The Information Profiles Google's Scott Spencer; Facebook Will Open Sponsored Messaging In Messenger

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The Spencer Diaries

The Information gives the profile treatment to Google’s Scott Spencer, the ad tech “godfather” who helped build DoubleClick Ad Exchange and now runs “sustainable advertising” at Google. Spencer’s job entails setting ad-blocking policy and advocating for improved user experience in mobile. There’s a bit of news here too: “Next year Mr. Spencer and his colleagues will try to develop AMP advertising units that aim to boost ad rates, according to a person briefed on the effort. It is unclear how he will do so.” Read more (sub required).

Spam Box

After testing the product with select brands for six months, Facebook will open sponsored messaging to all advertisers in Messenger. Because Messenger is such a personal channel, Facebook will have to work hard to make sponsored messages not feel like spam. Businesses will only be allowed to target sponsored content to users they’re already in a conversation with, either through a bot interaction or a “click to message” ad in the news feed, Ingrid Lunden writes at TechCrunch. And since Messenger lets brands target based on a Facebook interaction, it creates a kind of “walled tunnel” between the two apps. Users can also block businesses after receiving a sponsored message. More.

’Appy Yet?

Over the course of 2016, Apple and Google have, little by little, expanded the toolkits available to developers seeking greater visibility in their app stores. Some solutions aren’t related to ads. For instance, Apple lets developers give out early-access codes and in-app purchase discounts with the goal of enticing reporters and reviewers into recommending the app (aka earned media). Apple also increased its developers’ cut of app revenue earlier this year. Google just started allowing limited-time discount subscription offers so apps can build early users. More at Business Insider.

The Retail Retool

IBM hopes its Watson AI service can be a shopping service “more personalized and useful than what’s currently available” (looking at you, Siri, Alexa and Google Now), according to MarTech Today. To that end, Big Blue has been on an absolute spree to buy or build its way into commerce use cases. In July it partnered with Simplifi and Macy’s for in-store assistance, and last week it scooped the customer experience tech product Expert Personal Shopper from Fluid. Both those services are aimed at voice-activated shopping assistance. This summer IBM also bought Bluewolf, a Salesforce cloud management company. More.

Malice Aforethought

“The exploitation of the ’Internet of Things’ to conduct small-to-large scale attacks on the private industry will very likely continue,” the FBI warned the business community following a crippling DDoS attack against the internet infrastructure provider Dyn. Cybersecurity researchers told The Wall Street Journal not to expect any hocus-pocus on Election Day (which is handled state-by-state so there’s no central system to attack), but botnet attacks on the internet are here to stay. The more likely use case – and one that’s already in action on a daily, small-scale basis – is site operators deploying untraceable botnets to undercut a rival’s network. More.

Insta Rev

A little over a year since debuting its ads platform, Instagram is on track to bring in $1.85 billion in ad revenues this year, according to eMarketer. In the past six months the number of Instagram advertisers has more than doubled to 500,000. That growth “is indicative of the different types of businesses across all different categories that are embracing the platform and seeing value for both brand building as well as performance advertising,” said Jim Squires, Instagram’s director of market operations. But Snapchat, which expects ad revenues near $1 billion in 2017, is keeping pace as well. More.

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