Author: Anne Freier

Rubicon Project cuts 100 jobs following Q4 revenue drop

Rubicon Project, the online ad company, has just axed 100 jobs in an effort to reduce costs. Following a reduction in revenue of 57% year-on-year in Q4 2017 and a net loss, the company decided to take the drastic measure. Overall, revenues in Q4 2017 were down to $31.4 million from $72.7 million for the same quarter in 2016. Total revenue was 44% down compared to 2016. “We made significant strides to strengthen our competitive and financial position during and after the fourth quarter,” explained Michael G. Barrett, president and CEO of Rubicon Project. “As our industry moves through a heightened consolidation phase, we continue to lead in transparency, trust, support and technology, all with extremely attractive pricing, to win business with buyers and deliver

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Smaato provides additional mobile in-app and video advertising anti-fraud features

Smaato, the mobile advertising platform for publishers and app developers, just announced the implementation of Protected Media’s in-app and video ad fraud protection technology. This ensures that Smaato’s network of 90,000 publishers and app developers as well as 10,000 app developers are protected through advanced cyber security technology. The feature will also provide more sophisticated evaluation of the legitimacy of ad impressions with precise data verification. Over the past year, demand for more secure solutions in the advertising industry has grown. Mobile in-app advertisers are looking for formats that can prevent fraud. Smaato has long focused on providing ad-fraud-secure technologies and ad spend on the platform grew to 96% from 80% in 2017. Meanwhile, in-app video ad requests increased by 14x. “At Smaato, advertisers receive

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Urban Airship launches automation engine to improve in-app engagement

Urban Airship, the mobile engagement platform, has just launched the first in-app automation engine through which brands can create rich, interactive in-app ads that can be precisely targeted to meet consumer behaviour and lifecycle events through automation logic. Although in-app messaging is an important way for app developers to engage with end users, many messages are still seen as annoying or irrelevant due to delivery issues. The automation engine ensures that messages are received at the moment when they matter most to the end user, ie. in-context or in-session. Marketers will be able to use the Urban Airship UI to fully customize their templates or custom HTML for different rich, interactive message layouts and to define automation logic, edit messages and performance. At the same

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Google removed 3.2 billion ‘bad ads’ in 2017

Google removed over 3.2 billion ‘bad’ advertisements in 2017 – up from 1.7 billion in 2016 according to the company. The company removed the ads to avoid the ad network falling victim to malicious purposes. A whopping 79 million ads were blocked on the network last year which sent consumers to malware-containing sites. Google also removed 400,000 of these sites. In addition, the company blocked 66 million ‘trick to click’ ads which look like system warnings to most users in order to entice them to click the link. Another 48 million ads were removed that tried to get users to install unwanted software. However, that’s not all. On the publishing front, Google got rid of 320,000 bad publishers from its advertising network and blocked 90,000

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InMobi partners with GeoEdge to improve user experience of mobile ads

Mobile advertising platform, InMobi, has just partnered with GeoEdge, the provider of ad security and verification for mobile ads. Together, the companies will be able to provide high quality ads and a cleaner marketplace that offers safe and engaging user experience. Right now, the mobile ad industry is facing advertising quality challenges such as increases in auto-redirect, automatic pop-up and malicious ads. A negative user experience ultimately reflects badly on the publishers. InMobi and GeoEdge had been working together for quite some time to ensure that mobile apps were free from malicious ads. “InMobi has a reputation of creating award-winning ads that users want to see, and we have invested heavily in this area to create a seamless user experience that will also benefit our

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Spotify expands Ad Studio in UK and Canada for mobile audio ads

Music platform Spotify has officially expanded its audio self-serve advertising platform into the UK and Canada. The Spotify Ad Studio launched back in fall 2017. It provides creative audio ads for advertisers to publish on Spotify. The streaming platform’s audience consists of highly engaged listeners and has already shown some good results. “When we ran our Spotify Ad Studio campaign, we saw ticket sales double in one week,” explained Morgan Wright, marketer at Greater Cleveland Aquarium, one of our US launch partners. “We could tie that increase directly to the Spotify ad.” However, according to Nielsen research, audio ads have a unique impact and drive purchase intent with a 2x lift over display ads and 24% higher ad recall. The Ad Studio offers streaming intelligence

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Tapjoy launches Interplay Studio for expanded support for mobile in-app campaigns

