Comcast Leans Into Subsidiary Ad Offerings As Cord-Cutting Pressure Intensifies

Comcast Corp. is putting all those recent business acquisitions to good use by ramping up its ad offerings. Two Monday announcements were made just as TV Upfront season begins and streaming platforms continually threaten ad revenue.

European satellite broadcaster Sky was acquired by Comcast for $40 billion last fall. Now, amid of the biggest TV ad-selling season of the year, Sky has teamed up with fellow Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal to offer marketers a new toolset called AdSmart.

Adsmart is a merging of Sky’s advertising tools and NBCUniversal’s Audience Studio targeting solution. Both Sky and NBCUniversal advertisers can optimize linear spend against consumer segments that include 50 million households across the US and UK. Once the desired audience is chosen, advertisers can target them through the delivery of long-form content, digital ads and contextual alignment such as timing an ad with a relevant scene on a TV show.

“The world is getting smaller, and the opportunity for international marketers to make an impact with consumers is getting bigger,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising and partnerships for NBCUniversal in a prepared statement. “The industry has demanded a global premium video offering, and now, one will finally exist.”

Meanwhile, TV advertising platform NCC Media—owned by Comcast, Cox Communication and Charter Communications—launched new digital buying capabilities. The “all-screen” advertising solution enables the launch of coordinated campaigns to the same audiences watching TV and browsing online.

NCC’s new offerings apply to all TV inventory including linear, VOD and addressable, as well as all digital formats including video, display, social, audio, out-of-home and mobile.

“Digital advertising is an important component of our clients’ marketing mix,” said Nicolle Pangis, CEO of NCC Media in a press release. “Today’s launch supports our strategy of expanding the efficient platform NCC built for the TV world to handle more of our clients’ media comprehensively. The new capabilities bring increased precision to brand marketing while greatly simplifying the way advertisers manage and monitor consumer narratives across the entire consumer journey.”

Comcast’s video ad tech company FreeWheel made its first upfront pitch to advertisers on March 13, touting new attribution features and the launch of FreeWheel Media and the first DSP integration for its new product suite with Adobe.

It comes to show that even giants like Comcast aren’t immune to the growing threat of OTT ad spend. EMarketer predicted that OTT video service users in the US would reach 203 million in 2019, compared to 297 million TV viewers. The market research firm just increased its ad revenue predictions for Hulu, saying it would surpass $2 billion between 2019 and 2020.

Michelob Ultra’s ‘Pure Golden Hour’ Brings Calm To SXSW Activations

In one of the standout activations at SXSW, Michelob’s ‘Pure Golden Hour’ brought together 2,000 people for a lengthy mass meditation and rewarded them with music and beer.

Pure Golden Hour felt like a logical extension of Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold’s Super Bowl commercialan ASMR ode to the ‘pure gold experience’ featuring Zoe Kravitz. For the SXSW activation, Michelob partnered with The Big Quiet, a mass meditation collective founded by Jesse Israel—who also led the experience at Pure Golden Hour.

“We wanted to give people a moment to reconnect with nature, themselves, take a moment of calm [and] partner with an amazing group, like the Big Quiet,” Ronnie Yoked, Michelob Ultra’s director of experiential, told AList at the event.

[It’s] not the first time that we’ve done an event called Pure Golden Hour, but it’s definitely the first time we’ve ever done a mass meditation event with music and a party afterward.

The beer brand knew they wanted to make a splash at SXSW for the new Pure Gold product, a light certified organic beer that is being marketed to free-spirited, health-conscious millennials.

The team behind Michelob Ultra Pure Gold has created similar activations, like yoga sessions at the Anheuser-Busch brewery or the ‘sunset sessions’ on a yacht in Miami. The brand is also the official sponsor of the World Surf League’s Founder’s Cup and built a branded surf deck at the event.

Similarly, The Pure Golden Hour activation took place at sunset in the Long Center in Austin, a large, outdoor amphitheater juxtaposed by the Colorado River and the downtown skyline.

“We knew that we wanted to do it with Pure Gold, and we knew that we wanted to create a moment that would be unforgettable, impactful and break through all the other events and craziness that’s happening [at SXSW],” said Yoked, “We simultaneously were talking to the Big Quiet about figuring out a way in which we could work together for Pure Gold because meditation has been something that we care a lot about. And it came about to do this event together. They have really perfected this idea of meditation for modern people that incorporates music.”

After the meditation, the activation concluded with a performance of three songs by three different artists, each paired with a live string ensemble. At a festival/conference like SXSW, the sparseness that Michelob Ultra arranged here, between the meditation and performances, stood out. Where most shows are lengthy, ultra-branded and lubricated with tons of free beer and food—Michelob took a measured approach that included not serving any free Michelob Ultra Pure Gold until after the meditation and performances.

