This week on PMW: Amazon’s new ads and witching hour Whoppers

What is Facebook's new name? How do Amazon’s latest ad formats work? And ‘witch’ Halloween ads are getting the best results? We round up the top news and moves in performance marketing this week...

Power up: new tools for performance marketers

Amazon has announced a raft of new tools for performance marketers at this week’s Unboxed event, as the e-commerce giant looks to boost its customers’ engagement with ads and brands (and beat Facebook and Google at their own game). Alongside a new ‘Brand follow’ tool, advertisers can now also buy sponsored display ads within Twitch livestreams. In addition, customers that hear an ad on Amazon Music through any Alexa-enabled device can ask the assistant software to send them more information about the product advertised. What’s more, customers that see an ad on IMDBtv through Fire TV can now ask Amazon to send them more information. Amazon is also expanding the availability of its marketing cloud to all of its DSP customers. Those customers now have the ability to upload pseudonymised data sets to query alongside Amazon ad campaign data, using either custom queries or by choosing from a library of queries Amazon supplies DSP users.  

Integral Ad Science has launched IAS Signal, a new unified reporting platform that delivers the data and insights advertisers and publishers need to manage their digital campaigns across multiple accounts and regions. IAS Signal is the latest product innovation from IAS and incorporates several updates into one platform, including a new user interface design with enhanced navigation, new reporting capabilities and more granular reporting for programmatic campaigns.

Global smart TV measurement platform TVSquared has launched ADvantage XP in the UK and Germany, bringing Europe’s largest advertising markets the first cross-platform measurement and attribution solution for all forms of TV – linear, streaming and addressable. ADvantage XP is an always-on, scalable platform that offers consistent, independent, impression-based measurement of ad exposure and outcomes for converged TV campaigns. Through direct publisher integrations and smart TV viewership data, TVSquared has amassed the largest global coverage of converged TV, which now includes millions of households in the UK and Germany. As a result, TVSquared links exposure and outcomes to authenticated households and audience IDs to harmonise measurement across platforms.

Clubhouse has announced it will be rolling out pinned links for all iOS and Android users. Pinned links are external links that are shared with the Clubhouse community in a room, and give creators the opportunity to easily share links to articles, purchase information, photos, videos and more about the room topic with their audience. The feature was developed in response to community requests for ways to share more context and monetise on Clubhouse, whether it’s an author promoting a new book, musicians promoting albums, journalists discussing their latest articles or community organisers raising funds for a charity. Pinned links will appear right at the top of the stage under the room title, and can be added/removed by any room moderator. Link details, like the title of the page and any feature image, will appear if available.

Ad tech platform Xandr is making further investments to expand its portfolio of identity offerings, as challenges around privacy continue to raise complex issues, with no clear solution. Building on its announcement earlier this year, Xandr is expanding its partnerships with LiveRamp netID, and Unified ID 2.0 to deliver enhanced identity solutions for the industry.  Additionally, Xandr continues to build on its identity portfolio through its advanced modelled and contextual solutions that enable relevant advertising in the absence of personal identifiers. 

Media asset company Shutterstock has launched a number of new workflow applications, data-enabled features and flexible subscriptions to transform the customer creative journey in its mission to democratise creativity. The new updates are an AI-powered Music Match Tool, a 'Catalogue and Plan' tool and a new FLEX 25 eCommerce mixed-asset subscription, allowing individual creators to source imagery, video and music, in one subscription. These new product launches represent progress towards Shutterstock's three strategic pillars: workflow innovation, fresh and relevant content, and data and insights to drive performance.

Ad tech giant Rakuten has launched a new ‘Accelerate’ affiliate marketing program that assumes the financial risk of testing new publishers, meaning advertisers are guaranteed to pay only for results. The tool taps into Rakuten’s network of 150,000 publishers in North America, EMEA, APAC and LATAM. All campaigns will have a dedicated data analyst, while AI matchmaking identifies the best partners from Rakuten Advertising's network of 150,000 global publishers that wouldn't be obvious via human matchmaking. Brands pay exclusively for performance via a fixed percentage of revenue, while Rakuten Advertising takes on the risks of up-front publisher investments. 

Get inspired: latest campaigns and brand wins

As Halloween looms, Burger King is giving away free food with one chilling catch – you must order it during the witching hour (3am). The fast-food chain teamed up with creative agency David Madrid to publicise the deal on social media channels. Every day on the lead-up to 31 October, at 3am and for one hour only a different free meal will appear on the Burger King app. Users just need to download it and wait for the apparitions to occur on their phone. It's a novel, time-based way to drive engagement and build loyalty among potential 'super-users'. 

