SFadvertising.com http://sfadvertising.com . Fri, 22 Jun 2018 16:41:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 AppsFlyer helps mobile advertisers beat back ad fraud via machine learning http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2367 Fri, 26 May 2017 17:16:05 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2367

AppsFlyer is helping mobile game and app developers deal with the severe problem of fraudulent advertising responses via third-party ad networks. In doing so, the company said it has already saved brands tens of millions of dollars since 2016.

 Today, the San Francisco-based maker of mobile attribution and marketing analytics is launching Active Fraud Insights 2.0, hoping to set a new marketing industry standard for detecting fraud. The platform leverages metadata from 98 percent of the world’s mobile devices, and it uses proprietary advances in big data and machine learning. Ad fraud is causing an estimated $7.2 billion to $16.4 billion losses a year.

AppsFlyer’s tool can review ad network partners in an effort to combat mobile fraud, where an ad network or other party creates a fake user that tricks the advertiser into believing that a real human is downloading or using an app or game.

Active Fraud Insights 2.0 detects different kinds of fraud, including DeviceID reset fraud, install hijacking, click flooding, and more. AppsFlyer works with more than 2,500 ad networks to regulate their activity to minimize fraudulent traffic.

“Over the last two years, the scale and sophistication of mobile fraud has grown at an alarming rate,” said Oren Kaniel, CEO of AppsFlyer, in a statement. “Thanks to AppsFlyer’s scale, we are in a unique position to detect and prevent mobile fraud faster and more consistently over time than anyone else in the industry. Further, since actions speak louder than words, we are going to regulate the AppsFlyer ecosystem and will remove bad actors from our platform in order to protect our clients — the marketers. As such, we have begun a continuous review and audit of all our integrated ad networks, ensuring they are aggressively doing everything in their power to minimize fraudulent traffic being sent to AppsFlyer clients.”

Rivals such as Tune and Adjust are also working on the problem, and the ability to do this well is becoming a differentiator in the mobile marketing and analytics industries.

Active Fraud Insights 2.0 is part of AppsFlyer’s Active Fraud Suite and is now available. The company said that since the introduction of the first version in 2016, dozens of large marketing teams have been able to identify and stop offending campaigns, networks, and even siteIDs before significant damage was done, detecting and addressing tens of millions of dollars in fraud. Active Fraud Insights 2.0 is grounded on a proprietary mobile engagement database — both the largest in the world and, with over 500 billion mobile events measured every month, the fastest growing.

AppsFlyer is used by Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snap, Tencent, HBO, Playtika, Waze, Alibaba, Kayak, Activision, and 12,000 other brands and partners.


Yelp gets a no-star review, and its shares take a beating http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2364 Fri, 12 May 2017 16:38:17 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2364 SAN FRANCISCO — Yelp made its name by giving consumers a place to state their opinions about everything from the quality of local businesses to the reliability of plumbers.

Welp, Yelp’s name may have turned to “Gulp” based on how many investors, and much of Wall Street, reacted to the company’s latest quarterly results and lackluster revenue forecast. The combination suggested that competition from bigger online rivals with deeper pockets is luring crucial advertisers away and cutting into Yelp’s ability to grow.

San Francisco-based Yelp’s shares plunged 18.4 percent to close Wednesday at $28.33 after the company reported a first-quarter loss of 6 cents a share, on $197.3 million in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast Yelp to lose 8 cents a share on sales of $198.3 million.

That sales shortfall was only the start of Yelp’s own negative review. The company also cut its full-year revenue forecast to a range of $850 million to $865 million, down from a prior estimate of $880 million to $890 million that Yelp gave in February. Prior to all of that, Yelp had said it expected sales this year to reach $1 billion.

Yelp blamed its revenue issues on what is called “advertiser churn,” which is another way of saying a loss of advertisers, especially higher-paying ones. Yelp said it ended the quarter with 143,000 local advertisers, which fell short of the 144,000 advertisers many analysts had expected.

“These advertisers didn’t find the ROI (return on investment) they wanted on the Yelp platform, and so they churned,” said Mark Mahaney, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets. “There are now substantial questions about Yelp’s salesforce execution and its current value proposition for advertisers.”

