Our comments last week that digital transformation of big businesses often needs significant acquisitions, triggered some interesting conversations. This week we see that Target are out pitching the benefits of their 1st Party Data to advertisers — which they call Roundel whilst their talks to buy WPP Shopper agency Triad continue.
L’Oreal buying a tech firm has paid off with an Amazon partnership where their tech will be integrated into the Amazon site to let people try lipsticks with virtual reality. Every brand we talk with is looking at to maximise their presence on Amazon and this is a big win for L’Oreal.
It’s all about drops and Depop — this great FT article looks at how modern retail emphasises experience. Our friends at AppearHere get a mention and this interview with their CEO is good — he builds on the idea of experience and entertainment, saying retail should be run by showmen.
This long interview with a former retailer talks about how the retail crisis has become a landlord crisis and shares some interesting thinking on how to solve this.
Clearly better managing O2O (Online to Offline) is important and this interview with Fix friend Tim Mason of Eagle Eye (and formerly the Tesco exec behind the Clubcard) is good thinking on omnichannel.
And this is the new Shopify report on the State of Commerce — lots of content but not sure how much real insight there is.
The team at L2 take a good look at how the tech giants are all copying China — and it’s not just Facebook.
It’s slightly odd that a South African firm has such an influence in China but as a major investor in Tencent, Naspers’ views count. They still own over 30% and their initial $32m investment has shown a 60000% return. Despite the bubbling trade war they remain bullish on China
It’s not just China that needs watching — other Asian cities like Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi are also really important and this new FT round up of Asian tech is a good read
Targeting & Privacy
Most of what Apple shared at their Developer event this week was based around Privacy. Their introduction of an Apple sign in to rival the ubiquitous Google and Facebook sign ins is smart — as they can leverage their developer relationships to give it priority — but the way it works torpedoes a lot of adtech.
Much of the internet plumbing revolves around email addresses and the fact most people have just one makes tools like custom audience so powerful. Which is why everyone is now so focused on 1st Party data (including Martin Sorrell) as the usefulness of 3rd party data withers. But the Apple approach is to have users use AppleID rather give an email. Or users get a one off random address that thwarts tracking.
As the tech that enables tracking and targeting erodes (Firefox are now cutting back on tracking too) the usefulness of targeting is being questioned.
A WSJ article suggesting behavioural targeting doesn’t work for publishers has had lots of attention. A few people have added their thoughts and this thread from the former Facebook exec who wrote Chaos Monkeys is a good read. As is this piece highlighting the shortcomings in the data.
This good piece on the issues of surveillance capitalism from a few months back includes this quote;
..buying targeted ads over untargeted ads can be 500% times as expensive [for the marketer, but] in absolute terms the increase in revenues was $0.000008 per advertisement [for the publisher].
I think everyone now acknowledges that things could be done better and with the push towards Privacy from Apple — and now Google and Facebook — means we need a new approach anyway.
How do we design an ecology that works for people, brands and the ‘publishers’? And what role does Apple plan to take? They are active with ad product as we shared last week. I think they will support their developers with a better ad ecology.
The rumours are true and Amazon is to buy the Sizmek Adserver and their dynamic creative optimization (DCO) tech. This is a big deal as it goes Amazon the full set of Adtech and lets them go head to head with Google and Facebook.
In their latest earnings call their CFO said;
I would say really what we’re focused on right now is driving relevancy, ensuring that we service the most useful ad as possible. I think that’s going to be the best experience for customers and also for advertisers.
Combining this well rated tech with all the insight Amazon has on customers and their buying habits is a heady mixture. And their new attribution tools are impressive too.
The US upfront market where agencies and brands lay down money with the big broadcasters is proving lively this year. Despite flat or declining audiences, as eyeballs migrate to newTV and online, the broadcasters are looking for bullish increases in CPMs. Demand is high — especially with new entrants from digital and DTC wanting to buy TV — and last year CPM inflation was around 10%. This year 18% is being asked for — but that will be beaten down.
A rising tide floats all boats so the implications for newTV are good. We have not heard much about Amazon FreeDive on IMDB but we guess it helps Jeffrey Katzenberg gets closer to launch with Quibi. They have high subscriber targets but also see advertising as very important.
The recent PWC study on Voice assistants has lots of good data — and whilst it is US focused the learning seems applicable to the UK too. Trust is growing as people create habits — especially with Smart Speakers — but as this WSJ article shows it can be frustrating that some Assistants are better at different things. With all these new technologies, familiarity is the best marketing. So no surprise that Amazon are partnering with Landlords and Property Management firms to have Alexa installed in lots of apartments — and have them used to manage their new (smart) home.
As the use of Assistants grows, the ways of using Voice are growing too. At our VC event in April we had Blutag talk about the work they were doing with retailers to add Voice as a shopping option. Another firm in this space Voicesell has just raised $4m in funding.
Whats your Voice / Audio strategy?
We have looked before at the way Trump used digital (and Cambridge Analytics) to campaign and this new story on how his team are already very active for 2020 is really interesting. They are spending huge amounts now to get to the people they need early — prescient that the cost of reaching people with political ads will only go up.
And they understand the value of 1st party data;
“We try to harvest and bring people in to become direct contacts. Cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, things that we can have direct contact. A good candidate might have four to five million by Election Day. We’ll probably 40, 50, 60 million. [For context; 138 million people voted in 2016, including 63 million for Trump]. We might possibly have everybody that could vote for the president in a direct contact method by Election Day. That’s what we’re spending this energy doing for this whole time.” — Fox News
There is lots to learn here for any brand — focus on 1st party data and consent — and you can conduct a dialogue in paid and free channels.
(Some provocative thinking from the former CEO of Research In Motion — the Blackberry people — argues data is the new plutonium and that political ads should be banned from using data in this way — I agree)
With the new Apple regime cracking down on location tracking this seems like good timing — and Foursquare has a more compelling argument to track my location that Snap
Some very smart thinking from Sony Pictures — their TV ads for Brightburn feature a QR code that takes you to Fandango to watch a trailer and buy tickets. Think of all that 1st party data. And revenue. Remember nearly everyone watching TV has their smartphone to hand.
DMGT results lifted by a 25% jump in revenue from MailOnline — and I think there is still so much potential to improve ad experience there.
IBM Watson has an Ad Builder — you can rapidly craft and deploy intelligent, measurable consumer conversations. Hmmm
How a video went viral — 23 minutes of a Flipchat talk on how to get the best from You Tube — including the essential focus on having subscribers click the bell — so they get notifications of new content.
Global research on fintech adoption by EY — China, India, Russia and South Africa lead the way as payment apps are huge
Wired on why London’s streets are a total nightmare for self-driving cars. It’s never going to happen.
The new GroupM report on UK adspend is interesting — digital growing and TV flatlining.
Analytics Don Avinash Kaushik of Google on understanding the real business impact of a marketing campaign
Delighted to get a mention in the excellent OP newsletter — Darren had mentioned Creativity and he shared my thoughts on the opportunity for a new business model to pay for Creative
Really? Letting people check why they see ads is a good idea — but does it work? I can’t believe that our friends at Unilever are selling ice cream based on politics — but you never know.
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