WPP sells 60% of market research giant Kantar to Bain, valuing Kantar at $4B


This post is by Ingrid Lunden from TechCrunch


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Some M&A is afoot in the world of market research and analysis: WPP today announced that it would sell 60% of Kantar — the firm that provides stats and insights on how consumers buy and think of products in services in areas like technology, media, health and more (we’ve written many a story on TechCrunch citing Kantar figures) — to Bain Capital, the private equity firm. The all-cash transaction is expected to net Kantar $3.1B — minus tax and continuing investments that it will make in Kantar after the deal — and it values Kantar at $4 billion (or £3.2 billion), London-based WPP said.

The deal is a biggie that caps off months of speculation, after WPP announced in October 2018 that it planned to look for an outside investor to take a stake in Kantar, in part to raise some revenue from the transaction, and in part

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Jeffrey Katzenberg’s streaming service Quibi books $100M in ad sales ahead of launch


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Quibi, the short-form video platform founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, hasn’t even launched but has already booked $100 million in advertising sales, according to a report from The WSJ this morning. The company, which aims to cater to younger viewers with premium content chopped up into “quick bites,” says it has already booked advertisers including Protector & Gamble, Pepsi Co., Anheuser-Busch InBev, Walmart, Progressive, and Google.

It still has around $50 million in unsold ad inventory ahead of launch.

It’s hard to imagine how a service like Quibi will compete in a market dominated by paid streamers like Netflix and free services like YouTube — both preferred by a younger demographic. But Quibi has been raising massive amounts of money to take them on. In May, it was reported that Quibi was going after another billion in funding, on top of the billion it had already raised.

Beyond the

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YouTube’s new AR Beauty Try-On lets viewers virtually try on makeup while watching video reviews


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Makeup tutorials and reviews are some of the most popular content on YouTube, as they help people learn about new products as well as how to apply them. YouTube is now kicking that experience up a notch with the introduction of a new AR feature for virtual makeup try-on right from the YouTube app. Called AR Beauty Try-On, the feature is designed to be used in a split-screen experience while YouTube viewers watch the makeup tutorial.

When available, the YouTube makeup review or tutorial video plays at the top of the screen, with a stream from your own front-facing camera below. Here, a YouTube viewer could access a palate of colors — like new lipstick shades, for example — and tap to apply them to their own face while the video plays above.

The feature is currently in the very early stages of development — alpha testing — and is

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The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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The World's 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019

The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019

Brand equity can be a challenging thing to build.

Even with access to deep pockets and an innovative product, it can take decades of grit to scrape your way into the mainstream consciousness of consumers.

On the path to becoming established as a globally significant brand, companies must fight through fierce competition, publicity scandals, changing regulations, and rapidly-evolving consumer tastes – all to take a bite from the same piece of pie.

Cream of the Crop

Today’s visualization comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it showcases the 100 most valuable brands in the world, according to Forbes.

Here are the powerful brands that sit at the very top of the list:

Rank Brand Brand Value ($B) 1-Yr Value Change Industry
#1 Apple $205.5 +12% Technology
#2 Google $167.7 +27% Technology
#3 Microsoft $125.3 +20% Technology
#4 Amazon
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Spotify advertisers can now target listeners by what podcasts they stream


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Spotify is taking the next big step in terms of building out its podcast business: it’s now offering the ability for advertisers to target listeners based on what types of podcasts they’re streaming. The company says brands will be able to reach Spotify Free listeners who stream from specific podcast categories, including Comedy, Lifestyle & Health, and Business & Technology.

This option is being launched across 10 global markets, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Australia.

Spotify shared the news on Friday with a handful of ad trade publications, but didn’t make a broad announcement, we understand.

Currently, the new ad targeting option is being tested by several brands such as Samsung, which is marketing its Galaxy Buds, and 3M — the official sponsors of the Spotify Original podcast Dope Labs. 

The ad targeting launch is the latest in a series

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Target ups its ad efforts with revamped media company, Roundel


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A surprise addition to this year’s NewFronts, first-time participant Target today announced its plans to rebrand its media network formerly known as “Target Media Network” to be called “Roundel.” The goal with the repositioning is to better communicate to clients that its focus goes beyond display ads on Target.com. Instead, Roundel will create campaigns and content for its clients, who include brands and agencies — including brands that aren’t sold in Target’s stores — and deliver them to either to Target’s own website or to “brand-safe” external channels like Pinterest, PopSugar, and NBC Universal.

