of monetization and user experience. “When the ultimate goal is to win, there are times where people just go all the way to win,” Lau Seng Yee, Tencent’s advertising business chairman, tells Bloomberg. “Management is trying to figure out how do we make sure we can encourage the tasks of building trust.” Bloomberg has more.


The recent news that Unilever is searching for a replacement for CEO Paul Polman is yet another sign of the disturbances roiling top CPG companies. Longtime Mondelez chief executive Irene Rosenfeld officially handed off the reins last week, and since this summer there have been changes at the top of Kellogg, General Mills, Nestlé and Coca-Cola. Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor, meanwhile, suffered a setback this month when activist investor Nelson Peltz won a stakeholder recount in his bid for a board seat [AdExchanger coverage]. CPG company CMOs have faced accelerating turnover as well. Many online advertising stakeholders have felt the loss as grocery aisle brands, a pillar of high-spending, blue-chip clients, curb their digital media plans.

Ball And Chains

Many big department store chains became retail leaders as pioneers of data-driven direct mail, discounting and in-store marketing. “But they have fallen behind in the digital personalization race against online rivals” like Amazon and other ecommerce merchants, writes The Wall Street Journal. Brands like Kohl’s, Nordstrom’s and Lord & Taylor have broad recognition and anchor mall foot traffic, but they’re in the early stages of connecting that store footprint to mobile and consumer outreach. “The ugly truth is that most retailers haven’t done the unsexy work of understanding how to use the data,” says Forrester principal analyst Brendan Witcher. More.

A Transparent Attempt

Facebook laid out the advertising principles that guide its decision-making in a blog post on Monday. Most of the principles are standard pablum Facebook has offered before, such as making connections betweens businesses and consumers, protecting user data and giving users control over what ads they see. Facebook will offer a feature allowing users to see which Facebook Pages are targeting them for ads, writes ad products VP Rob Goldman. He also says Facebook’s ad auctions will continue to prioritize user relevancy over inventory price. But while Facebook touts the effectiveness of its hypertargeting, it doesn’t mention the research supporting how those tools can be abused by bad actors, Axios points out. More.

But Wait, There’s More!

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