Brands Brief: Facebook Simplifies Ad Metrics Following Industry Concerns About Data-Reporting Practices

Top Stories

  • Facebook Inc. said it will eliminate some outdated advertising metrics and more clearly label others after learning that some advertisers were confused about which metrics were estimates and which were raw data. The move could win favor with advertising executives who are skeptical of the efficacy and accuracy of Facebook’s data reporting practices. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Procter & Gamble Co. plans to reduce agency and production fees by an additional $400 million through the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, following the $750 million the company has already saved in such cuts over the past three fiscal years. Chairman and Chief Executive David Taylor said the process will further reduce the agencies P&G works with, decreasing them by about 80 percent from the original base in fiscal year 2015, and rely on more “open sourcing” of project work. (Advertising Age)
  • Inc. is planning to open as many as six more cashierless convenience stores this year, most likely in Seattle, where the first location is based, and in Los Angeles, according to people familiar with the situation. The “Just Walk Out Technology,” which allows consumers to choose items that are then automatically charged to their Amazon accounts, has worried some traditional retailers about the future of cashiers, and it has led to speculation that Amazon could install the system at its Whole Foods stores. (Recode)

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New Report: How Americans & Investors Are Reacting To Market Volatility

Recent tumult in the stock market has triggered a wave of concerns about investor confidence and the possibility of sustained downturn. To provide a better understanding of the real-time reaction to this volatility, Morning Consult conducted a comprehensive survey of both consumers and market investors. See the full report.


Facebook Simplifies Metrics After Data-Reporting Issues, Advertiser Confusion
Alexandra Bruell, The Wall Street Journal

Facebook is trying to clarify and simplify the metrics used to gauge the performance of advertising on its platform after coming under scrutiny for a series of measurement mishaps and learning that some people are confused about its data. On Thursday, the company announced plans to more clearly label certain metrics after confirming that some advertisers were confused about which metrics were estimates based on sampling and modeling, versus actually counted data.

P&G Will Cut Another $400 Million In Agency, Production Costs
Jack Neff, Advertising Age

If you thought Procter & Gamble Co. had cut all it could from agency and production fees, think again. The cuts are accelerating.

Like the changing of the seasons, publishers (again) turn to micropayments
Max Willens, Digiday

With digital ad revenue harder to come by, a growing number of publishers are considering micropayments again, albeit from different angles. In the past several months, a slew of micropayment-focused startups, including Scroll, Invisibly and the Brave browser have all been leading charm offensives on publishers, who have been mostly receptive.

Media and Entertainment

Spotify for news? Subscription service Scroll has new investor, partners
David Beard, Poynter Institute

An idea to capture casual news subscribers got a major push today, with Gannett becoming an investor in the consumer subscription service Scroll. The company also announced it has signed up outlets such as MSNBC, the Atlantic, Slate and Fusion Media Group for the service, in which readers pay monthly for a faster-loading, cleaner, ads-free news experience.

Margaret Brennan named host of CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’

Margaret Brennan will succeed John Dickerson as the moderator of “Face The Nation,” CBS announced on Thursday. “Face the Nation” is one of the highest-rated Washington discussion programs on television.

NPR adopts new measures after sex harassment investigation
Staff, The Associated Press

National Public Radio has adopted a series of measures to improve its workplace culture, following an independent investigation into sex harassment issues stemming from the ouster of a top executive. The new measures, adopted unanimously by NPR’s board, include changes in management structure, a diversity and inclusion committee, and pay audits to assess fairness.

As Conservatives Gather, Anger at the News Media Runs Deep
Michael M. Grynbaum, The New York Times

It did not seem like a coincidence that the very first panel of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference took direct aim at the state of journalism in the United States. The opening session on Thursday, “An Affair to Remember: How the Far Left and the Mainstream Media Got in Bed Together,” began with a YouTube-style mash-up of the year’s biggest media blunders.

Charlie Walk: Top Music Executive Allegedly Preyed on Women for Decades
Jason Newman, Rolling Stone

In 2004, Pam Kaye, then a regional promotion manager for Columbia Records, was sitting in the back seat of a car next to the label’s executive vice president, Charlie Walk. She had worked with Walk for seven years, including an 18-month stint as his assistant.

In This #MeToo Moment, Academy Awards Want to Spotlight the Films
Brooks Barnes, The New York Times

In Hollywood, the run-up to the 90th Academy Awards, which will be held on March 4, has been dominated by the discussion about sexual misconduct and abuse of power. The Golden Globe Awards became a de facto rally for the Time’s Up movement, with actresses wearing black to protest sexual harassment and Oprah Winfrey delivering a scorching speech.

Social Media and Technology

Snap slips after Kylie Jenner tweet
Mamta Badkar, Financial Times

Is Kylie to blame? Snap shares hurtled back towards their IPO price on Thursday, wiping $1.6bn from the company’s market valuation on the heels of a tweet from reality TV star Kylie Jenner.

Snapchat’s Ecommerce Strategy Hit a New High When It Sold Out the New Air Jordans in Minutes
Ann-Marie Alcántara, Adweek

Snapchat’s latest viral lens didn’t include a puppy face or a dancing hot dog. Instead, it focused on a life-size Michael Jordan augmented-reality lens promoting the new, unreleased Air Jordan III Tinker sneakers, which went on sale exclusively via a special QR code within the app.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Got $638 Million in Year of Firm’s IPO
Anders Melin, Bloomberg

Snap Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel is poised to become one of the highest-paid U.S. executives for 2017, thanks to a $636.6 million stock grant he got when his company went public. The Venice, California-based maker of the Snapchat photo-sharing app awarded Spiegel shares equal to 3 percent of the outstanding capital stock when the initial public offering closed in March, according to the firm’s annual report filed Thursday.