“It was a collaborative and conscious decision. The Big Quiet had shared with us that they really believe that meditation should be substance-free,” said Yoked, “We found that that made a lot of sense, and we found that we really could help them own the “post-meditation” experience. I have been to the Big Quiet event and they had this incredible experience and then afterward there was no real reason for people to socialize, and we thought that we both could help each other by us being the “after” moment, the moment that now that you’ve given this beautiful gift for yourself, you can just have some beers and party and have fun.”

This had to be a difficult decision and goes against every marketing inclination any marketer would hold, to push product and brand above all. But Michelob Ultra’s team was patient and Yoked feels like it paid off.

“For me, I’ve always believed that the deepest connections you make, we see this [more] now, are the brands that are meaningful in people’s lives. This was an opportunity to create an experience that was unforgettable for people and when they walk away and talk about it, they’ll remember the Pure Golden Hour event.”

Live Multiplayer Games Drove 2018 Mobile Revenues, Per App Annie

Games might have been a minority among app downloads for 2018, but they accounted for nearly 75 percent of revenue, App Annie reports. Live multiplayer elements such as battle royale helped generate higher mobile game revenues than PC/Mac, console and handheld console games put together.

Battle Royale games like PUBG: Mobile and Free Fire are driving revenue growth in the mobile sector, according to a new report by App Annie and IDC. In the report, “Gaming Spotlight 2018 Review Report,” App Annie says three out of the top five games by consumer spend featured real-time multiplayer game elements. It is significant, App Annie notes, that game modes like PvP battle, co-op play and the MMORPG genre are steeped in PC-gaming heritage.

Seven out of 10 of the top revenue-generating mobile games were released by publishers with a PC or home console gaming background—Sony, Tencent, mixi, Activision Blizzard, NCSoft, Netease and Bandai Namco.

“The fact that mobile devices are powerful enough to run games of this magnitude and even work with people playing on PCs and consoles is astounding,” said App Annie’s director of market insights Amir Ghodrati in a statement. “EA’s already said that they’re interested in bringing APEX legends to mobile and are looking into cross-platform functionality, so it’s a trend we expect to continue in 2019.”

IDC conducted US gamer surveys in both 2015 and 2018 and asked if respondents played casual-leaning games, hardcore-leaning games or both. In a three-year span, the number of hardcore-leaning players grew 3.5 percent. Hardcore-leaning titles include battle royale, fighting, flight/air combat simulators, massive online battle arena (MOBA), racing, shooting or sports. The battle royale genre was not included as an option in the 2015 survey and flight/air combat simulators were not included in the 2018 version.

In 2018, direct spending on mobile games exceeded the combined spending total on home console, PC/Mac and handheld console games by nearly 20 percent, a 14 percent jump since 2016.

A majority of revenue (55 percent) from the top multiplayer games originated from Asia-Pacific, App Annie noted, despite China’s nine-month new game license freeze. The United States, Germany and the United Kingdom experienced rapid growth in 2018, giving mobile revenues an extra push.

Apple is rumored to be planning a game subscription service, added Ghodrati, saying, “it will be very interesting to see the impact this could have on the industry in 2019 and beyond.  

“Since well over 95 percent of gaming consumer spend come from in-app purchases on mobile, a steady subscription revenue could provide an opportunity for paid apps to generate more revenue (and on a consistent basis),” said Ghodrati.

Spotify’s #LoveAds Campaign Invites Marketers To Share Music From Ads

Spotify is highlighting the emotional power of music in advertising through a campaign called #loveAds. Following a positive reception in Europe, Spotify has expanded #loveAds to the US—inviting brand marketers to share music they fell in love with after hearing it on a commercial.

“We devised #loveAds as a simple, internal message for our advertising team as a rally to take pride in their work,” Spotify explained in a blog post, adding that the slogan was launched in Europe last year. “#LoveAds has become a movement among our global Spotify ad sales team and is being used to highlight ideas, campaigns and achievements.”

UK brands and marketers were invited to create a playlist of their favorite songs associated with advertising. The playlist, called “Best Songs in UK Ads,” includes 38 tracks such as “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye and “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band.

When Spotify started using the #loveAds hashtag on social media, it gained momentum.

“We realized our internal movement could be something bigger and more interesting,” Spotify explained.

The #loveAds program has now been expanded to brands and marketers in the US, who can add their favorites through a dedicated microsite. The site is labeled for the UK, but appears to be open to anyone. Songs can be added by entering the track and the campaign name or brand associated with it.

Spotify also points to the fact that ads allow 116 million fans around the world to listen for free. Ahead of its IPO filing in March of 2018, Spotify told potential investors that it would end the year with as many as 96 million paid subscribers, compared to 71 million in 2017.

Regardless of whether a person pays or not, the streaming music platform relies heavily on data to inform ad campaigns around that user’s behavior. A recent campaign by Snickers, for example, displayed a “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” ad when users deviated from their regular listening habits. In September, Spotify partnered with AncestryDNA to generate custom playlists based on a user’s heritage.

