Facebook Retires Atlas; INVIDI Acquired by AT&T, DISH & WPP

ExchangeWire round up some of the biggest stories in the European digital advertising space. In this week’s edition: Facebook shutters Atlas; INVIDI changes ownership; Programmatic audio ads by Adform; New publishers for Outbrain; Code of Conduct for German programmatic market; and Adsquare adds app-usage data.

Facebook retires Atlas ad server

Ad serving with Atlas is no more! Facebook have shuttered the Atlas ad server and instead want to refocus on campaign measurement. “We believe Atlas will have a greater impact and create more value for advertisers by focusing on measurement, especially as people continue to shift to mobile and more ads are served by publishers themselves instead of third parties”, writes Erik Johnson, Atlas, head of client measurement, on the Atlas blog.

Does ad serving not pay for Facebook anymore? Facebook’s third-party ad server has had to adjust to the fact that more and more publishers rely on first-party ad serving. A trend that Facebook had already reacted to, upon acquiring Atlas in 2013. No sooner had Facebook taken over, and Atlas’ technology received an overhaul and allowed insights for advertisers about users, devices and device use. Atlas is not the only victim in Facebook’s ongoing concentration on mobile and on their Audience Network – both video ad exchange LiveRail and FBX ad exchange have received the axe.

Ad serving via Atlas will be phased out over the coming months.

In other news, Facebook are planning to invest in new company headquarters in London and create 500 new jobs. Doubling the size of their current workforce, Facebook are looking for highly skilled professionals to staff the Fitzrovia company hub. “We came to London in 2007 with just a handful of people. By the end of next year, we will have opened a new HQ and plan to employ 1,500 people”, the Guardian quotes Nicola Mendelsohn, head of Facebook’s European operations.

INVIDI acquired by ATT, Dish, WPP

INVIDI have new owners: AT&T, DISH Network, and WPP have announced plans to acquire INVIDI Technologies, with AT&T holding a controlling interest in the venture. INVIDI will remain independent, while the new owners will deploy representatives to INVIDI’s board of directors. The financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

“Maintaining our independence and deepening our existing relationships with AT&T, DISH, and WPP is a big move for our company and our people”, comments Dave Downey, CEO, INVIDI, while new co-owner AT&T is hoping to expand their advertising business: “INVIDI gives us a great opportunity to expand our addressable advertising capabilities”, according to Rick Welday, president, AT&T AdWorks. “We have significantly increased revenue with targeted advertising across multiple platforms. This deal will help us accelerate growth in our addressable advertising business and explore innovation and expansion into new platforms.”

Going forward, AT&T, DISH, and WPP will cooperate on the expansion of INVIDI’s addressable capabilities and product offerings to other video delivery platforms and providers, with an aim to drive the increased deployment of addressable advertising industrywide.

Thus, the owning trio are planning to maintain INVIDI’s current operations and staff. INVIDI is based in Princeton, NJ; Newtown PA; New York, NY; Denver, CO; and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

Adform offer programmatic audio ads

A new partnership with Rubicon Project is taking Adform into new territory. The Scandinavian ad tech provider is launching programmatic audio ads.

Available through the Adform DSP, buyers can purchase 15- or 30-second Spotify audio ads programmatically via Rubicon Project’s technology platform, targeting Spotify’s free listeners in real time – theoretically reaching 70 million listeners globally.

Adform provide measurement on completion rates, pause, and mute, as well as standard metrics.
“Mobile phones have become the default device for enjoying music”, says Jurjen de Wal, product director, Adform. “Advertisers can take full advantage of using audio ads to effectively reach listeners with a relevant, personalised brand experience, even if they aren’t actively looking at the screen. Adform’s support for programmatic audio ads reflects our cross-channel programmatic buying platform vision, which encompasses display, mobile, native, video, DOOH, print, and now audio.”

Adform’s new CRO Jay Stevens recently joined the Danish ad tech company from a position as general manager at Rubicon Project.

New publishing partnerships for Outbrain

With their latest version of Outbrain for Chat, Outbrain announce new partnerships with publishers around the world: Time Inc’s People, Variety, NME, Sky News, and Nikkei Asian Review will partner with the platform to deliver news and lifestyle content by way of personalised, private message via ‘Outbrain for Chat’.

“As messaging evolves from simple peer-to-peer real-time communication into a platform for a multitude of other services, Outbrain are tying our discovery platform to products that enable smart, content experiences”, says Colin Doody, Outbrain’s GM of strategic initiatives. By reaching users wherever they are, Outbrain see chat as the “fastest-growing channel for user adoption and attention”.

The chat system was first launched in partnership with CNN earlier this year, with the aim of enabling personal communication between readers and publications. With the insights gained from the initial launch, Outbrain for Chat lets users discover and interact with content, based on their observed interests, and relevant to their location. Users can access trending topics, save stories for later, enjoy article summaries, etc.

BVDW introduce Code of Conduct

With more than 40 signatories, the German industry body BVDW rally support for standards in the programmatic industry in Germany. The new code of conduct requires the signing companies to adhere to the definitions and standards set down in the document.

Individual criteria for desirable conduct by players in the four different areas of programmatic (publisher/marketer, DSP, SSP, and data providers) have been collected in cooperation with the signatories. Transparency, safety, and quality are the central commitments of the code of conduct. The aim: to make programmatic advertising more efficient and create a controlled system. The latter will be overseen by a board of complaint, which will investigate conduct violations.

The code of conduct is a first step to provide new impetus for the development of programmatic in Germany, says Julian Simons, deputy chairman of the BVDW’s focus group on programmatic advertising: “In a highly dynamic area such as programmatic, we cannot just establish rules within the market and then sit back. This continues to be a process of development, which will take current developments into account.”

Among the signatories are companies like Adform, Appnexus, DataXu, Mediamath, Spiegel Verlag, Teads, etc. The largest players on the market, namely Google and Facebook, have yet not joined the BVDW’s advance into the standardisation of the German market.

Adsquare adds app-usage data to their portfolio

Mobile data provider Adsquare expand their data portfolio. In cooperation with providers such as 42Matters, Adgnitio, Grapeshot, Mobilewalla und oneAdience, the Berlin-based ad tech company is adding app-usage data. These data providers have solutions to derive audience segments based on app usage and context, each with a different angle, approach, and local reach. The data is provided to clients via the Adsquare AMP.

“In our mission to go beyond location data, app usage data is a powerful way to analyse users’ socio-demographics, interests, and lifestyle”, says Tom Laband, CEO and co-founder, Adsquare. “Making this data available in real-time enables moment marketing and holistic audience targeting, which results in more effective advertising for brands.”

Through the advanced audience modelling tool, buyers combine data from different sources and apply them in real-time, enabling buyers to target audiences based on locations or on app-use.

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