To date, Target’s pitch has been that its data on consumers and their habits can help it to create better campaigns and content for interested brands. Target Media Network had already been working with national advertisers, including those who didn’t sell products in Target, ahead of this rebranding. But the prior

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Spotify launches voice-enabled ads on mobile devices in a limited U.S. test


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Spotify is increasing its investment in voice technology, as hinted at earlier this week on the company’s earnings call with investors. The streaming service today is announcing the launch of voice-enabled advertisements, which will encourage the listener to say a verbal command in order to take action on the ad’s content. Initially, the audio ads will direct listeners to a sponsored Spotify playlist or a podcast, the company says.

One of the first voice ads being tested starting today comes from Unilever’s Axe and Spotify Studios.This ad will direct users to the Spotify Original podcast, Stay Free: The Story of the Clash. Another will promote a branded playlist on Spotify related to a Unilever Axe ad campaign.

For now, Spotify is only focused on content promotion within its own service — not anything outside of its app.

These voice ads will only be available to a subset of Spotify’s

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Walmart acquires ad tech startup Polymorph Labs to scale up its ad business


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Amazon has a large and growing advertising business, but rival Walmart’s own ad business is much smaller. It’s now working to change that. Earlier this year, the retailer consolidated ad sales for its stores and websites and said it was ready to start monetizing its shopper data on a grander scale. Today, its efforts continue as Walmart says it has bought the advertising technology company, Polymorph Labs, to help it better compete via online digital ads, targeted using shopper data.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The San Francisco-based startup’s technology and assets will allow Walmart to deliver more relevant ads to online shoppers, the retailer says. Meanwhile, Polymorph’s team will join Walmart’s in-house advertising business, the Walmart Media Group.

Specifically, Polymorph;s technology includes a high-speed ad server, a self-serve interface, and server-side header bidding. This, says Walmart, will make advertising easier for thousands of brands and will

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Spotify’s new ad metrics show what listeners do after they click


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Spotify is launching new analytics tools to help artists and their teams better understand how well their ads are working. The company today says it’s rolling out new streaming conversion metrics that will show how Spotify listeners reacted to a particular ad campaign – whether they clicked through to listen, saved the music, or added it to a playlist for example.

The new tools can also detail whether they campaign did better with existing fans who have been streaming the music already, or if an ad worked to hook new fans.

The conversation metrics are being introduced to the Spotify Ad Studio. First launched in 2017, the ad studio is a self-serve platform allows artists and their labels to share their music by way of short, 30-second or less audio ads that are played for the free users on the Spotify app. These ads are served during ad breaks

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eBay to shut down the eBay Commerce Network, its third-party ad network, on May 1


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As eBay continues to restructure its business, it’s shuttering one of the efforts it had made to expand its commercial footprint outside its own marketplace and walled garden. The company announced today that on May 1 it will be shutting down the eBay Commerce Network — a network that it ran across some 2,000 publishers for merchants to advertise products that matched content people browse on those third-party sites — as it puts more of an emphasis on some of its other advertising efforts, namely affiliate marketing and advertising on eBay itself.

“Thank you for your partnership with eBay Commerce Network,” the company said in a statement. “We’ve been proud to see our platform evolve over the past two decades. We want to continue providing customers with the best possible selling and buying experience. As a result, we are focusing on business that complements our core marketplace and discontinuing eBay

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Pandora to test interactive voice ads later this year


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Radio ads broadcast a message to listeners, but Pandora’s new voice ads will allow listeners to respond by speaking aloud – either to get more information about the product being advertised, or to skip the ad if it’s not of interest. The company confirmed it has an agreement to test interactive voice ads where listeners engage by speaking back to the ad. The test will be powered by the San Francisco-based ad tech company, Instreamatic, and will launch into beta sometime later this year.

Unlike web and mobile ads – which can be measured through things like impressions and clicks – traditional audio ads aren’t clickable. That means advertisers don’t know for sure how many people who heard the ad later went seek out more information, or make a purchase.

Interactive voice ads could change that. And they arrive at a time when consumers have grown comfortable interacting with voice

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How the Tech Giants Make Their Billions


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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How the Tech Giants Make Their Billions

How the Tech Giants Make Their Billions

At a glance, it may seem like the world’s biggest technology companies have a lot in common.

For starters, all five of the Big Tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet) have emerged as some of the most valuable publicly-traded companies in the world, with founders such as Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates sitting atop the global billionaire list.