“Data storytelling is something we’re super passionate about,” Spotify’s global head of partner solutions Daniell Lee told AList in a 2018 interview. “It’s something we use to inform our own brand messages back to consumers and to advertisers. When we think about leveraging streaming intelligence in terms of forming the creativity, we bring that offering to our brand partners in really smart ways using our API tools and consulting on how they can create experiences that are additive.”

Samsung’s CMO Marc Mathieu Departs; CMT’s Marketing Head Exits

This week’s executive shifts include Samsung CMO leaving the company, CMT’s head of marketing departing amid corporate restructuring, Coinme appointing a CMO, IAB naming an executive-in-residence, Jayride welcoming its first CMO, ex-Pernod director joining Amber Beverage, Wingstop promoting a chief growth officer, Crunchyroll announcing a new head of marketing and CCM Hockey hiring a CMO.

Check out our careers section for executive job openings and to post your own staffing needs.

Samsung Chief Marketing Officer Marc Mathieu Leaves Company

Marc Mathieu, one of the most visible chief marketing officers, has left his position at Samsung Electronics according to The Wall Street Journal.

“Marc has left Samsung Electronics America to pursue opportunities outside of the company,” Samsung spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal in an email. “Marc was a valued leader who made significant contributions during his tenure at Samsung. We thank him for his time and efforts, and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

In an interview with The Drum last year, Mathieu said of the brand’s social responsibility, “We have an opportunity to really work harder to create the world that we want for our children, it’s incredible from what we can benefit from the internet and technology, that we can move at a scale and speed that is unprecedented, we can build communities and create movements and impact but at the same time we need as an industry to do it with an ethical sense.”

Mathieu has not yet released a statement, but as one of the most popular chief marketing officers on Twitter, we expect it to come from there.

CMT Head Of Marketing Leaves Due To Restructuring

Billboard reports that CMT’s head of marketing, Anthony Barton, has announced his departure amid a corporate restructuring plan. Various departments will be integrated into Viacom Media Networks’ music group in New York.

“Today, we are taking the next step—as we finalize the integration of CMT with a new, simplified structure. Moving forward, the CMT marketing, music, scheduling, communications and event production teams will be fully integrated within our group, under our existing unified leadership team. Several CMT leads will be taking on expanded roles working across all of our brands, particularly in partnership marketing and event production,” said a memo from MTV, VH1 and Logo Media president Chris McCarthy.

“Unfortunately, however, this new structure does mean some hard changes. A number of our CMT marketing colleagues will be leaving including Anthony Barton, the head of CMT marketing, and Suzanne Norman, the head of our Nashville office.”

Coinme Appoints Jon Maron Its CMO

Coinme has appointed Jon Maron as the company’s CMO. Moran previously oversaw marketing and product strategies for Sony, LG, Mitsubishi, HTC and INRIX, TCL (Alcatel) and BlackBerry. He also continues to be a board member on the CMO Council.

At Coinme, he will lead marketing efforts and continue to grow brand awareness.

Maron said in a statement, “Digital currency has the ability to transform the way we conduct business and brings new benefits to both the corporate world and to consumers globally. Coinme is on a mission to help people everywhere understand and utilize the power of digital currencies as a delightful medium-of-exchange, and be accessible anywhere in the world, so everyone has a fair chance for financial prosperity. I look forward to help bring about this important social change.”

Scott Schiller Named IAB Executive-In-Residence

IAB has named Scott Schiller as one of the trade group’s executives-in-residence.

“I am excited to continue working closely with the IAB,” he said. “This industry Is moving into its next major evolutionary phase, one where brands and consumers have a radically closer relationship than in the past. I’m looking forward to applying my experience to help all businesses adapt to this gargantuan shift.”

In his new role at IAB, Schiller will provide strategic guidance, working closely with IAB’s management team on market-facing efforts that include research, thought leadership, training and connecting marketers with publishers to drive industry growth.

Jayride Welcomes Its First Chief Marketing Officer

Jayride promoted the company’s head of marketing, Daniel McMillan, to chief marketing officer.

McMillan has been with Jayride for four years and as a head of marketing, he was responsible for the planning, development and execution of Jayride’s international marketing initiative. In his new role, he will continue directing brand growth worldwide.

“Having just past our first-year anniversary of being listed on the ASX we’re prioritising the development of our communications strategy. Jayride has been focused on delivering a world-leading global product, and now we can focus on taking that product to the world,” he said.

Ex-Pernod Director Becomes Amber Beverage New CMO

Amber Beverage Group appointed former Pernod Ricard global commercial director, Pepijn Janssens, as its new chief marketing officer. Janssens previously worked as global commercial director for Our/Vodka before diversifying and becoming the Rooster Rojo Tequila co-owner, Maua Surf co-founder and Proof Strengh co-owner.

In his new role, Janssens will be responsible for growing awareness for brands across Amber Beverage Group’s drinks portfolio.

Seymour Ferreira, Amber Beverage Group CEO, said, “In 2019, we will see an increasing need to focus on driving our international businesses and brands. Innovation will become a core driver of our business and global marketing will be an important focus point. Therefore, having Pepijn Janssens on our executive board will bring extra big ideas, bold solutions and thoughtful strategies.”

