Weekly Digital News Roundup: July 5-9
Twitter To Allow Advertisers to Target Browsing History, Email Addresses
- According to AdAge, for the first time, Twitter will allow advertisers to target users based on things they did off the service, like web browsing, as well as personal information like an email address. The company announced today that it is opening up to third-party data, which will allow advertisers to target people who’ve visited a website or provided data as part of a purchase. In a move that seems aimed at differentiating itself from competitors, Twitter will allow users to opt out of targeting that uses third-party data altogether by unchecking a box in their account settings.
- In contrast, Facebook doesn’t let users opt out of retargeted ads served through its exchange or ads served through its “custom audiences” product that uses emails and other data points like phone numbers and addresses to match users. Similar to custom audiences, Twitter will use a process called “hashing” so that emails used to enable the anonymous match are provided in a scrambled, unreadable form.
- “It’s really just enabling our ad partners to give us data in a privacy-respecting way,” said Kevin Weil, Twitter’s senior director of product for revenue.
Why Facebook’s Unloved Right-Rail Ads Aren’t Going Away Anytime Soon
- According to AdAge, until early 2012, right-rail ads — once home of weight loss schemes and teeth whiteners — accounted for nearly all of the company’s ad revenue. Since then they’ve been virtually swept under the rug as marketers embraced news-feed ads, prime real estate that unlike the right-rail ads also flow onto mobile devices.
- “The stream on both Facebook and Twitter is where the really meaningful dollars are being spent by brands, since it allows them to be in the social conversation,” said SocialCode’s CEO Laura O’Shaughnessy. The right-rail is now largely the domain of direct response advertisers and heavy retargeters which buy them on the cheap out of Facebook’s exchange. “Facebook, like most media companies, needs to have ad products that meet the needs of many types of advertisers, large and small, and not every advertiser can afford to be in the news feed,” said eMarketer’s VP-communications Clark Fredricksen.
- In an interview with Ad Age last month, VP-global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson said that they still serve a purpose in allowing small- and medium-sized advertisers to afford to advertise on Facebook. While their share is slipping as appetite for news-feed ads grows; they’ll still account for 43% of Facebook’s revenue in the fourth quarter, according to the projection. While most expect Facebook to do away with them someday, it’s not happening soon.
Anti-NSA Surveillance Protests Gain Traction on Independence Day
- According to All Things D, every day, more details are revealed regarding the National Security Agency’s classified surveillance programs, courtesy of whistleblower and former NSA employee Edward Snowden. And ever since his first revelation that the spying wing of the U.S. government is especially interested in electronic communications data, the Web public at large hasn’t taken it lightly.
- The Internet Defense League, a coalition of thousands of websites formed to fight “bad laws and monopolies” against the Web at large, organized a large online protest on the Fourth of July, an attempt to voice the rallying cry to end “unconstitutional government spying,” as the group put it. The Independence Day protests were the largest online effort by the group since the SOPA blackouts — a mass effort in early 2012 in which many major sites “blacked out” for a period of 24 hours in response to the Stop Online Piracy Act bill — according to the IDL.
- While a great many other sites supported the movement online, there were also local showings of support in major cities, including New York, San Francisco and Chicago. In Manhattan, hundreds of protestors rallied on Wall Street. Top leaders in the NSA have testified before judiciary committees, saying that a number of its programs have foiled terrorist plots against America, and are invaluable to the country’s safety.