Jun 25, 2019

Big Tech helps advertisers avoid its shady side

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The world’s biggest tech companies have found a new way for marketers to buy video ads that won’t show up next to shady user-generated content.

Why it matters: For a while, advertisers shifted digital budgets away from more expensive ads on premium publisher websites and TV, to cheaper ads at scale on tech platforms, because it was efficient, but that strategy is changing in response to problems posed by running ads against unvetted user-generated content.

What it looks like: Companies like YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are all building virtual fences around premium video content, and allowing advertisers to target ads solely against vetted material, most created by media publishers.

  • Tech platforms are charging advertisers more to run ads within pools of vetted videos. Advertisers, in turn, can be assured that their ads don't run against things like terrorist content or hate speech.
  • Twitter's Head of Global Client Solutions Sarah Personette told Axios earlier this month at an Axios Media Trends event that the company has rolled out solutions for advertisers to reach audiences at scale, while remaining around vetted premium content. "If advertisers want to reach a Latin audience and get in front of only Univision content, they can do it," she said.
  • Snapchat was pitching a new ad-buying product called Snap Select at Cannes last week, Digiday's Kerry Flynn reports. "The product lets advertisers buy ads exclusively in Snap’s premium content, as in its shows and vetted publishing partners, rather than between content from Snap users."
  • Facebook this year debuted "Showcase," an ad-buying program that allows advertisers to buy ads only around premium video content from publishers in its "Watch" video tab.
  • YouTube is becoming more attractive to ad agencies, which have begun creating their own lists of pre-approved, premium content for advertisers to place ads around, Digiday's Lucinda Southern reports. YouTube has also added more videos to its "Google Preferred" program, which allows advertisers to buy video ad packages around premium content.

Be smart: The big complaint about buying ads this way is that they mimic the buying strategy of television. Advertisers can choose a show, channel or content type to run their ads around, but they can't always target ads by user.

The bottom line: Platforms can fund all the original content that they want, but it will be very hard to scale these types of opportunities without licensing content from publishers.

  • This has begun to improve the market dynamic between tech companies and media companies from where it was a few years ago, when platforms made money off users sharing publisher content that they didn't have to license.

Go deeper: Advertisers want to mine your brain

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,929,312 — Total deaths: 357,781 — Total recoveries — 2,385,926Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,709,996 — Total deaths: 101,002 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Business: Louisiana senator says young people are key to reopening the economy —U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

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