Publishers Pay The Facebook Measurement Toll; Place-Based Marketing Draws Government Concern

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Pub Crawl

Some publishers that have embraced Facebook Instant Articles are now feeling the sting of higher costs associated with measuring their audiences there. Ad Age reporter Jeremy Barr describes how Facebook shunts pubs to its measurement partner comScore, which then charges media companies that aren’t already clients. Barr notes, “An executive at one medium-sized publisher was displeased to learn that it would cost $15,000, per platform, per year, to add such tracking capabilities.” More.  

Unescapable

Responding to a recent New York Times report on billboards that gather data on passersby, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken published a letter to Clear Channel about the company’s new service, “Radar,” which taps users’ location data for targeting. Franken, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Privacy and Technology Subcommittee, used Clear Channel’s own promotional language – "out of home advertising is unescapable" – as the basis for a litany of privacy concerns. It isn’t a true threat to Clear Channel’s program, but it’s a sign of the intense scrutiny that’s bound to accompany the emerging generation of place-based marketing tech.

Fishing Where The Fish Are

The Washington Post’s mobile content strategy is evolving fast, with vertical videos at its core. In the past six months, WaPo has created news explainers, aggregation posts and live coverage videos at a clip of 60 per day. The format mirrors publisher content on Snapchat’s Discover channel. Micah Gelman, WaPo’s director of editorial video, told Digiday, “Us old guys lost the ability to get people to turn their phones sideways to watch videos. That’s too hard. Why fight it?” But it seems that the publisher still has work to do, as horizontal ads make the pre-roll to video transition less than pleasant. More.

Struggles Abroad

Germany’s ominous-sounding Federal Cartel Office is pursuing a new probe into Facebook, which The Wall Street Journal says “builds on growing momentum in Europe to tie together questions of competition law and online privacy.” Since Google purchased DoubleClick in 2007, regulators have increasingly considered user privacy and market dominance as intertwined topics. “If just a few companies control the data you need to satisfy customers and cut costs, that could give them the power to drive their rivals out of the market,” said EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager. More.

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