Wingstop Appoints New Chief Growth Officer

Wingstop has promoted Maurice Cooper to the company’s new chief growth and experience officer, effective immediately, National Restaurant News reported. In June 2018, Cooper was appointed the company’s CMO and will continue the chief executive officer duties, in addition to now overseeing the end-to-end guest experience.

He will also still report to Wingstop CEO and chairman, Charlie Morrison, and spearhead the company’s revenue-driving initiatives, which will include delivery and digital innovation.

Morrison said in a statement for National Restaurant News, “This expanded role will leverage [Cooper’s] broad expertise in marketing, guest experience design and innovation.”

Crunchyroll Appoints New Head Of Marketing

Crunchyroll announced Julia Renda as the company’s new head of marketing. Renda previously worked as head of marketing at Polyvore, working her way up over six years.

“Crunchyroll is the world’s leader in anime, and the platform has such an incredible, deep connection to their fans. I’m excited to be a part of the Crunchyroll team as we create new ways to serve our community of fans,” Renda said in a statement.

“Crunchyroll has always attracted the best and the brightest. It is these leaders that are responsible for the tremendous growth and success of our platform and the broader industry. Today, I’m so happy to welcome [Julia Renda] to the team,” said Crunchyroll general manager, Joanne Waage.

CCM Hockey Hires CMO

CCM Hockey has appointed Caroline Losson as its new chief marketing officer. Losson had previously served as a VP of marketing for Keurig Canada. She also headed marketing for the Natrel milk brand and Molson Coors.

Topshop’s Sheena Sauvaire Joins Belstaff As New CMO

Belstaff appointed Topshop’s Sheena Sauvaire as its new CMO.

Sauvaire previously worked at Topshop as the global head of marketing and communications director. She oversaw some of the retailer’s most prominent strategies, including its international expansion and successful collaboration with supermodel, Kate Moss. Sauvaire also previously worked at the marketing agency Exposure.

Micron Technology Welcomes A New Head Of Global Marketing

According to VentureBeat, Rahul Sandil is leaving his role as a marketing executive at HTC’s Vive virtual reality division to serve as a head of global marketing at the consumer products group (CPG) division of Micron Technology.

Sandiln spent three years at HTC, joining in 2016 and prior to that worked as a marketing consultant and led marketing for Amazon Prime Video. He also has posts at Microsoft, as head of digital marketing and engagement, and Reloaded Games, where he was chief marketing officer.

Clive Ormerod Was Promoted From CMO To CEO For Les Mills International

According to Club Industry, Les Mills International and Les Mills US are currently in the process of restructuring the company’s senior leadership teams. As a result of the restructuring, Clive Ormerod, formerly chief marketing officer will become chief executive officer for Les Mills International.

Ormerod has joined the company in 2018 and was responsible for business development and innovation, as well as overseeing the operations of a world-leading global marketing team. His prior career achievements include establishing key partnerships and growing commercial and brand performance at New Zealand’s telecom provider, Spark, and overseeing retail, brand communications, digital marketing and consumer experience at Nike.

In his new role as a CEO, Ormerod will focus on growing Les Mills International global presence.

Uber Hires Former Instagram Marketer 

Uber has hired former Instagram marketing executive, Taj Alavi, as senior director and global head of marketing communications. Alavi left Instagram in December 2018 and continues to be an executive advisor at Nike and a board advisor computer science company, Scaled Influence.

At Instagram, Alavi led marketing for some of the app’s biggest launches, such as Instagram Stories in 2017, she also oversaw the marketing efforts supporting IGTV. Before joining Instagram, she served as a marketing specialist at Intuit, The Clorox Company and Johnson & Johnson.

“I’m honored to be joining Rebecca Messina and the entire Uber team to tell the next chapter of the Uber story,” Alavi wrote in a LinkedIn post. “Over the past three years, I built and led Instagram’s brand team as we launched Instagram Stories, IGTV, and brought the warmth and community of Instagram to over one billion people. I am so proud of the great work my team and I did at Instagram and grateful for everyone’s continued support. I look forward to continuing to work with many of you in my new role.”

Alavi will report to Uber’s chief marketing officer, Rebecca Messina.

Steven Wolfe Pereira Becomes Encantos’ New CEO

Forbes’ Jenny Rooney reported on Monday that Steven Wolfe Pereira has departed Quantcast, where he served as chief marketing and communications officer, and joined Encantos Media Studios as CEO. Wolfe Pereira currently serves as a board director at the Ad Council and the IAB.

His appointment as Encantos’ CEO takes effect immediately and Wolfe Pereira succeeds his partner Nuria Santamaria Wolfe in the position. Santamaria Wolfe will now become Encantos’ new chief marketing officer.

“I’m delighted to see Steven step into the role of CEO for Encantos,” said Melanie Healey, Encantos board advisor, in a press release. “He is a visionary leader who deeply understands the needs of today’s consumers. Now more than ever, brands matter – especially for kids and families. I’m looking forward to seeing him drive the next chapter of growth for Encantos.”

