Home Ad Exchange News Before ATT, Apple Tried – And Failed – To Change Facebook; Good Times For Ecommerce Tech

Before ATT, Apple Tried – And Failed – To Change Facebook; Good Times For Ecommerce Tech

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Comic: In-game advertising

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

Fair Share

In the years before Apple dropped its AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework on the industry’s head like a ton of bricks, the company discussed a possible special arrangement with Facebook to cut Apple in on a slice of Facebook’s revenue, The Wall Street Journal reports.

One idea was an ad-free subscription Facebook app, since Apple collects a commission on subscriptions but not on advertising. Apple also “haggled” over a possible share of Facebook Boosted Posts (aka promoted News Feed posts). Apple contended that the boosts should be classified as in-app purchases. Although the argument that paid distribution via Facebook is akin to ecommerce shopping may seem silly, the fact is that Apple doesn’t have the highest standards of consistency for itself when it comes to generating iOS revenue. Regardless, the discussions didn’t bear fruit.

The implication, though, is that Apple went forward with ATT because it couldn’t compel a higher share of revenue from Facebook and other popular ad-based apps. 

An Apple spokesperson dismissed the Journal’s report, claiming “there is no connection between any discussions of partnerships and the ad-tracking changes that were later implemented.”

Since the wide release of ATT last year, Apple has expanded its ad tech and inventory – and, as Bloomberg writes, its ad ambitions span TV and CTV, podcasts, Maps, Search and mobile cross-app tracking on iOS, of course.

Round And Round

Gorgias, which makes ecommerce customer service tech, just raised a funding round from Shopify and VC group Transpose Platform. The $30 million investment values Gorgias at $710 million, up from $305 million in late 2020.

“The environment we’re working in has changed quite a bit,” Co-Founder and CEO Romain Lapeyre tells TechCrunch. Many ecommerce companies (especially Shopify) got way out over their skies between 2020 and into 2021 and have since cut back painfully as ecommerce cedes share back to physical stores.

Gorgias wasn’t planning a new round, but Lapeyre says he “jumped at the opportunity” to work with Transpose Platform and Shopify.

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Shopify has invested heavily in ecommerce tech lately. Klaviyo, an ecommerce marketing startup, picked up a $100 million investment from Shopify this month, and last year, Shopify invested in Stripe, Yotpo and Loop, to name just a few. 

It’s no surprise Shopify likes taking this approach. Startups cut Shopify in because it can help tangibly grow their business and make intros, not unlike the warm handshakes doled out by most VCs. And Shopify can share the ecommerce marketing tailwinds without actually having to launch an ad business of its own – which would complicate its relationship with merchants and DTC sellers.

Getting Into Gaming

Two months after releasing its first update to in-game ad standards since 2009, the IAB held a virtual roundtable on Monday to share an updated snapshot of the gaming channel.

There’s been an uptick in advertiser interest in gaming over the past few years as a means to court Gen Z, said Keith Soljacich, head of innovation at Publicis Media. And, rather than as a highly stereotyped monolith, marketers are starting to see gamers as a diverse audience with interests outside of gaming.

What’s causing the change? As gaming has gone mainstream, even non-endemic brands can reach their desired audiences through gaming channels, Soljacich said, and there’s no need to pander to stereotypes.

Segmenting the worldwide audience of 3 billion gamers into individual audiences is an ongoing initiative, though, said Paul Mascali, PepsiCo’s head of esports and gaming. While the IAB/MRC’s new measurement standards allow brands to feel more confident in the value they’re getting out of the gaming space, Mascali said, most brands are still in the test-and-learn phase.

Regarding metaverse marketing opportunities, Mascali pointed to a Call of Duty esports watch party that PepsiCo recently hosted in Decentraland as an example. The fact that TV manufacturers are building their own gaming hubs was also floated as a potentially intriguing opportunity for brands.

But Wait, There’s More!

Nexstar will acquire a majority stake (75%) of TV network The CW from ViacomCBS and Warner Bros. Discovery. [Axios]

CFOs are putting budgets under tight reviews as they prepare for an uncertain economy. [WSJ]

Snapchat Plus already has more than a million users since launching in June. [The Verge]

BuzzFeed expands Lighthouse, its first-party data product, to international markets, including the UK, Canada, Australia and Latin America. [Digiday]

How Instagram’s TikTok envy finally backfired. [The Information]

You’re Hired!

FuboTV names Lynette Kaylor as SVP of advertising sales. [release]

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