Mahaney called the issues affecting Yelp “negative flywheels.” He cut his rating on Yelp’s stock to sector perform, or neutral, from outperform, and slashed his target price on the stock to $27 a share from $49.

It’s not hard to see why Yelp is struggling. The company, while well-known, has a small niche in the overall market for digital ad spending. Well-heeled giants like Google and Facebook with enormous user bases offer a huge appeal to advertisers who want to reach as many potential customers as possible.

Yelp’s trailing position in the U.S. digital ad market can be seen in data from research firm eMarketer.

Of the $71.6 billion spent in 2016 on digital advertising in the U.S., eMarketer said Google grabbed a 41.1 percent market share, with $29.43 billion, while Facebook took second place with $12.37 billion, good for 17.3 percent of the ad-dollar pie.

EMarketer forecasts total digital ad spending in 2017 to reach $83 billion, with Google’s share at $33.8 billion and Facebook climbing to $16.33 billion.

Meanwhile, of the top 10 companies in eMarketer’s data, Yelp came in ninth place, with $610 million in U.S. digital ad spending last year. The company is forecast to edge that amount up to $730 million in 2017.

Yelp believes it is turning things around. Chief Financial Officer Lanny Baker said that even though Yelp cut its sales forecasts, “productivity has rebounded, transactions revenue has accelerated and we’ve seen promising results from our newly expanded retention efforts.”

But, the question remains: How long will it take before those efforts result in Yelp’s sales improving and restoring investors’ faith?

“(Yelp’s) management believes issues have been addressed, (but) we expect investors will be skeptical until consistency is established, and this will take multiple quarters,” said MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson, who cut his rating on Yelp’s stock to neutral from buy. Sanderson also reduced his price target to $27 a share from $48.

Yelp didn’t say if its latest sales woes might result in more job cuts. In November, the company announced 175 job cuts as it scaled back international efforts to focus on business in the U.S.

According to company data, Yelp had 4,350 employees at the end of March.



Facebook nears ad-only business model as game revenue falls http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2360 Fri, 05 May 2017 16:51:25 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2360 By David Ingram | SAN FRANCISCO

Facebook Inc’s growth into a digital advertising power is showing a flip side: The social network is more dependent than ever on the cyclical ad market, even as its rival Google finds new revenue streams in hardware and software.

Facebook reported on Wednesday that 98 percent of its quarterly revenue came from advertising, up from 97 percent a year earlier and 84 percent in 2012. Revenue from non-advertising sources fell to $175 million in the quarter, from $181 million a year earlier.

Facebook has warned for some time about declining non-ad revenue. That part of its business consists almost entirely of video game players on desktop computers buying virtual currency, and it has fallen as gaming has moved to smartphones.

Facebook takes 30 percent of purchases, with the balance going to companies such as Zynga Inc, maker of the game Farmville.

The company’s dependence on advertising is a long-term concern but it has time to find other revenue while building its core ad business, said Clement Thibault, a senior analyst at Investing.com.

“We have to remember it’s still a fairly young business. It’s not like they’re an old-fashioned business that needs to move soon,” he said.

A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment.

Facebook’s share price hit an all-time high of $153.60 on Tuesday before dipping to close at $150.85 on Thursday.

The lack of diversification stands in contrast to Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc. Its non-advertising revenue, from sources such as cloud services and Pixel smartphones, posted a 49.4 percent jump to $3.1 billion in the most recent quarter and now represents 13 percent of Google’s total revenue, up from 10 percent a year earlier.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said during a conference call in February that the company was diversifying revenue by expanding its base of advertisers across geographic regions and industries.

Facebook’s non-advertising products, such as its Oculus virtual reality headset and the Workplace office software, currently generate little revenue.

Some companies diversify through acquisitions, but most of Facebook’s purchases such as Instagram and WhatsApp have been in adjacent markets.

Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said in a conference call for investors on Wednesday that Facebook was not breaking out Instagram revenue as a separate line in financial reports because Instagram ads are sold through the same interface as Facebook ads.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Grant McCool)



Will Federal Shield Law Save Facebook From Bias Suit? http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2354 Fri, 07 Apr 2017 18:14:04 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2354 SAN FRANCISCO — Lawyers for Facebook Inc. are fighting back against claims that the company violated federal antidiscrimination laws by allowing advertisers to exclude certain users from viewing social media promotions for housing, credit and employment opportunities.

