This week on PMW: Microsoft reveals ‘rage clicks’ as YouTube hides dislikes

Can Microsoft offer more ‘clarity’ than Google analytics? Why is YouTube burying its dislikes? And how are PepsiCo using conversational ads to boost sales? We round up the biggest performance marketing stories this week...

Power up: new tools for performance marketers

For performance marketers looking for simpler, more accessible analytics tools, Microsoft Clarity has finally come out of beta. The free tool offers striking visual heatmaps and the chance to distinguish ‘rage clicks’ from real clicks. First launched as a closed beta in 2018, it has now been integrated with the Microsoft Advertising suite. Microsoft Clarity provides site owners with visual heatmaps that illustrate user engagement, individual session replays, a dashboard to help them get an overall understanding of user interactions and filters to drill down on various types of interactions. Starting in November, new Universal Event Tracking tags will automatically include Microsoft Clarity insights. All existing tags will be migrated later in November, to include Microsoft Clarity insights, with no coding action required. Clarity integrates with Google Analytics to provide three key new features; instant heatmaps, session recordings, and insights to pinpoint user frustrations.

TikTok is set to dominate the social media space in 2022, particularly for brands who are heavily reliant on engagement with Gen-Z audiences. With this in mind, consumer intelligence firm Talkwalker, has added TikTok data and analytics to the capabilities of its Consumer Intelligence platform.Talkwalker will now be able to source TikTok insights on all kinds of page-related metrics, such as the number of views a post gets, total engagement, the evolution of followers, top themes and more. With 63% of TikTok’s users under the age of 30, the additional data will help brands understand how Gen Z audiences are engaging with their brand and competitors. Brands will also be able to use Talkwalker’s proprietary image recognition technology to identify logos, objects and scenes within posts.

YouTube ‘Likes’ and Dislikes’ have become one of the most instantly recognisable forms of online measurement over the past decades. So this week's announcement that the Alphabet-owned media giant is ditching the ‘Dislike’ counter on videos has met some controversy. Users can still give a “Thumbs down” to a video, but people can no longer see the number of dislikes a video has. YouTube said that this change is made to prevent “dislike attack” harassment campaigns, where a group of people plan and intentionally dislike a video to make the count rise up. Viewers will no longer be able to publicly express their dissatisfaction with the video. For Creators, however, YouTube will reveal the Dislike count in a private way (via YouTube Studio). This will help creators to effectively access the performance of their uploaded videos. This, according to YouTube, will encourage respectful relationships between viewers and creators.

Native ad firm Taboola has updated SmartBid, an AI-powered technology that helps advertisers maximise their campaign performance even more autonomously. Introduced in 2018, SmartBid uses readership pattern data from global campaigns that reach more than 500 million daily active users and deep learning algorithms to adjust advertisers’ bids, to drive actions an advertiser wants to accomplish. The updated SmartBid Dimensions offers new way to take all of these granular circumstances and fully automate the process for advertisers. The technology uses AI to go beyond publisher performance to change the price of each bid, and instead look at dozens of granular dimensions advertisers care about. Advertisers can couple contextual data such as demographic data with more user dimensions on readers--data points which have been previously inaccessible to advertisers before. These data points uniquely connect content, consumers and interests, and are sourced from Taboola’s users.

As ad giants like Facebook and Microsoft set their sights on gaming and virtual reality inventory, development within these worlds for brands and agencies is becoming more accessible. To address this growing need, VR and AR technology company Blippar has launched a content creation toolkit dedicated to enable anyone to build the metaverse. Blippbuilder, a first of its kind no-code, drag and drop toolkit integrating Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM) technology, will allow anyone to have a hand in creating the immersive 3D experiences that will make up the metaverse. The no-code, drag and drop-based platform is designed to let even those with no coding experience – to create AR experiences grounded with SLAM technology; meaning that AR objects placed in experiences will stay firmly in place using surface detection. These experiences will serve as the foundation of the shared, immersive, and interactive content that will make up the metaverse. Blippbuilder includes access to tutorials and best practice guides to familiarise users with AR creation, taking them from concept to content. Experiences are built to be engaged with via browser – known as WebAR – removing the friction of the need for dedicated apps or hardware. WebAR experiences can be accessed through a wide range of platforms, including Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, WeChat, WhatsApp, and conventional web and mobile browsers.

Supplied has launched its newest offering, SocialCart, out of beta. The all-in-one wholesale platform supports the entire selling cycle of an online retail store created SocialCart to make social commerce and live selling as simple as possible for entrepreneurs. SocialCart’s robust subscription model features new, turnkey ecommerce tools, including Facebook Live auto-invoicing, easy-to-create web stores, and a simplified inventory management system.

GameAnalytics, an analytics platform used by over 100,000 game developers, has launched HyperBid - a new mediation platform specifically engineered for mobile games publishers and developers. It lets publishers and developers increase their ad revenue and drive business growth by capitalising on the monetisation opportunities offered by the unprecedented numbers of brands seeking to connect with the vast and lucrative audience of 2.8 billion mobile gamers worldwide.  It has been built with analytics at the forefront using GameAnalytics’ market intelligence, letting users make analytics-fuelled decisions and A/B test monetisation strategies that give their campaigns the best chance of securing maximum revenue. 

