The Digital Download: Facebook additions amid Yahoo speculation

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This week in digital has seen some exciting events, in addition to a new IAB tool and Wall Street analysts picking their horse in the race to acquire Yahoo.

It’s been pretty hectic since the last Digital Download, at least for us; ClickZ Live New York wrapped up on Wednesday. Facebook and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) had busy weeks, too, between all the announcements at the F8 conference, the launch of the HTML5 Ad Validator tool, and the release of some helpful research on video.

Meanwhile, Omnicom unveiled a new data-driven branch of its business, while Wall Street analysts speculated about the upcoming bid for Yahoo’s Internet business. They have a lot of money, and it’s all on Verizon.

Facebook makes several announcements at F8

Facebook held its annual F8 developers conference in San Francisco Tuesday and Wednesday. There, as predicted, the social media giant announced the chatbot tools within its Messenger app, a feature already being tested by CNN and 1-800-Flowers.

Other highlights include the expansion of Instant Articles, which are now available to all publishers; the new ability brands have to send sponsored messages through Messenger; and a new API for Facebook Live. Now, any camera can stream to the platform.

ClickZ Live returns to New York City

Facebook isn’t the only one who had an event this week. ClickZ Live New York also took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. What ClickZ lacks in the financial position to give virtual reality devices to all attendees, we made up for with an opening keynote delivered by Seth Godin. If you Google “Seth,” Godin’s blog is the first hit, whereas the Bible comes up first for “Mark.” Sorry, Zuckerberg, we’re just saying.

Other speakers included Dunkin’ Brands’ John Costello and Chobani CMO Peter McGuinness, in addition to lively panel discussions about the merging of traditional and digital marketing, emerging trends, and disruption. What can fall victim to the latter? Anything that “makes no f**king sense.”

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New tool compares creative with IAB standards

On Monday, the IAB released the HTML5 Ad Validator, which tests both mobile and desktop ad creative against the organization’s display guidelines. The new tool takes validation input from both zipped ad package and JavaScript ad tags, and then examines IAB’s guidelines for file weights and requests, shared libraries, progressive video, and ad-load.

The HTML5 Ad Validator will also provide insight into other facets of ads, including file types in the creative, URLs accessed by the ad, click tags, and snapshots of how thy display at one-second intervals.

IAB illuminates video habits in new study

With video being such a huge medium today, it’s crucial to understand how best to deploy it. Partnering with Millward Brown Digital and Tremor Video, the IAB researched the way different videos – in the automative, CPG and casual restaurant categories – appeal to consumers from different age groups, both in terms of length and device.

Released Monday, the study showed that younger people generally prefer videos that are 10 seconds long. However, those aged 35 to 54 generally find 30-second ads more appealing. That discrepancy is likely rooted in another generational difference: millennials watch a lot more videos on their smartphones.

Other notable findings include millennials, more than their older counterparts, thinking there are too many ads on mobile devices; and tablet ads more likely than those on smartphones to result in an action, such as interacting on social or visiting the brand’s website.

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Omnicom unveils new data-driven agency

Omnicom Media Group announced a third media group, Hearts & Science. Though the organization only launched last Friday, it already has a big-name client: Procter & Gamble North America, an account Omnicom won four months ago.

Hearts & Science will have a specific focus on data-driven marketing. To that end, its CEO is Scott Hagedorn, who founded analytics platform Annalect Group. Some of the other 175 employees include Deutsch CMO Tara Levine; Kathleen Brookbanks of Omnicom subsidiary OMD; and Zachary Treuhaft, who was the chief digital officer of Grey New York.

Wall Street picks Verizon to acquire Yahoo

As the Yahoo auction looms, companies like Verizon, Time Inc and Blackstone prepare to bid. The former is the clear favorite to win, according to Wall Street analysts who note how well everything has gone since the telecommunications giant acquired AOL last year for a staggering $4.4 billion.

It’s also expected that Yahoo will be merged with AOL, which would make the company more competitive with Google and Facebook. With the bidding set to begin next week – it was originally slated for this past Monday – speculation surrounds the future of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. It’s rumored that she’ll be replaced with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and Verizon EVP Marni Walden, which would grant her to a severance package totaling $110 million.

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