Outbrain vs Taboola; Programmatic Local

reommendationbattleIs This Town Big Enough For Two?

The face-off between Israeli-bred competitors Outbrain and Taboola is punishing margins, leading some to wonder if the firms should hurry up and merge already. But the contenders don’t see it that way, and analysts agree. “Competition is ruthless, and everything between Outbrain and Taboola is aggressive,” Eric Yohay, an ad tech industry consultant, told the WSJ. Content rec firms pay publishers more for page views today than they did three years ago, with CPMs up from $0.75 to between $2.50 and $3.50. Meanwhile, advertisers’ fees have remained the same. Taboola raised a $117 million in February on the heels of Outbrain’s $100 million round in November.

Local Programmatic TV

Indie media agency Empower partnered with ad tech firm Savveo to execute local programmatic broadcast media campaigns with Scripps-owned TV stations. The ads will run in the second quarter. “A lot of the local television stations are scared of this, because they worry for their sales reps,” Empower CEO Jim Price told AdExchanger. “But what stations have to understand is that agencies are expecting to transact in this way, and they need to build the technology that gives us a real-time look into their inventory that allows us to be more dynamic about how we plan and buy it.” Read the release.

Digital Audio And iAd

Digital audio is shifting to mobile, eMarketer reports, with music listening on smartphones in the US set to grow an estimated 15% this year. At that rate, audiences will total nearly 100 million and account for 52.3% of all US smartphone users. Meanwhile, 55% of US listeners age 12 and up use a mobile device, tablet or portable audio device for podcast listening, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital. “Frequent podcast listening suggests marketers could leverage the medium to reach a fairly engaged audience,” eMarketer reports. “For now, though, usage is low.” As if on cue, Apple is making its iTunes radio inventory available programmatically through iAd. More on that via Ad Age.

Sorrell’s Blurred Lines

Speaking to Beet.TV, and interviewed by WPP Digital President David Moore, WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell says consolidation is impacting how WPP views the competition. “You see what Salesforce is trying to do, what Adobe is trying to do, what Oracle with [its acquisition of] Datalogix is trying to do. This is all a blurring of the lines.”

Mohan On Viewability

In a blog post, Google display and video ad chief Neal Mohan calls on the industry to continue to focus on counting viewable impressions, not percentages. He admits this is a tall order, and one his company has not solved…yet. “Marketers are not saying that they want a percentage of their campaign to be seen; rather, they are saying they want to pay only for viewable impressions,” he writes. “I understand this is a significant challenge, one we're working to solve on our own media properties; without a solution, however, viewable impressions cannot become a currency for the industry.”

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