Clubhouse has rolled out two new features this week to help creators grow their audiences and provide context as to how their rooms are performing. Replay makes it possible for creators to record their rooms which can then be posted on their profiles or downloaded and shared externally to help grow their audiences off the platform. Total Attendee Count provides a cumulative count of users who have joined a room while it’s been active, giving creators more context as to how their content on the app is performing

Get inspired: latest campaigns and brand wins

Cavai and Seedtag have worked with PepsiCo’s Lay’s brand to introduce three new flavours which bear the names of fast food giants KFC, Subway, and Pizza Hut. Conversational ads for the new range have been placed in key images within premium content resulting in impressive engagement from the audience. These tailored placements are resulting in higher attention and viewability rates than standard IAB-sized formats. What’s more, as part of this campaign, Lay’s also found that consumers were 28% more likely to start a chat within Seedtag’s in-content placements. The ads’ viewability rate, meanwhile, stood at 60-65%.

Snug, a 'Sofa in a Box' company, has partnered with digital marketing agency Croud to drive growth. The challenger brand is growing rapidly thanks to its business model, which allows customers to receive one of their sofas in a box a matter of days after ordering. With revenues more than doubling year on year, Snug needed an agile digital marketing partner to help support its continued growth ambitions. Croud’s unique model, which leverages a network of 2,500 on-demand digital experts known as Croudies, allows the agency to quickly scale digital marketing activity up or down as required, as well as tapping into on-demand digital expertise.Since becoming Snug’s paid search partner, the Croud team has supported Snug in multiple ways, such as developing their feed management set-up to allow for smarter bid strategies, as well as automated bundling of similar products. Other initiatives include modernising Snug’s approach to paid search, and supporting the wider digital team on everything from Google Tag Manager training to analytics set-up and troubleshooting.

Enterprise CMS company Storyblok has completed a major new project with Dutch drinks giant Bols to help it offer products directly to consumers.  Bols, known to be the world’s oldest distillery brand, has traditionally generated the majority of its profit from bars and restaurants. However, with hospitality put on hold during the pandemic, the drinks giant has decided to expand its offering to consumers.  A key component of this move is revamping its website and associated infrastructure to create a modern consumer facing website with dedicated communications. Storyblok has partnered Dutch design company Story of AMS to help Bols create a modern immersive, customer experience using headless CMS technology. Using Storyblok’s headless CMS technology will also enable Bols to deliver highly localised content - which will be key as the drinks company expands into the US.  

Google Shopping specialist Bidnamic has won the Google Shopping accounts of British independent menswear and lifestyle retailer Yards Store and South African home and hardware brand 4Home. Bidnamic won both accounts through non-competitive pitches. While Yards Store is advertising on Google Shopping for the first time ever following today’s announcement, 4Home used Google’s Smart Shopping platform to manage campaigns prior to Bidnamic. Smart Shopping helps retailers manage campaigns on Google Shopping. It’s limited in driving long term growth as brands can’t access customer data and decide where marketing budgets are spent. With Yards Store and 4Home having over 1,000 SKUs each on Google Shopping, managing bids and understanding what keywords to put against products is crucial to managing ad spend and improving the position of products on the platform’s carousel. 


The changing marketing landscape: partnerships, mergers and rebrands

DoubleVerify (DV) has bought OpenSlate, a pre-campaign contextual targeting platform that enables brands to align advertising with suitable or contextually relevant content across social video and CTV. OpenSlate works with agency holding companies and over 200 large global brands, including Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Nestle, P&G, Sony, Unilever, and Volkswagen. OpenSlate’s technology provides insight into the nature and quality of ad-supported content on large, video-driven social platforms, such as Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. Its technology also evaluates video for brand safety, suitability and context, and offers pre-activation controls that enable advertisers to effectively target content within their digital media campaigns – protecting brand reputation, driving contextual alignment and delivering outcomes for brands.The acquisition of OpenSlate is a cash and stock transaction valued at $150million and is expected to close this quarter.

Gaming-based audio adtech firm AudioMob has successfully raised $14million for its series A funding. The company has seen recent client successes with artists including Ed Sheeran and Nas alongside brands like Intel, Jeep and KitKat who all saw relative metric achievements of more than 1000%. Hip-hop icon Nas recently used the platform and using AudioMob’s innovative tech, Nas himself addressed players directly in an audio ad as a sample of the record played in the background. Building that connection between himself and players.In a recent study from the firm,  75% of consumers prefer to have audio ads within their gaming experiences as opposed to video and banner ads that block gameplay.With the funding the company aims to expand the team in London and Abu Dhabi and develop more experimental audio technology, alongside other Heads for key departments. The company will continue to file patents in more countries, build out the team and open up opportunities in other regions and markets.

