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Meta's Reels push and other IAB NewFronts takeaways

May 6, 2024
Crowded room of people standing and sitting with a screen in the back that says Meta at IAB NewFronts. There's a band onstage

Meta's NewFront presentation. Photo: Kerry Flynn/Axios

The IAB NewFronts — a week-long courting of advertisers with flashy presentations and intimate dinners — is a chance for digital video platforms to prove why they deserve more ad dollars.

Here's what we heard:

TikTok "won't back down" amid the U.S. ban

  • The first 90 seconds of TikTok's hour-long presentation, held Thursday evening on the Lower East Side, started with remarks from TikTok's Blake Chandlee to address the elephant in the room.
  • "This unconstitutional law is really a TikTok ban and we will challenge it in court," Chandlee said to the more than 300 advertisers present. "We believe the facts of the law are clearly on our side and that we will ultimately prevail. I want you to know that we are not backing down."

AI investments are improving ad effectiveness

  • Google repeatedly touted its strength in AI during its 90-minute presentation at its Pier 57 office on Monday — helping advertisers create audience segments, improve ad frequency and otherwise optimize campaigns.
  • Meta dedicated its hourlong talk Thursday at Hammerstein Ballroom to its TikTok competitor, Reels, while emphasizing AI's power creating campaigns. "We should do a rimshot every time we use the letters A and I," Meta's Alvin Bowles quipped while gesturing to the live band onstage.

Creators provide authentic audience connection

  • Online creators appeared throughout the week to pitch their value as part of campaigns. YouTubers Andrew Rea (aka Babish) and Lisa Nguyen talked about authenticity while making cake balls at Google. Creator Phil Cohen chatted Reels campaigns with BMW at Meta. Singer Carly Pearl thanked TikTok for helping her during difficult times and then performed.
  • Condé Nast pitched itself as a key tastemaker amid the creator economy on Tuesday at Highline Stages. "Working with the wrong creators can at the best waste your budget, and at worst, kill a campaign in its tracks," said Bree McKenney, senior vice president of creative. "If everyone is an influencer, then who's actually influential?"

Connected screens inside homes and stores garner attention

  • TV makers — Vizio, Samsung, LG, Roku and Telly — pitched their advantages for owning the biggest screen in homes. Vizio said its users spend 44 minutes every day on its home screen, while LG said it takes 11 minutes, 36 seconds for someone to choose what to watch.
  • YouTube and Vevo touted their reach on home TVs, not mobile. Meanwhile, T-Mobile Advertising Solutions, during its first-ever NewFront on Tuesday, announced an in-store retail media network where advertisers can buy ads on 20,000 screens in 11,000 stores.
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