What you need to know in advertising today

Michael Seto PhotographyAmazon founder Jeff Bezos

According to new data from advertising agency Merkle, Amazon has ramped up the number of Google search ads it buys to drive traffic to its website during the holidays this year.

While the jump in ad spend isn’t surprising during the advertising-heavy fourth quarter of the year, the timing of Amazon’s ad spend is intriguing.

Merkle tracked Amazon’s ad spend during Cyber Weekend and found that the e-commerce giant upped its Google search ads “significantly” during the week of Thanksgiving. The agency said that while Amazon usually aggressively floods Google with search ads during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon’s highest ad spend doesn’t typically kick in until December.

Click here to read more about Merkle’s findings.

In other news:

Facebook is betting that shows with cult followings like ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ can juice up Facebook Watch and bring in millennial viewers. Facebook has inked a deal with 20th Century Fox to distribute all seasons of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” and “Firefly” on Facebook Watch.

Verizon’s Oath unit is exploring new business models outside of advertising, including subscriptions to HuffPost and Yahoo Sports, reports The Wall Street Journal. Oath has reportedly missed revenue targets for digital ads and hopes the new models will give users ways to make purchases through its sites.

Nexstar Media Group is nearing a deal to buy Tribune Media for $US4.1 billion. The deal would make the combined company the biggest regional US TV station operator.

Facebook is quietly developing ‘soft robotics’ — flexible robots that move and act like living organisms. Soft robotics is an experimental field of robotics that draws inspiration from biology, from lizard tongues to octopuses.

New reports from two major ad-buying firms tell different stories about where the advertising industry will shake out this year, according to AdExchanger. Magna Global reports that global advertising is on track to increase 7.2% in 2018 to $US552 billion. GroupM, meanwhile, has lowered its growth forecast for this year from 4.5% to 4.3%, reaching $US543 billion.

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