Facebook Defies Gravity; WPP Vs. Martin Sorrell

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The Zuck Abides

Readers might be forgiven for thinking this has been a brutal year for Facebook, given the long string of scandals and investigations the company has faced. But in some important ways, Facebook is humming along as smoothly as ever, according to BTIG Research. “While regulators and the press have had a field day attacking Facebook’s behavior, we continue to believe consumers simply could not care less,” writes Richard Greenfield, managing director of the firm’s media and technology research. Facebook’s raw user growth may have tailed off, but it remains a must-have utility for internet-connected people around the world, and Instagram is taking off like a rocket, passing a billion users of its own and turning Instagram Stories into a product with twice the users Snapchat has. Facebook stock plummeted in March after CEO Mark Zuckerberg was forced to testify over electoral interference scandals in the US and England but fully recovered by May and is once again trading at an all-time high. More.

Trade War

The already strained relationship between WPP and S4 Capital, the new investment vehicle from Martin Sorrell, strained further last week as WPP lawyers contended Sorrell is in breach of confidentiality agreements. They say that by bidding for MediaMonks, which WPP also covets, he is levering information and relationships established during his tenure at WPP. Sorrell’s team says its bid comes via the London-based private equity firm Inflexion, reports Sky News. WPP says S4’s pursuit of MediaMonks would justify it withholding as much as $26 million in future payouts. More.

Content Metrics

Hearst and other publishers are developing specialized campaign metrics to prove the value of branded content. Hearst prefers a metric it dubs engaged view rate that scores an audience based on the percent of readers who spent a minimum of 30 seconds and scrolled at least 75% of the way down the page, reports Digiday. Publishers have tried time-based campaign metrics, but the practice never gained much traction and news companies are still searching for scalable ways to differentiate. “The big challenge for media owners is, we need more editorial insight to apply against the content,” said Laura Wade, VP of content and innovation at GroupM programmatic agency Essence. More.

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