All posts in “Advertising Tech”

Facebook says it’s removing accidental clicks from its ad network

Advertisers on Facebook’s Audience Network will no longer have to worry that they’re paying for users who accidentally clicked on their ads.

I’m betting we’ve all had moments where we were scrolling or swiping or clicking through a website/mobile app and we ended up clicking on an ad without really meaning to. (Those moments probably outnumber the times I’ve intentionally clicked on an ad.)

So Product Marketing Manager Brett Vogel said Facebook won’t be charging for those clicks in its Audience Network (where Facebook runs ads in other apps), and those clicks won’t be included in the metrics shared with advertisers and publishers.

Facebook is sorting out unintentional clicks by discounting instances where a user bounces back after two seconds or less. After all, if you clicked on an ad and then immediately clicked back, you probably didn’t care about the ad.

Still, Vogel said the two-second threshold is a “starting point” that Facebook can adjust if necessary.

Publishers may worry that this change could hurt their bottom line, but Vogel said the “vast majority” will not be affected, because their ads aren’t driving a significant number of unintentional clicks. He added that Facebook is making the change for the good of the ecosystem.

“Unintentional clicks end up delivering really poor experiences for people and advertisers,” he said. “It’s not a good path for publishers to build sustainable businesses.”

In addition, Facebook is also announcing that it’s making new ad metrics available (it’s been making a broader push around this).

Those metrics including gross impressions, a number that combines billable impressions with non-billable impressions — advertisers aren’t paying for things like non-human traffic, but some of them have still asked to see the numbers. Facebook is also adding auto-refresh impressions (those are ad impressions for banners on the right-hand side) and gross auto-refresh impressions.

Snapchat launches its own version of Facebook ads’ Power Editor

Snap Inc desperately needs ad revenue to redirect its sinking share price. So after a year of getting mercilessly copied by Facebook, Snapchat is returning the favor by launching its take on the Facebook ads Power Editor. This new “Advanced Mode” for its Snapchat Ads Manager lets big advertisers rapidly deploy complex ad campaigns with tons of creative variants.

By allowing big ad agencies and brands to efficiently target, test, and update their ad campaigns, they may be willing to spend more money on Snap. While the benefits won’t kick in in time for Snap’s pivotal Q2 earnings call next week, Advanced Mode could help the upstart put a dent in the Google / Facebook ad duopoly down the line.

Snap launched its self-serve Ads Manager in May, and added vertical video creation tool Snap Publisher in July. With the addition of Advanced Mode, advertisers will be able to

  • Automate multiple ad campaigns with a permutation builder so they can quickly create 100s of ad creative and targeting variants
  • Utilize Snap spreadsheets for bulk design and editing of campaigns
  • Save targeting audiences to use on future campaigns
  • Performance metrics that can be grouped and ordered by different metrics with data exportation
  • Automate campaign naming

Facebook debuted its Power Editor in 2011 (which I covered the launch of because I’ve been doing this forever). It was the last piece of its ads suite that started with direct ad sales, then self-serve ads, and then a self-serve API. Snap launched direct ad sales in 2014, then an Ads API in 2016, before testing its self-serve tool in May, and now launching Advanced Mode.

The Facebook Ads Power Editor

Snapchat Ads Manager’s Advanced Mode

The similarities in strategy aren’t too surprising considering Snap’s first COO Emily White was recruited from Facebook-owned Instagram, and it later hired Facebook Audience Network head Sriram Krishnan to work on its ad tools.

These Advanced Mode tools could help Snapchat get to the ad load and scale necessary to monetize its slow growing audience. If it can’t add 10s of millions of new users per quarter, Wall Street will want it to prove it can earn a higher average revenue per user. That means squeezing as much money as it can from each user with these improved ad targeting options.

Snap also got an ads boost today that has perked up its share price when the world’s largest ad agency WPP’s CEO Martin Sorrell told CNBC that WPP was doubling its Snap ad buy from $100 million in 2016 to $200 million in 2017. Though he contextualized that, noting that WPP will spend $2 billion on Facebook ads this year.

While Facebook might be running Snap’s product playbook, Snap is making progress by running Facebook’s monetization playbook.

Placecast launches new product to verify the location data in mobile ad campaigns

Alistair Goodman, CEO of mobile marketing company Placecast, said location data is the “next frontier” when it comes to ad measurement and verification.

For example, Goodman pointed to a study by Factual and the Mobile Marketing Association that found that 40 percent of marketers are concerned about the quality of location data. He said there are a number of different “breaking points” in the process of collecting and using that data — but the end result is that the existing data sets aren’t completely reliable, leading to wasted money when ads aren’t targeted properly.

That’s what Placecast is planning to change with its new Location Verification product — Goodman described it as “the first industry truthset for scoring the accuracy of other data.” In fact, in early testing of the product, Placecast found that 25 percent of impressions were targeted improperly.

