How Advertisers Can Pursue Brand Safety without Avoiding Sensitive News Content

Advertisers blocking all potentially sensitive content is a raw deal for advertisers and publishers, says Rachel Tuffney, EVP of US operations at Dianomi. Publishers need advertiser support for serious stories. Advertisers need to be able to tell their own stories without avoiding 50% of serious news platform content and without blocking stories that may actually resonate with the brands they want to build.

Tuffney spoke to Street Fight to elucidate the trade-offs on this issue and explain how brands can be safe without blocking all sensitive content. 

Mediaocean Acquires 4C Insights. What’s Next for Ad Tech?

The coronavirus pandemic and ensuing recession have forced tech vendors to step up their games and make a stronger case to advertisers as to why their products and services are essential amid tightening budgets. The year of Covid-19 is also fostering a favorable environment for mergers and acquisitions, as solo players team up to emerge stronger on the other side of a stormy season.

Last week, ad tech got a fresh acquisition, as Mediaocean acquired 4C Insights. I checked in with Aaron Goldman, CMO of 4C Insights, to find out what the acquisition portends for the two companies and how it matches up with broader trends in ad tech.

Retail Prepares for a Covid-Inflected Holiday Season

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift from brick-and-mortar commerce to digital transactions. It has also forced brick-and-mortars resisting the hybridization of their own businesses to adopt digital methods, turning restaurants and apparel stores alike into both brick-and-mortar establishments and online sellers.

Against that backdrop, retail’s biggest quarter will present novel challenges this year. Retailers will need to optimize for online transactions and contend with fragmented national and global landscapes where it may be safe to go to stores in New York but not in Los Angeles.

Coronavirus Boosts OTT Viewership and Opens New TV Ad Opportunities

To be sure, kids are not the only ones spending more time staring at the TV screen. The coronavirus has catalyzed a golden age for TV viewership and non-traditional formats such as over-the-top viewing in particular, said Sean Buckley, COO of global video advertising platform SpotX.

SpotX announced a strategic investment in CTV and OTT-focused ad serving platform SpringServe Monday. I checked in with Buckley to find out how the partnership will benefit both companies and how the coronavirus year has affected TV viewership as well as video advertising.

Local Businesses Face Negative Reviews Due to Coronavirus Safety Requirements

Google has taken several important measures to assist businesses during the pandemic, but none so far can prevent customers angry about coronavirus-related restrictions from lashing out at businesses attempting to follow public health best practices or the letter of the local law. “The review space has never been harder than right now,” wrote GatherUp co-founder and reputation management expert Mike Blumenthal.

But there are also possible strategies for survival.

Pay to Get Rid of Ads on Social Media? Consumers Say Maybe, Maybe Not

Nearly 60% of respondents overall said they’d be at least somewhat willing to pay for social media, and that figure could likely climb if a small monthly subscription fee were added. Twingate contends that Facebook/Instagram would only need to charge users $2.07/month, and Twitter $1.61/month, to earn via subscription fees what they earn via ad revenue. Respondents said they would pay $5.24 and $4.75/month, respectively.

But inertia and apathy are strong, money is even tighter outside the US market, and surveillance advertising, and the size of its audience, are the X-factors that catapulted Facebook to the top of the global corporate order. I’d bet Google, Facebook, and, increasingly, Amazon, will be slow to give up the surveillance revenues and walled-garden ecosystems that have made them this century’s most powerful corporate actors.

Influencer Marketing Stands Out during Pandemic

Covid-19 is capable of producing a special kind of advertising fatigue in which consumers tire of receiving a maelstrom of indistinguishable messages from brands: This is an especially uncertain time. Here are the precautions we’re taking. This is what we’re doing to help out.

It’s not that these messages aren’t necessary, especially as they relate to safety precautions. The fatigue comes from the unrelenting sameness and impersonal character of the content. That’s where influencer marketers can prove to be a brand’s special weapon, and a new report by influencer marketing platform Linqia suggests marketers are capitalizing on the channel.

The Video Ad Market’s Challenges and Future

Short-form video platform Quibi drew a slew of mainstream headlines beyond advertising trade publications for far underperforming expectations. The platform’s execs blamed its relative failure on coronavirus. 

While coronavirus alone may not explain the fate of Quibi, the virus and related drops in economic and social activity have left the video ad market in a paradoxical state. Viewership is up; ad demand is down. To explain the state of the market and where it’s headed, Tal Chalozin, CTO and co-founder of video ad platform Innovid, spoke to Street Fight.

GDPR is Two Years Old. Here’s How It’s Working and What the US Can Learn from It

This week marked the two-year anniversary of the General Data Protection Regulation, Europe’s major privacy law. GDPR was the first major European effort to put some legal and regulatory power behind demands for less free-wheeling data collection and selling.

To gauge just how GDPR is working out and what regulators might do to move the ball forward on privacy, Street Fight got in touch with Russell Sutton, SVP of data, EMEA, at MightyHive.

Mobile is Our “Cure for Boredom.” What Does That Mean for Marketers?

A recent survey by mobile app ad firm Digital Turbine found that more than a quarter of consumers open their phones more than 75% of the time without a specific app in mind. Digital Turbine Matt Tubergen checked in with Street Fight to share how mobile app marketers can reach mobile users and the discovery tools those people are seeking.

