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The Week in Social: Auctions, Swiping, and Damaging Ads


First-price auctions are coming to Google Ad Manager, a move reflective of the industry wide desire for ease around programmatic buying.

The move shows potential to see a great power against paid impact, especially if other channels follow suit. Right now, higher bids can potentially bully people out of inventory with minimal risk. If an ad placement is going for $0.10, Marketer “A” bids $0.11 and Marketer “B” bids $1, Marketer B only has to pay $0.11 but still wins the auction because of their higher bid.

Under the first price auction, they’ll have to pay $1, this means buying on Google will require much more attentiveness even at the awareness level to ensure efficiency.

In a blog post explaining the move, Sam Cox, group product manager, Google Ad Manager, said the current state of affairs has made it difficult for even experts to make sense of the marketplace.

“This complexity has made it difficult for advertisers and agencies to properly value programmatic inventory, and it has driven our publishers and app developers to implement increasingly complicated ad monetization strategies, reducing transparency across the industry.”

What are your thoughts on the switch?


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Today it is unlikely to come across a brand that hasn’t or isn’t using influencers to help increase sales via social media in one way or another but are they successful?

Social media influencers have had some success with swaying high-activity users to buy, especially on Instagram. Civic Science in December 2018 found that 34% of daily Instagram users in the US have purchased something from an influencer/blogger recommendation.

The newly implemented swipe-up feature on Instagram now allows influencers to directly drives traffic to sites for purchase and provides a measurement tool for brands. A step closer to link sharing although they are still not permitted in the feed. While it’s a great step for driving traffic retailers and influencers need to be careful not to replace the personalized messaging of their partnership.

“What’s most important is that consumers see that the brand and the influencer are working together to provide content that actually resonates and that’s not just ‘Use my code. Swipe up here,’” said Ethan Frame, senior manager of influencer marketing and business development at accessories company MVMT. “I’ve been trying to shift our efforts into ‘Let’s tell a story with all our posts. Let’s see if we can get influencers to share something about the MVMT brand that resonates with them and their followers.’”

Do you feel influencers are becoming too money hungry and losing the great art of storytelling in the process?


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In a bid for extra protection, YouTube has disabled comments on videos with children and any potentially predatory content. The in-depth changes were initially described in a February 28 blog post. According to YouTube, it had already disabled comments from “tens and millions of videos” which were subject to predatory behavior. While in some cases this had accidentally flagged and demonetized some videos on the platform in error, a new comments classifier will be coming to prevent such errors from happening in the future.

Leading up to the YouTube comments controversy, some companies had pulled ads on videos which featured predatory comments. This includes Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite. Brands have an image to uphold and being associated with such content can be deemed damaging although they are not in direct promotion. According to The Verge, it’s not clear if these ads will once again resume as part of the new changes.

YouTube is now showing that it is taking a stronger stance against predatory comments or behaviors, but it opens the conversation to a wider topic of what is brand damaging advertising? Is this a consideration of your advertising team when setting up ads? Do they review the content your ad will be displayed next to? Should they be?


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