Weekly Digital News Roundup: September 17 – 21

Weekly Digital News Roundup: September 17 – 21

Smartphone Ads and Their Drawbacks

  • At two inches wide and one-third of an inch tall, a display ad shown on a smartphone isn’t much of a canvas for a creative marketer seeking to promote a product or service. That’s one reason smartphones are not working well as a medium for many advertisers. As The New York Times reports, the evidence is telling: advertisers are willing to pay much more to reach a thousand pairs of eyes gazing upon a computer or tablet than a thousand pairs looking at a smartphone screen.
  • “Size absolutely does matter,” says Christine Chen, director of communication strategy at Goodby Silverstein & Partners. “If you look at the real estate available on a smartphone, it’s really sad compared to not just banner ads on the Web, but also to TV, print and outdoor advertising.” Size isn’t the only problem. Advertisers are also limited by what they can find out about smartphone users. It’s not technically possible to use cookies with smartphone apps the way it is with a browser. On the Web, publishers typically record users’ actions so that advertisers can make an educated guess about a user’s identity and interests.
  • Mark Himmelsbach, director of digital strategy at BBDO North America, sees some potential uses for cell phones as an advertising medium, but he says most marketers take care to limit the size of ads on phones “so as not to irritate people. Mobile ads are relegated to a tiny portion of the screen and are often invisible or ignored by consumers.” Some companies, like Twitter, Pandora, and Foursquare have figured out ways to incorporate ads into the user experience, but other companies aren’t as lucky.

Google adds ‘Do Not Track’ to latest Chrome test build

  • As reported in CNet, search giant Google has included support for the Do Not Track privacy standard in the latest Chrome developer build, released yesterday. The search giant and browser maker previously said it would implement a solution to help prevent users’ actions from being tracked on the Web, and said it would have a solution out for Chrome and its advertising systems “by the end of the year.”
  • Do Not Track is a feature — slowly making its way to Web browsers — to help users opt out of tracking cookies and targeted advertisements. But advertisers fear that the privacy setting would restrict companies’ efforts to target advertising more effectively to users’ tastes and would suffer as a result. A Google spokesperson said: “We undertook to honor an agreement on DNT that the industry reached with the White House early this year. To that end we’re making this setting visible in our Chromium developer channel, so that it will be available in upcoming versions of Chrome by year’s end.”
  • With IE owning more than 53 percent of the browser market, according to Net Applications, the move would heavily disrupt the advertising industry if Microsoft carries on full steam with its DNT plans.

Facebook Beta Launches New Mobile Ad Network Using Your Data To Target You With Banner Ads In Other Apps

  • TechCrunch reports that Facebook recently began testing its own mobile ad network. Advertisers can pay to target you with ads for app stores or websites based on your Facebook data that appears while you’re on other apps and mobile sites. Facebook says that, similar to its first off-site ad placements on Zynga.com, the goal is to show Facebook users more relevant ads wherever they go, even outside the social network’s own properties. If you were looking for a big new way Facebook could make money but avoid hurting its user experience, here it is.
  • Facebook isn’t revealing any of the advertisers, ad exchanges, ad networks, or publishers involved, but here’s how the small initial test of its mobile ad network will work: You may start seeing banner and interstitial ads targeted by your Facebook biographical and social data within non-Facebook mobile iOS and Android apps plus mobile websites where you’ve authenticated with Facebook. The targetable data includes your age, gender, location, Likes, friends who’ve used an advertiser’s app and basically any other targeting options in Facebook’s standard ads marketplace.
  • The mobile ad network lets Facebook earn money on traffic to other apps and sites by leveraging its remarkably expansive and accurate user data set. It gives app developers and brands such a powerful way to reach specific audiences that they’ll be willing to pay more than if they advertised with a less accurate ad exchange directly.
Scott Kaufmann
[email protected]

Scott is Partner at Lucid Agency and a lover of all things technology, marketing, investing and entrepreneurship. Scott volunteers on the board of the Denver-based Nonprofit Celebrate EDU and as a mentor for SeedSpot (a Phoenix-based social startup incubator).

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