Retail tech marketing company Ometria has closed a Series C funding round of $40million.  Ometria works in customer data and marketing and has worked with brands like,, Hotel Chocolat and Feelunique. Founded by entrepreneur Ivan Mazour, Ometria is one of the UK fastest growing tech companies. It has won numerous awards such as Deloitte Fast 50 and the Europas European tech award and has partaken in Tech Nation’s Upscale programme.

Out of Home (OOH) media specialists Talon has announced its partnership with global information services company, Experian, which allows for greater data-led planning in OOH environments.This partnership will enable brands and advertisers to target greater audience segments, making the most of rich data and insights, while also enabling both Experian and Talon to drive their offering with a customer-centric approach based on transparency and data privacy.

Ones to watch: movers and shakers in performance marketing

Global partnership management platform Impact has hired ex-HubSpot veteran, Kim Walsh. She will be joining as the new Chief Growth Officer and brings along experience of leading major organisations, including HubSpot. Kim plans to bolster's accelerating growth with product-led growth strategies and initiatives as the company continues its journey as the leading player within the partnership industry. This news comes off the back of their groundbreaking global expansion and establishing strong roots in the industry.

Customer experience management firm Merkle (part of Dentsu) has promoted Toby Benjamin to the newly created role of managing director of its media practice. Benjamin joined Merkle in 2018 to launch and lead its tech consultancy practice, advising clients on balancing in-house and outsourced models and helping brands take more ownership of their media and data strategy to ensure total transparency. Initially brought in to support the onboarding of the Nestle Global SEO project, Benjamin has since helped to strengthen and mature Merkle’s Google partnership and built out its consultancy offering winning new brands including Disney, Deliveroo, Paypal and Hilton.In this new role, Benjamin is responsible for leading and growing Merkle’s market leading media business, which comprises PPC, paid social and programmatic. Reporting to both Anne Stagg, CEO of Merkle UK, Dentsu’s CXM Service Line, and Hamish Nicklin, CEO of Dentsu’s Media Service Line, home to Carat, iPro and Dentsu X, he will also be responsible for driving ongoing collaboration between both Service Lines. 

Consumer insights provider Toluna has promoted Susan Vidler to Global Chief Research Officer. In this newly created role, Vidler will lead Toluna’s global research teams and will be responsible for developing, defining and implementing best practices across the research function. Vidler joined Harris Interactive (acquired by Toluna) in 2007, and has held several roles throughout her tenure, including Research Director, Head of Financial Services Research, Head of Research, Managing Director of Harris Interactive UK, and most recently, European Chief Research Officer. Over the past 14+ years, Vidler has worked closely with clients to deliver leading consumer insights that enable them to make critical business decisions.

Global media platform Teads has announced changes to its leadership team with Pierre Chappaz stepping down as Executive Chairman and Jeremy Arditi appointed Co-CEO. Pierre will remain Chairman of the Board of Directors and will continue to advise and coach the team. Prior to being appointed Co-CEO, Jeremy was CCO at Teads where he worked alongside the co-founders Pierre and Bertrand Quesada. 

Media asset and AI creative firm Shutterstock has promoted Meghan Schoen to Chief Product Officer (CPO). She will focus on strengthening the company’s portfolio of content, services, application, and data business lines, and help the team to bring to market new and innovative products to meet evolving customer needs and demands. Schoen’s appointment follows the success of Shutterstock’s new flexible product solutions, AI-powered features, and the launch of Creative Flow, a suite of applications powered by creative insights designed to enhance creativity, encourage collaboration and allow customers to create with confidence.

UGC e-commerce network Bazaarvoice has announced it has named Gayle Wiley as Chief People Officer (CPO). Wiley has more than 25 years of HR experience focused on alignment of people organisations for business success, cultivating strong company cultures, and creating exceptional employee experiences. As CPO, Wiley will be responsible for all aspects of the HR function, including building organisational leadership capability and fostering a performance culture with innovative people programs that drive business growth and success. She will leverage recent programmatic investments made by Bazaarvoice in development, diversity, equity and inclusion to help ensure employees are challenged, engaged, and rewarded. Prior to joining Bazaarvoice, Wiley spent the past six years as CPO at Lifesize, where she oversaw all aspects of human resources strategy and execution for the organisation’s global workforce. Prior to Lifesize, Wiley held senior HR leadership roles at IBM, Vignette and Tivoli, Smith & Nephew (formerly ArthroCare) Corporation, and Boston Scientific.

Cognitiv, a provider of deep learning for marketers, has appointed Meredith Tehan as its Senior Vice President of Sales. Meredith will lead Cognitiv’s sales team and will be charged with overseeing the growth in revenue of its innovative deep learning media buying tools. She will report directly to Cognitiv Co-Founder and CEO Jeremy Fain.Tehan joins Cognitiv from Not Ordinary Media (NOM) where she served in two sales leadership roles, most recently heading up the U.S. Sales Team and before that serving as RVP of Sales of the East and Midwest regions, focused on providing solutions in the YouTube space to agencies and brands directly. Prior to leading the team at NOM, Meredith was the first U.S. sales hire for Ogury, quickly proving to be the top individual producing sales person globally, and was responsible for hiring and training the top grossing sales team the following year.