Amazon Goes Server-Side With Header Bidding; Never Rely On Platform Traffic

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Amazon Jumps To Server-Side Header

Amazon has quietly ironed another badge onto its ad tech sash. While Amazon has had a header bidding solution for a few years, Ad Age’s George Slefo reveals that the company is moving it server-side. “Ad requests will be handled on the server instead of in consumers' browsers,” he writes. More. Amazon has a fairly long history in the header, using pre-bid integration to get a “first look” at publisher inventory via its A9 division, in much the way Criteo has done for years. But it will be among the first to move its header server-side.

New And Shiny

The new “new media” mantra: Never rely on platform traffic. In early 2015, Elite Daily seemed a sensible $30 million buy for the Daily Mail. But what was a social publishing standout – “founded by a couple of twentysomethings in 2012, fueled by Facebook growth, then sold for many millions a few years later” – is now a cautionary tale. The Daily Mail acknowledged the failure, announcing it had written off $31 million in losses from the deal, reports Peter Kafka at Recode. Low-brow content or outright fake news tends to dominate Facebook engagement (not counting recipe videos – seriously) but it’s not sustainable business. And consumers are apparently tuning into that fact as well, as the US election and Facebook’s role in the media has prompted a huge surge of true readership value to quality news organizations. More.

Prints Of Thieves

Facebook drank $1 billion of the print advertising milkshake in 2016, according to Poynter’s Rick Edmonds and ad industry analyst Gordon Borrell. Print newspaper revenue used to be about $43 billion per year, but the industry brought in less than $15 billion this year. Big-brand advertisers have been spending on Facebook for years, but now small businesses are shifting spend away from local newspapers and onto the platform. More.

Hidden Influencers

If you’ve seen Instagram posts with hashtags like #complimentary, #gotitfree or #gotacoupon, you’re not alone. BuzzFeed reports on the regulatory headache posed by “the so-called microinfluencer, people with as little as ten followers who are being paid by brands.” It’s hardly unusual for brands to give away promotional merchandise (ever heard of T-shirt cannons?), but how do we treat similar behavior on Instagram, where there are well-defined rules around disclosure. “One of our biggest concerns is that this is becoming normalized and so seamlessly integrated into our everyday interactions with social media,” says Kristen Strader of the consumer watchdog Public Citizen. “Of course this is what advertisers want, but it is unfair to the consumer, especially young consumers who are growing up seeing paid endorsements on social media without understanding that those posts are actually advertisements.” More.

Virtual Blood, Sweat And Tears

The e-sports industry is young and insignificant compared to traditional sports, but these video game whippersnappers don’t get the credit they’re due as pioneers. While sports leagues grew fat on broadcast rights deals, e-sports (and, uhhh, e-athletes) have forged a scrappy path to monetization. On Twitch, an Amazon-owned video game live-streaming platform, viewers personally support players through microtransactions and marketers often run campaigns with them as social influencers. The world championship for online game “Dota 2” had a prize of $20 million, more than half of which was contributed by fans. Leagues may also monetize players’ time during tournaments by, say, charging fans for exclusive live streaming or social media access during tournaments. More at Digiday.

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