Home Daily News Roundup Fintech’s On-Ramp To Retail Media; Does YouTube Count As CTV, Digital Or Both?

Fintech’s On-Ramp To Retail Media; Does YouTube Count As CTV, Digital Or Both?

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RMN Seedlings

Fin tech valuations have see-sawed over the past couple of years.

And now Ramp, the corporate credit card and expense service, is raising $150 million at a $7.6 billion valuation, The Information reports. That’s up from a $5.5 billion valuation last year, but down from $8.1 billion in 2022.

That was also the year that buy-now-pay-later company Klarna dropped precipitously from a $45 billion valuation to $6.7 billion. It’s currently planning an IPO at $20 billion. Meanwhile, online payment processor Stripe halved its valuation to $50 billion a year ago, but has since surged to $65 billion.

One of the unmentioned factors buoying these companies, as well as others in HR and expense management, is the potential of their data to generate marketing services revenue.

This isn’t hypothetical for Klarna, which has a marketing solutions business with off-platform audience extensions, social media placements and conversion attribution.

Chase launched a retail media business this month. American Express has a media business that creates custom audience segments.

Whether startups acknowledge it openly or not, the marketing data ecosystem is a key part of the future of fin tech, and is a big reason why investors are betting on it.

What Is YouTube, Really?

Media buyers are still trying to figure out how to treat YouTube, which wants to be everything to everyone. YouTube is simultaneously trying to position itself as the biggest player in CTV while also pushing its TikTok copycat, Shorts – and it’s winning over key buyers in the process.

Starting in June, GroupM will begin classifying a higher proportion of YouTube ad revenue as CTV rather than digital.

“This change is to reflect how clients are increasingly viewing YouTube as a part of wider TV and CTV strategies,” according to GroupM’s Global Business Intelligence newsletter.

YouTube’s main app commands nearly 10% of all TV viewership, according to Nielsen’s latest TV ratings report. If that number also included YouTube TV and Shorts, it would be even higher.

YouTube says CTV viewership for Shorts more than doubled between January and September last year.

But Shorts is also a glaring reminder that YouTube is not pure TV.

GroupM isn’t moving 100% of YouTube ad revenue into its CTV category because there’s a “substantial amount of non-professional, short-form content that we don’t believe clients would view as comparable to other CTV inventory,” as per the announcement.

Threads The Needle

Way, way back in July 2023, CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted that Meta would only think about monetizing Threads – its knockoff Twitter/X – once it was on a “clear path” to 1 billion users.

When Zuckerberg shared a status report on Threads in February, it had 130 million monthly users.

But guess that’s close enough. Threads plans to begin beta testing ads soon and to publicly launch ads later this year, Digiday reports.

Threads needs paid media to attract brands – and 130 MAUs is nothing to sniff at – but Threads isn’t part of the zeitgeist, nor is it a major news channel (which was the original plan).

“At this time, we encourage businesses to experiment with Threads as part of their organic social strategy where it makes sense,” said a Meta spokesperson.

But what exactly is an organic strategy for a channel that lacks an active and loyal user base? By introducing ads, Meta creates an incentive for businesses to promote their accounts and create original content.

Investors will be happiest, though. Threads may be a piddling side project compared to WhatsApp or Instagram Reels, but it represents a net-new “surface area” for ads.

But Wait, There’s More!

Inside Amazon’s secret operation to gather intel on rivals. [WSJ]

Palantir is pitching ad agencies on its AI technology. [Marketing Brew]

Legislation to force TikTok to separate from ByteDance or face a ban in the US was fast-tracked by the House this week. [Bloomberg]

The EU is also investigating TikTok, including its spinoff app, TikTok Lite. [Mashable]

Meta’s AI assistant is being integrated into the search box of Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger. [The Verge]

Ibotta, a cashback and rewards app backed by Walmart and Koch Industries, goes public. [Reuters]

You’re Hired!

Influencer marketing and creator management platform Whalar Group appoints Neil Waller and James Street as co-CEOs. [Campaign US]

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