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 15. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Chief Marketing Officer eBay London, UK
Chief Marketing Officer Moog Music Group Asheville, NC
Vice President, Marketing Strategy  Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY
VP, Brand Marketing Carl’s Jr. Franklin, TN
Head of Marketing Uber London, UK
VP Marketing Analytics DISNEY New York, NY

Make sure to check back for updates on our Careers page.

Twitter Removes ‘Ratio’ In Prototype; Kroger, Pinterest Partnership

Our weekly social media news roundup helps marketers to stay on top of every social platform’s latest updates, insights, campaigns and more.

Twitter Clarifies The New App Prototype

Twitter added clarification to the announcement of a new prototype app.

Why it matters: A new prototype version promises potential changes to the service in the near future, including updates that could change engagement and interactions between accounts, such as hiding likes and retweets.

The details: “We’re experimenting in our prototype/testing app with placing engagements behind a tap for replies only. Engagements are not gone from all Tweets, just behind a tap for replies,” Twitter told Newsweek. 

Kroger Expands Marketing Relationship With Pinterest

Kroger announced a strategic integrated media and measurement relationship with Pinterest.

Why it matters: This relationship will enable millions of consumers to interact with their favorite brands on Pinterest and help advertisers to leverage Kroger’s first-party data for targeting on Pinterest.

The details: “Our intentions are simple; we want to enable brands to create engaging moments with consumers in an effective and efficient manner. We are excited to blend the inspiration delivered on Pinterest with our rich customer intelligence and connection to commerce, driving meaningful value for advertisers,” Cara Pratt, VP of Customer Communications Product Strategy & Innovation said in a statement. 

Twitter Releases Employee Inclusion And Diversity Report

Twitter recently published the company’s new “Inclusion and Diversity” report.

Why it matters: The report highlights the company’s efforts to be inclusive and reflect the people they serve around the world.

The details: In 2018, Twitter set some serious diversity targets, and this is how the company progressed in that direction in 2019, according to the report:

  • The Twitter team is now 40.2 percent female, 4.5 percent black and 3.9 percent Latinx
  • At the leadership level, Twitter’s representation of women, black and Latinx people improved from 2018 at 20 percent of women holding leadership roles, 2.9 percent of which are Black and 3.2 percent Latinx.
  • In all the attrition, women made up 39.6 percent of it, while black employees accounted for 3.9 percent and Latinx employees made up 4.2 percent.

LinkedIn Global Report: Powering Customer Decisions From Acquisition To Renewal

LinkedIn released “The Enlightened Tech Buyer: Powering Customer Decisions From Acquisition To Renewal” report.

Why it matters: Technology plays a vital role in driving business growth and the path to purchase is rapidly changing, marketers need to be on top of the tech buyer data to make rational technology investment decisions.

The details: Some of the report highlights included:

  • 79 percent of today’s employees are technology end users, with two in five 38 percent technology decision makers
  • 38 percent of business professionals are involved in a cyclical, community-driven buying process led by IT
  • The average technology purchase process takes just over 2 years

Snap Is Planning To Launch Gaming Platform In April

Cheddar reported that, similarly to Facebook, Snap plans to roll out its gaming platform for developers in April.

Why it matters: The new gaming platform will help the users to find games, as well as new content.

The details: According to Cheddar, a person familiar with the matter said that the new mobile game platform, codenamed “Project Cognac” will feature a number of games from outside developers that will be designed to work specifically in the Snapchat app. The new games addition is planned to be unveiled at Snap’s first-ever summit for content and developer partners in Los Angeles on April 4, along with an announcement about more original shows.

Facebook Outage Brings Telegram Three Million New Signups 

TechCrunch reported on Thursday that messaging platform Telegram claimed to gain millions of new users during Facebook’s messaging services downtime.

Why it matters: Although the platform founder, Pavel Durov, doesn’t explain the cause of Telegram’s sudden “explosion,” he does carefully troll Facebook about the recent news that Zuckerberg plans to switch to encrypted messaging to protect user privacy. “Good. We have true privacy and unlimited space for everyone,” Durov said on his channel.

The details: “These outages always drive new users,” a contact at Telegram told TechCrunch, confirming that the Facebook apps’ downtime is the likely cause of its latest explosion.

However, Telegram also credited the sudden spike to “the mainstream overall increasing understanding of Facebook’s abusive attention harvesting practices.”

Facebook’s Outage Tremendously Hurt Small Advertisers

The almost day-long Facebook and Instagram outage on Wednesday cost small advertisers thousands of dollars, The Verge reported.

Why it matters: The major problem with the recent Facebook and Instagram outage was that the promoted posts went up, but few people saw them, which for many small companies resulted in tangible losses.

