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Is Social Media Still Cool?; Claritas Searches For A Buyer

The Social? Network 

For years, social media companies preferred to be known as “platforms” rather than “publishers.” But lately, as Digiday notes, it seems they don’t even want to be “social media” anymore. 

Leaders at Pinterest and Snap are currently describing their products as an “antidote to traditional social media,” with the latter developing an entire marketing campaign around it. TikTok describes itself as an entertainment platform, not a social platform. And Reddit shouldn’t even count in the first place because it doesn’t host influencers or celebrities, a company representative argued.

Because “social media” now conjures visions of bullying and disinformation, no one wants to be a part of the club anymore. Instead, the platforms are coming up with their own monikers to evoke a feel-good (and, more importantly, advertiser-friendly) space for true human connection.


But are they assuming the worst too soon? Social ad spending is still expected to grow 13% this year, after all, and user engagement matters more to marketers than post quality – at least for now. 

Shopped Out

Claritas, a seller of consumer audience segments, has hired Jefferies as a banker and is pursuing a sale, Adweek reports.  

One way to view the news is as part of an optimistic uptick in ad tech M&A. And there is always news timed for Cannes or that comes from agreements made while schmoozing at the beach. 

But Claritas is part of a category of third-party retail data marketplace sellers that are in a tight squeeze right now, and may just want out. 

NCSolutions and others have retreated to cloud-based marketplace models. Facebook, in particular, was the major point of sale for the kinds of audience segments packaged by shopper data sellers like Claritas, NCSolutions and the one-time Oracle Datalogix. Those marketplaces went away in 2016 in the US following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and became untenable in Europe after GDPR became law. 

Now those companies, which aggregate anonymized data from across a network of retailers, are also dealing with retailers themselves launching retail media businesses, with many opting instead for a walled garden approach to their first-party data.

Money Talks

Streaming was the star of the TV upfront stage. But the actual negotiations happening now tell a very different story.

Traditional media companies like Disney and NBCUniversal are quickest to close deals, while digital-native streamers like Netflix and Prime Video lag behind, Ad Age reports. Two words: packaging and programmatic.

Media buyers say they’re prioritizing deals with the biggest portfolios so they can spread their ad dollars further. That priority favors broadcasters that are used to packaging disparate cable networks and streaming supply for advertisers. Netflix and Prime Video haven’t mastered the same science yet, buyers say. And perhaps Netflix never will. Disney can sell ads for Hulu, ESPN and ABC in one go, but Netflix can only sell ads on, well, Netflix.

Programmatic buying is also making advertisers hesitant to commit to streaming inventory they could buy at literally any time. On-demand streams create theoretically infinite ad opportunities, freeing advertisers from worrying so much about the inventory scarcity that has given publishers the upper hand for decades. Which explains why major price reductions are also in the cards this year.

Now to wait and see how the upfront deals actually pan out.




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