The key difference, Goodman said, is the fact that Placecast is relying on data from the mobile carriers, starting with Sprint-owned Pinsight Media. (TechCrunch is owned by Sprint competitor Verizon.)

Why is that data more reliable? Goodman noted that it “wasn’t created for ad tech.” Instead, it’s critical data for carriers to do things like make sure your call isn’t dropped when it’s passed from one cell tower to another.

Location Verification is managed by a new business unit within Placecast to ensure its independence and objectivity, Goodman added. As for privacy, he said the data is “all aggregated and anonymized and subject to all the privacy policies of the carriers themselves.”

Featured Image: Mix3r/Shutterstock

Social media analytics company Synthesio acquires Social Karma

Synthesio is announcing its second acquisition of the year — it’s buying Social Karma, a company that uses social data to help marketers understand consumers.

Back in January, Synthesio announced that it had acquired presentation software-maker Bunkr. Co-founder and CEO Loic Moisand told me that this is all part of a two-year strategy to buy up companies and technologies that can help turn Synthesio into a comprehensive social listening and analytics suite.

In this case, Moisand said he was particularly impressed by Social Karma’s ability to help marketers research the interests and preferences of different consumer “personas” — rather than relying on old-fashioned surveys, they can use Social Karma to automatically collect consumer data from Facebook.

Social Karma could also help Synthesio customers formulate their content strategies and track the results of their efforts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The plan is to continue selling Social Karma as a standalone module, with further integration into the Synthesio platform down the road.

The Social Karma team will continue to work out of Brussels, adding to a list of Synthesio offices that already includes New York, Paris, London and Singapore.

“Social Karma was founded to help marketers and advertisers measure, compare and optimise their advertising and campaign performances on social networks,” said Social Karma founder and CEO Thierry Soubestre in the acquisition announcement. “This is why becoming a part of Synthesio will help us reach this ultimate goal, as Synthesio’s industry leading and incredibly rich global social data will allow our platform to provide insights that we have never before been able to access.”

As for where Synthesio fits into the broader landscape, Moisand acknowledged that it can look like there are hundreds of competitors. (“It’s crazy,” he said.) On the other hand, he argued that “if you look at companies that have reached a certain size, have raised a significant amount of money … when you look at who’s working with global brands, you’re down to a few players.”

Naturally, he sees Synthesio as one of those players. The company has raised more than $30 million in total funding, according to CrunchBase, and it says its customers include L’Oreal, WPP, Conde Nast and many others.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Featured Image: Synthesio

Facebook acquires Source3 to get content creators paid

Facebook is on the cusp of a big push to lure independent content creators to share their art through the News Feed. But it needs to prove it can help creators monetize their content without allowing piracy to run rampant. That’s why it’s acquired content rights management startup Source3, including its team and technology.

The startup explains that “At Source3, we set out to recognize, organize and analyze branded intellectual property in user-generated content, and we are proud to have identified products across a variety of areas including sports, music, entertainment and fashion.” Its technology allowed it to recognize brand IP in user-created content and commerce marketplaces, allowing brands to measure their presence or take action against infringers of their copyrights and trademarks.

Now Facebook spokesperson Vanessa Chan tells TechCrunch, “We’re excited to work with the Source3 team and learn from the expertise they’ve built in intellectual property, trademarks and copyright.” Source3 announced the deal on its site, which was spotted by Recode. The company wrote, “we’ve decided to continue our journey with Facebook,” and its team will work at Facebook’s NYC office.

Source3 had raised more than $4 million, mostly from a seed round in 2015 led by Contour Venture Partners. Co-founders Patrick F. SullivanBenjamin Cockerham and Scott Sellwood previously sold their music rights management platform RightsFlow to Google. Source3 was founded in New York in 2014 originally as a 3D printing rights management company. But after 3D printing plateaued in the consumer market, it appears to have widened its scope to digital entertainment.

The team and technology could augment Facebook’s Rights Manager software, which works like YouTube’s Content ID to allow creators to fingerprint their videos, and then either block unauthorized uploads of them to Facebook or collect the revenue share from these unofficial copies. Source3 could potentially help brands and creators identify unapproved appearances of their content or IP through Rights Manager.

Last month at VidCon, Facebook announced it’s building a special standalone app just for creators to share content with their fans. While Facebook already has the biggest audience, with 2 billion monthly users, it must prove that it can pay creators enough to make investing in their presence on the social network worth the effort.

One opportunity to do that would be using Source3’s technology to recognize brands worn or used by these web celebrities, and connect them to those brands or similar ones to strike sponsored content or product placement deals. Facebook could take a cut of these deals, allowing it to monetize creators’ content without jamming in more interruptive ads.

With Vine’s demise, Snapchat’s slow growth and YouTube’s kerfuffle with advertisers amidst the PewDiePie scandal, Facebook and Instagram are well-positioned to become central hubs for content creators trying to reach fans. The question is whether Facebook, built for friends’ photos and news links, can adapt to the unique needs of tomorrow’s mobile mini-movie stars.