John Nardone Leaves Rocket Fuel; Facebook May Dominate Video

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CEO Talkin’

Former [x+1] CEO John Nardone has left Rocket Fuel, which acquired the self-serve DSP/DMP hybrid last August, and joined UK-based ad-serving tech firm Flashtalking as its new chief executive. He replaces the firm’s elusive CEO and founder, Paul Cunningham. Nardone wastes no time on his new company’s strategy and tells MediaPost that Flashtalking doesn’t have ambitions to be anything more than an ad-serving platform. “But there is an ambition for it to be the ad-serving platform that is uniquely configured and positioned to support the complex programmatic needs of a rapidly evolving marketplace.” Ad serving is back. Not that it ever left.

Facebook Wins Video Advertisers

Facebook could overtake YouTube as the leading video advertising platform in 2015, according to a survey from video ad tech firm Mixpo. Of the 125 agencies, brands and publishers surveyed, 87% claim they plan to run Facebook video ad campaigns and only 81.5% will run YouTube campaigns this year. “The advertisers we talk to are all generally interested in running video ads in social,” wrote Mixpo VP of Marketing Justin Kistner. “What we see holding them back is a lack of experience. We created this report to not only give advertisers more insights on the macro trends, but also specific, tactical knowledge from actual campaigns."

Target Practice

Target is taking a, well, targeted approach to app building. The retailer’s most recent offering is an app to promote its upcoming Lilly Pulitzer clothing line. It seems like Target has an app for everything in its store, each highly tailored to a specific audience, and Digiday lists its portfolio. A Target spokeswoman points to the value of digital engagement, saying, “Guests who engage with Target across multiple channels – in stores and digital channels – become more engaged guests ... and spend three times more.” The “do-it-all mobile strategy” isn’t unique to Target, but is there ROI for the retailer that features a suite of short-term or narrowly focused apps?

Can Google Make Itself An Offer It Can’t Refuse?

A Marketing Land article claims Google is leaving unmonetized search and data capabilities on the table since it doesn’t let advertisers load in their different assets. Facebook, by contrast, has CRM matching program Custom Audiences, data from Facebook users and third-party partnerships with companies like Datalogix. If Google were to expand advertisers’ data capabilities on AdWords, it could be “one of the most lucrative advertising programs Google has ever launched.” Of course, Google is allegedly still struggling to reconcile consumer privacy with better advertising capabilities. In other Google search news, sources tell BuzzFeed that Google is working on a new product that connects search users with local home-service providers, though it wasn’t clear exactly how that connection would occur.

Expanding Reach By Embracing Rivals

Can a publisher/media company hybrid work fairly with its competitors? Yahoo insists it can, which is why it’s pitching itself as an ad platform that does not overvalue itself or undervalue rivals. Still, it’s fighting a two-front war. As reported by The Drum, Yahoo hopes to expand its reach and show it’s agnostic – thereby attracting more advertisers – by selling ads on apps it doesn’t own. Meanwhile, as a publisher, the company has invested in its news offering in an effort to build out its mobile and display business. Yahoo has focused its resources on mobile (where it recently grew 23% quarter on quarter, despite a 10% revenue decline since 2012), but as with many publishers, high mobile usage hasn’t been matched by high mobile ad revenue.

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