The Digital Download: Transparency, viewability win the week’s news

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This week’s viewable and transparent happenings include Spotify’s new mobile ad format, new insights from Facebook and the IAB, and Adobe’s data ambition.

Twitter’s tenth birthday wasn’t the only milestone this week. Other notables from the past few days include a new physical space and product for Amazon, video ads for Pinterest, and programmatic knowledge from the IAB.

Spotify and the IAB focus on viewability

On Monday, Spotify launched Overlay Mobile, the mobile version of its popular Billboard ad format. It’s a “Welcome back” ad that only plays while Spotify, which is also working on its targeting is open, ensuring 100 percent viewability.

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In order to achieve 100 percent viewability across the board, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has issued its first Primer for Publishers on Improving Ad Viewability, which outlines some successful strategies of publishers who have increased their viewability. Tactics include improving content quality and site design, which can affect the way ads are positioned on screens.

“All publishers, no matter their size or tech resources, should strive to take advantage of the strategies outlined in this guide, as they have been tested in real world situations by real world companies that know viewability is key to delivering what advertisers want and to increasing the value of ads on their sites,” says Sherrill Mane, senior vice president of research, analytics and measurement at the IAB

The IAB and Facebook release tools of transparency

The viewability primer wasn’t the IAB’s only move this week. The organization also released a programmatic fee transparency calculator on Wednesday. This tool, the first of its kind, allows advertisers, agencies and publishers to analyze the costs of technology and services associated with programmatic. This will lead to a greater transparency within and ultimately, understanding of the programmatic world.

Facebook, that Digital Download mainstay, also had an update this week that goes back to transparency. Currently, Facebook advertisers submit requests for ads and select their target audience, objective and price bid for each click or conversation. An automated auction decides which ad will be shown based on a total bid value assigned by Facebook based on a combination of bid, relevance and the probability that the ad being shown will result in the desired action.

On Tuesday, the social media titan announced Delivery Insights, which will roll out over the next few weeks and give brands a better understanding the behind-the-scenes of the platform’s ads auctions.

Pinterest begins testing video ads

Pinterest has been upping its advertising game lately, having recently expanded its ad network. The platform is now reportedly testing autoplay video ads, which are activated when a user stops scrolling over them.

This is isn’t Pinterest’s first foray into video. Last year, the platform launched Cinematic Pins, which work similarly and have been used by brands like L’Oréal and Hershey’s. Video lengths and prices are still unknown.

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Apple scales back with new iPhone

Smartphones have been getting bigger and bigger – remember those pictures of the iPhone 6 Plus next to a Pop-Tart? – though Apple made a turnaround with the new iPhone SE. The smartphone is not only smaller, but cheaper than previous models.

“This event did a complete 180 from its September event. In September, Apple was playing itself up as a luxury brand, highlighting its partnerships with Hermès for the Apple Watch and Gilt for Apple TV,” says Thomas Ordahl, chief strategy officer at Landor. “But it’s facing increased competition from Samsung and consumers wanting reasonably price products, so this week’s event focused on affordability.”

Amazon branches out in the physical world

As the physical and digital worlds continue to merge, Amazon is at the forefront, as usual. The ecommerce giant opened its first physical store back in November and has now branched out to cable bundles.

At the Amazon Cable Store, consumers can get TV and Internet services from Comcast at prices comparable to its other packages. Neil Smit, chief executive (CEO) at Comcast, told The Wall Street Journal that Amazon’s involvement has already simplified the process by reducing the number of clicks in a transaction.

Adobe announced data plan to potentially compete with walled gardens

When companies enter data partnerships with Google and Facebook, they often surrender their rights of the data because of the two tech giants’ walled garden approach. Hoping to compete with them, Adobe announced the new Device Co-op at its Summit in Las Vegas on Monday.

Co-op membership, which is optional, would give marketers more detailed website metrics and more accurate targeting. It would also potentially link 1.2 billion devices around the world, resulting in better accuracy.

“Harnessing the power of the Co-op network, members can benefit from a truly open ecosystem and a massive pool of devices enabling them to turn yesterday’s device-based marketing into people-based marketing,” says Brad Rencher

 

Airbnb and Disney among the stars of social

On Tuesday, The Shorty Awards announced its winners on Snapchat. Social media standouts include the Love Has No Labels ad from The Ad Council, Taco Bell’s strategy when launching its mobile ordering app, and the silent Facebook video ads Crispin Porter + Bogusky executed for Hotels.com.

Individual brands were also named the winners of different social platforms. Disney was victorious on Vine, while Airbnb was named the best brand on Instagram.

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