Another novel ad for the spooky season, from toothpaste brand Crest, gets both kids and parents to join in the fangtastic fun. The brand has invited customers to enter a competition to win a limited edition Candy Safe, where candy can be safely locked away from children… or parents. To enter, participants had to post on Instagram why their family loves Crest toothpaste and why they want a Candy Safe, with all the right hashtags of course. A great example of a way a brand can fit itself into the conversation in a fun and novel way, and get some high-value performance marketing data in the process.

Confectionary brand Butterfinger is running a Halloween campaign aimed at parents that encourages them to “Turn yourself in” if they are guilty of stealing their child’s Butterfinger from the trick or treat basket. They’ve dubbed it the “Butterfinger Case Files”, and parents who ‘fess up and submit their mug shot to the dedicated website are in the running to win a $25,000 prize.

Barbie is coming to TikTok as part of a new social media campaign. Mattel has teamed up with social media agency Attn to make a profile for its Barbie doll, featuring stop-motion videos of the iconic doll. The hashtag #Barbie already generates more than 13billion views organically, so this was a no-brainer for the looking to reach more fans. The Barbie TikTok page will also will also showcase the diversity of the dolls beyond the original incarnation. Since its spike in popularity over the past few years, TikTok has become a recommendation platform for many products and the hashtag campaign #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has accrued 5.9billion views.

Starcom and Channel 4 announce Vinted’s sponsorship as the official broadcast sponsor of multi award-winning UK soap Hollyoaks.The fully integrated partnership includes brand new product placement innovation that will see the Vinted app used by Hollyoaks characters during relevant scenes. Behind the scenes, a new bespoke digital content series, hosted on Hollyoaks’ social channels will feature members of the Hollyoaks cast providing fans with exclusive access to their on-screen wardrobe to see how outfits can be chosen and sourced in a thrifty and more conscious way.

McColl’s Retail Group and point-of-sale marketing specialist Ecrebo have announced a partnership to drive targeted engagement and deliver value to customers due to changing shopping behaviours and consumer needs post-pandemic using Ecrebo’s OnPoint Total Receipt Marketing solution. This solution will enable McColl's to add personalised offers to its receipts issued across its 1,223 convenience stores and newsagents throughout England, Scotland and Wales, communicating with its 4million customers a week more quickly and effectively, rewarding customers with offers tailored specifically to their shopping preferences.

Salesforce has partnered with edtech startup Simbi to donate solar-powered classrooms for students in the United Nations Bidibidi Camp in Uganda along with related efforts worldwide. Readers from over 80 countries are now included in the company's Read-A-Thons which use a principle known a “bi-modal” reading, where learners read along to books that are simultaneously narrated to them.

Top goalkeeper Emily Ramsey is partnering with NatWest as part of a new campaign to raise awareness to help young people set financial goals and start a regular savings habit. The 20-year-old Manchester United goalkeeper, who recently signed a new two-year contract with the club ahead of a loan move to Birmingham City for the 2021/22 season, will feature in a four-part series of videos to be published on social media about her experiences of saving, both on and off the pitch, discussing how regular saving, goal-setting and goalkeeping have played a major role in her personal life and career. As part of the series, the professional footballer will also share some top tips to introduce savings and goal-setting into young peoples’ lives, highlighting the importance of savings and goalkeeping for building financial resilience.

The changing marketing landscape: partnerships, mergers and rebrands

Social media giant Facebook has rebranded itself and renamed its parent company to 'Meta'. In an announcement on Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the reason behind the company's name change - intended to venture into futuristic technologies such as virtual reality. This will be a part of the 'Metaverse' which hopes to reach a billion people and generate business in digital commerce.

Influencer marketing agency, TAKUMI has launched Influencer Marketing Trade Body (IMTB), a not-for-profit professional membership organisation dedicated to building a robust and sustainable future for the influencer marketing industry. Led by Influencer Marketing professional Scott Guthrie, TAKUMI is one of the six founding member organisations alongside leading marketing and media agencies including Ogilvy, Tagger, INCA, The Fifth and Whalar, with a senior member from each organisation sitting on the IMTB Board of Management. IMTB’s Board of Management will collaboratively manage the newly formed trade body. The board will act in the interest of the institution's members, the industry and society.

DoubleVerify, a leading software platform for digital media measurement and analytics, is launching the Authentic Ad Matters podcast, hosted by journalist and media expert Steve Hemsley. Steve will be joined by leading experts from organisations including TikTok, PubMatic, ISBA, Advertising Association, Conscious Advertising Network, and Dell. Together, they’ll shed light on challenges and trends across the fast-evolving world of digital advertising, ranging from the fight against misinformation to the opportunity a post-cookie world presents. 

