October 2, 2023

By AdExchanger
Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.
Can’t Spell “Bad” Without …
An ad platform seems like an easy addition. “We have white space and eyeballs. Why not?”
But the tradeoffs are always more complicated.
Ben Young, CEO of the analytics company Nudge, gives an example in a blog post of someone in New Zealand whose Netflix stream is cached with the local ISP. Netflix has a huge cloud bill, but it can boast it has the most consistent streaming quality. 
Targeted ads, however, must ping the Microsoft server and bounce back to the viewer. Measurement requires more data processing. And all of a sudden the once-pristine Netflix stream is choppy. 
“The technical delivery of a measurement pixel, is a herculean effort itself,” Young writes. “My inkling is that measurement on Netflix will be a lot longer than anyone thinks, as they navigate these challenges.”
And that’s just getting a grip on measurement. Advertising will put Netflix in a different dynamic with nations that already feud over Netflix’s tax status or alleged damages to local TV industries. Next it’ll compete with those TV industries in a more direct, zero-sum way. 
“Hope you can see, why, something so simple an idea, can in reality be quite a process to thread the needle.”

Leave Those Kids Alone 
California is the first state to pass a law regulating how online platforms may interact with kids.
The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act requires social media companies like Facebook and TikTok to study and mitigate harm risks before making new products available to minors.
Anything that encourages children to share their personal information is prohibited, as is profiling for targeted ads – and no geotargeting, either, unless the minor is notified.
Platforms will have to write their privacy policies at a reading level kids can understand. (Wut?) 
The law takes effect July 2024, but enforcement won’t be easy.
Companies in violation can be fined up to $7,500 per affected child “if the violation was found to be intentional,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
But questions of whether something is “intentional” can be difficult to prove – until it isn’t. YouTube avoided a COPPA violation for years by claiming to be a general audience site, despite many kid-focused channels. Then it paid a record $170 million fine in 2019 for violating COPPA. Feigning ignorance of a child audience is a risky strategy:  As attorney Gary Kibel told AdExchanger earlier this year, “if your site has videos of dancing purple dinosaurs, you have to realize kids will be there. You can’t put blinders on.”
Cosmetic Changes
Search engines and social media have supercharged whole industries. And one such industry is medical procedures that people find (or that find them) through targeted ads and personalized content. 
“It was last summer when, after a Google search, John was first swarmed by Facebook ads for the LimbplastX Institute,” writes GQ editor Chris Gayomali in a story about the trend of men getting leg-lengthening operations. Gayomali’s interest in the procedure began 15 years ago with his own Google search. 
Other procedures are directly inspired by social media. Last month, a Real Housewives of Atlanta reality TV star got a butt lift and became a spokesperson for the plastic surgery practice, with a promo code for $100 off a consultation. Seriously, the butt-lift trend has taken off to the point that recovery centers with an Instagram aesthetic are booming. 
The chiropractor industry is loving social media as well. Back-cracking videos on Instagram and TikTok brought a surge of foot traffic. One provider estimates his crackling social media presence brought in between 500 and 700 new patients in the past year.
But Wait, There’s More!
For Gen Z, TikTok is the new search engine. [NYT]
Recurrent Ventures, a PE-backed digital media company, acquires Dwell. [Axios]
In Delaware’s Kathaleen McCormick, Elon Musk finds a judge who means business. [Big Technology]
At long last, Snapchat releases a desktop web version. [TechCrunch]
The flight to niche in digital media publishing. [The Rebooting]
YouTube says it’s ‘concluded’ a test that put up to 10 unskippable videos in ad breaks. [9to5Google]
You’re Hired!
Omnicom Media Group hires Christopher Stanger as US CEO of Hearts & Science, Dana Basile as COO. [Ad Age]
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