The performance marketing world this week: Facebook uses AI to replace Apple’s data void

From Apple’s privacy-first iPhone 13 launch to Facebook’s latest AI-workaround for advertisers, it’s been a disruptive week for the performance marketing industry. Catch up on this week’s product launches, biggest campaigns and industry shake-ups in our packed weekly round-up below...

Power up: new tools for performance marketers

With Apple’s app tracking update making traditional digital advertising tougher across iOS users, Facebook has launched a new API update for advertisers to counter this data loss, in order to ensure that its ad products continue to generate strong results, despite having less audience insight to go on. The ‘Targeting Expansion’ API enables Facebook’s ad algorithms to show ads to a broader potential audience than those who fit specific ad targeting selections, using machine learning to fill in the gaps left by Apple’s privacy overhaul.

Another ad tech firm looking to work around Apple’s privacy crackdowns is measurement and experience platform AppsFlyer, which has launched Conversion Studio. The new service helps advertisers to have control over their metrics in the post iOS 14 era. The tool offers visual cues that show the conversion value capacity and how each metric is measured. Advertisers can fine-tune their mapping to make sure they’re making the most of virtually any post-install events, including metrics such as revenue, engagement, retention and conversion.

Predictive analytics innovator and marketing data creator AnalyticsIQ has made its B2C and B2B data available through the Snowflake Data Marketplace.  Through this integration, organisations of all sizes and across all industries will have access to thousands of AnalyticsIQ’s predictive data points. Snowflake users can tap into the power of this data for first-party audience enrichment, custom analytics, predictive modeling, digital targeting, and measurement. The service offers a blend of cognitive psychology and data science.

Adtech firm Quantcast launched a cookieless advertising solution on its Quantcast Platform. As part of the company’s annual NOVA event, Quantcast announced that ‘Cookieless Solutions’ will be available on their platform, giving users the option to activate, find, and measure audiences without third-party cookies. Two other new features were also launched. Ara TopicMap uses AI and machine learning to analyse data and catalogue and characterise topics and content on the open internet. This generates real-time insights into consumer behaviour,  allowing brands, agencies, and publishers to quickly respond and adjust campaigns on the Quantcast Platform. Also available will be Quantcast Connect, which brings marketers and publishers directly together within the Quantcast Platform to enhance deal and audience discovery, simplify the buying process, and measure and validate supply deals. Publishers can now showcase their inventory, and marketers will be able to broaden their reach and uncover additional sites and segments relevant to their desired audience.

Emplifi has announced the launch of Emplifi Social Commerce Cloud, offering industry-first capabilities for e-commerce leaders and marketing teams to capitalise on the social commerce boom. Shop Sync helps brands scale online shopping experiences quickly with easy API integration with Facebook and Instagram Shops, while Shop Clerk – an AI Bot that delivers personalised shopping experiences through conversational commerce, with the ability to answer questions and seamlessly handover to customer care agents. Shop 360 Analytics offers a comprehensive view of product performance and inventory status across all social media shops and Social Care is a consumer engagement tool that brings together marketing and operations to help service customers, while measuring the success of the entire customer journey.

Visual content firm iStock is launching two new products: The iStock Video Editor and Premium Plus Video subscription aimed at SMBs, entrepreneurs and marketers. The iStock Video Editor is a free video maker that doesn’t require any previous design or editing experience.  iStock’s new subscription plan, Premium Plus Video, giving subscribers on-demand access to millions of video clips, images and illustrations all in a single easy and affordable subscription. 

Get inspired: latest campaigns and brand wins

A new integrated brand campaign launched this week from LinkedIn called ‘Changemakers’. The global pandemic has had a seismic shift on what professionals care most about when it comes to work. Research from LinkedIn finds that 41% of UK professionals care more about workplace-related issues now than they did before the pandemic. The social network has worked with 28 changemakers across the UK, France, Germany and Australia will supercharge important work-related conversations around the future of work, diversity and inclusion, mental health and sustainability.

Ford launched a data-driven Out of Home Campaign to address electric vehicle ‘range anxiety’ - the concern among potential buyers of electric vehicles that they cannot cover sufficient distance without requiring recharging – by demonstrating where the Mustang Mach-E's range of 379 miles could get them on a single charge. The campaign, created in partnership with Kinetic Worldwide, ran across media owner JCDecaux’s @motion, Transvision and digital 6-sheets at 22 stations across the country. It will target afternoon commuters, delivering messages such as [from London Waterloo to] “Exeter St. David’s and back on a full charge”. The campaign taps into the National Rail API to receive data on active train routes and timings. 