Location-Based Search Disrupts Brand-Centric Theory of Marketing

Building a brand will never stop being essential for companies with brick-and-mortar locations hoping to secure the dollars of nearby consumers. But a new report from location marketing firm Uberall suggests the rise of location-based or “near me” search is undermining the power of branding alone, increasing the importance of optimizing for searches in which consumers are simply looking for the closest, most convenient option while on the go.

How Brick-and-Mortars Move Forward

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed brick-and-mortar business, possibly forever. Peter Paine, former eBay and Walmart executive and now head of retail partnerships in the Americas for Cover Genius, checked in with Street Fight to share the strategies physical businesses large and small should prioritize to prepare for the near- and long-term future.

Yelp Revamps its Business Control Center and Releases Other Pandemic-Adaptive Features

The announcement follows massive layoffs at the company as advertising plunged along with SMB revenue in the face of coronavirus-fueled lockdowns. But a recent Brandify survey showed Yelp remains a massive presence in the local digital marketing space: 64% of US consumers are somewhat or very likely to turn to Yelp when searching for restaurants, second only to the leader across verticals, Google.

Yelp’s new features will prove especially helpful for businesses in the months, if not years during which Covid-19 continues to affect everyday habits, but a number of the changes align with digital marketing best practices that will serve Yelp clients well beyond the next 12 months. Below is a rundown.

With Stimulus Funds Delayed, Small Businesses Digitize for Survival

Experts at helping SMBs adapt to a tech-first commercial landscape say the pandemic has led some businesses to tap into their long-dormant potential as digital marketers and sellers, possibly setting them up for gains in the aftermath of the recession. Now that e-commerce is the only path to survival, mom-and-pop shops, aided by martech firms, agencies, and Silicon Valley giants, are capitalizing on cutting-edge marketing and retail techniques, many for the first time.

Thousands, if not millions, of Main Street businesses will close their doors for good as a result of the pandemic. Those that survive will be technologically savvier and sleeker than they were before.

Ad Tech Execs Weigh in on Coronavirus Ads, Google and Twitter, and Misinformation

I turned to a number of ad tech execs for their expert perspectives on the risks and rewards of digital advertising on this extraordinarily high-stakes issue. While expectedly optimistic about the benefits of coronavirus-related messaging for savvy brands, the business leaders diverged on the responsibility and capability of Google and Twitter to monitor the veracity of the content they host. They also made distinct cases for advertising at a time when brand messaging requires extra sensitivity, arguing that both brands and their customers have something to gain if businesses provide accurate information, focus on customers’ needs, and showcase the ways they are adapting in a time of crisis.

PlaceIQ Buys Freckle IoT, Marking Second Instance of Location Consolidation in 2 Days

Location intelligence firm PlaceIQ bought fellow location data and measurement company Freckle IoT. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move comes just a day after the bombshell announcement that location leader Foursquare was merging with location data firm Factual. Speculation that the Foursquare-Factual merger could portend additional consolidation in the location data-driven marketing and insights industry came to fruition quicker than analysts could have predicted.

Foursquare Merges with Factual, Forming Location Intelligence Powerhouse

Location intelligence firm Foursquare is merging with location data firm Factual, the companies announced today. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Factual founder Gil Elbaz will join Foursquare’s executive team and board of directors.

The deal pairs Foursquare’s best-in-class location-based attribution technology and developer tools with Factual’s top-notch audience segments, Foursquare CEO David Shim told the Wall Street Journal. Industry insiders say the move may portend additional consolidation during the COVID-19-fueled economic downturn and positions Foursquare as an even stronger leader in the space.

Making Sense of the Crowded Customer Data Market

In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Europe’s General Data Production Regulation, and the California Consumer Privacy Act, the massive market for consumer data no longer operates unbeknownst to most Americans. But for digital marketing practitioners and the average consumer alike, making heads or tails of the industry is no easy task. 

To break down the different kinds of customer data in the market, the impact of data sharing and selling on consumers, and the potential of privacy regulations to shape the industry going forward, Anindya Datta, founder, CEO, and chairman of Mobilewalla, recently checked in with Street Fight.

How Will Influencer Marketing Survive the Covid-19 Crisis?

It is against the backdrop of an unprecedented economic downturn that marketing tech makes its pitches to clients this year. On the one hand, it is fair to say cutting-edge marketing may be as important to businesses as ever. With storefronts closed across dozens of states to promote social distancing, businesses need ways to connect with customers, and they need novel, often tech-driven tactics, like curbside pickup, to sell their goods safely. E-commerce, including mobile and social commerce, are also well-positioned to thrive at a time when customers are often left with hardly any other option. On the other hand, with revenue dramatically down for most retailers and consumers averse to in-store spending, digital tools risk being cut from squeezed budgets.

To assess how the swift economic downturn caused by the coronavirus is affecting one of digital marketing’s hottest new sectors, influencer marketing, I connected with Daniel Schotland, COO of influencer marketing company Linqia.

Coronavirus and Mobile Advertising: CPMs, Sensitivity, Geographic Comparisons

The Covid-19 crisis is a challenging time for all industries, but for mobile marketers it poses a paradoxical challenge. On the one hand, people are on their phones and engaging with media as much as ever. On the other hand, the economic downturn is putting a strain on marketing budgets, employees are working from home, and messaging during a public health crisis requires unusual sensitivity.

Brian Bowman, CEO of social marketing and user acquisition firm Customer Acquisition, provided Street Fight his takes on the current state of the mobile ad market, where it’s headed in the coming weeks, and how advertisers can approach their work with consideration for the difficulty of these times.