Hello and welcome back to Insider Advertising, your weekly look at the biggest stories and trends affecting Madison Avenue and beyond. I'm Lara O'Reilly, Insider's media and advertising editor. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.
Email marketers have been nervously awaiting Apple's latest software update, iOS 15, which comes with yet more privacy features set to further discombobulate advertisers. Those include a new feature called Mail Privacy Protection, which prevents senders of emails from using tracking pixels, which will make it tricky to monitor open rates. The official countdown is now on: Apple said this week that iOS 15 would begin rolling out Monday.
On to this week's big advertising news:
- TransUnion to acquire Neustar for $3.1 billion
- Tinder CEO Jim Lanzone is the new boss at Yahoo
- EA's CMO wants to broaden gaming's appeal
What's Neu Pussycat
The thematic narrative of the digital advertising industry at the moment is one that's shifting away from the individual targeting of users amid the death of cookies and stricter online-privacy regulation.
So on the face of it, the credit bureau TransUnion's $3.1 billion deal to acquire the data company Neustar goes against the grain.
Matt Spiegel, the executive vice president of marketing solutions and head of TransUnion's media vertical, told me the deal would bolster the company's ability to create identity profiles, help marketers understand their customers, and enable "precision targeting and tools that make that possible on a real-time, on-the-fly basis."
It's an evolution of how TransUnion has long worked with financial-services companies with targeted marketing acquisition campaigns - using credit-score data, for example, to help credit-card companies send direct mail to qualified consumers. Neustar says it gets 2 billion records a month from offline sources like market-research data, loyalty cards, and panels to verify US household data. (Spiegel said that TransUnion didn't use highly regulated credit data in its marketing solutions but that this experience had helped the company keep sensitive data "extremely secure.")
Why should advertisers take notice of this particular acquisition? Matt Barash, the senior vice president of business development at the customer-data platform company Zeotap, told me the Neustar deal ascended TransUnion to pole position in the so-called identity space.
"Over the past two years they've demonstrated an ability to execute on a rollup and now might have the most interesting market position in identity," Barash said of TransUnion. "In a crowded category in the US, they are now leading the conversation."
- Read more: Data giant TransUnion is acquiring marketing firm Neustar for $3 billion. Here are 9 adtech companies transforming how advertisers can zap ads at people and measure whether they work.
Getting in the (Lan)zone
Back in the winter of 2011, Yahoo was in a slump.
CEO Carol Bartz had just been ousted, and speculation was bubbling about who might jump into the hot seat.
Perhaps a media executive like Jim Lanzone, then the president of CBS Interactive?
I recently came across this fun 10-year-old interview with Lanzone, who appeared as a guest on Jason Calacanis' "This Week in Startups" podcast. "I know that they offered you the job, for a fact," Calacanis teased.
Lanzone may not have been the right person for the position then, but 10 years is a long time in media. Yahoo's new owner Apollo Global Management on Friday said it had appointed Lanzone as the new CEO of the storied web brand.
Asked by Calacanis a decade ago about how he'd run Yahoo were he in charge, Lanzone responded: "The first thing is, I think, acceptance of what they actually are."
"They're a freaking portal!" Lanzone said.
He went on to explain that while the word "portal" had become maligned, it's the reason people loved the highly trafficked site - and not necessarily the kind of premium content packages it was pitching to the market at the time.
We'll see whether Lanzone still holds that view when he officially starts in the new role on September 27.
In the meantime... Yahoos are anticipating further management changes. Sources familiar with the matter told Insider that Matt Sanchez, a top product executive across Hearst's magazines and the president of CDS Global, a division of Hearst, had recently left the company to join Yahoo in a senior position, though the exact role couldn't be determined. A Yahoo representative declined to comment; Sanchez couldn't be reached for comment.
In this corner of the newsletter, we're highlighting Insider's latest exclusive CMO interviews.
This week, Insider's senior reporter Tanya Dua caught up with David Tinson, the gaming giant EA's marketing chief. He discussed EA's new creator program, why it's pitching itself as a social platform, and how the company is addressing issues around how the gaming industry as a whole treats women. Here is the full interview.
Gaming has changed a lot in the 20 years you've been at EA. How is the EA of 2021 different from when you started in 2003?
When I started, our audience was probably a couple of hundred million people. Today, it's 3-billion-plus people - approaching half the world's population. We now find ourselves the center of sports, technology, entertainment, and lifestyle, talking to men and women, boys and girls, and people in all corners of the world.
To your point, gaming has become increasingly mainstream. How's that forcing you to change your marketing strategy?
It influences the type of content we create, the messages we're trying to deliver, and ultimately, the experiences we're trying to build. Marketing today is building an end-to-end experience, as opposed to just making a game and creating trailers to market the game. It's about playing, viewing, creating, and sharing.
We're in the money
Some of the biggest nonexecutive salaries Facebook offers are within its marketing department.
Insider took a look at thousands of work-visa applications Facebook filed with the US government over the past year. The disclosures don't include stock grants and aren't necessarily a complete picture of the marketing salaries Facebook offers but nevertheless give a solid insight into the social network's pay scale.
We're seeking nominations for the rising stars of Madison Avenue in 2021; submit your entries by 5 p.m. ET on September 24.
Robinhood's marketing chief, Christina Smedley, is leaving the company after a year - Insider
The Wall Street Journal this week unveiled its "Facebook Files" investigative series that shines a light on flaws at the social network, based on explosive internal documents. The latest dispatch looks at how a 2018 News Feed change meant to boost "meaningful social interactions" - and engagement - instead made the platform "an angrier place." - The Wall Street Journal
Reddit is on pace to double its ad revenue this year to more than $350 million, according to a report citing people familiar with the matter - The Information
The mobile analytics company App Annie has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a securities-fraud investigation - The Verge
Here's how much ads cost on 10 of the biggest streaming TV companies, including HBO Max and Roku - Insider
Won't anyone spare a thought for the targeted ads?! The Association of National Advertisers said in a blog post this week that targeted advertising had been "inaccurately maligned" - MediaPost
See you next week - Lara