Facebook Catches Flak Over Video Measurement; Twitter Share Prices Jumped On Friday Following Sale Rumors

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Balancing The ’Book

Facebook ended last week in crisis after a report from The Wall Street Journal aired agency concerns over a misrepresented video advertising metric. The company had been counting every second all users spent watching, but divided that by only the number of people who watched for three seconds or more (its baseline to consider an ad served), thus boosting the time-spent-watching metric for monetized views. Facebook advertising VP David Fischer apologized and wrote, “[I]nvestments with us wholly depend on the transparency with which we communicate.” Marketers are pushing for significantly more transparency. “We and our competitors want better measurement. The answer is not Facebook or Google data. We can’t have the players being the referees,” said WPP CEO Martin Sorrell on the company’s earnings call a month ago. More.

Little Birdy Told Me...

Twitter share prices jumped more than 21% on Friday after anonymous sources leaked news of potential bidders for the company, naming Salesforce and Google. “Twitter's board of directors is said to be largely desirous of a deal,” wrote CNBC. At this point it’s a well-rehearsed cycle, with acquisition rumors giving a boost to Twitter stock and analysts cautioning that a sale will come eventually, but not this year.

OOH Snap Ads

Snapchat is turning its logo-scanning “Snapcodes” (a feature akin to a QR code that lets users auto-follow and click into accounts) into a more formal ad product, writes Ad Age’s Garett Sloane. It’s a unique feature of the truly mobile-first Snapchat. "QR codes are one of those things everyone laughs about but Snapchat found an interesting way to reinvent them," said Noah Mallin, head of social at MEC North America. "They're taking a real-world interaction and making it actionable on the platform." More.

News Circulation

Publishers can make incremental money outsourcing the basement of their article pages to Outbrain or Taboola, but those links sometimes lead users to scammy or inappropriate content. News Corp., owner of The Wall Street Journal and a stable of financial news pubs, is quietly working on its own content recommendation solution geared more to recirculating readers throughout its owned-and-operated properties, according to Lucia Moses at Digiday. News Corp. would lose money in the short term by abandoning paid outbound referrals, but sees long-term value if it can increase reader session times and drive subscriptions. More.

Verizon’s Wet Ink

A data breach impacting at least 500 million Yahoo accounts and active since 2014 throws a painful wrench into the company’s $4.8 billion sale to Verizon. “The first of what is expected to be multiple lawsuits linked to the breach was brought in U.S. District Court,” reported USA Today last Friday. Many experts say it’s possible the breach will bring down the amount Verizon ends up paying for Yahoo. Yahoo never disclosed a breach, so if anyone did know about it beforehand Verizon would have grounds to walk from the deal entirely. More at the Financial Times.

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