Instascreener reports that influencer marketing spend has increased 83%, year-over-year, in the US and Canada. Brands invested $442 million in influencers during the second quarter, an 18% rise from the first quarter, of which $314 million was spent on Instagram with $58 million wasted on fake followers.
Chinese company Chinaso has launched Young, a search app specifically for teenagers, which with the help of artificial intelligence can block harmful content. Young also recommends videos, animation and online courses.
The Walt Disney Co.'s theme park resorts have greatly benefited from data gathered through the company's smartphone apps and MagicBand technology. Not only did the company's smartphone-based virtual reservation system help reduce wait times, but its guest-tracking technology also helped to inform future investments by gleaning trends regarding families' preferred rides and franchises at the park.
The Washington Post is launching Zeus Insights, a first-party data ad tool that features detailed contextual targeting and user-intent predictions supported by its audience insights and machine learning. The Washington Post intends to license the platform to publishers globally by integrating it with its Arc technology, which reaches 600 million unique users, to help them compete with ad services offered by Facebook and Google and to rely less on cookie-related data.
Since Google stopped allowing companies to buy ads on YouTube using outside software, many former allies are turning into foes, including Vevo, Machinima and AppNexus, whose former CEO Brian O'Kelley says, "They crushed our growth and ruined our product." YouTube spokeswoman Andrea Faville contends that it was a smart business decision designed to enhance the platform's user, creator and advertiser experience.
Amazon appears to be improving the most among the leading digital media platforms in terms of ROI, with a net "better" score that increased 40% during the second quarter followed by Google (23%), Facebook (12%), Snap (4%) and Twitter (3%), according to Pivotal Research Group. Google is "poised to accelerate, particularly when combined with comments" regarding its "discover tab," says Michael Levine, a Pivotal analyst.
IBM's Watson Marketing is now a stand-alone company called Acoustic. IBM's Watson Marketing was purchased in April by private equity firm Centerbridge Partners but will utilize IBM's application programming interface and artificial intelligence to provide services, including email and mobile campaign automation, content management and customer relationship management and analytics.
Private equity firm Blackstone is purchasing Vungle, a mobile ad tech firm that runs customized in-app ads on more than 1 billion devices for Pandora, Zynga, Microsoft and other publishers. Vungle also reportedly reached a settlement with founder Zain Jaffer who lodged a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company in early 2019.
Google and Amazon captured the first and second spots respectively in the supply-side platform (SSP) space in terms of ease of use, auction dynamics and ability to monetize publisher inventory, according to the 2019 Advertiser Perceptions report, which analyzed 18 exchanges. The report also found publishers used an average of six SSPs, and OpenX and PubMatic dropped off the top five preferred SSPs list.
Startup Near has attracted $100 million in investments to help enhance its AI platform, AllSpark, that collects data on consumers and creates anonymized, location-based user profiles. Near says it can ensure privacy even as it amasses information from data providers, apps, mobile carriers, Wi-Fi operators and retailers.
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