Facebook’s Aussie Bluff Pays Off; Ad Tech’s Crazy M&A Action, Explained

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Platform check

Australians started seeing links from news publishers on Facebook again after the platform gained some concessions from the Australian government over legislation that will require platforms to pay media organizations. During the dark period, social traffic from Facebook flatlined for many publishers, sites with urgent health and weather information were blocked by Facebook and misinformation filled the void. Now, Facebook will have time to strike its own deals with publishers. But is platforms paying publishers the solution? Such deals will hurt small, long tail publishers who greatly benefit from Facebook driving them traffic, but are unlikely to see Facebook pay them directly, the newsletter A Media Operator argues.

Come Together

You know it, we know it. There’s some crazy consolidation out there. Magnite buys SpotX. Flashtalking buys Protected Media. LiveRamp grabs Datafleets. Those are just a few. But why is it happening? Essentially, writes Digiday’s Seb Joseph, everyone is striking while the iron is hot. “Valuations for ad tech companies are at all-time highs with renewed interest in ad tech among both strategic and private equity investors,” he writes. “What’s more, capital is cheap.” Case in point, Magnite’s magnificent stock performance enabled it to shell out over $1 billion for SpotX. And identity-related headwinds might also be driving consolidation. “Companies that were once built to prosper from a fragmented landscape are having to do the opposite,” Joseph writes. “They’re trying to cater to both the buy and sell sides of the programmatic market just like the ad networks that drove ad tech’s early successes.”

Creative Cash

Creative technology platform VidMob closed its $50 million Series C on Tuesday, bringing the company’s total funding to more than $170 million since 2015. VidMob plans to use its cash infusion to target new business growth, especially in ecommerce, The Wall Street Journal reports. Ecommerce has been growing like crazy since the start of the pandemicBrands want to get a better sense of how their advertising influences consumers to make purchases online. VidMob’s technology helps marketers analyze the quality of the creative content in their digital ads, and use data and other insights to improve and enhance performance. “Creative is an enormously important aspect of marketing and communications, and for the most part, it’s still relatively untouched from literally decades ago,” said Alex Collmer, VidMob’s CEO and founder. Creative analysis will also likely start to matter more as Apple and Google continue to make changes that hinder an advertiser’s ability to use tracking signals to target ads. VidMob’s round included participation from Adobe, Shutterstock, VC firm Prefix Capital and a handful of well-known industry vets, including Medialink CEO Michael Kassan and former Nielsen exec Lynda Clarizio. VidMob is now reportedly valued at $290 million.

But Wait, There’s More!

European regulators are coming after big tech. Here’s a rundown of the key cases facing Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. [Business Insider]

Meanwhile, Twitter’s relationship with India is getting rockier as New Delhi increases demands to block users. [WSJ]

Everything old is new again: QR codes are key to connecting with customers during a pandemic. They’re replacing printed menus, enhancing OOH and making retail experiences safer. [Adweek]

Omnicom and Interpublic cut 10,000 roles in 2020. Their annual reports show the extent of the culls. [CampaignUS]

Investor site StockCharts is launching a free OTT streaming service for traders. [release]

LinkedIn is rolling new features for Pages to help businesses generate more leads and keep employees engaged. [Search Engine Journal]

Jivox has released a new tool called Dynamic Canvas Studio that aims to help brands scale their creative automation. [release]

You’re Hired!

IPG agency Reprise has brought on Dr. Vincent Spruyt as chief AI officer. [PRWeek]

MeritDirect has hired Mo Awad as VP of search and Peter McVay as VP of business development in performance marketing. [release]

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