TikTok is announcing its partnership with Mediaocean opening up the social network’s inventory for brands via an API. TikTok is dominating the social media landscape at the moment – from sports to commerce to general entertainment – the social platform is the one to watch. As recent figures show, TikTok has now overtaken video giant YouTube for average watch time in the UK, which of course presents brands with a prime advertising opportunity. This latest partnership with Mediaocean will enable brands to manage TikTok ads through the Mediaocean omnichannel advertising platform. End to end, marketers can plan, buy, measure and optimise TikTok ads alongside other media channels. 

Fitness brand TRX is working with SYZYGY to expand its customer acquisition in both the US and UK markets. SYZYGY aims to elevate TRX e-commerce and D2C strategy in the US market and launch TRX digital media activity in the UK. As part of the WPP network, the agency will provides the fitness brand with access to optimised ad rates globally and will aim to deepen engagement with its audience through customer insights and media expertise. SYZYGY continues winning new client business in the e-commerce space with this recent TRX selection.

Media agency Hearts & Science and creative agency DRUM have developed an interactive, audience-participation campaign for GoCompare to support its sponsorship of ITV's Family Fortunes, which returns to TV screens on Sunday. The spots will offer members of the viewing public the chance to win a range of prizes if they can solve the Family Fortunes survey questions over the course of its four-week run. The TV spots produced by Thames TV, will see Family Fortunes host Gino D’Acampo welcome GoCompare icon and operatic tenor Gio Compario and the actor who plays him, Wynne Evans, compete against ‘each other’ and their families in a special version of the game show. The spots will offer members of the viewing public the chance to win a range of prizes if they can solve the Family Fortunes survey questions posed by Gino over the course of four weeks. The spots will play out as part of a multi-platform partnership between GoCompare, ITV, and Thames TV, part of Fremantle, the producers of Family Fortunes.

The changing marketing landscape: partnerships, mergers and rebrands

Apple held its flagship iPhone 13 event this week, alongside a number of other products.  The company’s forthcoming iOS 15 update, due in a few weeks but already being beta tested with users, includes a number of new data privacy-focused features, is expected to shake-up the advertising world. These include built-in VPN access via the new Privacy Relay feature, new privacy ‘report cards’ for each mobile application installed on a user’s device and new anonymized email addresses that create greater data protection within email inboxes. While these tools, which follow the launch of Apple’s privacy-centric AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework earlier this year, give users more say over how their personal information is used, they also complicate things for marketers hoping to connect with audiences in relevant, personalised ways.  

Digital audio and podcast firm AdsWizz has signed an exclusive agreement with idobi for the global monetisation of their audio inventory, with a distinctive global audience of trend makers in the 13 - 34 age bracket. This means that through the AdsWizz Marketplace, advertisers can reach idobi’s audience across its key markets in the US, UK, Germany and Canada, amongst others.Building on an existing relationship, this expanded agreement designates AdsWizz as the sole monetization provider for all of idobi’s inventory. Buyers can access idobi’s inventory through the AdsWizz Marketplace, a global exchange enabling publishers and advertisers to easily transact audio advertising programmatically. idobi is an all-access-pass to the alternative music world, including three fan-favorite streaming stations focused on alt-rock, heavy, and indie genres. The idobi studio produces over 20 podcast-shows dedicated to the alternative music and entertainment lifestyles.

Technological and digital marketing consultancy Making Science has acquired Sweeft Digital, an e-commerce, payment platform and app development company with an office and team of experts in London. Sweeft Digital is a full-stack development and business-building agency, offering a wide range of creative and customised technology solutions. With a dedicated team of professionals, it provides end-to-end mobile solutions, including iOS, Android, frontend, backend, and third-party integration. It also develops any type of web application and has extensive experience in Fintech and e-commerce, among other areas.

HUMAN (formerly White Ops) has struck a partnership with Anzu to take on advertising fraud in gaming. Advertising fraud costs the gaming industry billions of dollars each year. With global digital ad spend expected to reach $56 billion by 2024, losses to the gaming industry due to ad fraud could be in the billions of dollars. HUMAN and Anzu’s partnership aims to keep the gaming space trustworthy for gamers and advertisers alike. This partnership will help safeguard the in-gaming ad space from invalid traffic (IVT) and keep fraud levels low, making the in-game advertising environment one of the most secure advertising spaces. The deal will see Anzio use HUMAN’s pre-bid and post-bid solutions to ensure that campaigns run across its inventory retain low fraud levels. 