Intel did not tell U.S. cyber officials about chip flaws until made public
Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Intel Corp did not inform U.S. cyber security officials of the so-called Meltdown and Spectre chip security flaws until they leaked to the public, six months after Alphabet Inc notified the chipmaker of the problems, according to letters sent by tech companies to lawmakers on Thursday. Current and former U.S. government officials have raised concerns that the government was not informed of the flaws before they became public because the flaws potentially held national security implications.

Apple Plans Upgrades to Popular AirPods Headphones
Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc., seeking to bolster its wearables business, is working on upgrades to its wireless AirPods headphones, according to people familiar with the matter. Like with its mobile devices — the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch — Apple intends to frequently update the AirPods with new hardware features.

The Big Loophole That Helped Russia Exploit Facebook: Doctored Photos
Georgia Wells et al., The Wall Street Journal

A decade ago, at a pro-immigration march on the steps of the Capitol building in Little Rock, Ark., community organizer Randi Romo saw a woman carrying a sign that read “no human being is illegal.” She took a photograph and sent it to an activist group, which uploaded it to photo-sharing site Flickr.

PR and Marketing

Amazon plans to open as many as six more cashierless Amazon Go stores this year
Jason Del Rey, Recode

Amazon’s much-heralded convenience store of the future, Amazon Go, may seem like a crazy experiment. But the company plans to open as many as six more of these storefronts this year, multiple people familiar with the company’s plans have told Recode.

Airbnb adds loyalty program, site inspections as new rules restrict core business
Elizabeth Weise, USA Today

In an era when it’s facing increasing regulation and scrutiny, Airbnb on Thursday announced a new slate of offerings aimed at helping travelers find exactly what they want, with a new hotel-like incentive to come back. The company is adding four new property types to its existing line up, new tiers of service, a “Collections” listing for homes that fit specific types of travelers and a guest membership loyalty program.

Lincoln Chief Taking Over Ford Job Vacated by Ousted Exec
Keith Naughton, Bloomberg

Ford Motor Co. promoted its marketing chief and head of Lincoln to lead North American operations a day after ousting a top executive for “inappropriate behavior,” the third major management shakeup at the automaker in about eight months. Kumar Galhotra, 52, is taking over the carmaker’s most important business unit after the company investigated his predecessor, Raj Nair, and found he had engaged in behavior “inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.”

UPS partners with Workhorse to build electric delivery vans
Nick Carey, Reuters

United Parcel Service Inc said on Thursday it is partnering with truck maker Workhorse Group Inc  to build electric delivery vans that could replace tens of thousands of vehicles in the package delivery company’s fleet. The two companies said the first 50 vans will have a range of 100 miles (160 km) and will be delivered in 2018.

Takata Settles Joint Probe by U.S. States Into Faulty Air Bags
Mike Spector, The Wall Street Journal

Takata Corp. agreed to pay a $650 million civil penalty to end an investigation by the attorneys general of 44 U.S. states into whether the parts supplier concealed problems with rupture-prone air bags, the latest legal sanction in the safety crisis that led to the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. Takata’s U.S. business agreed to settle the joint investigation being conducted by the states and the District of Columbia, according to law-enforcement officials.

McDonald’s is bringing back a sauce that led to riots
Ryan Browne, CNBC

McDonald’s is bringing back a product that led to riots after it was featured on the popular television show “Rick and Morty.” The fast food restaurant said Thursday that it will ship 20 million packets of Szechuan sauce to all of its restaurants in the U.S.

Lowe’s takes another step to win workers in a tight labor market
Lauren Thomas, CNBC

Lowe’s unveiled a plan on Wednesday to tackle a growing skills gap in its job pool as the tightening U.S. labor market makes finding experienced workers more difficult. The home improvement retailer is launching a new workforce development program it calls “Track to the Trades.”

The beauty company Glossier just closed on a whopping $52 million in fresh funding
Connie Loizos, TechCrunch

Glossier, the nearly four-year-old, direct-to-consumer beauty company, has landed $52 million in Series C funding in what it describes as a heavily oversubscribed round. The financing was led by earlier investors IVP and Index Ventures.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Why Can Everyone Spot Fake News But The Tech Companies?
Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed News

In the first hours after last October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, my colleague Ryan Broderick noticed something peculiar: Google search queries for a man initially (and falsely) identified as a victim of the shooting were returning Google News links to hoaxes created on 4chan, a notorious message board whose members were working openly to politicize the tragedy.

Algorithms are one reason a conspiracy theory goes viral. Another reason might be you.
Abby Ohlheiser, The Washington Post

The false belief that a 17-year-old who survived the Parkland massacre is actually a paid actor, or perhaps being nefariously coached by liberals to promote gun control, began on the fringe. It didn’t stay there.

Hollywood’s Movie Dilemma: Gamble at Box Office or Sell to Netflix?
Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter

Facing an uncertain box-office climate, executives at major studios are more frequently asking: “Should we try our luck in theaters or sell this thing to Netflix?” In the case of recent midbudget sci-fi films like The Cloverfield Paradox (Paramount) and Extinction (Universal), the answer was “sell.”