A New York woman and two African-American Louisiana residents sued Facebook in November 2016 claiming that the social media site’s advertising portal allows ad-purchasers to target or exclude users on the basis of race, gender or religion. But in a motion to dismiss the suit filed Monday, Facebook’s lawyers at Munger, Tolles & Olson claim that Facebook expressly forbids advertisers from violating antidiscrimination laws and that the company can’t be held liable for the actions of third-party advertisers thanks to the broad immunities granted to internet companies by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Advertisers, not Facebook, are responsible for both the content of their ads and what targeting criteria to use, if any,” wrote the Munger lawyers, led by partner Rosemarie Ring. “Facebook’s provision of these neutral tools to advertisers falls squarely within the scope of CDA immunity.”

 The CDA is something of a weapon of choice for internet companies facing a wide range of lawsuits. In recent months, Twitter Inc. has relied on CDA immunity provisions to elude claims that it provided material support to terrorist groups and executives at Backpage.com invoked the law to get criminal charges dismissed in a sex-trafficking case.

Ring’s colleague Jonathan Blavin, however, had less luck when he attempted to wield the CDA for Airbnb Inc. to block enforcement of a San Francisco ordinance that carries stiff penalties for companies providing booking services for illegal short-term rentals. U.S. District Judge James Donato rejected Airbnb’s argument and has referred that case out for settlement discussions.

One challenge for the Munger team is that Facebook created the drop-down tools that allow users to place ads based on targeted “affinity groups.” Facebook’s lawyers at Munger acknowledge in a footnote to Monday’s filing that since December the company has “disallowed” targeting based on ethnic affinity categories for ads offering housing, employment or credit opportunities.

But the company continues to maintain that its social advertising platform is a sort of “neutral tool” that a third party can use for either proper or improper purposes that falls under CDA protections. Ring wrote that “what makes the ads allegedly unlawful are the discriminatory targeting decisions that might have been made by some unidentified advertisers—not the neutral tools provided on Facebook’s Ad Platform.”

“The provision of these neutral tools does not transform Facebook into a content provider,” Ring wrote.

Ring didn’t immediately respond to messages Tuesday.

The case Onuoha et al v. Facebook is set for a hearing on June 1 before U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose.

As boycott expands, Google pledges to keep offensive content away from ads http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2346 Fri, 31 Mar 2017 17:14:32 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2346 SAN FRANCISCO — In a bid to end a boycott of Google and YouTube by major advertisers in the U.K., Google says it will pull online ads from controversial content, give brands more control over where their ads appear and will deploy more people to enforce its ad policies.

And, amid charges it has not done enough to curtail hate speech on its services, Google broadened its definition to include content that harasses or attacks people based on race, religion, gender or other “similar” categories.

“We know advertisers don’t want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values,” Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, wrote in a . “So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content.”

The moves come in response to a over the placement of online ads from major brands next to offensive or extremist content that prompted some marketers in the U.K. to pull their spending. Adding fuel to the fire: Google’s growing share of digital advertising.

Google had incentive to remedy the situation quickly. The U.K. generated $7.8 billion in 2016 sales for Google parent company Alphabet.

Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser  the stock on Monday, saying the U.K. boycott could have global repercussions. Reached on Tuesday, Wieser said Google’s changes don’t go far enough, noting that more advertisers including Volkswagen and Toyota have joined the boycott.

“Google needs to convey more clearly that their goal is zero tolerance for brand unsafe environments when they place ads. Google aspires to ‘moonshots’ so why not pursue a moonshot to get to zero instances here?” Wieser said. “They will undoubtedly solve this problem, or placate concerned advertisers, but it’s too late to prevent enhanced scrutiny.”

Why is this such a significant issue? “Brand safety” has emerged as possibly the biggest issue facing the advertising industry, Wieser says. For large marketers, even one ad placed next to extremist content can cause harm to a brand, he said.

Google reviews content flagged by users. Four hundred hours of video is uploaded every minute to YouTube, Google says, making it tough to police. Some 98% of content flagged on YouTube is reviewed within 24 hours, Google says.

