Time Inc. Picks Outbrain; Merkle Buys 500friends

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Time Inc. Recommends

Time Inc. has picked Outbrain to be the exclusive content discovery platform for its owned and operated sites. The multiyear deal is expected to earn the publisher an estimated $100 million. Read the press release. Time Inc. will also adopt Outbrain’s premium publisher network to drive audiences to its digital properties. Content recommendation can get a bad rap for spreading click-bait around the web, but Outbrain CRO Tom Foran says the company has purged some offenders from its customer base. “Low quality is in the eye of the beholder,” Foran told Ad Age.

Merkle Invests In Customer Loyalty

CRM firm Merkle snapped up San Francisco-based 500friends on Tuesday for an undisclosed sum. 500friends works with retailers such as 1-800 Flowers and Dermalogica to personalize loyalty experiences. “We see a tremendous opportunity in the customer loyalty segment of the market as more companies are investing in loyalty as a key customer growth strategy,” said David Williams, Merkle’s CEO. The move mirrors Catalina’s acquisition of digital coupon provider Cellfire last month to expand its mobile and digital presence for CPG marketers. Press release.

Flurry Activity

Yahoo is making a push around in-app mobile video buys, and is integrating Flurry, acquired four months ago, with its ad platform to help get there. How might this mesh with Yahoo’s BrightRoll buy last week? BrightRoll “reaches four out of five consumers via videos in the US,” Scott Burke, Yahoo SVP of advertising, told Adweek’s Christopher Heine. “So they are going to bring in that scale of programmatic. What Flurry brings is the huge range of mobile applications. We haven’t made any product announcements there, but it is an obvious connection to make. Once we close that deal, we can talk more specifically about it.” Read on.

Apps Killed The Internet Star

Speaking of Flurry, the app platform reported 86% of time is spent on mobile devices is in apps, compared to just 14% on the web. With the convenience of apps, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims, comes the imminent demise of the web, the danger being that app gatekeepers like Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are setting the rules. “It isn’t that today’s kings of the app world want to quash innovation, per se. It is that in the transition to a world in which services are delivered through apps, rather than the Web, we are graduating to a system that makes innovation, serendipity and experimentation that much harder for those who build things that rely on the Internet,” writes Mims. Read it.

Big Box Navigation

Target is turning on in-store navigation features in its app, thanks to startup Point Inside’s StoreMode technology. Consumers browsing the retailer’s aisles can create shopping lists, locate products and check inventory availability. “People actually buy more when they’re interacting physically with the product [and] from the overall brand experience, it’s a way to have a focused interaction with your customer base,” Point Inside VP of Business Operations Mike McMurray told Street Fight. The tech provider’s CEO, Josh Marti, added, “Mobile’s influence on in-store retail is rapidly expanding and we believe that the best retailers will benefit greatly by satisfying customer demand for mobile-assisted in-store shopping.”

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