Google Plans to Simplify Advertiser Controls for YouTube Video

In response to pressure from advertisers unhappy with placement of their commercials before extremist group videos on YouTube, Google apologized and explained it would simplify the tools that help advertisers control where online ads appear. The British unit of French advertising firm Havas, the U.K. government, and Marks & Spencer Group are among those that suspended their ads on YouTube and the Google Display Network. Matt Brittin, Google’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, “said he would step up enforcement and review policies to make sure ads don’t inadvertently appear near inappropriate videos,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “He said Google wanted to be careful with how it did so because some advertisers, such as news organizations, might want to place ads alongside controversial content.” Continue reading Google Plans to Simplify Advertiser Controls for YouTube Video

Facebook Messenger Lets Users Post Snapchat-Like Stories

Messenger has joined Instagram and WhatsApp in emulating Snapchat’s popular Stories concept. Messenger Day is a new feature within the Facebook Messenger app that encourages users to share a daily photo story. Users can post photos and 15-second videos taken with the Messenger camera or images and GIFs saved on their smartphone. The Messenger Day story is visible to all Facebook friends, but it disappears after 24 hours. Facebook’s unique special filters for the images are designed to spark conversations and encourage meet-ups. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Lets Users Post Snapchat-Like Stories

Instagram Adds Photo Carousels to Encourage More Posting

Photo-sharing social media platform Instagram is trying to lower the standard for an Instagram-worthy picture by allowing users to post multiple photos at once. The new photo carousels allow users to share up to 10 photos and videos in a single post. Carousels look similar to single-photo posts in Instagram feeds, but users can swipe left and right to see the other pictures. The new feature could also benefit advertisers who want more space to share their products. Instagram has been trying to encourage more posting on their platform in the past year.  Continue reading Instagram Adds Photo Carousels to Encourage More Posting

YouTube to Phase Out its Unskippable 30-Second Ads by 2018

Google-owned YouTube announced on Friday that it plans to phase out its 30-second, unskippable pre-roll ads by 2018. Many users reportedly find the format obtrusive, so YouTube is killing the 30-second ads but keeping 20-second clips that cannot be skipped, and its six-second bumper ad format. YouTube will also continue to offer its TrueView skippable ads, which do not come with time limits and only cost advertisers when the viewer opts not to skip them. The move is in response to the growing popularity of mobile video. “More than 50 percent of YouTube’s video views now come from mobile devices,” reports Variety. Continue reading YouTube to Phase Out its Unskippable 30-Second Ads by 2018

Snapchat Preps for IPO with Metrics, Stricter Publishing Rules

Snapchat just updated its guidelines for publishers, who are now restricted from posting on Discover so-called questionable pictures devoid of news or editorial value, or providing links to or reports of fake news, stressing that all content must be accurate and fact-checked. In Feburary, Snapchat will offer publishers a tool to “age-gate” content, with the option for preventing minors from seeing some content altogether. These guidelines are being introduced as parent company Snap Inc. is preparing for an IPO. Continue reading Snapchat Preps for IPO with Metrics, Stricter Publishing Rules

Facebook Moves to Fix Metrics Bugs and Assuage Advertisers

In the wake of admitting it had overstated how long users spend watching videos on its site, Facebook is taking steps to regain credibility among advertisers and publishers. The company, which apologized in September, will now rely more on third-party measurement services — including comScore, Moat, Nielsen and Integral Ad Science — to ensure accurate metrics on display and video ads. Other moves include the formation of a “measurement council,” composed of ad agency execs and marketers, to develop more relevant metrics. Continue reading Facebook Moves to Fix Metrics Bugs and Assuage Advertisers

Snapchat Rebrands Itself, New Spectacles Record POV Video

Snapchat, rebranded Snap Inc. to acknowledge the company is now more than an app, debuted its first hardware product. Spectacles one-size-fits-all sunglasses in black, teal or coral can record up to 10 seconds of video from the wearer’s first-person point of view. The user is able to record video hands-free, and the camera, which relies on a 115-degree-angle lens, also gives a wider image that more closely mimics our natural field of view, even to the point of being circular. Spectacles is priced at $129.99. Continue reading Snapchat Rebrands Itself, New Spectacles Record POV Video

