TikTok Seeks To Preempt Brand Safety Fears; Hulu Rethinks Streaming Ads

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Brand Safe Or Bust 

TikTok may offer a curated feed of content that will appease advertisers as brand safety becomes a bigger concern on the platform. The feed of vetted TikTok creators will enable the app to charge advertisers higher rates for guaranteed brand safe placements. The move mirrors what Snap has done with its Discover platform by offering advertisers a place to air their messages alongside premium media brands, the Financial Times reports. While advertisers are enticed by TikTok’s growing young audience, they’re worried that the platform is behind when it comes to brand safety controls. “If [TikTok] were to take this step, I think it would be a wise one,” said a partner at a major advertising agency. Still, TikTok’s US decisions must be endorsed by its Chinese owner Bytedance, so it’s unclear if and when the feed will launch. More.

Streaming Ad Rethink

With numerous ad-supported streaming services hitting the market this year, Hulu needs to work harder to stand out with advertisers. The company brought on Digitas vet Scott Donaton to lead Greenhouse, an internal studio that will help brands approach creative differently on its platform. While Hulu has made progress on this front already, launching Pause Ads and Binge Ads last year, its goal is to move past interruptive 15- to 30-second ads altogether, Ad Age reports. Donaton sees opportunities to create branded content adjacent to food-focused and animated shows with large fandoms, as well as to place commercial breaks sequentially throughout a show to tell a longer brand story. “Streaming represents an incredible opportunity to reset and redefine what advertising can be going forward,” Donaton said. Read on.

Location, Location, Location

The location data industry was among the hardest hit by GDPR and by marketing data suits in the United States. The legal challenges include a case brought against The Weather Channel app last year by the Los Angeles city attorney. Location data has also taken a beating from mobile operating systems, as Apple’s iOS and, to a lesser degree, Google Android stifle location trackers. The latest iOS version notifies users constantly if apps are tracking in the background. Seven out of 10 iPhone owners downloaded the iOS update in the first six weeks, and 80% of those users stopped all background tracking of the device, according to data from the data verification company Location Sciences. Location data companies are feeling the squeeze, Digiday reports. And some are keeping the pools filled by replacing the more precise GPS location data with carrier data or bidstream location data like IP address. More.

Making Ends Meet

Sonos has become the latest large tech company to bridle under competitive pressure from even larger tech (i.e. Google and Amazon). The company has filed suit alleging copyright infringement, and is expected to testify before the House antitrust sub-committee. “Let’s call ’em the Cedelings,” Bloomberg’s Brad Stone writes of a group of tech companies that went from disruptors to disruptees. The group includes GoPro, Roku, Spotify and Fitbit (which fully capitulated last November with a sale to Google, pending an antitrust review), plus B2B enterprise software technology companies. Sonos CEO Patrick Spence will argue in a hearing being held this Friday that Google or Amazon can unfairly undercut the rest of the market by selling at a steep discount, or even at a loss, because of how it monetizes data and attention. “As a Sonos fan but former user, I have sympathy for the company but skepticism about an antitrust argument,” Stone writes. More.

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