These tech giants also have a consumer-facing aspect to their business that is front and center. With billions of people using their platforms globally, these companies leverage user data to tighten their grip even more on market share. At the same time, this data is a double-edged sword, as these same companies often find themselves in the crosshairs for mishandling personal information.

Finally, all of these companies have a similar origin story: they were founded or incubated on the fertile digital grounds of

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Animation: The Top 15 Global Brands (2000-2018)


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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Animation: The Top 15 Global Brands (2000-2018)

Time travel back to the early-2000s, and a list of the world’s most respected brands might be surprising.

Tobacco company Marlboro is still one of the top 15 global brands with a value of $22 billion, while companies like Nokia and AT&T also help to round out the group.

Aside from Microsoft, the tech companies at the time were mostly focused on hardware and services. HP was considered a top global brand at the time, and even IBM was still making PCs until the year 2005.

The Platform Revolution

How times have changed.

In today’s animation from TheRankings, you can see how the list of the top 15 global brands has evolved over the last two decades or so.

The visible shift: as soon as Google hits the rankings in 2008 (2:21 in video), it becomes clear that the money is on

Top 15 Global Brands in 2018
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TikTok spotted testing native video ads


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TikTok is testing a new ad product: a sponsored video ad that directs users to the advertiser’s website. The test was spotted in the U.S. TikTok app, where a video labeled “Sponsored” from the bike retailer Specialized is showing up in the main feed, along with a blue “Lean More” button that directs users to tap to get more information.

Presumably, this button could be customized to send users to the advertiser’s website or any other web address, but for the time being it only opened the Specialized Bikes (@specializedbikes) profile page within the TikTok app.

However, the profile page itself also sported a few new features, including what appeared to be a tweaked version of the verified account badge.

Below the @specializedbikes username was “Specialized Bikes Page” and a blue checkmark (see below). On other social networks, checkmarks like this usually indicate a user whose account has gone

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‘Amazon Live’ is the retailer’s latest effort to take on QVC with live-streamed video


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Amazon is taking on QVC with the launch of Amazon Live, which features live-streamed video shows from Amazon talent as well as those from brands that broadcast their own live streams through a new app, Amazon Live Creator. On the live shows, hosts talk about and demonstrate products available for sale on Amazon, much like they do on QVC. Beneath that sits a carousel where shoppers can browse product details and make purchases.

More than one video streams on Amazon Live at the same time, so shoppers can tune to the one that most interests them.

For example, Amazon Live is currently streaming a Valentine’s Day Gift Shop show, a cooking-focused show (In the Kitchen with @EdenEats) and Back to Business Live, which is showing off products aimed at daycare centers and schools.

You can tap on the different videos to change streams, scroll down to watch recordings of

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Spotify’s increased focus on podcasts in 2019 includes selling its own ads


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Having established itself as a top streaming service with now over 200 million users, Spotify this year is preparing to focus more of its attention on podcasts. The company plans bring its personalization technology to podcasts in order to make better recommendations, update its app’s interface so people can access podcasts more easily, and broker more exclusives with podcast creators. It’s also getting into the business of selling ads within podcasts, as a means of generating revenue from this increasingly popular form of audio programming.

In fact, Spotify has already begun to dabble in podcast ad sales, ahead of this larger push.

Spotify, we’ve learned, has been selling its own advertisements in its original podcasts since mid-2018 year, including in programs like Spotify Original “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith,” “The Joe Budden Podcast,” “Dissect,” “Showstopper,” and others. With more exclusives planned for the year ahead, the portion

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Spotify will now let brands sponsor its Discover Weekly playlist


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Spotify has begun testing a new type of ad in Discover Weekly, its personalized playlist of music that’s the streaming service’s flagship feature. The company says that, for the first time, it will allow a brand to “sponsor” this playlist as opposed to just running ads. It believes many advertisers will be interested in this opportunity due to the playlist’s ability to reach heavily engaged Spotify users, and because it allows advertisers to “own the personalized listening experience” on Spotify.

According to Spotify, Discover Weekly listeners stream more than double the amount of users who don’t listen to the playlist because of the personalized experience it offers. That will make the ad product more compelling, compared with brands’ existing ability to sponsor other editorial playlists on the service.

With Spotify’s Sponsored Playlist ad product, brands can surround Spotify’s free listeners with audio or video messages in ad breaks, and

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