The details: As an example, The Verge uses fake eyelash company, Wonghaus Ventures, which lost $10,000 in revenue due to the outage. The company owner, Jason Wong, said: “Looking at our prior revenue for the past seven or eight days and looking at what happened [on Wednsday], we can kind of estimate how much money we lost based on our past week’s history.” Wong said he wishes Facebook was more open about what’s happening in the company and added, “They should be a little bit more transparent with the advertisers, especially since we are the ones that are funding their platform.”

Snap’s Shift To Higher Quality Content Adds Value To Its Stock 

According to Variety, on Thursday, BTIG Research analyst, Rich Greenfield, upgraded Snap from “neutral” to “buy” in a note.

Why it matters: One of the main factors for Greenfield’s upgrade was the shift of the Snap’s content from a “low-quality, clickbait/T&A feel” to premium publisher content that should lead to more user time spent in “Discover” and attract more advertisers.

The details: Last year, Snap attempted to add professionally produced original and third-party content to “Discover” and separate personal messaging from media aimed at general consumption.

Greenfield revised estimates for 2019 revenues upward to $1.65 billion for the year (versus $1.4 billion previously). He predicts an adjusted loss of -$268 million (up from -$500 million) and a net loss of 71 cents per share (versus a net loss of 92 cents prior), basing this on Snap’s improving advertising-growth trends.

Facebook Adds Gaming Tab To Its Main Navigation 

Facebook launched a “Facebook Gaming” tab in the main navigation of Facebook’s app on Thursday.

Why it matters: The new addition aims to help the users discover games, streamers and gaming groups and discover new content, relevant to their interests.

The details: According to TechCrunch, clicking the new Gaming tab brings up a feed of content that points the user to instant games to play with Facebook friends, as well as videos to check out and updates from various gaming groups. The Gaming tab builds on the gaming video destination facebook rolled out in 2018, called

Twitter Rolls Out A New Camera Feature

On Wednesday, Twitter announced in a tweet the launch of its updated camera.

Why it matters: Twitter is looking to engage and attract new and old users with visual content, but it also allows more opportunities for ads placement.

The details: When swiping left from the Twitter timeline users can access the new camera feature. After the media is captured, a location, hashtag or caption on a colored label can be added. The best part? Twitter will show the media in the feed in a larger, more engaging format and the picture will precede the appearance of the text. For now, though, the feature doesn’t support uploads.

Facebook Removes Ad Relevance Score

Facebook has announced in a blog post that it will soon remove its Ad Relevance Score.

Why it matters: According to Facebook, the single metric doesn’t provide enough actionable insight which is why the company is switching to a more detailed measurement option to help improve ad performance.

The details: Facebook launched its ad relevance score in 2015 but this April, it will remove seven ad metrics, including Offers Saved and Cost Per Offers Saved, Messaging Replies and Cost per Messaging Reply, Mobile App Purchase ROAS and Web Purchase ROAS. And replace them with more actionable ones, which include the following:

  • Quality ranking: How your ad’s perceived quality compared with ads competing for the same audience.
  • Conversion rate ranking: How your ad’s expected conversion rate compared with ads that had the same optimization goal and competed for the same audience.

Pinterest Attracts Buyers With Low CPMs 

According to Digiday, buyers are benefiting from lower CPMs on Pinterest.

Why it matters: The buyers are saying that it’s possible to land better rates for more impressions in 2019, compared to 2018 when there was less competition to drive up prices on Pinterest.

The details: For example, after running five campaigns already this year, Visit Florida, the marketing body for the state, is seeing the benefits of less competition for impressions. The CPM for two of those campaigns cost 34 percent less than they had been last year but were still able to secure 129 million additional impressions, the advertiser’s VP of the brand, Staci Mellman, told Digiday.

Twitter Offers New Stats On Video Content Performance

Twitter Business posted a blog post on Monday offering statistics, insights and advice on video content performance in digital advertising.

Why it matters: According to the blog post, video is Twitter’s fastest-growing advertising tool. The platform sees around 1.2 billion video views daily, which is 2x growth in 12 months.

The details: There are several ways to promote videos on Twitter, including the Promoted Video feature, Video Website Cards (which provide an option for call-to-action) and In-Stream Video Ads. In terms of the best performing video content, Twitter suggests making sure that it’s mobile-friendly (93 percent of video views happen on mobile, according to internal Twitter data); contains a call-to-action and is brief.

Twitter Improves Its Response To Personal Privacy Violations 

Twitter announced in a tweet that it’s planning to improve the company’s response to violations of personal privacy by adding a new option for users to specify the type of personal information being shared via tweet.

Why it matters: The new option promises to benefit both the users and the platform itself, as the users will be able to report any issue with more ease and convenience and the Twitter’s team will be able to understand the problem faster.

The details: The process of reporting a tweet which shares private information will now have an extra step, which will redirect the user to a special listing with an option to specify whether the tweet contains contact information, a home address or physical location, financial information or government issued ID details.

“We want to move faster in reviewing reported Tweets that share personal information. Starting today, you’ll be able to tell us more about the Tweet you are reporting,” the tweet said.

