Read the Digital Media News of the Moment in a Moment (April 2019)

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  • Waze, a Google-owned GPS navigation software app that provides turn-by-turn directions and driver-submitted travel routes and timing, is going programmatic with its zero-speed takeover banner ad, which is an ad unit that shows up at the bottom of the app screen when drivers stop their cars.

Waze’s Felipe Almeida, head of product marketing said, “Waze is now part of the Google programmatic platform. We’re making it easier for buyers to access Waze inventory.”

The ad unit is available in Display and Video 360 (DV360) – the platform once known as DoubleClick Bid Manager – and media buyers can use first-, second- and third-party data to target Waze’s 115 million users.

  • Lexus is gaining more media and data expertise in-house and using data to measure ad performance. In doing so, it hopes to work directly with more media owners, not on big media deals where buying power is important but on smaller deals, such as those involving branded content.

Spiros Fotinos, global head of brand management and marketing at Lexus said, “This isn’t about us replacing agencies, but we do need to be in a position where we have the people internally who can hold a conversation with those partners as well as media owners.”

  • At a recent ad tech executive dinner, Amanda Martin, our vice president of enterprise partnerships, found herself in a familiar situation: She was the only woman at the table.

While we’re on track and picking up momentum getting more women involved in ad tech and at higher levels, Amanda believes more work still needs to be done: That work involves women speaking up and wanting to expand their technical skills as well as ad tech leadership willing to mentor, offer referral bonuses, and give women more opportunity for employment and advancement.

  • The House of Representatives voted in favor of restoring the 2015 net neutrality rules when they passed the Save the Internet Act on Wednesday. But, the reality of the bill getting reinstated is a long shot as it still must pass in the Senate and ultimately survive a White House veto.

In a statement, the newest FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said “restoring enforceable rules and reinstating the FCC as the cop on the beat responsible for protecting consumers” will protect net neutrality. He also said, “The endurance of the open internet cannot be left to chance or the whims of massive profit-maximizing corporations.”

If net neutrality rules are restored, they would prevent broadband providers from blocking or throttling internet traffic, charging fees for better delivery, or trying to keep content providers from reaching consumers.

  • This month, T-Mobile is launching TVision Home, a home TV service (slightly discounted for T-Mobile customers) boasting a mix of local broadcast, regional sports and pay TV in select U.S. markets. The service will also include an HD DVR, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice control, streaming apps, social media content, Nest security camera access, and a large 4K content library with shows and movies available on-demand.

Mike Sievert, COO and president of T-Mobile said, “TVision Home is about so much more than home TV … it’s TV built for the 5G era. With new T-Mobile, we’ll bring real choice, competition, better service, lower prices and faster speeds … right into your living room. And – speaking of speed – while the Cableopoly innovates at the pace of the cable companies, we’ll innovate at the pace of the internet to give customers more value and more freedom more quickly.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said, “The tech giants and social media companies have a moral duty to protect the young people they profit from. Despite our repeated calls to action, harmful and illegal content – including child abuse and terrorism – is still too readily available online. That is why we are forcing these firms to clean up their act once and for all. I made it my mission to protect our young people – and we are now delivering on that promise.”

  • To combat offensive and divisive content and improve content sharing and user safety, Facebook recently announced new rules and tools that will affect groups, fact checking, Instagram reach, Messenger verification, and news-feed ranking.

Social Media Today’s Andrew Hutchinson said, “There’s a heap to take in here – and while most, if not all, of these measures will have little to no impact on digital marketers, it’s important to understand how these updates could change your content reach and performance, even, maybe, as a side effect.”

  • Amazon is giving its Seller Central third-party sellers more power. Now, they can access aggregate customer demographic information – including age, income, gender and marital status.

Though this a win for smaller sellers, some agencies believe Amazon’s true motivations behind the data release are to promote Seller Central – to entice Vendor Central sellers to make the switch to Seller Central – and to get sellers to invest more in the Amazon platform.

  • To fight lessening foot traffic through its stores as well as online competition, Macy’s is working to improve and evolve its shopping experience with Story, a separate boutique that currently lives inside 36 Macy’s stores. Story’s merchandise changes on a regular basis and revolves around a theme. (The first theme was “color,” sponsored by Crayola, Mac and Levi’s Kids and included smaller brands that didn’t have to pay to participate but could receive sales commissions.) Macy’s is hoping to gain insights from its Story in-house startup to improve its overall business.

Jill Ramsey, Macy’s chief digital officer, said, “Changes at Macy’s need to be implemented faster and better. Our goal right now is to look at new areas of the business like Story to improve and overhaul the metabolism of the company.”

  • In its latest U.S. social media forecast, eMarketer has downgraded Snapchat’s growth outlook, saying the company will lose users this year and will see its growth flatten in 2020. eMarketer says the dip could be caused by Snapchat’s 2017 unpopular redesign. But, eMarketer believes other factors may be at play and that Snapchat may rebound.

Jasmine Enberg, an eMarketer senior analyst, said, “Increased competition from new and existing social platforms is partly to blame for Snapchat’s decline. But the product launches the company announced last week, including an in-app gaming platform, may improve user engagement and time spent, particularly among its core young user base. Gaming also provides a new revenue stream for Snapchat that could boost its ad business in the future.”

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