Nestlé Talks Programmatic; InMobi Rumor Squashed

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Nestlé Speaks

On stage at the IAB’s conference in London, Gawain Owen, digital lead at Nestlé, offered brands some advice. “Ask your agency for log-ins,” he said. “I can log-in at any time and see how my campaigns are performing because [the agencies] have nothing to hide.” Logins give brands unfettered access to the platforms they’re licensing, he explained, which increases transparency and boosts demand for programmatic buying. Next, Owen touched on Nestlé’s programmatic video focus. “We are a television-led business, that’s why it’s so important for us” he said. “For me, premium, guaranteed, whatever you want to call it in the video sector, [it] is an absolute must.” More via The Drum.

Google-InMobi Chatter

On the heels of its rumored acquisition by Google – first reported by the Economic Times – InMobi employees received an email from chief Naveen Tewari dismissing the chatter. “Given the level of innovation and disruption we are about to cause, there is no reason to sell," Tewari wrote. But sources tell Business Insider that Google is still dreaming of a mobile land grab. More.

Snapchat Market Cap Climbs

Sources tell The Wall Street Journal that Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is investing $200 million in Snapchat, which would bring the ephemeral messaging app’s value to $15 billion. The investment would follow Alibaba’s string of investments in US startups, including video call app TangoMe, car service Lyft and mobile search provider Quixey. Alibaba first considered investing in Snapchat in July, following the Yahoo round that brought Snapchat to a $10 billion market cap, but those plans never came to fruition. Back in January, SunTrust published 10 reasons why Alibaba should buy the app. Just saying.

Streaming’s On Fire

Data from Nielsen suggests that two in five US households now subscribe to video streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Meanwhile, according the the data, live television watching is way down and total time spent on web and mobile is up. On average, adults in the US spent an hour and 25 minutes per day using a smartphone during 2014’s third quarter, up 18 minutes YoY. Nielsen SVP of insights Dounia Turrill says companies need to capitalize on digital if they mean to stay afloat. “With continued and accelerating fragmentation, the risks and rewards are potentially high,” she said. “The ability to stake a claim in the expanding industry pie is central to companies’ growth.” More via The New York Times.

Publicis Invests In Commerce

Publicis snapped up “commerce agency” Expicient for an undisclosed sum. The buy comes weeks after Publicis finalized its Sapient takeover, which established the Publicis.Sapient network that now houses a number of digital agencies, including Rosetta and Razorfish. “Communications and commerce aren't separate ideas," said Publicis.Sapient CEO Alan Herrick. "The ability to optimize commerce infrastructure fits into how you think about mobile pay, in-aisle shopping and mobile experience that complements that. If the client says, 'I need you to help me optimize the omni-channel environment,' [that could span] investments in online media, direct marketing and optimization of inventory." Expicient has worked with brands like Argos, Bed Bath & Beyond, J. Crew and Target. Ad Age has more.

Programmatic-First Publishers

Speaking to Beet.TV, SpotXchange SVP Sean Buckley said a programmatic-first mentality is ever more prevalent among publishers and broadcasters. “The traditional model is ‘let’s sell everything we can up-front through a direct sales model and then whatever’s left let’s push in to our SSP platform or exchange environments,’” he said. “Now, we’re hearing the strategy [of] putting programmatic first from major broadcasters and premium publishers. As recently as three years ago, it was an afterthought, if it was even a thought at all.” For the record, SpotXchange offers a programmatic video platform for publishers. Watch the interview.

Merkle Surges

CRM agency Merkle posted 20% growth in revenue year over year for 2014 to $382 million and projects $1 billion in managed client spend in 2015, up from $600 million in 2014. Propelling its growth in part were partnerships with Twitter for its Tailored Audiences product, as well as an early agency deal with Facebook’s new ad server, Atlas. Merkle’s roots as a CRM agency have positioned it well to connect media to the database record. Merkle was acquisitive in 2014, adding agencies RKG and New Control, as well as loyalty platform 500friends, into its strategic fold. The earnings.

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