YouTube Stories Introduces Snapchat-Like AR effects

Google AI Blog informed the public in a press release that YouTube Stories and ARCore will now offer the Augmented Faces API.

Why it matters: The result of the efforts should enhance user experience with realistic AR effects on YouTube.

The details: YouTube Stories is a feature that allows the users to create short, mobile-only videos with text, stickers, filters and music, which expire after seven days. The effects added to the feature will include:

  • Simulating light reflections via environmental mapping for realistic rendering of glasses
  • Natural lighting by casting virtual object shadows onto the face mesh
  • Modeling face occlusions to hide virtual object parts behind a face, e.g., virtual glasses, as shown below.
  • Modeling Specular reflections applied on lips and
  • Face painting by using luminance-aware material

MediaRadar: Sleep Number, EBay Exhibit Most ‘Brand Safe’ Behavior

Sleep Number, eBay and Nestle exhibit the most “brand-safe” behavior, according to MediaRadar in a report made available to AList. Cutting programmatic spending while increasing direct placement, the company asserted, grants these and other brands more control over where advertisements are seen.

MediaRadar observed the spending behavior of major digital advertisers that spent at least $1 million on both direct and programmatic placements between 2017 and 2018. Approximately one-third of these advertisers reduced their programmatic ad spend in 2018 while increasing their spend on direct placements year-over-year (YoY).

Sleep Number was observed as having the most “brand safe” behavior. The mattress brand reduced programmatic ad spend by 74 percent while raising direct placement spending by 99 percent YoY.

EBay came in at number two on the list with a 66 percent reduction in programmatic and 100 percent increase in direct placement YoY.

Confectioner Nestle cut programmatic by 57 percent YoY and spent 39 percent more on direct. While Royal Caribbean Cruises cut its programmatic by nearly half, it increased direct placement spending by an impressive 257 percent YoY between 2017-2018.

The Top 10 “Brand Safe” Digital Brands

  1. Sleep Number (-74/+99)*
  2. eBay (-66/+100)
  3. Nestle (-57/+30)
  4. Kellogg (-55/+59)
  5. Lions Gate Entertainment (-54/+88)
  6. Walmart (-52/+57)
  7. Spotify (-52/+15)
  8. Gap (-52/+25)
  9. Honda (-50/+55)
  10. Royal Caribbean Cruises (-48/+257)

* (percent of programmatic/direct placement change 2017-2018 YoY)

Direct placement spend was especially common among toiletry and cosmetics, increasing by 126 percent and cutting programmatic by 21 percent YoY. This trend was followed by children’s brands and automotive companies, which increased direct placement spend by 121 percent and 54 percent, respectively.

Not everyone followed this pattern. The athletics industry increased programmatic spend YoY by 70 percent, MediaRadar observed. Professional services also spent more on programmatic with a 45 increase YoY, as did the financial and real estate industries by 27 percent.

In a 2018 poll of advertisers by Oath and Advertiser Perceptions, nearly all (99 percent) of respondents said they were concerned about brand safety. Eliminating programmatic may not also be the solution of choice, however. Sometimes if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

According to recent data by the IAB Data Center of Excellence, 44 percent of marketers predicted both better audience targeting and more effective campaigns as rewards for bringing programmatic in-house.

Predictions on how much companies will spend on programmatic vary. Zenith predicts that programmatic ad value will reach $84.9 billion in 2019. EMarketer, meanwhile, predicted that total programmatic ad spend would be around $46 billion in the US last year.


Coors Turns Bud Light Jabs Into Free Beer With Smart Tap

When life gives you insults, give out free beer. MillerCoors has introduced a smart tap handle that monitors social and broadcast media channels in real-time. Whenever AB InBev’s Bud Light takes a stab at Coors Light, the tap lights up and every patron in the bar will get a free drink—of Coors Light, of course.

Ryan Reis, vice president of the Coors family of brands, presented the smart tap handles to distributors on Tuesday as a way to turn negative press into bar patron engagement. They will launch on March 23 to coincide with NCAA March Madness in select bars across New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Omaha and Texas. A simplified version will be installed in a broader market.

Bud Light debuted an ad during Super Bowl LIII called “Special Delivery” that called out Coors Light and Miller Light for using corn syrup. The theme continued during the Academy Awards with a commercial that showed a dramatic reading of beer ingredients.

“Bud Light has been attacking us out of frustration and criticizing our ingredients for weeks now,” Reis said in a blog post. “We know drinkers don’t want to hear it. They want to move on. And according to a survey we conducted last week, 80 percent of premium light drinkers said they just want to enjoy a refreshing beer without being subjected to a debate about ingredients. So we’re giving it to them.”

Reis cited recent data by Nielsen showing that Bud Light sales have dropped 8.8 percent since its Super Bowl ad aired in February. Coors Light, he points out, has held share.

Ironically, a number of Anheiser-Busch products use corn syrup, Reis pointed out, adding that it’s used by many brewers. As MillerCoors explained in a blog post, yeast eats these simple sugars during the fermentation process and converts them to alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Coors Light also responded to the jabs by organizing Toast to Farmers, an event honoring American farmers who grow beer ingredients.