Contextual advertising firm Seedtag has secured $40m in Series B funding. Led by Oakley Capital, the funding round - which was also participated in by Adara Ventures and All Iron Ventures - follows on from the $5.2m raise in Seedtag’s Series A funding round in 2017. Seedtag aims to continue moving forward in its mission to be the global contextual advertising partner for brands and agencies. Already established in the contextual advertising market in EMEA and LATAM, the company intends to use the raised funds to now expand into the US market and continue investing in its AI technology to help circumvent the upcoming cookie-ban. LionTree acted as an exclusive financial advisor to Seedtag shareholders in a bilateral deal with Oakley. 

Digital marketing agency AccuraCast has launched its new Global Growth Lab, established to help businesses grow internationally, having supported brands such as LG, UFC and Center Parcs on their expansion plans. Following research undertaken by the company less than 12 months ago revealing that 55% of businesses have cancelled or delayed plans to export to overseas markets or trade internationally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, AccuraCast is dedicating a business function solely to supporting businesses to overcome growth obstacles. 

Taboola has been awarded the TAG Brand Safety Certified Seal from the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG),  an organisation that works to increase trust and transparency in digital advertising.Brand safety is a top priority for marketers, with many brands focused on ensuring their ads run alongside trustworthy content. TAG’s brand safety certification is the industry’s largest and broadest programme of its kind, demonstrating to advertisers that their partners have taken the necessary steps to reduce brand safety risk, so they can buy advertising inventory with confidence. To reach this point, Taboola was required to prove it was safe for brands through a variety of measures, including robust policy, transparency around content moderation, thorough validation and long-term commitment.

Ones to watch: Movers and shakers in performance marketing

Kantar has appointed Nadach Musungu as client director for diversity and inclusion.  Nadach joins from Boden where she was the chair of diversity and inclusion.  Nadach will work with clients to develop and implement strategies to make their workforces more representative, supporting creativity and diverse thinking.  Projects could span reshaping firms’ recruitment practices to reach people from a broader range of backgrounds, helping organisations to create more inclusive working environments and business cultures, and developing metrics to measure their progress.  Organisations that Kantar is currently working with include The Advertising Association and the World Federation of Advertisers.   

Global provider of CRM platforms HubSpot is cementing its investment in the UK market by opening an office in the country’s capital on October 1st. HubSpot is aiming to triple its current employment figure of 5,000 within the next three years - reaching 15,000 employees by the end of 2024. As the UK is the largest market in Europe - and second largest worldwide - London will be at the forefront of this growth. HubSpot has been steadily growing its presence in Europe since 2013, having opened offices in Berlin, Dublin, Ghent and Paris, and now counts more than 1,500 employees across the region. HubSpot’s UK customers range from emerging start-ups and accelerating scale-ups to market leading organisations such as Revolut, Skyscanner and Newcastle University.

European-based marketing technology company 1plusX has expanded into the US, with the opening of a New York office and the appointment of industry veteran, Neil Smith, as VP Americas. 1plusX’s predictive marketing intelligence platform is already used by a number of major media companies in Europe – including Le Figaro and Axel Springer – to build their first-party data strategies. The platform will now be available to US companies also looking to adopt cookieless data solutions across web, mobile, app, and CTV environments. As background, 1plusX’s expansion follows a successful Series B funding round, which saw the company make moves into the US and Japan.

Conversational advertising cloud specialist Cavai has appointed Attique Rehman as their new Group Agency Director, following its recent multi-million dollar round of funding. Rehman  has previously held senior roles with eBay, ITV, and most recently The Telegraph. Attique will be instrumental in educating agencies on how best to utilise Cavai's unique conversational advertising offering. 

High impact advertising specialists Adnami has welcomed Emelie Malmquist as their new Head of Marketing and Automation. Emelie comes from a strong background working with data, CRM, and marketing automation to drive sales. She will be key in overseeing the marketing teams globally as Adnami ramps up for further growth. They have also promoted Steph Miller to Managing Director for the UK. Steph was previously Commercial Director and has been instrumental in Adnami's expansion into the UK market.