With the changes announced late Monday, advertisers on YouTube and on Google’s advertising system that places ads across the web will be able to exclude websites and videos that are “potentially objectionable,” will have greater latitude to decide where they want their ads to appear and will have more “visibility” on where their ads are running.

“We have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear, and in the vast majority of cases, our policies and tools work as intended,” Schindler wrote. “But at times we don’t get it right.”



Twitter explores subscription-based option for first time http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2343 Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:08:37 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2343 By David Ingram | SAN FRANCISCO

Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) is considering whether to build a premium version of its popular Tweetdeck interface aimed at professionals, the company said on Thursday, raising the possibility that it could collect subscription fees from some users for the first time.

Like most other social media companies, Twitter since its founding 11 years ago has focused on building a huge user base for a free service supported by advertising. Last month it reported it had 319 million users worldwide.

But unlike the much-larger Facebook Inc (FB.O), Twitter has failed to attract enough in advertising revenue to turn a profit even as its popularity with U.S. President Donald Trump and other celebrities makes the network a constant center of attention.

Subscription fees could come from a version of Tweetdeck, an existing interface that helps users navigate Twitter.

Twitter is conducting a survey “to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck,” spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca said in a statement on Thursday.

She went on: “We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”

There was no indication that Twitter was considering charging fees from all its users.

Word of the survey had earlier leaked on Twitter, where a journalist affiliated with the New York Times posted screenshots of what a premium version of Tweetdeck could look like.

That version could include “more powerful tools to help marketers, journalists, professionals, and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker,” according to one of the screenshots posted on the account @andrewtavani.

The experience could be ad-free, the description said.

Other social media firms, such as Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) LinkedIn unit, already have tiered memberships, with subscription versions that offer greater access and data.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, Twitter posted the slowest revenue growth since it went public four years earlier, and revenue from advertising fell year-over-year. The company also said that advertising revenue growth would continue to lag user growth during 2017.

Financial markets speculated about a sale of Twitter last year, but no concrete bids were forthcoming.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)




U.S. judge rejects Google email scanning settlement http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2338 Fri, 17 Mar 2017 17:18:06 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2338 By Jonathan Stempel

A federal judge rejected Google’s proposed class-action settlement with non-Gmail users who said it illegally scanned their emails to Gmail users to create targeted advertising.

In a decision on Wednesday night, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, said it was unclear that the accord, which provided no money for plaintiffs but up to $2.2 million in fees and expenses for their lawyers, would ensure Google’s compliance with federal and state privacy laws.

Koh called the proposed disclosure notice inadequate. She said this was because it did not clearly reveal any technical changes that Google would make, or that Google scans non-Gmail users’ emails to create ads for Gmail users.

The judge also said the notice did not make clear that Google could still extract data for the “dual purpose” of creating targeted ads and detecting spam and malware, and then use that data once emails went into storage after being transmitted.

“In sum, based on the parties’ current filings, the court cannot conclude that the settlement is fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable,” Koh wrote.

Google, a unit of Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc, declined to comment.

Koh distinguished the settlement from a similar accord with Yahoo Inc that she said required more disclosures.

Michael Sobol, a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein representing the plaintiffs, in an interview said, “we will press on with the litigation, while exploring opportunities for a resolution consistent with the court’s decision.” He said this could include an end to the challenged scanning.

The named plaintiffs, Daniel Matera of New York and Susan Rashkis of San Francisco, had accused Google of violating the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California Invasion of Privacy Act through its scanning practices.

Koh ruled six days after Google won preliminary approval from a different judge in her court of a separate $22.5 million settlement with businesses over internet ad placements.

In that case, known as Google AdWords Litigation, businesses accused Google of placing their ads in obscure places such as error pages and undeveloped websites known as parked domains, causing them to overpay for the placements.

The case is Matera v Google Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 15-04062.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Jonathan Oatis)



How ad agencies are responding to Women’s Day http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2335 Fri, 10 Mar 2017 18:19:55 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2335 The advertising industry’s gender problem is no secret, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that several ad agencies are going the extra mile on International Women’s Day today. While some agencies are celebrating their female employees and their work, others are taking the protest route, lending support to “A Day Without A Woman” and letting their female employees take the day off entirely.

Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, for example, is organizing a walkout for employees at noon today, to allow them to show their solidarity for equality, justice and the human rights of women and all gender oppressed people. The agency is sending emails to staffers to remind them to wear red, and has also created Facebook and Twitter event pages detailing the time, place, and the reasons that have prompted them to walk out.

“Because women represent more than 50 percent of our staff and leadership at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, we understand that we are in a unique position and can lead by positive example,” said Kathy Delaney, global chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. “That’s why we are celebrating the achievements of women around the world by gathering together today.”

At 360i, two female creatives started an #EqualVoices campaign, where any woman who is unable to march or strike can  include her name and include a brief summary of why she isn’t able to protest. The idea is that the agency’s staffers will then be able to print signs with these stories and names and use them in the march taking place in New York today.

Agencies like ustwo have given their female staffers the day off in solidarity with the protests, while others like Huge and Goodby Silverstein & Partners have also put the option on the table for their staffers. In addition, Huge is encouraging its women to wear red and has organized a photo shoot in the office to celebrate its female employees. GS&P, meanwhile, has painted all of its windows red, the official color for A Day Without A Woman protest, and altered its website to read “A Day Without Women is a day without creativity,” to show the impact women have on the business.

“As a culture, we’ve always strived for equality,” said Margaret Johnson, partner and chief creative officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners. “And celebrating ‘A Day Without A Woman’ aligns exactly with our values.”

San Francisco-based Eleven created #BeBoldForChange, with aggregated responses from staffers and their friends to the question “What will you doing 2017 to be bold for change?,” and created large posters using them, displaying them all over the windows in their offices. Eleven is also putting the posters up on its website, its social channels and across 250 digital boards across the country that were donated to it by a media vendor. The agency has also created a tool that allows anyone to create their own poster stating how they’d like to be bold for change in 2017.

“People want a voice and that’s what we’re hoping to do for them,” said Michele Sileo, chief growth officer at Eleven. “We wanted to kickstart a conversation and then give them an opportunity to extend that conversation through the tool.”



5th-grader gives Tesla marketing advice to tech billionaire http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2330 Fri, 03 Mar 2017 19:13:54 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2330 How in the world does a fifth-grader give advice to a tech billionaire? Write a letter.

That’s what 10-year-old Bria Loveday of Michigan did. She wrote Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, telling him that he should hold a contest to see who can make the best homemade ad for the electric car company. She noted that many of Tesla’s fans already make homemade ads, and “they look professional and they are entertaining.”

Bria’s dad posted the letter online and tweeted it to Musk, who responded.

Surprisingly, Musk, who has shunned spending money on advertising, agreed. He tweeted back that it sounded “like a great idea” and that the company would do it.

No word on whether Bria will enter an ad in the competition. Her dad is a Michigan-based auto writer.




City of Concord creates ad campaign to bring in business http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2328 Thu, 02 Mar 2017 17:22:41 +0000 http://sfadvertising.com/?p=2328 An East Bay city is hoping to cash in on businesses that can’t afford to open in some of the most expensive parts of the Bay Area.

Downtown Concord sparkles, but that’s not how economic leaders are selling it. They’re running advertisements on the radio that say, “Silicon Valley and San Francisco made the Bay Area overpriced with no place to grow. Fortunately, the City of Concord opens up a refreshing amount of space to build to suit properties.”

They’ve launched a $160,000 PR and advertising campaign aimed at rebranding the city. “Concord: a better fit for business.”

“We’re seeing a lot of interest to our website,” said City of Concord Economic Development and Housing manager John Montagh. “A lot more hits to our website, a lot more interest from the brokerage community calling, asking us questions about the opportunities that we have in Concord.”

There’s commercial space, retail, and restaurants like Peruvian hotspot Lima.

Chef and owner John Marquez worked at the French Laundry in Yountville and currently owns Artisan in Lafayette.

Marquez saw potential in Concord and opened in November. “I’ve seen a lot more traffic, a lot more people saying, ‘Thank you for coming to Concord.’ It’s something we needed and I heard a lot of lately.”

Poster advertisements along the Embarcadero BART station also try to lure entrepreneurs to Concord.

“We thought we’d do something a little bit different,” added Montagh. “Be a little more aggressive.”