Adblock Expands Service with Fresh Take on Acceptable Ads

Adblock, the company that blocks online advertising, is now introducing a service that allows website operators to run ads. Adblock Plus’s new service is an extension of the Acceptable Ads program debuted in 2011. A so-called acceptable ad, vetted by Adblock, is smaller, less brash and intrusive and thus, in principle, less irritating. The number of ads in this marketplace, which just debuted in beta, is limited because of how time-consuming it is to vet ads. The service will come out of beta later in 2016. Continue reading Adblock Expands Service with Fresh Take on Acceptable Ads

Samsung, NBC and OBS Test VR Broadcasts of Rio Olympics

Samsung has partnered with NBCUniversal and the Olympic Broadcasting Services for 80 hours of virtual reality broadcasts of the Rio Games, including the opening and closing ceremonies, diving, basketball, track and field, and gymnastics. The scope of VR content will be limited: 80 hours is a smidgen of a total 6,700 hours of programming and the VR will air the day after each event. Samsung, a major Olympics sponsor since 1998, will apply lessons learned in Rio to the 2018 Winter Olympics in its home turf of Korea. Continue reading Samsung, NBC and OBS Test VR Broadcasts of Rio Olympics

How Sponsored Content Transforms as It Moves to Facebook

Publishers have gravitated to sponsored content — stories, videos and podcasts that mimic journalistic content — to cope with rapidly changing online advertising. The Atlantic, Slate and The New York Times are among the publications that count sponsored content as a significant portion of their revenue. Companies such as Vice and BuzzFeed have created businesses centered on focused content. But the definition of sponsored content is shifting as viewers move from news sites towards Facebook and other social media platforms. Continue reading How Sponsored Content Transforms as It Moves to Facebook

Top Internet Celebrities Paid to Make Move to Facebook Live

Last month, Facebook announced it would pay $50 million to 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for Facebook Live. What’s getting attention now are the 15 percent of those recipients who are Internet celebrities popular on platforms such as YouTube, Vine, Snapchat and Instagram. Those celebrities will reap approximately $2.2 million over the next few months to focus their video broadcasts on Facebook Live rather than competing sites. As of yet, Facebook hasn’t determined how to generate revenue from Live. Continue reading Top Internet Celebrities Paid to Make Move to Facebook Live

Facebook Credits Mobile Ad Growth for Major Revenue Jump

Following last week’s reports that online advertising revenue in the U.S. reached a record $59.6 billion in 2015, and that Google and Facebook claimed the largest share of the digital advertising pie, social giant Facebook announced yesterday that its ad revenue increased 57 percent in the first quarter to $5.2 billion. Notably, mobile ads represented about four-fifths of the network’s revenue. Facebook’s news countered announcements from other tech companies — including Alphabet, Apple and Twitter — all of which released disappointing first quarter figures. Continue reading Facebook Credits Mobile Ad Growth for Major Revenue Jump

ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit on Live Streaming Production

During ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit at NAB in Las Vegas this week, panelists, moderated by Fox Networks Group executive vice president of technology solutions Chris Blandy, considered the challenges in their experiences in producing live streaming VR. Fox Sports Media Group senior vice president of field and technical operations Michael Davies reports that, there are “some things you might think are captivating that aren’t.” “Some things surprise you,” he suggested. For example, “Boxing was great — we got a great camera position.” Continue reading ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit on Live Streaming Production

Facebook’s New Policy Allows Branded Content, Not All Ads

Facebook has a new policy regarding so-called organic, or branded, content, now permitted to appear on Facebook Instant Articles, video and Facebook Live. Advertisers and Web publishers must display an icon to make it clear that the content — articles, videos and images — comes from an advertiser. Up until now, they have only been able to post content in ads. This is good news for BuzzFeed, Forbes and others that frequently supply sponsored content on Facebook, which also stands to reap rewards from the new policy. Continue reading Facebook’s New Policy Allows Branded Content, Not All Ads

FTC Goes After Paid Endorsements Presented as Commentary

As smartphone users turn increasingly to ad blockers, marketers are getting their messages out by paying Internet influencers under the table to promote their products as personal reviews and commentary. For some time, the practice was beyond the reach of the Federal Trade Commission, which made sure paid endorsements were advertised as such in television, newspapers and magazines. With new guideline changes initiated in 2015, however, the FTC is now going after violators, just reaching a settlement with video network Machinima. Continue reading FTC Goes After Paid Endorsements Presented as Commentary