Facebook Updates Metrics & Reporting; LiveRamp Buys Arbor and Circulate

ExchangeWire round up some of the biggest stories in the European digital advertising space. In this week’s edition: Facebook updates metrics and reporting; LiveRamp buys Arbor and Circulate; IAB and ISBA cooperate on mobile buying handbook; Snapchat IPO is coming; More lift with Rich Media; Spotify and WPP announce partnership; Widespace's new ad platform; Protected Media's anti-ad-fraud solution; and European viewable completion rates analysed by TubeMogul. 

Facebook update on metrics and reporting

Criticism on Facebook’s lack of transparency has prompted the company to review its analytics tools and metrics. First results: Facebook expand third-party verification, wants to work more closely with brands and agencies, and promises to communicate future developments of their metrics more transparently.

First up, Facebook want to meet the requirements of their advertisers for external verification and work with partners Moat, comScore, and Integral Ad Science to verify ad impressions. In addition, Facebook are setting up a 'Measurement Council' to develop better understanding of short- and long-term business success on Facebook’s platforms.

Facebook have also created a new internal review process, which has already identified problem areas. Among other things, titles and definitions of some metrics are given an overhaul in order to make them clearer and more transparent, calculations are being clarified, and categorisation is to be improved.

Going forward, Facebook want to communicate metrics changes both in the relevant Facebook products, such as the Ads Manager, as well as in their newsroom blog.

LiveRamp acquires Arbor and Circulate

Another major tech acquisition: LiveRamp just announced their acquisition of Arbor and Circulate for a nine figure sum. LiveRamp will pay approximately USD$140m (£132m) . In addition, the company will issue $50 million (£47m) of Acxiom stock awards replacing unvested equity.

On the back of the acquisitions, LiveRamp is planning to increase their  omnichannel identity graph and network, combining LiveRamp, Arbor and Circulate to enable brands to expand their people-based marketing beyond Google and Facebook, as well as allowing publishers to support marketer's people-based initiatives.

"This is a huge win for the LiveRamp ecosystem and the biggest set of actions we could have taken to increase the value of our network and thereby deliver more value to our clients and partners," says Travis May, President and General Manager at LiveRamp. "These acquisitions both increase the deterministic reach we can provide marketers and gives us the ability to help all publishers tap into people-based marketing budgets."

Thanks to the take-over of Arbor and Circulate LiveRamp's publisher partnerships will amount to more than 450 and add "mobile-first" technology, international reach, as well as new manpower to LiveRamp. "These acquisitions will allow us to both increase the value we provide to marketers", continues May. "We're particularly excited Arbor and Circulate are 'mobile first' companies that will increase our people-based reach in this key medium—and accelerate our ability to extend our identity resolution platform across the marketing ecosystem with the launch of IdentityLink for publishers early next year."

According to LiveRamp,  "in fiscal 2017, Arbor and Circulate are expected to contribute approximately USD$5m (£4.7m) in revenue", which allows Acxiom to bump up their revenue forecast for 2017 to between USD$865m (£8014m) and USD$875m (£823m).

IAB & ISBA partner on handbook for mobile buyers

Programmatic advertising on mobile – a sealed book? The IAB UK and ISBA are partnering up to help mobile buyers educate themselves on the topic. Together, the two industry bodies are releasing a handbook that covers a range of topics, including the mobile landscape as whole, as well as more detailed help on navigating the world of mobile data or developing a mobile strategy.

IAB’s mobile & video manager, Mike Reynolds comments: “With mobile ad spend reaching £1.723bn in the first half of 2016, growing by 56%, it’s never been a more exciting time to take advantage of the mobile opportunity. With this in mind, brands and agencies need to be equipped with the right knowledge, and skill sets, which is why we have partnered with ISBA to produce this handbook so that they feel confident investing their budgets in mobile.

According to ISBA’s marketing services manager, David Ellison, the handbook provides advertisers and their agencies with the opportunity to ensure that they obtain buy-in, choose the right suppliers, and establish a joined up strategy with other media to optimise their mobile ad campaigns. “Viewability, ad fraud, and brand safety are challenges that are faced by advertisers when considering mobile advertising. The handbook, along with the IAB LEAN initiative and the Coalition for Better Ads will ensure that consumers are served with ‘acceptable ads’."

Snapchat: IPO on the cards?

This could be the largest IPO of recent years. According to Reuters, Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc., has quietly submitted an application for an IPO to the relevant US authorities.

The company, headquartered in Venice Beach, California, could see their IPO rolled out in March 2017, or in the second quarter 2017 at the latest. Thanks to the initial offering, the company wants to boost their evaluation to between USD$20bn (£16bn) to USD$25bn (£20bn). Industry insiders expect the offering to come in even higher, with Snap evaluated at up to USD$40bn (£32bn).

In May 2016, Snap raised more than USD$1.8bn (£1.5bn) in a private investment round, increasing their evaluation to roughly USD$20bn (£16bn). The popular video and messaging app is currently receiving the majority of their revenue from advertising campaigns run on the platform. Trading session at the beginning of October 2016.