Tapjoy, the mobile advertising platform, has announced the launch of Interplay Studio, where an in-house design team will be helping brands and marketers to optimize their ads for applications. The company has long been an expert in mobile gaming and advertising to develop custom-branded and contextually relevant rich media ads, playables and interactive end cards for mobile video ads. Campaigns designed by the Interplay Studio during testing showed 3-5x greater click-through rates compared to traditional mobile video ads. They delivered in-ad engagement times of almost 30 seconds. The new team consists of 10 creative and video specialists right now. These will be able to support creative advertising and campaigns from creation to long-term performance. In addition, the new Interactive Studio also provides reports for advertisers

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Social media, mobile and mCommerce – a look at Generation Z

Generation Z, those born after 1994, can be a bit of mystery to many marketers. That’s why Hill Holiday commissioned Origin to survey 1,000 US Gen Z consumers about their media preferences. Unsurprisingly, social media dominates smartphone usage among Gen Z consumers. Indeed, 91% of them were using at least one social media platform, whilst 51% also said they used social media constantly. Among the top platforms used were Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, WhatsApp and Tumblr. For advertisers, these insights offer an excellent opportunity to reach Gen Z via social media. Ultimately, it means shifting budgets if advertisers are trying to reach Gen Z in a more effective way. So why does Gen Z like social media? 71% of users said that social media had

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Snapchat adds branded content adverts to app

Snapchat is now letting publishers use the app to share their branded content. Previously, publishers were not able to share ads between their videos and articles on Snapchat Discover. The move is part of a wider deal between major publishers and Snap Inc. Now, prominent publishers such as BuzzFeed, NBC Universal and Vice can work directly with marketers to deliver the ads that sit between their organic content posts. It offers a whole new level of transparency and publishers can take charge of the ad content they wish to integrate. “Starting now, Discover publishers are allowed to distribute branded content within the Snap Ads that run in their Publisher Stories,” a Snapchat spokesperson told Ad Age. “Snap Ads are familiar to users as ads, and are

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Half of retailers may lose sales due lack of mobile app technologies

A majority of shoppers (80%) are now using mobile apps to buy products or stay in touch with retailers. However, despite this, just half of UK retailers have actually invested in mobile app technologies. These are the findings from a new analysis of 240 UK retailers by Visualsoft, the digital agency. The report found that just 51% of retailers had made an investment in mobile app tech. Another 61% of respondents were also not using marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay to sell their products to an expanded audience. “Despite huge growth opportunities for retailers that use multichannel technology, more than half of the UK’s leading brands are failing to invest in these invaluable platforms – a worryingly large figure,” explained Chris Fletcher, head of

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Advertisers misjudge effectiveness of traditional media in favour of digital

Advertisers may be grossly undervaluing traditional advertising media such as radio and newspapers in favour of online video, according to new research by Ebiquity UK commissioned by Radiocentre, UK. The report measured advertiser and agency perceptions of the effectiveness of different types of media from over 4,500 campaigns. In addition, 68 marketers were surveyed from companies spending over £2 million on advertising in 2017. Another 48 media buyers were interviewed. The study found that online ads such as video and display delivered less strongly compared to traditional media across 10 attributes advertisers deemed the most important. These included targeting the right audiences, increasing ROI and evoking an emotional response from audiences. Meanwhile, TV actually performed strongest across all categories, followed by radio, newspapers and magazines.

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Malicious mobile ad trojans decreased in 2017 – mobile ransomware doubled

According to the latest report by Kaspersky Lab, the security experts, the number of mobile malware threats declined in 2017. However, the Mobile Malware Evolution report highlighted that the overall volume of mobile malware attacks increased. Kaspersky noted that there had been 42.7 million attempts of mobile malware attacks in 2017 – up from 40 million in 2016. The overall variety of types of attacks however declined in 2017. Mobile banking and advertising Trojans were lower. Roman Unuchek, a senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab explained that the firm had expected a reduction in mobile ad Trojans “because of growth of share devices running newer Android versions.” “These malware families are not related to non-mobile advertising malware,” he added. Mobile ad Trojans were dominant in

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Mobile app advertisers pay premiums as high as 100% above average for first impressions

Mobile app advertisers are paying premiums for first impressions, which can be as high as 100% of the average eCPM, according to research from Soomla, the mobile ad measurement firm. According to the Q1 2018: Monetization Benchmarks Report, most publishers only know their average eCPM rates. The report is based on an indepth comparison of eCPMs for first impressions. Meanwhile, direct deals between publishers and advertising networks usually come with high eCPM first impressions. The report also noted that monetization providers and advertiser generally employ different strategies to bid for first impressions. Some tend to be more aggressive whilst others are indifferent to the impression sequence. Games have an overall larger focus on first impressions compared to non-game advertisers. The latter are more indifferent toward first impressions.

