Friday Signal: Advertising, Going Native


In today’s Signal, native advertising takes center stage; Bing takes a spin on the retro train to Minimalist Town; and, thanks to AdInsight, the online/offline divide might get a bit smaller. To the links …

Defining Ads Down (Digiday) What constitutes an ad is changing, and there’s a lot of wordplay around the ad unit as content. “Featured stories,” “recommended articles,” and “trends” are now Silicon Valley euphemisms for ads. Is this just semantics, or something else? Whatever it is, we need to make sure we don’t lose transparency. Oh, and the right of the content creator to make money from his/her work.

Bing Goes Search-Retro With Cleaner Look For Results (SearchEngineLand) A big change is a ‘comin for Bing. In an effort to create a “fresh, de-cluttered experience designed to help you find the results you want faster” and to make the page “easier to scan,” Microsoft has started to roll out a simpler Bing. More on this soon, I’d wager.

AdInsight Raises $2.6M From Eden Ventures For AdTech That Bridges Online And Offline Analytics (TechCrunch)  AdInsight’s flagship product, AdInsight Clarity, is a proprietary solution that tracks how every single website visitor has found a company’s website, what pages they looked at when there, and at what point they picked up the phone to call the company. They’re tracking the missing link across the online/offline divide, and we’ll be watching closely.

The Big Doubt Over Facebook’s IPO (WSJ) With new features, such as its much-talked about Sponsored Stories, Facebook is pushing ad methods that haven’t been fully tested, notes one FB advertiser with deep pockets. He and others are wondering if they’re getting their money’s worth. This (almost) obligatory ‘maybe this isn’t the second coming’ piece about Facebook suggests that WSJ is raising the flag now just so they can point to it later, if the FB IPO doesn’t work … But it most likely will, given the hype.

Tumblr’s Big Brand Bet (Digiday) Tumblr has set a $25,000 minimum for buying placement in “Radar,” the space it reserves on user dashboards to highlight interesting Tumblr accounts. The goal is to empower creative advertising by tapping into the originality that thrives on the platform. But rolling out an ad platform to a community virulently opposed to ads is a gamble. As is assuming you can roll your own, when advertisers want ROI compared to other approaches to reaching the same audience. Related:
The Ever-Affable David Karp Talks Tumblr’s Two-Pronged Advertising Strategy at Decoded Fashion Conference (BetaBeat) Tumblr’s David Karp detailed the company’s growth and his new plan for advertisers at Decoded Fashion on Monday. In doing so, BB’s Rebecca Seel notes, “he did not hide his (friendly!) contempt for advertising, emphasizing that Tumblr is a creative community which values expression, which advertising, in his opinion, is not.” Actually, advertising is, in fact, expression. And I’m not certain that folks on Tumblr are going to be happy about being left out of the deal. Cue the next link…

Ad Industry Takes Major Step To Fight Online Piracy (AdWeek) To cut off the financial support that keeps unscrupulous sites alive, the nation’s two major ad industry associations have recommended that agencies and marketers take steps to keep brands’ ads off those sites. Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, sums up the reasoning behind the decision: “The ads can lend inadvertent legitimacy to the illicit business models and can mislead consumers into believing that these ‘rogue’ websites are offering authentic products and complying with the law.”

Why Native Ad Formats Are the Future (Digiday) Native advertising lets brands experiment with creating entertaining content – longer-form videos, Web films, photo streams, interactive games – instead of being limited to the confines of banners or 15-second pre-roll ads. To be sure, native ads will be part of the future, but not the entire future. More on this from jbat soon.


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