The Digital Download: Ad additions to Pinterest and Atlas, Meerkat goes social

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This week’s digital news round-up includes the usual enhancements to social platforms’ ad offerings, in addition to an agency shake-up and a new direction for Meerkat.

It was a busy week for the advertising departments at Pinterest and Facebook, the latter of whom is increasingly prioritizing video.

Its video ads are so successful that Meerkat wasn’t able to keep up, resulting in the live-streaming platform’s decision to become more of a social network going forward. Meanwhile on Madison Avenue (or Paris, whatever), the previously-restructured Publicis Groupe restructured even further.

Pinterest expands at network, targeting capabilities

Pinterest is a great place for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and now, the platform is open to all of them. Earlier this week, Pinterest opened up its ad platform to every SMB in the U.S. in a move that puts the platform more on par with Facebook and Twitter, both of which already have these functions in place.

In the past, advertisers were able to target users based on 30 interests. Pinterest also enhanced its targeting this week, bringing that number up to 420. For instance, the platform can target based on an interest in “men’s jackets,” rather than the broader “men’s fashion.”

Improved targeting and opening up to SMBs aren’t the only things Pinterest did this week in an effort to become a bigger player in the advertising space. Monday was veteran Googler Jon Kaplan’s first day leading the platform’s ad sales team as head of global sales.

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Publicis Media restructures from six agency brands to four

The third-largest agency in the world, Publicis Groupe restructured earlier this year, forming a handful of smaller divisions. One of those, Publicis Media, is having a restructuring of its own, with six media agency brands being regrouped into four.

The Starcom Mediavest, Zenith Optimedia and ViVaki brands are being retired, with Starcom and Zenith to become standalone agencies. Mediavest and Optimedia will merge with Spark and Blue 449, respectively.

Thankfully, we already finished People on the Move, since this shake-up has resulted in about 1 million people on the move. Regional chief executives (CEOs) include ZenithOptimedia’s Tim Jones in the Americas, Iain Jacobs in EMEA and Gerry Boyle in APAC. Each agency will also have a global brand president, in addition to four more CEOs in the U.S. and 10 other appointments.

Facebook has tons of updates, as usual

Facebook had a big week, as it always does. On Monday, the company announced some additions to its Atlas advertising platform, such as Path to Conversion, which gives marketers a better understanding of their campaigns across devices; and Offline Actions. Comparable to Foursquare’s Attribution, Offline Actions allows Atlas users to upload their own point-of-sale data and view it alongside their campaigns, in order to have a sense of how their online ads translate offline.

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Though Atlas isn’t likely to have its own demand-side platform (DSP) – after testing one for the past year, Facebook found a lot of bad inventory – it will have video ad serving later this month. Along those lines, Facebook added video to its lead-generation offerings on Wednesday.

Other lead-gen updates include the ability to duplicate lead-ad forms and edit fields across campaigns, as well as partnerships with MailChimp and customer-relationship-management (CRM) vendors.

Meerkat plans to switch from streaming to social

Video is so big on Facebook (and Twitter, which owns Periscope) that it’s hurt live-streaming platforms such as Meerkat. As a result, the platform is transitioning to being a video social network, its CEO said since our last Digital Download. Though Meerkat started strong, the app has struggled over the last year. Right now, it doesn’t even appear in iOS’ top charts, where Periscope is number 51.

“The distribution advantages of Twitter/Periscope and Facebook Live drew more early users to them away from us and we were not able to grow as quickly alongside as we had planned,” CEO Ben Rubin wrote on Medium last Friday.

“[Live video] hasn’t yet developed into a self-sustaining new network as we hoped we would do with Meerkat. Our assumption was that by reducing broadcaster’s cost to broadcast to zero (no equipment, etc) we would be able to create a whole new class of live broadcasters like YouTube did with video and YouTubers.”

Though Rubin hasn’t given anything away, he did promise that this isn’t goodbye for Meerkat; it’s just see you later.

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