TV Ad Sales On The Upswing; AppLovin's Stock Falters

Streaming dollars are becoming a key part of upfront negotiations as the market bounces back after a tough 2020.

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Upfronts Back In Front

Streaming dollars are becoming a key part of upfront negotiations as the market bounces back after a tough 2020. Last year, uncertainty reigned. Sports were on pause and marketers wanted flexibility. But this year, the market is on the rebound and inventory is scarce. Marketers with older target audiences (think pharma) will continue to spend big on linear TV, but marketers whose products appeal to younger audiences will largely opt for streaming. It’s going to cost them, though. Longtime TV advertisers with grandfathered-in pricing discounts can’t get the same discounted rates for streaming ads, according to buyers interviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Unloved

Where is the love? After debuting on the New York Stock Exchange in mid-April, shares of AppLovin “have shown few signs of life,” Bloomberg reports. According to Bloomberg, the app-focused mobile ad tech company’s IPO is the worst-performing IPO of its size and just one of two US listings that had raised at least $2 billion this year and is now trading below its IPO price. AppLovin’s stock has dropped 29% since its debut and now stands at around $57, which is significantly lower than its offering price of $80. So, what gives? A few things, actually. Apple’s iOS 14.5 changes are still causing uncertainty and AppLovin faces difficult year-ago comps after the pandemic supercharged the gaming industry in 2020. But the news isn’t all bad. Wall Street is still optimistic about AppLovin’s long-term growth potential, and the stock’s post-IPO drop brings the company’s valuation back in line with its peers, such as Zynga and Playtika. AppLovin reports its first-ever earnings call on May 12. [Related in AdExchanger, AppLovin CEO and co-founder Adam Foroughi makes his case: “It's IPO Day For AppLovin, And CEO Adam Foroughi Explains Why First-Party Data Helped The Company Get There.”]

Bad Stuff

Many businesses are rebranding completely to skirt Google's guidelines. But when everyone does it, it becomes a branding nightmare, Search Engine Land reports. The culprit here is keyword stuffing, a practice by which someone adds words to their business name via the Google My Business service that aren’t actually part of that business’s legal name. For example, “S & Z Handyman Service – handyman, handyman services, house remodeling, house painting, interior and exterior painting …” as opposed to simply “S & Z Handyman Service.” (For the uninitiated, Google My Business is a free tool that businesses can use to promote their profile and website through search and Google Maps.) So, what’s the problem? Well, it suddenly becomes almost impossible to stand out if everyone is using the name keywords and the ranking power that keywords provide diminishes. You’re left with a branding mess and no ranking benefit. Better to just stick with your company name.

But Wait, There’s More!

Roku’s stock popped nearly 19% after the company reported its highest revenue growth rate since its IPO, including 101% growth in platform revenue – yet another sign of the streaming boom. [CNBC]

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed suit against Publicis Health seeking potentially hundreds of millions in damages, alleging the agency group designed and deployed “unfair and deceptive marketing schemes” to help Purdue Pharma sell the highly addictive opioid OxyContin. [MediaPost]

The advertising sector added 1,900 jobs in April, while internet media employment topped 300,000 for the first time. But lagging figures for ad agencies showed a slight pullback in March. [AdAge

Here’s how marketers are promoting tourism as COVID vaccination ramps up. [Digiday]

Consumer intelligence provider NielsenIQ has launched a CPG and retail analytics platform for small CPG brands called Byzzer. [Destination CRM]

Twitter is testing a new Tip Jar feature for sending money to your favorite accounts. It’s only available on iOS and Android for now. [The Verge]

You’re Hired!

Adam Blitzer is joining Datadog as COO after eight years with Salesforce, including most recently as EVP and GM of the Salesforce marketing, commerce and community clouds. [release]

Ad management firm Mediavine has hired Linda Payson as VP of product and Punhon Chan as VP of engineering. [Adweek]

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