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Mobile Fix — October 20


It’s not all about Amazon. WalMart talk of the second mover advantage — which given they have been around rather longer than Amazon is a little odd — but they are investing in their ecommerce site and in deliveries. They are looking at creating an online mall accessed from their site including brands like Lord & Taylor.

The original rival to Amazon was, of course, eBay and they tend to get forgotten about in conversations around ecommerce now. Much of their business is now fixed price rather than auction and most items are new rather than second hand. But eBay is having to invest in marketing to catchup — will it work? Their own projections for the Holiday season have fallen short of expectations so it’s not going to be easy.

For the legions of small sellers on both Amazon and eBay there is a real alternative; shopping in Instagram is taking off as these examples show. Another retail model is working really well; a fashion version of the Avon lady, where LulaRoe sell merchandise to its independent fashion retailers at 50% of the suggested price. These IFRs sell to their friends and family at retail and pocket the diffence. It’s a $2billion business after just 4 years.

Back on the High Street, retail stores are looking to combine their advantages with the benefits of data and tech. We call this the Uberfication of Retail.

Iconic New York Department store Barneys sum this up well;

They hired a Facebook exec — with no retail experience — to drive their change.

Equally iconic London fashion store Browns are going further with their new Store of the Future opening in the East End with the Farfetch tech rolling out over the next few weeks. As one of their staff put it, you will be able to have 95% tech or 100% service from their staff.

We see WiFi as the starting point for a dialogue with customers and we are working with our friends at EagleEye on developing the Uberfication model. If you are a retailer interested in learning more, get in touch. And if you want to see the new Browns store, we are just around the corner so let me know and we can have a coffee.

Adtech woes

Whenever we talk about advertising we focus on the old saying about When you are in a hole, you should stop digging. The P&G Reset went someway towards this but most of the bad behaviour has continued; lots of crappy ads on crappy sites, bought cheaply. But actually worth even less.

Our friends at the IAB have galvanised the industry with their Gold Standard for Digital Advertising. By agreeing to use ads.txt to minimise fraudulent traffic, to make better ads and to support the JICWEBS work on Brand Safety everyone can improve their own results. It’s the right thing to do and it will make you money. What’s not to like?

Things are improving. You Tube has made good progress in removing extremist videos with their AI tech. Adobe are making progress on transparency by insisting all the vendors it works with to disclose all their transaction fees.

The depth of the problem though is well illustrated by a Buzzfeed investigation that finds some people in the ad industry have been profiting from ad fraud with their sites running ads hundreds of times .

It’s not easy to totally avoid fraud because the bad guys are pretty clever, but you should be checking that your money is being spent wisely. If P&G can waste $100m everyone is vulnerable. But you should really be able to see that inventory is ineffective well before you get to that level of spend.

With mobile ads being (generally) annoying the industry is vulnerable to scare stories. Another thing we talk about is If people knew what GAFA knew..

Click here and see what Google has on your past trips. It only works if you are logged into Google and have location history turned on. Sobering isn’t it.

Now, how long before some newspaper with an axe to grind picks up on this story on how you can track someone using mobile ads — if you spend $1000? No matter that there are much easier -and cheaper ways to stalk people

The Guardian has a nice video explaining how they see programmatic can be improved. Well worth a view, as is this interview with their Chief Revenue Officer.


Netflix are upping their investment in content and intend to have half of their content as originals — so creating a reason to keep subscribing as rights owners like Disney remove their content and drive a direct relationship through their own platform.

Much of the Netflix investment is in Anime films and one does start to wonder if all the GAFA money — along with Netflix, Sky and the traditional TV and film money — will keep finding great new content or end up funding average shows. Bruce Springsteen complained of 57 channels and nothing to watch.

The huge choice is great now but with all the extra money, discovery will become a competitive advantage. As an example of that I just found that the BMW content I keep lauding has had a sequel; released last year, The Escape has won a prize.

I don’t know how it was distributed and maybe I just missed it. But it doesn’t seem to have had the fame it deserves — or the fame that level of budget needs to be a financial success. 6 million YouTube views doesn’t seem enough.

Frightful Five

We were perhaps the first to use GAFA — as we liked the link to Gaffer, the northern term for boss and these companies boss the market. So it’s odd to see the Frightful Five moniker emerge as it captures the increased distaste for these huge companies. Ben Evans has a great post showing how they completely over shadow previous tech dynasties like WinTel — which never had that much impact on people and culture.

Barry Dilller is one of the few people to be a big player in old media — TV and Hollywood — and new media — Expedia, Match and the rest of IAC — so his opinions carry weight. And he is convinced that GAFA will be regulated. (In his talk he also makes the point that the money being spent by Netflix etc is chasing a limited pool of talent.)

The BuzzFeed CEO also weighed in with the view that Google and Facebook should share more revenue with the publishers who create the content they monetise.

If you can find the time to watch the full interviews both are worthwhile. One presentation that is really worth watching is Michael Wolf doing his annual take on the industry. His key theme is that there will be a $2 trillion market by 2021 — up by $300 billion from now.

The full deck of charts is here and again well worth spending time with.

Quick Reads

NBC And Snap Partner on New Digital Studio. As few agencies have the skills — or the apparent interest -to create for these new platforms they have do it themselves.

Facebook acquires anonymous teen compliment app tbh. There is a new hot teen app in the US and Facebook has been quick off the mark to buy it.

Influencers are getting younger — now they are big in Toys

Google has a number of different strategies to get involved in TV — including trying to have broadcasters use their tech to insert ads in their streaming services. CBS is their newest partner.

How a client wrestled control of its ad tech stack back from its agencies

Mark Ritson sees the challenges with Voice Search for brands. We see the opportunity for early movers.

Gary Vaynerchick has some good thinking, if you can get past his NooYawker shtick. Here he makes the great point that everyone needs to act like a media company

A Fix friend thinks US Tech Giants are the Vampire Squids of Online Data

Finally I spoke at the Amazon Social Media Summit this week an internal event for the EMEA marketing team. I shared our thinking on Mobile Advertising and ended — as always — with the call that It’s Time to Experiment.

With a nod to our new brand I cited the team at 108 in Copenhagen who hold on to the accolade of the world s best restaurant by constantly experimenting with ingredients, in an attempt to reinvent food.

Our Friend Luke Wroblewski tells us Facebook are testing 54 versions of there mobile navigation.

What experiments are you doing? Would you learn more by doing more?

The Media Kitchen — What’s Cooking

Lots of interesting new business conversations this week. We are talking with a big brand who wants comms planning as his buying agency doesn’t really deliver. A start up buys their own digital but thinks we could help wth strategy and creative. A chain is interested in how we can acquire customers across their 100 local catchment areas. And a new leisure brand wants help on planning their tech stack.

Combining the talent, skills and experience of addictive, The Media Kitchen and KBS Albion give us a formidable set of capabilities — across Strategy, Product and Proposition development, Creative and Media. What could we cook up with you? Lets have a chat

And we are building the team. Our colleagues in New York give great support and drawing upon their expertise and experience is a real advantage. But I want to hire great people here in London. If you are really good at this stuff and want a better stage for your talent, come and talk



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Pattern Recognition / Strategy / Consulting / Creative Thinking from Simon Andrews — Sharing knowledge through our email newsletter Mobile Fix every Friday