“When they bring hate, we will literally bring light,” says Reis. “The more Bud Light talks, the more we refresh.”

MillerCoors has utilized emerging technology in campaigns before, such as a 360-degree VR experience. Three videos put the consumer in a first-person view of whitewater kayaking in Queensland, downhill biking in Cairns and big wave surfing in Tasmania. Each experience ends with twenty-something adventurers cracking open a cold can of Coors Light.

EMarketer: US Marketers Carve More Budget For Social Video Ads Each Year

US brands will spend $10.35 billion on social video ads in 2019, according to new estimates by eMarketer. Social will account for 28.7 percent of all video ad spend.

Spending on video ads in the US will grow at a rate of 44 percent between 2019 and 2021, eMarketer predicts, ultimately reaching a total of $14.89 billion—30.4 percent of the total video ad spend.

Overall video ad spending will increase, as well, at a rate of 62.1 percent between now and 2023. Video now accounts for a quarter of US digital ad spend.

While eMarketer names Facebook and YouTube as dominant players, they admit that YouTube is not factored into these social video ad estimates. Last year, eMarketer estimated that YouTube would generate $3.36 billion in net US video ad revenues, although it does not consider YouTube to be a social network.

Google keeps its YouTube revenue figures close to the chest, but analysts theorize it could have been around $20 billion for 2018 alone.

EMarketer previously stated that Facebook would capture nearly one-quarter (24.5 percent) of all video ad spending in the US for 2018, bringing in a healthy $6.81 billion (including Instagram).

By comparison, eMarketer says that Twitter’s US video ad revenues will pass $1 billion in 2021. Twitter has placed a strong emphasis on video to its investors and advertisers over the last few years. In a Monday blog post, Twitter announced that video is its fastest-growing advertising tool. The platform sees around 1.2 billion video views daily, which is 2x growth in just 12 months.

The push for video, as well as a string of exclusive streaming partnerships, may account for Twitter’s anticipated payoff.

Snapchat, meanwhile, is expected to grow its US video ad business 19.9 percent year over year in 2021, reaching $727.4 million. To put that into perspective, Roku is expected to earn $758.4 million in US revenues by the same year.

Snapchat finally crossed the $1 billion revenue mark in 2018. Like Twitter, Snap is touting video as a profitable sales tool. The company reported that in the fourth quarter, its premium mobile video ads reached over 70 percent of 13- to 34-year-old US consumers every month.

EMarketer’s predictions do not include videos that brands have created for their own channels. A report by Mobile video production company Magisto estimated that American brands would spend $135 billion on digital video in 2017. This figure included the cost of video capturing, creation, hosting, distribution, analytics and staffing.

Report: Mobile Gamers More Influential And Receptive To Advertising

Mobile gamers are not only more receptive to advertisements, but they are 23 percent more influential with their purchase decisions than non-gamers, according to a new report by Activision Blizzard and Newzoo.

Betting on Billions: Unlocking the Power of Mobile Gamers,” released on Monday, explores the habits of mobile app users around the world. Respondents included 12,327 mobile app users from the US, UK, France and Germany who were between the ages of 18-65. Surveys were conducted over a period of two weeks between December 10-24, 2018.

Half of all mobile users surveyed reported playing games, according to the report. Games were the third-most-popular kinds of apps opened in the previous week after social media and shopping. The most popular game played was Candy Crush Saga (good news for Activision Blizzard), followed by Pokémon GO and Fortnite, at 35 percent and 19 percent each, respectively.

Mobile game users are split nearly down the middle in terms of gender, with 51 percent of men vs. 49 percent of women. Genre preferences vary between the two groups, however, as well as among ages.

Puzzle games like Candy Crush were most popular among the 36-50 age group, with two-thirds being women. Competitive genres such as action/adventure, strategy and shooting, on the other hand, were preferred by those aged 21-35. Two-thirds of this group were men.

Just over half (51 percent) of all mobile game users agreed that advertisements help them keep up to date about products/services they need or want to have. Newzoo found that when comparing gamers to non-gamers, the former group is more likely to splurge every once in a while, look for promotions and purchase premium brands.

They are also more likely to look for promotions, to prefer buying a premium brand over a store brand, and to find a brand’s values important.

“Brands should consider highlighting their company values and social responsibility endeavors when advertising to mobile gamers,” advises the report.

Newzoo estimates that 2.4 billion people will play mobile games in 2019. That’s a massive market for Activision Blizzard—one of the leading AAA game publishers—that is, not coincidentally, at SXSW touting its media prowess. Activision Blizzard is a combination of publishers Activision (Call of Duty), Blizzard (Overwatch), King (Candy Crush), Major League Game Publishers (MLG) and others. The company reported $7.5 billion in sales and $1.8 billion in profit last year and is in the midst of a restructuring that resulted in hundreds of Blizzard layoffs in February.