Sorrell Troubled By Transparency Debate; Mayer's Mobile Confidence

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Sorrell 'Puzzled' By Media Margin Pushback

Speaking at ad:tech London, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said he’s troubled by the debate around transparency and programmatic. Regarding his position on the media sold through WPP’s programmatic arm, Xaxis, Sorrel said, “We decided to do this on an opt-in basis. We ripped up 2,500 media contracts. We explained to clients what was happening and told them they could opt in.” He continued, “Some of them chose not to, largely because of the transparency issue, which I’m a little bit puzzled by because nobody knows what happens when you double click with Google or use Facebook. People don’t know how they work. Algorithms change, and people don’t know how they change.” Sorrell said WPP’s margins are 15 or 16% of revenues, compared to Facebook and Google’s margins in the 40-50% range. Read on via The Drum.

Mayer On Mobile

In a Q&A with The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said the company’s mobile bet will continue to pay off. “Given the success we have seen on mobile native ads, we think that that only means our mobile revenue will grow commensurately with traffic, as opposed to users,” she said. “We also think that as we get additional advertising demand, experiment with more ad formats, etc., there will be also opportunities to drive up the price per ad.” Mayer said Yahoo’s native mobile ads have performed for advertisers as well as traditional display on desktop. More.

Privacy Execs’ Revolving Door

The privacy game is changing, and so are its key regulatory figures. The Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), a longstanding self-regulatory group whose members include ad networks, lost CEO Marc Groman after a three-year tenure. Concurrently, the FTC brought Ashkan Soltani aboard as chief technologist to lead data privacy efforts. Speaking to Ad Age, Groman commented on Soltani’s appointment, saying the hire “signals how seriously the FTC takes the issue of privacy and in particular digital privacy.” But Groman noted the decision might ruffle some feathers in the digital ad industry, as Soltani has publicly explored the merits of companies accessing and distributing data for digital advertising purposes. More via the NYT.

Twitter Debuts 'Fabric'

Rumors of Twitter’s app development platform were confirmed Wednesday with the official launch of Fabric. “Two years ago we were at a place in the company’s history where we were looking at what was going on in the mobile landscape,” strategy director Jessica Verrilli told the Financial Times, “and we knew that we wanted to expand its footprint to be not just a mobile product, but also a mobile platform.” Gigaom reporter Carmel DeAmicis notes that as consumers shift to mobile, ad dollars will follow. “Without having key integrations into native apps, Twitter risks losing a major share of the mobile web advertising market to its competitors,” writes DeAmicis. Read on.

Primo Mobile Marketplace

Private mobile ad exchange startup YieldMo racked up $10 million on Wednesday, adding to the $8 million round of funding it secured last year. YieldMo will use the funds to further develop Ad Format Lab, its mobile marketplace. According to the press release, “Marketplace is distinct in that it only includes premium advertisers and publishers, and provides transparent reporting down to the placement level.” Time Warner is among these publishers, and led this series of funding. YieldMo is expanding and plans to hire at least 40 in the coming months. Re/code has more.

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