Sizmek: More lift with rich media

Sizmek released their Rich Media and Video Benchmarks Report for H1 2016. Analysing rich media engagement lift in comparison to standard banner. The report finds that all verticals benefit from the use of rich media formats, with Tech and Internet, Retail, and Restaurants topping the list at 40 times or more in engagement lift.

According to the report, rich media lifted engagement 7.44 times more than standard banners. By switching to interactive video from non-interactive video, advertisers experienced 9.21 times lift in North America.

Other findings include the insight that differentials of fully-played in-stream and rich media videos (in all regions) is less than 15%, suggesting that audiences are likely to watch through completion once the video in a rich media unit starts, almost to the same extent for both formats.

For the benchmark study, Sizmek Research analysed data sets, including 21 unique formats, over 2,500 unique unit size combinations, more than 1.3 million individual ads, and hundreds of billions of impressions served through Sizmek’s platforms.

Spotify & WPP forge data alliance

Spotify and WPP have agreed on a global cooperation: the streaming service and the advertising company’s Data Alliance unit team up on issues such as data analysis and programmatic campaign planning.

Their collaborative objectives: improved campaign planning, more relevant ads, and smarter targeting in order to help advertisers reach the audience at the right time, with the right message, and on the right platform.

Data Alliance CEO Nick Nyhan says it is no longer just about making data easy. "WPP and Spotify are humanising 'quant' data by harmonising it with music preferences as a new window into the mood and emotion of global audiences during daily moments."

"Today's announcement lays the foundation for a long-term strategic alliance between Spotify and WPP", explains Alex Underwood, VP global head of agency & partnerships, Spotify. "This partnership will drive mutual growth and enable us to further unlock the power of technology, creativity and music data for brands."

In practical terms, this means the partnership allows DataAlliance to draw conclusions from the music which a Spotify user listens to – and, thus, enhance the data-driven solutions for WPP customers. Spotify’s benefit: the music streamer gets more accurate campaign planning and execution, which enhances platform’s use for advertisers, thus increasing their advertising revenues.

Specifically, the data provided to Data Alliance by Spotify will benefit WPP agencies such as Wunderman and Group M who may gain insights into cross-device usage as well as location and activities of the users.

Widespace launches full-stack programmatic ad platform

Widespace have just released Summit, a comprehensive platform for programmatic ads and automated guaranteed marketplace, designed specifically for the management of brand campaigns on the mobile.

With their native resolution, the ad-tech company says, Summit is a response to industry trends that have made mobile first-screen and programmatic as the most used system for ad transactions.

The new marketplace allows publishers to sell their inventory as part of Widespace packages or via direct deals, streamlining the manual processes. Summit and the integrated solution modules also allow publishers to sell rich-media formats programmatically.

New mobile ad-fraud solution to take on bots

Ad tech provider Protected Media launch a multi-layered solution to boost the value of mobile advertising. Combining an anti-fraud solution that detects a new strain of viruses that fake viewability, with a verification process to make sure that ads are fully rendered and within viewing range on screens of mobile devices, the two solutions are a double-pronged approach at maximising the value of mobile advertising.

“Viewability is becoming a currency for online advertising; but, at the same time, bots are becoming more sophisticated and are undermining the validity of these measurements”, explains Asaf Greiner, CEO, Protected Media. “By detecting false viewability data that indicate that bots are at work, and then confirming that legitimate ads can be seen, we are providing a powerful combination that helps bring back faith, trust, and value to mobile advertising.”

Protected Media’s antifraud technology is based on methods from cybercrime investigations to uncover bots that fake viewability. Legitimate ads that are shown on-screen are identified and the exact position of mobile ads provided at granular level. Data is available for pinpointing the exact sources of problematic traffic, thus enabling agencies and publishers to identify invisible, as well as fraudulent, ads that impersonate viewability.

UK’s viewable completion rate second-highest in Europe

UK viewable completion rates have more than doubled in a year, says TubeMogul. The ad tech company analysed the viewable completion rate in their global quarterly report for Q3. The report reveals that the UK’s viewable completion rate of 41% mean viewable completions on desktop 15-second ads, is among the highest in Europe, second only to Belgium.

“The UK’s viewable completion rate reflects its maturity as a market and rapid growth”, says Taylor Schreiner, VP of research at TubeMogul. “While Britain matches the US doubling rates year-on-year, more growth is possible as marketers take advantage of cross-screen capabilities to better target and optimise ad serving.”

Notable in the UK market is the fact that the market’s viewable completion rates have more than doubled year-on-year. With extremes reaching 60%, on occasion, UK campaigns tend to cluster around the 41% mean for 15-second desktop video ads.

As a metric, the viewable completion rate is defined as a user’s ability to see an ad, as well as the time spent watching it. TubeMogul compared video ad attention, focusing on viewable completion rates for 15-second desktop video ads.