Rakuten Mobile has agreed to acquire Estmob, a South Korean peer-to-peer file transfer solution start-up that created Send Anywhere. The acquisition will establish a research and development presence in South Korea for Rakuten Symphony and leverage Estmob’s top-class developer team and existing technology to accelerate product development for Rakuten Symphony’s Internet and Ecosystem services. Estmob will continue to enhance and grow Send Anywhere and other products and will aim to integrate the service through Rakuten Symphony in the future.

Consumer intelligence firm Talkwalker has announced the acquisition of Surrey-based cultural insight platform, to strengthen its professional services offering and help brands source richer insights. Through’s combination of machine learning and human insight, Talkwalker will be able to provide a deeper reading and cultural context into the human stories and drivers that lie behind the data-driven insights it provides. The acquisition will complement the recently announced Talkwalker Activate professional services team, and will allow Talkwalker to provide a high-level consultancy layer in addition to the capabilities of its Consumer Intelligence Platform. The integration of follows Talkwalker’s recent acquisitions of Nielsen Social Content Ratings and Reviewbox, as the consumer intelligence company looked to further enrich the insights it provides brands.

IP Intelligence and high-quality consent-based location data firm Digital Envoy has bought the technology from location verification provider Location Sciences. The acquisition is centred on Location Sciences’ visualisation analytics technology, allowing Digital Envoy clients to receive in-depth reports and visualisations, addressing a growing challenge for businesses as global consent-based legislation becomes the norm.

Partnership management platform, is integrating with HubSpot will allow users to quickly launch a partnership program, track and attribute each partner's value, and discover new partners. With carving out possibilities for the establishment and execution of successful partnerships, this integration is all set to help users elevate their partnerships to further their businesses. 

Tremor International, owner of Unruly, has struck an exclusive global ACR data partnership with VIDAA, a smart TV operating system and content platform. The VIDAA OS is preinstalled on most TVs manufactured by Hisense, one of the top global TV manufacturers, and also integrated into a number of premium OEMs, so the value goes beyond just the privacy-safe data from millions of Hisense TVs to include ACR data from top OEMs that use the VIDAA OS like Toshiba.

VidMob, a platform for Intelligent Creative has announced the acquisition of advertising automation company Chiligum.  As a result of the acquisition, VidMob is now able to offer the industry’s first full-stack creative operations solution for marketers. This allows more brands to tap into creative optimisation, which has grown in importance due to an increasingly fractured marketing landscape. With the addition of Chiligum, VidMob customers can scale ad production faster, personalise ads at scale, publish to all major digital and social media platforms and localise content for different geographic, cultural and business contexts.

Puzzel, a European provider of cloud contact centre solutions, is signing off a new strategic alliance with EvaluAgent, a leading Quality Assurance and Performance Management platform. As a result of the alliance, EvaluAgent's technology will be integrated into the Puzzel's Cloud-based Customer Service Platform, designed to directly address some of the biggest workforce engagement and optimisation challenges contact centres face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Making Science, an international technology and digital marketing consultancy specialising in e-commerce and digital transformation, today announced that it’s joined Local Planet, a privately owned media agency network, with a 7 percent stake in the holding company. Through this collaboration, Making Science becomes the group’s chosen specialist partner for digital performance marketing and data analytics globally, with access to a network of 62 agencies in 78 markets.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech startup Instoried has raised $8m. The start-up’s AI engine looks at written content, determines the emotional engagement quotient of the copy and then makes smart recommendations to help content writers guarantee that their readers will be emotionally engaged.


Ones to watch: movers and shakers in performance marketing

Merkle has announced the appointment of Mark Atkinson (pictured below) to the role of VP Adobe EMEA alliance and enterprise sales lead for Merkle and Dentsu’s Customer Experience Management (CXM) line – with a focus on the commercial and go-to-market strategies across EMEA. In this newly created role, Atkinson will support brands looking to increase their technology investments due to the accelerated need to modernise solutions to meet changing customer expectations. Both Atkinson’s prior experience and existing relationships will enable him to drive invaluable partnership strategies and propositions in the market as a trusted partner to both Adobe and Merkle’s client base.

Zefr, a global data company for brand suitability in video, is announcing the appointment of Jan Jacoby as Commercial Director DACH. In his new role, Jacoby will focus on spearheading the growth of Zefr’s contextual video data platform in the DACH region. Jacoby joins Zefr after five years in management and digital consulting. He also has over a decade of experience in adtech, working for the likes of eBay, Yahoo and AutoScout24.