Fix/Friday — November 27
Curious times in Adtech. With a slate of IPOs listing there seems to be improved investor confidence in the sector. Pubmatic and DoubleVerify plan to IPO and public adtech firms like TradeDesk, Telaria and Magnite are doing really well. Even Criteo is up. And — sort of related — Salesforce have invested in Appsflyer — valuing them at $2bn.
Given that the worlds most valuable firms — GAFA — are essentially adtech firms, and enjoying boom times, this sort of makes sense.
Except that the atomic structure of digital advertising is all up in the air. It’s a Perfect Storm
GDPR and Californian Privacy legislation are driving thinking on privacy globally. With the IDFA and 3rd party cookies heading for the exit, no-one knows what happens next. Some predict a huge change in the economics — one academic thinks that In a cookieless world, ad prices will be 50–70% lower. You can watch a full presentation by him here — the rest of the session is pretty interesting too.
Has the investment community priced all this in? Does the math still add up? Or is this a case of pessimists hoping to sell to optimists whilst they still can?
There is lots of activity around ID but no consensus and a growing fear that it’s not really in Googles interest to have a universal ID. Google do keep coming up with ideas and their FLOC white paper- still on the bird thing — seems sensible. This idea of cohorts is being looked at by some smart publishers as a way to use their 1st party data — our friends at Permutive are amongst the most knowledgeable about this area. The Washington Post has Zeus focused on this opportunity and their adtech lead talks about this on the same session as our academic friend.
A new paper from Yale supports the theory of cohorts — suggesting that the platforms don’t need individual data as the aggregated data is good enough
One potential problem here is differing taxonomies. If publication A describes a group even slightly differently to publication B that is a problem. The work the IAB is doing on content taxonomy may be helpful here, but if Google is using ML to develop cohorts can a third party standard work?
One UK group thinks that Google should be prevented from rolling out any new technology — a similar approach to the French demanding that Apple not apply their privacy controls. It all seems a bit King Canute.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in our Guild community.
Martin Sorrells Media Monk business has a partnership with Epic to explore automated production. And this week they have won a contract ( along with Publicis) to make all the content that Mondelez need.
The ability to quickly and cheaply produce content enables some great business innovations. Most obviously, you no longer need to treat your customers as strangers — every interaction can be tailored to an individual based on the data you have on that person.
It also enables new businesses like Breezometer — an interesting Israeli start up I was introduced to by a local VC. This team have got the best data set on local weather, air pollution etc but only the rise of personalisation has led people to appreciate the real value here. These are good examples of what can be done.
Google chime in with Rethinking video ads: How effective creatives can be rooted in insights
We have covered the Wonder Woman Will it? Won’t it? Stream debate over the last few weeks and we now know that a compromise has been reached. It will launch in Cinemas over Christmas and will Stream on HBO Max from the same time.
As this NYT article, confirms this is a big deal. There have been other films cited as precedents but Tenet, Mulan and Trolls were not $billion blockbusters. Wonder Woman 1984 is. It was expected to be the big summer film and is a keystone in the DC Comic franchise which Warner Brothers have been building for half a century.
This quote from that article sums up some of the key issues;
“Our hope is that by putting P.V.O.D. into the marketplace, we are improving the economics for the studio and as a result of that there will be more films that will get released theatrically,” said Peter Levinsohn, vice chairman and chief distribution officer for Universal. “The whole goal here is to have more efficiencies in our marketing, keep the films more profitable and stop the films from being sold off to subscription services like Netflix or Amazon.
But these issues are not all Covid related. This article from February shows that the apparent success of films in 2019 obscured the fact fewer and fewer people are going to see films in the cinema.
There are some big issues here and we are organising a series of webinars looking at the newTV and Film industry in January. More details in our deep dive on newTV next Wednesday.
This week’s deep dive was on Merchant and we covered ecommerce adoption and Grocery in depth. Catch up here
I guess most of our merchant subscribers are deep in Black Friday Cyber Monday mode. Take heart from another investment play — people are rolling up Merchant businesses
- particularly those that are third party sellers on Amazon. And remember most Merchant or DTC businesses are Bonsai Brands so selling a few years in can be a great exit.
Our friends at Vida have some fresh thinking on the evolution of business models and their deck on the Direct to Community economy is really interesting. It builds nicely on our 3C thinking; Content, Community & Commerce.
As TikTok continues to wait to hear its fate — another 7 days apparently — the competition is hotting up.
Reels from Instagram is getting some traction with it’s new prominence. Branded content can now run on Reels and Instagram are looking at paying publishers to create content — and thinking through how that affects creators and influencers.
Snap have a new feature called Spotlight where they encourage people to publicly post videos — with a $1 million a day handed to the creators of the best ones. Clearly an attempt to get more TikTok like content, but with the safety net of incentives to keep the quality of the content high. One issue we hear about TikTok is that there is a lot of dodgy content — to be fair this tends to be from light / new users where the algorithm possibly hasn’t quite sussed them yet. Snap have also acquired Voisey — a UK app that lets people add their own vocals to music. Yes that does sound quite like Musicallly, the app TikTok was born from
As the app features blend, what differentiates them? This piece argues that it is about the network, but also making the point that Snap is still all about creation;
The next big thing? Maybe it’s Yubo — a social app out of France that helps people meet other people in chat rooms — and is funded by users making in app purchases to highlight their profile or chat room.
The raw material for all these apps is the users energy and creativity. Snap have a festival for AR creators next month to celebrate this and a new AR partnership with Verizon around 5G. This tweet shows how creative TikTokers can be — taking the Duet feature to a new level.
Advertisers continue to be entranced by these audiences — witness the great quarter Snap just had and the brand count on TikTok — we covered Chipotle and Halloween in the latest TikTokCreative mail. Snap is improving their ad suite with more bid types and objectives.
And these platforms are helped by Facebook having issues with ad load — more evidence for my Peak Ads theory from the WSJ.
Future to buy GoCompare in deal valuing comparison site at £594m — Content & Commerce
Inside A16z’s Media Operations. “A media firm monetized with Venture Capital”
Finally… the New York Times calls out the buzzwords and jargon we all overuse. The Strange Language of Modern Marketing.
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