Sir Martin Sorrell's Warning About Amazon; Google Builds AMP Ads Partnerships

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Dances With Wolves

Earlier this month, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell told investors that "the company that would worry me if I was a client – or I think worries our clients, more than Google and Facebook – is Amazon." Amazon’s ad revenue is trivial compared to Google and Facebook (for now), but marketers are regarding its rise “with excitement and trepidation,” writes Shira Ovide and Leila Abboud at Bloomberg. On the one hand, online ad spenders want something, anything to dislodge the reigning digital duopoly. On the other hand, Amazon promises no rest for the weary. Google and Facebook may give marketers measurement-induced migraines, but unlike Amazon they won’t outright compete with their clients’ business. More.

Open Source

Google’s AMP for Ads initiative, which creates fast loading mobile ads, is bolstering its offering through partnerships. Native ad platform TripleLift recently signed on Time Inc. as a test partner for AMP Ads, giving the publisher a 13% uptick in viewability compared with AMP page standards, said VP of digital revenue strategy and operations Kavata Mbondo. AMP Ads on Time Inc. were also six times faster loading and three times lighter than standard ads. AMP has also inked a partnership with security company Cloudflare to launch verification and optimization service Firebolt, which will ensure that ad units are up to AMP’s standards. And AMP is working with agencies and buying platforms to build and deliver creative tailored to the initiative. Read the blog post.

Lighten Your Wallet

Apple is offering Square merchants an Apple Pay deal (free processing on $1,200 worth of sales, which amounts to about $350 in fees) to incentivize mainstream use of its mobile wallet. Getting people on Apple Pay (or rival services from Google and Samsung) has been a struggle, but the spoils are great, including pre-saved credit card info, transactional insights and advertising up-sell opportunities for small biz retailers. TechCrunch has the story.

The Great Firewall

Since Facebook was banned from China in 2009, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has done everything from agreeing to cull “unacceptable” content on its network to learning Mandarin. While his efforts to make nice with the party machine may have borne some fruit, the Chinese market is so dominated by homegrown platforms like WeChat now that Facebook may no longer have a fighting chance. “At this stage and time with WeChat, Weibo and other products, it’s hopeless,” Kai-Fu Lee, Google’s former China head, told the Wall Street Journal in a profile on Zuck’s trials and tribulations to crack the Chinese market. Read it.

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