4 Key Insights Underpinning the Latest Ad-Tech and Mar-Tech Headlines

The latest Facebook faux pas could cost 1.63 billion euros

Xandr CEO Brian Lesser has promised advertisers a 'community garden' alternative to platforms such as Facebook and Google. Twitter: @xandr76
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As AT&T-backed Xandr prepares its charm offensive on the digital advertising market, Facebook has landed itself in more hot water with another data hack—this time, with a potential fine running into the billions. Meanwhile, Amazon is reportedly plotting a play for online video ad spend and Salesforce is flexing its muscles in the increasingly competitive marketing cloud sector.

Adweek offers insights into the thinking behind such maneuverings.

AT&T is promising advertisers a ‘community garden’ 

Before AT&T’s advertising and analytics division unveiled its Xandr rebrand, Adweek reported how it would pull AppNexus’ participation from the Advertising ID Consortium.

This was a development that led many to question if the ad industry was witnessing the birth of another ‘walled garden’ that lets traffic go in but never out. Such a scenario would mean the new telco-owned advertising division would prove just another headache for marketers that simply want to more accurately attribute ROI to their media spend.

However, Xandr CEO Brian Lesser used the three-day launch event in California last week to speak to media about his idea of a “community garden” that would give data back to advertisers while respecting the privacy of its 170 million users.  “We can deliver de-identified or anonymized data back to advertisers,” he said, according to reports. “They can learn something more about their consumers.”

Addressable television is central to the telco’s pitch that its vast trove of data and ad-tech assets can add significant value to ads—and thus, the content against which they are served.

Speaking earlier with Adweek, Kirk McDonald, Xandr CMO, said: “The ability to scale addressable TV inventory really is going to be dependent on us continuing to find ways to bring a stronger and scaled data set to the market, and also working with—and not working against—other [multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs)] to make sure we can actually aggregate this large-scale inventory pool for marketers to buy into.”

Another Facebook faux pas, this time affecting 50 million and risking a 1.63 billion euro fine 

In the same week as some of the biggest names in tech faced questions from U.S. elected officials over their treatment of users’ personal data, Facebook came under more public criticism for its data security vulnerabilities.

On Sept. 28, it revealed that a security breach affected nearly 50 million Facebook account holders with the company co-operating with the FBI and Irish data protection authority (DPA) in Europe to help limit the damage.

While the full extent of the hack is still unknown, hackers conducted the breach by exploiting features in the View As tab—which lets users view how their profile appears to third parties—plus a bug in a video uploading feature. Facebook faces €1.63 billion in fines under GDPR with the Irish DPA since confirming it will investigate.

“I think we collectively have a long way to go so that people understand how to protect their privacy and how data are being utilized,” Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s global head of marketing solutions, told Adweek earlier in the month.

Amazon’s assault on the ad market could get OTT

Amazon’s relentless rise in the online advertising market has led many to question the legitimacy of “the duopoly,” a byword for Facebook and Google’s dominance of online ad spend. And now, it seems Amazon’s eyes are set on video budgets.

Just months after it was widely reported that the online retail giant was preparing an ad-supported TV service, Business Insider reported that Amazon is also developing the launch of a video ad serving tool—one that would place it firmly in competition with Comcast’s Freewheel and Google Video Ads 360. Quoting sources familiar with discussions, Business Insider highlighted the potential launch of a programmatic video advertising tool that would help media owners monetize video content on internet connected devices, a.k.a OTT video.

Salesforce touts a unified view of the customer

A week ahead of Dreamforce, Adobe announced its intentions in the business-to-business marketing cloud sector with the $4.75 billion purchase of Marketo.

This was followed by the launch of Data Explorer and a common data model with Microsoft and SAP a day ahead of the Dreamforce kick-off, all of which underlines the growing competition in the $52 billion annual sector.

However, undeterred by this launch, Salesforce kicked off its Dreamforce messaging with the announcement of a new product aimed to help companies create stronger customer profiles. Dubbed Salesforce Customer 360, it unites data points from a variety of sources to create a singular customer ID on the Salesforce platform, organizing them using a common taxonomy. This will help advertisers better understand the behavioral patterns of their customers, according to Patrick Stokes, svp product management.

@ronan_shields ronan.shields@adweek.com Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.