RF|Binder Digital Dive: July 2022

The Big Story

Google vs U.S. Justice Department

To fend off a potential antitrust lawsuit from the Department of Justice, Google has reportedly proposed to sell off their ad-tech business into a separate company under parent company Alphabet. This business shift could be valued at tens of billions of dollars. This proposal comes as a result of Google being under fire recently from US and EU regulators for their alleged abuse of power and anticompetition activity.

The big tech company seems to have a target on its back from all angles as they were fined by the European Union for $1.6 billion dollars for abusing their position as a dominant search engine between 2006 and 2016. Within the United States, Google faces lawsuits from several states for accusations of running a monopoly. More recently, Congress introduced a bipartisan bill in May, The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act, which proposes to prevent any business that receives more than $20 billion in digital ad revenue from owning or participating in more than one part of the digital ad process.

If the Justice Department was to agree with this proposal, digital marketers could be greatly affected. With Google’s ad-tech business split up, this would allow for other digital ad companies to come in and begin to claim a greater share of the market. With increased competition comes lower priced media buys as each new ad company works to undercut the other in order to win their share of ad revenue.

Social Updates

The FCC Asks Apple and Google to Remove TikTok from App Stores

Commissioner Brendan Carr, senior Republican of the FCC, has asked both Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over security concerns from the Chinese-owned video app. This ask comes soon after BuzzFeed News’ discovery of leaked audio from more than 80 internal TikTok meetings referencing employees from ByteDance based in China being able to access nonpublic data about U.S. TikTok users. This is not the first time that there have been security concerns over TikTok as former U.S. President, Donald Trump, attempted to ban the app in the U.S. with two executive orders that fizzled out when his administration ended. In this attempt, the FCC does not technically have jurisdiction over app stores, so the likelihood of Carr’s letter gaining traction is small.

The Twitter Tribulations

Over the past couple of months, Musk and Twitter have been going back and forth over the amount of bot accounts that make up Twitter’s user base. Although Twitter has repeatedly reported that bots only make up 5% of its total users, Musk is seemingly not convinced of the data presented. As a result, Musk recently announced his termination of the $44 billion agreement to acquire the company based on “misleading representations.” Twitter’s board, committed to closing the deal, has officially filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery against Musk.

Instagram Updates Aimed at Brands

According to Instagram, 90% of user accounts follow at least one business, making businesses “a huge part of the interests community on Instagram.” Because of that, Instagram is testing new features like full-screen and video-centric viewing experiences aimed at brand growth. They also are putting an emphasis on prioritizing original content for both feed posts and reels. Instagram recommends for businesses to utilize their Remix feature when reposting user-generated Reels, using the Collabs feature when working with creators to create a single post that will be shared to both accounts’ followers and reposting user’s Stories in which they are tagged as a way to share customer testimonials.

Digital Updates

Netflix Partners with Microsoft

Netflix has recently announced its partnership with Microsoft as its global ad-tech and sales partner as they plan to launch an ad-supported tier by the end of this year. According to Netflix’s COO, Greg Peters, Microsoft provides not only the ad-tech support, but also flexibility with innovation and creating stronger privacy measures for consumers. With this partnership, consumers will now have more options to enjoy all of Netflix’s content.  For marketers, this partnership once again shifts the CTV space, giving them access to Netflix’s audience and their strong premium connected TV inventory.

Disney Partners with Trade Desk

Disney and The Trade Desk, a global ad-tech company, have partnered up to allow brands to target automated ads across Disney properties. As third-party tracking slowly fades out, partnerships between major media companies and ad-tech firms will continue to make news as they work towards a solution away from cookies. With automation from The Trade Desk, Disney will be able to sell more ads at scale and advertisers will be able to buy these ads with the ability to target more precisely due to rich first-party data insights.