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Key questions Meta’s ads team must answer as it enters a new era

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Key questions Meta’s ads team must answer as it enters a new era

The exit of Meta’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is undoubtedly a momentous moment in its history, a departure that comes as the social media giant seeks to mold its next incarnation in the metaverse.

In a 14-year run at the highest echelons of Facebook, Sandberg “architected our ads business” according to the company’s founder and chief exec Mark Zuckerberg in a post that reflected the $118 billion-a-year business she helped build.

In recent years, the social network experienced some blows to its reputation in adland amid a broader industry reckoning on consumer privacy and snafus over performance measurement. And that’s not to mention data security and content-curation concerns.

Some believe that such controversies were a key motivator of the timing of the social media giant’s decision to rebrand as Meta in October 2021. Earlier this week, Insider reported that Sandberg’s influence at the top tiers of the company had been waning in recent years, a development that may lead some to ask just what role ads will play as the social media giant seeks to establish a formidable presence in the metaverse.

An ‘indispensable’ platform

Despite its knocks in recent years and unquestionable challenges from rivals such as Tik Tok (plus other media offerings), it’s worth noting that Meta’s advertising empire is still on the rise. Emarketer forecasts that it will generate $167 billion of revenue in 2024, a projection that would see it pocket 22% of all digital ad spend.

Several buy-side sources told Digiday that while Facebook’s scale and trove of first-party data helped ensure that media spend on the platform performed well, brand suitability issues had always been a concern.

Brendan Gahan, partner and chief social officer at Mekanism, told Digiday that while the departure of Sandberg was certainly a blow, the platform will continue to win over advertisers’ budgets. “However, the reality is Meta is (generally) an indispensable ad platform,” he said. “From a performance marketing standpoint, it is still, by and large, the most effective. So long as they continue to deliver results, they’ll keep receiving ad dollars.”

A second source from one of Madison Avenue’s major holding companies, who requested anonymity due to potential client concerns, echoed this opinion but distinguished that brand suitability was always a challenge for Facebook, particularly after the issue escalated in 2020.

“To be honest, I think the Cambridge Analytica stuff kind of got a pass [among advertisers], and while it raised awareness, it was in summer 2020 with the Black Lives Matter movement [in response to the murder of George Floyd] that’s when things really started kicking off,” added the source. “Some brands kind of see [Facebook] a necessary evil.”

Sandberg is due to vacate her role in the fall of 2022, although she will remain on Meta’s board, with a successor on track to be chief growth officer Javier Olivan, an exec who was described to Digiday by several sources as “a product guy” who prefers to keep “a low profile.”

The announcement of Sandberg’s exit comes less than a year after the exit of Carolyn Everson, an exec many also considered as one of the faces of the social networking giant on Madison Avenue.

So, with ongoing historic concerns around brand suitability — not to mention fresh challenges as many ponder “WTF is the metaverse?” — in previous days, some wondered who the face of Meta will be on Madison Avenue?

On that matter, Meta’s vp global business group Nicola Mendelsohn — a British advertising executive who now runs its global business group — appears the most likely candidate. Digiday understands that Facebook execs have been in contact with scaled media buyers in recent days to assure them that it’s business as usual — even if challenges around issues such as Apple’s ATT continue.

‘A language they can understand’

In a conversation with Digiday, Mendelsohn spoke of advertisers’ praise for the ad products that Sandberg helped build, as well as the team she assembled, in recent days.

The fully realized vision for the metaverse is still going to be some five to 10 years off.

Meta’s vp global business group Nicola Mendelsohn

When quizzed on just how advertisers were beginning to appraise the opportunities and challenges the metaverse will pose, she added, “The way we’re thinking about it, the fully realized vision for the metaverse is still going to be some five to 10 years off.”

Although she later went on to highlight that some businesses are already conducting early experiments with augmented reality technologies. “It’s really going to unlock extraordinary opportunities for people for communities, for businesses,” she added.

Several media agency sources noted some degree of confusion over exactly how the metaverse will figure into their media plans with one noting that “it’s going to take a while to get to grips with it”, especially among key executives who have the power to allocate spend.

Meanwhile, Jake Moskowitz, vp data strategy at Emodo (an exec with a history of helping marketers measure brand-uplift on social networks) noted that advertisers should ask themselves a number of questions when evaluating the opportunity of the metaverse:

  • Where are the eyeballs on the metaverse?
  • What the experience and my brand’s share of voice be?
  • Are there any comparable metrics?

“I had direct experience of this when I worked at Nielsen building this product for Facebook,” he said, comparing the upcoming challenges of the metaverse to the early days of the social network when Facebook “Likes” were deemed a key metric.

“You have to prove to them that it moves the needle and not based on your own personal metrics, but based on metrics that people are used to and can relate to,” added Moskowitz, “You just have to give advertisers a language they can understand and some way to compare.”

For Moskowtiz, Facebook’s pivot toward the metaverse has another consideration, one that will differentiate the company’s next 10 years from the last: overcoming the challenges of disintermediation. “We have a lot of players investing in the metaverse,” he said. “A lot of companies are investing in the space, and let’s not assume that Meta is going to dominate those eyeballs.”

— Senior marketing editor Kristina Monllos contributed to this report

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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