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Scan our expert take on this month’s top digital media headlines. Then, delve into the news you most need to know:

  • Roku, one of the most popular over-the-top (OTT) platforms, is launching Activation Insights, a new tool in its Ad Insights Suite that will analyze a marketer’s linear TV campaign performance and the streaming video audience the campaign may have missed and then suggest where to spend the budget on Roku’s platform to close that gap.

Streaming video gives you control to watch your favorite TV and movies on-demand anywhere and anytime from any Internet-connected device.

Scott Rosenberg, senior vice president-GM of Roku’s platform business said, “By adding the ability to tie advertising performance on linear with a specific audience that advertisers can gain on OTT, we are addressing a longstanding industry challenge for OTT media planning. We believe it’s no longer a question of when advertising budgets will shift to streaming but how much.”

  • Due to Amazon’s partnership with Kohl’s, customers will now be able to return Amazon merchandise at 1,150 Kohl’s locations by this summer.  This is a win for all involved: Amazon gets a more affordable way to handle returns while building its physical presence and combating competitors, Kohl’s gets more foot traffic through its doors, and consumers get an easier Amazon return process.

Another element of the partnership will let Kohl’s sell Amazon electronic devices at 200 store locations as of this summer. If all goes well, Amazon could offer private-label groceries and apparel at Kohl’s in the future.

Gene Munster, a managing partner at Loup Ventures, said, “Amazon is approaching $300 billion in annual sales, and it knows it can only grow so much online. A big brick-and-mortar acquisition is inevitable. If you’re an odds maker, you’d say the probability of [it being] Kohl’s has increased.”

  • Although regulators want to break up Facebook because of its unprecedented size and power, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes his company’s size and power benefit users and the security of democracy.

“If what you care about is democracy and elections, then you want a company like us to invest billions of dollars a year, like we are, in building up really advanced tools to fight election interference,” he said. “Our budget for safety this year is bigger than the whole revenue of our company was when we went public earlier this decade. A lot of that is because we’ve been able to build a successful business that can now support that.”

Viewers will be able to use their iPhone or some Android phones to buy clothes or products shown on TV shows or commercials, and the programmer will get a portion of the sale.

Here’s how it will work: Viewers will aim their phone’s camera at a shoppable link on the screen, which will scan a QR code. Then, when they tap a button, this code will link viewers to an ecommerce site where they can make their purchases.

We will own every point in the purchase funnel,” Josh Feldman, EVP, head of marketing and ad creative at NBCUniversal said. “We’ve had a ton of research showing TV has a huge impact on the bottom of the funnel. This will allow us to prove that out in real time.”

During the 2019 NewsFronts, the publication said its new advertising targeting will give marketers new capabilities to reach their readers contextually, based on their motivations (launching in Q4 this year) or based on article topics they’re viewing (launching next quarter).

“It would have been really weird if, one year ago, two years ago, we’d gone the way the rest of the industry and said, ‘We’re sharing our subscribers’ personal information. We know everything about our subscribers, and we’ll let you pinpoint them as a marketer,’” the Times’ global head of advertising and marketing solutions, Sebastian Tomich, said. “We’ve gone in the opposite direction. And that feels right.”

 “This is a bet for us,” he went on to say. “I think there is an argument, and it’s early to make the fully formed argument, that the industry has course-corrected so far into precision audience targeting that there’s actually diminishing returns, and you can get more, at least for now, if you try a bit of focus on context.”

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