Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The things that mattered the most in adtech this May

By Zoe Baptie, Account Director,  Bluestripe Communications

Zoe is the resident adtech expert at NDA’s sister company Bluestripe Communications and our monthly columnist rounding up the most important developments in the market each month.

Tik Tok has recently been singing up some of the top talent in the digital media industry. As it continues its push to become one of the leading digital media companies, the company launched its very first TV ad. The celebrity campaign “A little bit brighter inside” featured Little Mix, Tinie Tempah, Olympic diver Tom Daley and chef Gordon Ramsey as the platform looks to build its brand with a wider audience.  

According to The Drum, by the end of 2019 TikTok had already hit 1.5 billion users worldwide, despite only launching 3 years ago. During the first quarter of 2020, the app had the most downloads ever as a result of people being confined inside due to lockdown, with hashtag challenges #LifeAtHome seeing 2 billion global views and #StayAtHome with 600 million views.

Also this month, Instagram announced will be showing ads from the likes of Ikea and Puma in IGTV – it’s long-form video offering, according to The Verge. The platform will be trialling ads which will only appear when users watch IGTV videos from previews in their feed, and it will also be testing various experiences within IGTV ads throughout the year, such as skippable ads. As The Verge reports, this will put Instagram in direct competition with YouTube, so long as creators start prioritising vertical video. 

Twitter also hit the adtech headlines in May as it announced it is to acquire mobile ad company CrossInstall. According to AdExchanger, The mobile-only DSP has received no outside funding since it was founded in 2012 and claims gaming clients such as Machine Zone, Jam City, SGN, and PuzzleSocial to name a few. All of CrossInstall’s employees will be joining Twitter, yet the company will operate as a stand-alone business owned and operated by the social media giant.

It comes at a time when Kantar’s Dimension study revealed there is distrust in advertising and social media platforms. Social media is the least trusted source for news and information according to the study, with only 17% of respondents claiming they think of Facebook and Twitter as reputable sources. In total, 70% of those who took part in the survey said they didn’t trust a lot of what they saw on social media, which included information from brands, The Drum reports

Later in the month, trade body ISBA and PwC published a report which found publishers only receive 51% of advertisers’ spend which sparked a call for more investigations into the programmatic supply chain. The report looked into how advertisers’ payments are distributed through the ecosystem. It also found a disparity between adtech vendors when it came to capturing, storing, and sharing data. Advertisers and media owners, along with ISBA, will be appointing a task force to forge greater transparency, according to AdWeek.

In other news, UK publisher Reach has teamed up with IBM and Xandr to launch an AI-powered tool called Mantis. The tool will direct ads to appear alongside articles, such as those which include words relating to coronavirus, which have been deemed neutral or positive in sentiment. The inventory is available across all premium UK publishers according to the Express. It comes at a time when the UK news industry is set to lose £50 million because of overzealous keyword blocking related to coronavirus. 

Lastly, in case you missed it, DMEXCO is definitely still happening. Digiday reports that organisers have promised new measures under health and safety guidelines, including improved ventilation, cleaning stations and flexible attendee admissions. In 2019 the trade show had 40,000 attendees – 40% of which were international travellers. It will also be available digitally for those who wish to avoid the crowds.