What you need to know in advertising today

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AT&T

After a few quiet years, 2018 was a big one for advertising and marketing tech.

Seemingly everyone from private-equity firms, agency holding companies, telecoms, and marketing clouds went on acquisition tears, snatching up “mad-tech,” a blend of advertising- and marketing-tech companies. A handful of ad-tech companies either quietly faded or went up for sale.

In the past our list has often highlighted the hottest pre-IPO companies, but given all the activity this year – and a dwindling number of private companies – we’ve now opened it to public and private firms. So on this list, major companies that generate billions of dollars in revenue join startups expecting to make a few million dollars this year.

Here are the 19 most intriguing ad-tech and mar-tech firms of 2018, listed alphabetically.

In other news:

Marketers have begun to apply the lessons of recent years’ disruptions in the space to their personal investments, The Wall Street Journal reports. One example is Lunch Partners, a fund started last year by former Viacom marketing executive Ross Martin, whose group includes marketing veterans from brands including Citigroup, Petco and Hulu.

US Sen. Mark Warner is yet again calling on the FTC to take a close look at the online ad industry. He is asking the agency to scrutinize Google’s dominance of the digital ad industry, saying the company has “minimal” financial incentive to address ad fraud.

How tech companies are fighting fake news with humans. Microsoft and NewsGuard are among the companies today fighting fake news with human oversight and moderation.

The 7 biggest revelations from the huge trove of Facebook emails that leaked last week. The hundreds of pages of documents provide an unprecedented window into Facebook leadership’s approach to competition and growth.

Burger King is forcing customers to go to McDonald’s for one-cent Whoppers. Here are 7 of the weirdest deals and ads in recent fast-food history. Last week, Burger King announced that if customers go within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location, they can order a Whopper for one cent via the revamped Burger King app.