Really good read on the DoubleClick acquisition that made Google a dominant player in adtech — and what that means now for anti trust etc. Interestingly they remind us that Microsoft paid $6bn for Aquantive — twice what Doubleclick cost. That worked out well.
WPP/GroupM were poised to do a partnership deal with DoubleClick which got shelved when this deal happened — so they rushed to buy 24/7 Real Media for $650m.
The impact of the Apple privacy policies may have been pushed down the road with the delay of changes to the IDFA but the launch of iOS14 saw the ITP changes kick in on any browser used on the iPhone. It’s not a huge effect as 90%+ of iPhone users choose Safari but it’s another erosion. Lots more good information here.
Whilst the privacy policies make us change our approach, it’s good to remember that bad adtech practices have driven people to protect their privacy. This tool Blacklight will scan any site url and reveal the specific user-tracking technologies on the site — and who’s getting the users data. Hard to defend so much of this.
Whilst many publishers struggle, the Telegraph is making good progress towards their ambition of 1 million subscribers (and 10 million registered users) by 2023. Their latest results show they now have 522k subscribers and ARPU for subscribers is growing. But little detail on ad revenue.
Advertisers strike deal with Facebook and YouTube on harmful content. This was one of the issues P&G were pushing for action on.
“We’d better get the fax machine out” In case you haven’t seen this yet. So funny. And so true.
Axios cover tech well and this podcast with one of their key journalists talking about the opportunities for brands in CTV is a good listen. As the WSJ points out streaming is growing fast — but a problem has migrated from linear — you see the same ads again and again. This is both an adtech issue — the data doesn’t let buyers manage reach and frequency — and a creative issue. Too many brands have only one commercial, when digital media rewards multiple creatives through better targeting allowing for more ‘personalised’ or contextual video. To prosper in newTV you probably need the people who make your Facebook ads rather than the ones who made your TV spots.
Further proof that the new opportunities require a new approach. The world’s top advertiser P&G has given up on the upfronts;
“In our view, it’s just common sense that we go direct to as many as we can, we go when it’s right for our business, that we have a symmetrical exchange of information,” Pritchard said. “That’s good for the whole chain — our brands, the agencies, the providers as well.”
We also see that P&G have expanded their relationship with Flashtalking globally, so essentially all their ad serving is now centralised. With their strong relationship with TradeDesk, what’s the role for their agency now?
It’s not just advertisers that are changing their approach. ITV is changing quickly — their addressable TV plans are moving fast and their data strategy is good — with 1st party data on 32 million people. This is a good introduction to ITV’s first-party data strategy
This Goldman Sachs interview with John Stankey, CEO of AT&T is interesting — especially as he keeps stressing the importance of both subscriptions and advertising — so maybe Xandr isn’t for sale? And he is still bullish on Cinema. Goldman Sachs have also launched a series of podcasts on The Battle for our Screens
Understanding your audience is a key Merchant skill, and I worry that a focus on GenZ is less helpful than it could be. With an age range from 10 to 25 I think it’s less a demographic than a surrogate for mobile natives — this is the generation who have grown up with a mobile phone in their hand.
We covered this in a Poq AppCommerce panel I moderated the other week — with speakers from Snap, Klarna and Quiz. And this GenZ report is interesting — especially as it looks from creator POV — lots on emojis, memes and emerging spaces like Discord, with quotes from MSCHF and 100 Thieves etc.
But real understanding of audience comes from deeper thinking like this build on the HENRY (High Earning Not Rich Yet) group and how Covid may have changed this.
Facebook have lots of insights for the holiday season — they make the point that the growth in ecommerce comes from Gen X and Boomers.
Amazon understand the power of ads on their platform and are denying access to this for competitors — so smart speakers, Roku boxes etc can’t use all the ad options. Some products are not stocked at all. But as Amazon point out, this isn’t unusual in retail;
“News flash: retailers promote their own products and often don’t sell products of competitors,” said Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener in a written statement. “Walmart refuses to sell [Amazon brands] Kindle, Fire TV, and Echo. Shocker. In the Journal’s next story they will uncover gambling in Las Vegas.”
New Media Models
You may have noticed there are a lot newsletters these days. The health of the sector is driving journalists to walk away from their publishers and go it alone; Casey Newton is to leave Verge and Brian Morrissey is leaving Digiday. This NYTimes articles looks at this trend; Journalists Are Leaving the Noisy Internet for Your Email Inbox
The Casey Newton interview has great insight into how Substack tempted him away from what Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes as one of the three most harmful addictions — a monthly salary. (The other two are heroin and carbohydrates)
This is the grown up part of the Creator Economy, which SignalFire explore in this report. As people become used to paying for content, this atomisation feels inevitable but when does the other business model — the rebundling — start?
It’s all about two themes I am really focused on. The 3Cs — Content, Community and Commerce. And Community Based Marketing.
And if you are interested in partnering with us to serve our Fix community, get in touch.
Still lots of noise and little signal around TikTok. A deal has been done and Oracle and Walmart will own a stake in a new US firm. But it’s not clear what stake (20%?) and how much they will pay. Or what they actually own.
Bytedance remain firmly in control — although if you add up the VC firms who are heavily invested with Oracle and Walmart you could probably fudge an argument it is majority US owned.
The rumoured price is $60bn. Snap has a market cap of $36bn. And they have both technology and engineers. And they are global.
But there’s still lots to do. ByteDance have asked China for a licence to export tech ahead of the Trump ban and are seeking an injunction to stop them being thrown out of the appstore this weekend. The move to remove Wechat at the same time was thrown out by a judge, but the White House is appealing. Unsurprisingly downloads of Wechat have surged in the meantime. This NYT piece on Wechat is a good primer on the superapp.
I still believe we will end up close to where we started. TikTok will still be loved by millions of users across the globe and a huge opportunity for brands. And there is a chance to be early on the platform. So we will keep sharing the good creative we find — this week we looked at Gucci and Chipotle. Have you signed up yet?
WARC shared some of the content from our webinar interview with the team behind the spectacular Dettol campaign on TikTok. This is the full interview with Pankaj Duhan of Reckitt Benckiser. And the whole webinar is available there too.
ESPN’s Emmy Offers New Credibility as Sports Docs Keep Coming? I highly recommend Take Us Home on Amazon. But only series 2 has a happy ending.
Finally…. I did a Zoom call with the smart people at Ezoic where we discuss some of the topics that keep popping up in Fix — Death of Cookies, Google antitrust, Facebook and Apple.