Snap Could Be Next For An MRC Audit; Havas Faced An Increase In Audits After ANA Report

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Snap Audit

Facebook and YouTube recently caved to advertiser demands that they submit to an MRC audit. Now Snapchat is “under pressure from ad buyers to follow suit,” writes Mike Shields at The Wall Street Journal. “We have clients that will walk away from sites that don’t offer independent metrics,” says Mitchell Weinstein, SVP of ad operations at IPG. “Snapchat will have to follow suit,” says Horizon Media ad ops director Erica Warburton. “With Procter & Gamble laying down the gauntlet…and with Snap’s impending IPO, they can’t risk not having accreditation.” Twitter and Pinterest are reportedly next in line for an audit browbeating after Snap (presumably) buckles. More.

In Other Audit News

Havas CEO Yannick Bolloré told investors most of the agency group’s clients have launched media audits since the ANA shone a spotlight on rebate practices last year. However, “the tough discussions are behind us now,” he said on the company’s Q4 earnings call. “Clients, especially on the media side, are not really talking about transparency – it's really the quest for modernity and new things. A huge majority visit the new big players in Silicon Valley and come back suggesting they want to change the way they advertise." Havas saw organic growth of 4.2% in the fourth quarter. Revenues remained relatively flat, rising to $2.4 billion from $2.3 billion the previous year. More at Ad Age.

FCC TV

Sinclair Broadcast Group has approached rival Tribune Media about a possible merger. The deal is far from settled, and still hinges on sweeping regulatory changes since the companies would collectively reach more US households than the FCC allows (39%) for a broadcaster. Congress can lift that cap, and the combined entity could apply for a waiver as part of the deal, but “many in the industry expect Trump to relax the rules on the ownership of broadcast stations,” Reuters reports. More.

Game On

Google unveiled a slew of ad-related tools at its Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Most are designed to help devs boost installs and engagement on their apps. They include “playables,” an interactive ad format that lets users test-drive games before purchase; “auto-flip,” which uses machine learning to convert landscape video ads to vertical mode; two SDKs supporting real-time reporting of all events firing in an app; and the introduction of AdWords video app-install ad demand to AdMob. Read the blog post.

Where Credit Is Due

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is taking credit for the return of unlimited data plans. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Pai said his decision to end investigations into zero-rating and to reverse AT&T and Verizon’s neutrality violation around data cap charges has led to more consumer choice. “Consumers are now benefiting from these offers … made possible by a competitive marketplace,” he said. “And remember: Preemptive government regulation did not produce that result. The free market did.” But Pai might not deserve all the credit, as T-Mobile and Sprint were already selling unlimited data plans before Trump was elected. The only real change under Pai was Verizon reinstating unlimited data plans for the first time since 2011, sparking competition from other telcos. More at Ars Technica.

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