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Facebook’s Ad Haul
”2010 was the year that Facebook firmly established itself as a major force not only in social network advertising but all of online advertising,” says eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson, noting that the social net should hit $2.19 billion in ad revenues in the US this year and just over $4 billion worldwide—both more than double last year’s figure. But as Read Write Web’s Marshall Kirkpatrick also writes that Facebook’s ad success doesn’t come without the occasional controversy. Case in point: an alleged malware site called Make-my-baby.com, which bought an estimated 1.75 billion ad impressions in the third quarter alone, which was first reported by AdAge’s Ed Lee. Facebook says the site is not an advertiser that affiliates who try to push it would be rejected. Read eMarketer’s forecast here; RRW’s piece is here.
Big In Europe
European startups get a bad rap, as they’re often regarded as pale imitations of U.S. innovators. Well, Business Insider’s Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry seeks to dispel that notion (somewhat) with a slideshow of the continent’s 10 most valuable emerging tech firms. Making the list: Finland’s virtual world/social net Habbo, Lovefilm (aka “Europe’s Netflix” – sorry!), Spotify (music loving geeks in the U.S. can’t wait for it), and personalized retargeter Criteo rounds out the top 10. See the slideshow.
eXelate announced what it calls its Premier Media Partnership program which "helps agencies achieve transparency across campaign reach, eliminate time spent on technical integrations, and close deals faster with access to an all-in-one solution." Read the release. Initial partners include adBrite, Accordant Media, Adap.TV, Collective, interclick, Invite Media, LucidMedia, and MediaMath according to the release.
It’s no surprise that free content is more popular that “paid content” in terms of the numbers of users. But a report by eMarketer that shows free mobile apps blowing away paid apps according to download number is a bit more complicated than that. Many free apps contain “paid for extras,” for instance, suggesting the ad support model isn’t something developers feel they can rely on. Overall, the numbers in the report suggest that the “freemium” model may be the best thing for developers looking to make a living off their creations, and could make their app inventory more valuable in turn. Read more.
SEM Was Solid
In the final quarter of 2010, search engine marketing experienced solid year-over-year growth of 23 percent and 18 percent since the previous quarter according to performance marketer Efficient Frontier. The big gains were in cost-per-click as well as a “reinvigorated” display market, especially in the case of the Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange (see our interview with Google’s Lexi Reese for more details). In a blog post, Efficient Frontier’s Chris Jacobs suggests that the increased number of advertisers turning to display suggests that the rising tide could provide enough benefits to offset some publishers’ worries about lower CPMs from the use of ad exchanges. Read EF’s release; Jacobs’ blog post is here.
Do Not Poll
With all the talk on Capitol Hill about pushing new rules governing behavioral targeting, the results of a Gallup/USA Today telephone poll that most Americans are worried about their online privacy isn’t much of a shock. The poll, which was based on calls to 1,019 adults – apparently their concern did not spur them to place their names on the Do Not Call List – found that 67 percent would want to block marketers from showing them ads based on websites they have visited, BtoB reported. Read more.
Our Algorithms, Ourselves
For those rare individuals, behavioral tracking isn’t viewed as invasive, it’s just clueless. In a NYT Op-Ed, TV writer Seth Freeman talks about wanting to embrace the algorithms that purport to know him so well from his web surfing and emailing. But when he discusses being “cheeky” with a friend, or mentions the actor Christopher Plummer, and all of a sudden he is served ads for electric razors and local plumbers, he just wishes his algorithm would take the time to just get to know him a little bit better. Read more.
Up To Speed On IPv6
With the number of Internet addresses running out on the IPv4 system, the switch to IPv6 promises ability to connect more devices to the Internet and online content, or so we’ve been told. Mediapost’s Laurie Sullivan tries to get to the bottom of it. Google, Yahoo and Facebook, along with Akamai, Limelight and the Internet Society last week revealed the companies will test IPv6 June 8 on their respective sites. Google has been testing the protocol on a separate site since March 2008. In an interview with Mike Afergan, CTO at Akamai, says, "This will help to solve the chicken-and-egg problem with IPv6--not as much supply because of not as much demand – and help us realize the promise of online advertising sooner," he says. “Specifically, this means working with publishers who support IPv6 and ensuring the ad technology used such as ad server and DSPs support IPv6.” Read more.
OpenX, Rubicon Project, L.A.
Maybe it’s the weather, but there must have been something about 1990s Los Angeles for it to serve as a primary incubator for a number of major ad tech startups. An LA Business Journal piece profiles a number execs, such as The Rubicon Project’s Frank Addante, formerly of L90, and OpenX’s Tim Cadogan, previously at Overture. Addante decamped for a time to Silicon Valley to start StrongMail, but returned to the city of angels to form Rubicon. “The people in L.A., they’ve learned to speak this ad language,” Addante said. Read more.
Bidding For Video
Partnerships are in the air these days among ad tech firms. Exchange operator adBrite is teaming with video ad net BrightRoll, claiming that they will be the first to add pre-roll video ad inventory on a real-time bidding platform for display. Whether they’re first or not, it there will likely be a lot more collaborations on the video ad front this year, as Magna Global’s Brian Wieser projects spending on ad streams to rise by 26.8 percent this year. Read the release.
Undertone’s Clean Bill
Over the past few years, a number of major publishers and advertisers have sworn off remnant ad networks. The usual complaints tend to be over the perceived lack of transparency and the uncertainty of where an ad would be placed. That has created a secondary business in the space: ad verifiers. Practically every ad tech firm has to have this form of protection in order to get into the door these days. Undertone’s gotten the clean bill of health from verifier AdSafe. The New York company got particularly high marks on its “evaluated inventory risk.” According to the audit, just 0.31 percent of Undertone’s inventory was deemed “high risk.” That compares to 15.4 percent for ad exchanges and 5.7 percent for traditional ad networks. Read more.
Creating and buying display ads are getting easier by the day. Canned Banners, a startup just emerging from beta, promises to make the process even simpler for small and medium businesses, a profile of the company in Adotas says. The ad builder’s strategy involves tying the creative process and the serving function closer together through partnerships with AdRoll, Digital Throttle, and ReTargeter. Read the Adotas piece here. Read the release.
Dan Reich, Lotame’s director of new business development is leaving the company to form a new company, SpinBack. In a post on his personal blog, he explains the startup as an online shopping recommender and discovery service. The lines between e-commerce and advertising is becoming more and more blurry, so Reich’s experience at Lotame is probably a plus in getting this new project off the ground. Read more.
Mobile ad tech firm Medialets has new branding and a new website - see it here!