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Week in Review – Twitter tests third-party ad inventory integration & Snap lays off staff

The big players Facebook is currently testing a new Messenger feature that lets businesses and advertisers build their own self-serve sponsored messages. YouTube has added on-device mobile video segmentation in real-time for its stories. Stories are a more light and fun alternative for video creators to put together their videos. Clearly aimed at rivaling similar tools from Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, YouTube finally decided to make video creation easier for creators that seek out quick and easy set-ups. Twitter may be looking to do things slightly differently to its rivals. The social media company is currently testing its ad inventory with third-party platforms and trade desks, according to a number of brands that were briefed on the matter. Chinese messaging app WeChat has reached a milestone of one billion

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Amobee rolls out custom bidding algorithms for mobile and digital advertisers

  Amobee, the digital marketing tech company, has just made some improvements to its platform to enable buyers to add their own custom data sets to its bid modelling platform. This allows advertisers to modify and tailor their own bid strategies against data that matters more to them. To test the concept, Amobee has partnered with TruSignal, the predictive score marketing company, to integrate its custom, predictive people-based scores into the existing Amobee bidder and thus influence real-time bids from the platform. Advertisers can either use their own data models or utilize the TruSignal custom-built predictive scores. The Amobee platform integration has been designed to apply provider data to result in real-time changes in an advertiser’s bid. Thus, marketers can improve their cross-channel, programmatic media

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OpenX to ban user-unfriendly video advertising format

Ad tech provider, OpenX, has just announced that the company is planning to ban certain video ad formats from its exchange. These will include the 300×250 ad unit, which the company says was among the most prolific video ad units, but provided a bad experience for consumers and advertisers. The 300×250 is sub-standard because the size does not match to any standard video ad size and consists almost exclusively of in-banner video – a video ad stuffed into a banner ad that is then sold as in-stream video or mislabeled as out-stream. “Video is a rapidly growing part of the programmatic ecosystem, and as the medium matures, the industry needs to constantly stay ahead of format variations to ensure brands, publishers and consumers experience the

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Snap to lay off 10% of its engineers

Snap is reportedly preparing to lay off around 100 developers and engineers over the next week. The job cuts are mostly affecting 10% of the engineering department. However, it follows a round of cuts as recent as January at Snap when the company cut down its content division. Back in September, Snap also laid off some employees within its hardware team. At the same time, Steve Horowitz was promoted to VP of Technology. “It is never a good sign when a technology company lays off engineers thus the news that Snap is laying off 100 engineers, reportedly 10 per cent of its engineering workforce, does not bode well for the platform. Snap’s future as a tool for marketers has long been in question and the

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Instagram secretly tests Portrait mode feature

Instagram appears to be launching new shutter modes to let people shoot photos with blurred backgrounds and other effects. According to TechCrunch, the company’s Android Application Package contains a portrait shutter icon. The site was tipped off by a reader who detected the icon. Instagram did not wish to comment on the report. However, the company regularly launches new features to its camera and Stories and section, so we may be seeing the latest shutter modes implemented soon. As users have begun to increasingly use their smartphones to capture photos and videos of people, apps and social media platforms such as Instragram, Facebook and Snapchat have been busy expanding the tools available. Indeed, photo and messaging apps are having to consistently update and expand their

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Rockerbox launches new marketing platform that focuses on audience behaviours

Rockerbox, the recency marketing company, just presented its Recency Marketing Platform, which lets advertisers check out user behaviours and improve customer acquisition campaigns accordingly. The company was launched in 2013 by two ex-AppNexus engineers who realised that the last 60 minutes of a consumer’s digital behaviours were indicative of their buying intent. Therefore, the new platform focuses specifically on the last 60 minutes of a consumer’s online activities across various channels and devices. It then allows advertisers to optimise their spend and boost conversions. During first testing, clients increased their post-click conversions by up to 300%. At the same time, they brought down cost per acquisition by 60%. According to research by Rockerbox, the last 60 minutes of online activity are a better indication of

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Rubicon Project opens up exchange to boost guaranteed programmatic buying

Rubicon Project, the advertising exchange, just launched its exchange up for DSPs to offer programmatic buying in guaranteed private marketplaces. The first DSP to jump on board is Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager. The move makes Rubicon Project the first third-party exchange to offer programmatic guaranteed buying with DoubleClick. Paul Cocks, EMEA Head of Product for Inventory & Programmatic Direct at Google explained: “We are constantly looking to identify the most efficient and effective ways to use the power of real-time and data-driven decisions and we are excited to now combine this with access to reserved publisher inventory with Programmatic Guaranteed. As we bring Programmatic Guaranteed to market we look forward to working with many partners who play an important role in facilitating and expanding opportunities

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