Tuesday Tune-Up #421

Nick Carolan

Facebook is shutting down Audience Network for mobile sites
Facebook has announced it will turn off Audience Network, which allows advertisers to extend their Facebook campaigns on third-party apps, for mobile websites. While the move will affect publishers who enjoy shared ad revenue with Facebook, apps like TikTok and Tinder will not be affected. 

The decision, which comes into effect on April 11, is based on growing demand from advertising partners for other formats across mobile apps. Decisions by Google, Apple and Mozilla to ban third-party cookies on their browsers have likely contributed to the demand for mobile app ad formats.

Annual spending on mobile website formats – US$17.4B in 2018 – pales in comparison to the $81.7B spent on mobile app formats.

On Facebook Messenger, the kids are alright
Facebook has introduced new parental controls and visibility features for Messenger Kids, which launched in 2017. Parents can now access contact and chat history from the previous 30 days, including a log of photos and videos their children have sent and received, with the option to remove and report inappropriate content.

Parents will also be able to see who their kids have blocked and reported, the devices their kids are logged into the app on, as well as the option to download their kids’ personal information.

On the app, a data education overview has been added to help kids understand what information others can see, including their name and photo, and that their parents can view and download their messaging content.

Twitter goes in on faked media
Twitter has just announced a new policy for synthetic and manipulated media. From next month, any media that has been “significantly and deceptively altered or fabricated” will either see offending users banned or tweets labelled as “manipulated media” edited with a link to a contextual Twitter Moment.

The microblogging platform said it will take a harder line on media which is presented as the truth or which is “likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm.” The policy was proposed in 2019, and was based on comments it received following the announcement, as well as advice from experts.

YouTube has also updated its policies on political disinformation right in time for the 2020 Democratic primary elections.

Reddit makes it in television
Reddit has announced a new partnership with interactive storytelling platform Tagboard, which will allow broadcasters using Tagboard’s software to use, credit and distribute Reddit’s unique content, including Ask Me Anything sessions, around the world. This is Reddit’s first foray into aggregated content sourcing for broadcast. 

Snapchat goes up, Snapchat goes down…
Despite closing out 2019 with 218 million daily active users, a 17% increase from the same quarter in 2018, Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc posted a net loss of US$241M.

Though investment in the platform’s talent base contributed to operating expense growth, the settlement of a US$187.5M class-action suit by investors following its March 2017 initial public offering was the primary driver of the loss.

…though Q4 2019 reporting indicates platforms are in the black
At YouTube, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has revealed the platform’s advertising revenue figures for the first time. Previously, Alphabet had only provided revenue figures for Google. YouTube’s ad revenues grew 36% between 2018 and 2019 to a whopping US$15.15B, $4.72B from the last quarter alone. CFO Ruth Porat pointed out that the majority of YouTube’s ad revenue is paid out to its creators. The figure represents 11% of Google’s overall US$134.8B ad revenue for 2019.

Twitter’s revenue for Q4 2019 topped US$1B for the first time, up 11% from the last quarter of 2018. The growth was mainly driven by Twitter’s US market, with $591M in revenue, while international revenue grew by only 3% to $416M. Twitter had an average daily active user base of 152 million in Q4 2019, up from 145 million in the previous quarter. Twitter said it hoped a rebuild of its core ad server, to be completed this year, and its Mobile Application Promotion product would solidify their existing ad products to provide more direct-response ad formats.

Pinterest’s Q4 revenues rose 46% year-on-year to almost US$400M. As of December 2019, the visual discovery app had 335 million monthly active users, up 26% from the same time a year earlier. Pinterest said improved conversion visibility drove year-on-year growth of 150% in conversion optimisation revenue for the quarter, while revenue from shopping ads more than doubled in the second half of 2019.

Testing, testing 1, 2, 3
Instagram is moving forward with testing monetisation for IGTV so creators can earn money on their content, while TikTok is reportedly testing a new Instagram-like profile format.

Australia Digital Report
Keep an eye out for our Australia Digital Report for 2020, launching later this week! 

Sorry To This Man: An Awards Season wrap
Parasite winning Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards was the most-tweeted-about moment during the Monday afternoon broadcast, with Eminem’s inexplicable performance of ‘Lose Yourself’ claiming, aptly enough, the top social moment on Facebook.

Director Bong was also the most-tweeted-about celebrity of the evening, with Parasite also claiming the honour of being the most tweeted about film overall; Natalie Portman’s embroidered cape featuring the names of all the female filmmakers omitted from the Best Director category on the red carpet was also the most tweeted about haute take.

All of which is to say that Parasite’s victory, and the almost year-long press tour that preceded it, has provided one of the only good news stories to surface in recent memory, as encapsulated by these two edits – one for the director’s translator, Sharon Choi (herself a filmmaker; ed. note: my personal favourite), and one for the man of the hour himself. Until next year.

This edition of the Tune-Up comes courtesy of Dean Billman.