In the stay-at-home world, digital services and media have been growing

With Americans spending so much time at home and in quarantine, they’re using more digital services and media, but consuming it in different ways.

Why it’s hot: Even though digital services are seeing strong growth at the moment, it isn’t necessarily translating to higher revenue for all of these companies because for those that rely on advertising, many have seen their ad revenue fall as various brands cut marketing spend.

Source: The New York Times

BuzzFeed is Your Non-judgmental Older Sister

In November, BuzzFeed unveiled its BuzzFeed media brands division which is made up of Tasty(food), Nifty (DIY), Bring Me (travel) and Goodful (wellness). This week they have added another millennial focused sub-brand to their roster, As/Is.

As/Is is a positioned to be a non-judgy beauty and style publisher, featuring “content that empowers women rather than tells them who they should be.” 

The timing around the launch couldn’t be any better amid the spotlight of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

“We want to change what the industry looks like and looks at,” says Augusta Falletta, supervising producer for As/Is. “We want people to see themselves in this content and accept themselves in a way that hasn’t been done in the past. If you are a woman who grew up reading antiquated magazines you probably have some thing you need to unpack.”


Why it’s too hot to hold, too much to handle:

BuzzFeed’s ultimate goal is to compete with Facebook and Google for ad dollars. Currently, their biggest revenue driver is the Tasty sub-brand which has attracted over 1.4 million unique visitors in January alone. Tasty has evolved from short videos to products now available at Walmart. BuzzFeed is hoping that in the future, As/Is will lead to a line of beauty products.

When programmatic goes wrong

Jaguar Land Rover has ceased all digital advertising in the UK after an investigation revealed it was funding terror organizations without its knowledge.


According to reports the car marque’s programmatic ads were among a number of brands indirectly paying Islamic extremists, white supremacists and pornographers.

Ads for the Jaguar F-Pace have appeared on YouTube next to a pro-Isis video that has been viewed more than 115,000 times. It has since been removed.

In a statement Jaguar said: “Jaguar Land Rover is very concerned by reports that advertising featuring our brands may benefit extremist and other inappropriate on-line media. This is an unintended consequence of algorithm technology used on some video-sharing websites.

Why It’s Hot
-It reminds us that algorithms and quant data are not everything. Our ability to monitor, evaluate and draw learnings is key
-It also is a reminder of our responsibility, liability and yes sometimes vulnerability in engagements with our clients. I can imagine the phone calls Jaguar’s UK agency received. We need to be able to justify our decisions but also deal with our mistakes when they happen (and they will happen. and we will have each other’s backs!)

TAG Takes Aim at Fraudsters

In an effort to thwart ad fraud, the marketing industry’s Trustworthy Accountability Group wants everyone in the digital advertising landscape to get tagged. Its new system, dubbed “Verified by Tag,” includes two core, interlocking elements: a payment ID system and a registry of TAG-approved advertisers and publishers.

The payment ID system is expected to deploy by the end of the year. The goal is to create a record of who gets paid for every impression and thereby prevent criminals from receiving ad dollars by selling fake impressions on sites they list in ad exchanges.

Companies that apply to join the TAG registry will have to go through a background check and review process. Once approved, each will receive a unique ID that will identify its ads to trading partners in the supply chain. Those identifiers can also be matched with the forthcoming payment ID system to verify that payments aren’t going to criminals.

Programmatic powerhouses including AOL, Google, AppNexus and Index Exchange have pledged isupport for these dual initiatives.

Why It’s Hot

Advertisers are spending billions of dollars each year towards fraudulent impressions that are never seen by real humans and TAG’s program is moving the industry one step closer to greatly reducing or eliminating the ad fraud issue.


New ‘Brain Training’ App Could Help People With Schizophrenia

A “brain training” iPad game developed in Britain may improve the memory of patients with schizophrenia, helping them in their daily lives at home and at work.

Scientists at Cambridge University said tests on a small number of patients who played the game over four weeks found they had improvements in memory and learning.

The game, “Wizard”, is designed to help so-called episodic memory — the type of memory needed to remember where you left your keys several hours ago, or to remember a few hours later where you parked your car in a multi-storey car park. Wizard requires players to remember the location of patterns in space correctly, rewarding their success with additional in-game activities.

Wizard Brain Training App.

Why it’s hot:
Computer-assisted training and different kinds of technological devices are increasingly being used as adjunct therapy or treatment for various illnesses and there is evidence that it has helped people with schizophrenia overcome some of their symptoms, with better outcomes in their daily lives. The patients involved in this study said they enjoyed the game and were motivated to play it across the eight hours of cognitive training.

This is important since lack of motivation is a common feature of schizophrenia. It’s interesting because drugs haven’t had a lot of success in getting similar results and this may change the fate of pharma industry with the prospect of more and more medical conditions being treated with sole technological assistance.

High power international pubs debut new ad product, “Pangea”

Even as exchanges and programmatic buying make it easier than ever to reach specific audiences, our team is still challenged to reach niche audiences at scale, globally, since data availability, type and quality varies so significantly from country to country. Tuesday, our partner, Rubicon Project revealed “Pangea” to us, a possible solution to one such problem, and by the next day, the news had hit the press.


The Guardian, CNN International, the Financial Times, Reuters and The Economist will soon allow marketers to use automated buying technology to purchase advertising space across their online properties, globally, through a dedicated marketplace. Further, the publishers also plan to pool data about their respective audiences to help marketers target those ads more effectively. We are exploring this new opportunity now and hope that it will allow us to reach very narrow B2B audiences (e.g., CFOs, HR Directors) in a wide variety of countries, while also benefitting from the transference of brand credibility, through association with such high quality, trusted content.

Why It’s Hot: The digital landscape is getting more and more complex, w/universes, targeting, environments and formats packaged up in endless ways, to offer advertisers the opportunity to reach prospects more effectively, at scale. And yet, oftentimes, to get that scale, there are tradeoffs made in targeting (use of modeling dilutes audience composition; audience definitions vary; data is just unavailable) or environment (expansion to long tail, remnant inventory). We are still often challenged to create the exact scenarios in which we believe our advertisers’ messages can be the most effective, ideally with efficiency. Publisher consortiums and private marketplaces, like Pangea, address this problem.