The future of digital advertising, through the lens of Verizon-AOL and Facebook Instant Articles

The big news this week on the Verizon-AOL deal and the launch of Facebook’s Instant Articles are both about the future of digital advertising, Ben Thompson says. Facebook is excelling in digital advertising and targeting, but Thompson says the vast majority of publishers are struggling. And when Verizon combines its data on users with AOL’s technology, Verizon will have the ability to track users at a deeper level than what’s been possible before. Ultimately, Thompson says both have an end goal of device-agnostic, user-focused advertising.

+ More on Facebook Instant Articles: An overview of the approaches publishers are taking to Instant Articles (Digiday); Instant Articles will allow a maximum of four ads per article and no ads are allowed “above the fold,” or in the first view of the article (Wall Street Journal); Users can share Instant Articles directly to Twitter and Pinterest (VentureBeat); Instant Articles hints at a social-first publishing world (Adweek); Joshua Benton: Is this a smart adjustment to digital reality, or a surrender by publishers? (Nieman Lab); Amy Webb on why Instant Articles is neither as catastrophic or miraculous as most people think (Medium)

+ More on Verizon-AOL deal: The acquisition could lead to privacy problems as Verizon gains ability to track users more closely (National Journal); AOL CEO Tim Armstrong stands to get $180 million from the deal (Wall Street Journal); Ken Doctor’s takeaways from the deal: It’s all about mobile and data, it’s a relatively small deal, and Verizon is looking to find a way to compete in digital (Capital New York)