The clock is ticking down and we are seeing more GDPR influenced initiatives. Facebook are making a deft move to take their non US and Non European users out of the sphere of GDPR influence. If you are using Facebook in Asia, Africa or Latam you will now be under US legislation, as the base switches out of Dublin
We have seen the withdrawal of 3rd party data from Facebook and a new tool will ensure that custom audiences are compliant with GDPR by checking each email address is supported by consent. First party data is going to become even more valuable but care needs to be taken in how it’s collected and managed.
Clearly these changes demand a new approach to advertising on Facebook, and as we see contextual signals take precedence over bought data, our friends at Mporium and Spirable are well positioned. Knowing what was just praised on a big TV show, what a major influencer has just shared, how the air pollution is today in your town and the very latest score are all valuable signals for smart brands if you can deliver a contextual message. Timeliness is an under exploited element in context.
For a very good summary of GDPR and a refreshingly optimistic take listen to this A16Z podcast. There are also some good resources on their site too.
One area that we have always loved is creating content that curates an audience; ie the right content attracts the right people and you can use the resulting first party data to drive a profitable dialogue.
With the rise of OTT there is are more and more opportunities for content and i was particularly interested to hear the new Facebook exec in charge of video talk about Social Content at MIP. Only recently hired from Buzzfeed, where he led their Studio, Matthew Henick is more evidence that Facebook see content as a huge part of their future.
If we are right and the future is about OTT video, with mobile central to the shift, then we will see new formats that leverage the social opportunity. If sports are to migrate successfully to GAFA then they need to add an element to the coverage — as Sky Sports did when they started showing the Premier League. As Henick points out, the Facebook coverage of Baseball is improved by being able to swap comments with friends and other watchers. (btw — there is still one package of Premier League rights unsold and we are convinced they will end up with either Facebook or Amazon)
At our event Sam Landman of Comcast Ventures and Melissa Rosenthal of Cheddar talked about how News works in OTT and subsequently we learned that they are coming to YouTube.
This be everywhere approach is attractive to content creators — as they have seen how relying on a single platform has hurt some of the Facebook focused players. Twitter has a variety of live shows and the market view is positive. Lots of people are testing different formats and this list from last year of original Snapchat shows and channels is good insight.
The format that has had everyone talking over the last year is Norways’ Skam and the news that Facebook are adapting it for the US is no surprise. The new Norwegian show Blank is going to be worth watching too. And what can we learn from China?
Our belief is no one has defined social TV yet — we still haven’t had our Wrench moment And with all the money brands are spending on quick, cheap content that tends to get ignored, we believe there is a huge opportunity for brands to invest more strategically in new formats. The business model is probably a mix of sponsorship, product placement and some adjacent ad inventory. During my time at Mindshare the super smart content people did great projects for clients like Unilever. And I came very close to getting a money focused mid morning show on Channel 5 for Halifax Bank, featuring Howard and a then barely known Martin Lewis.
Now is the time to bring that ambition back.
Our VC event in new York last week got some great feedback. One of the speakers wrote a good article, summarising his talk — which neatly demonstrated the conflation of some of the apparently disparate themes we cover.
NVBD or Direct brands are doing so well because they can combine storytelling with precision data on newTV — letting them treat ads as cost of sale and therefore a profit centre rather than a cost centre. This gives them the advantage of a direct relationship with their customers — and that vital first party data. P&G and the other Goliaths now see this but will take time to pivot. In the meantime the new Davids need to work out how to scale — and we think the opportunities in OTT will be key.
A key theme of the VC speakers is that innovation will come from the big players, once the current round of M&A — to better align content with distribution — is completed The view was that of the Time Warner and AT&T deal goes through Disney and Fox and Fox/ Comcast and Sky will fall into place quite quickly. If the Donald blocks it because of his dislike of CNN, then all bets are off.
It was a privilege to share the platform with Terry Kawaja — rather better to speak before him than afterwards — and he shared some really interesting thinking on this, that he will publish shortly.
NVDBs ( Direct Brands)
Whether you are new to these emerging brands or not this is great state of the nation piece. The space is so much larger than anyone thinks as most people know the top brands and also see 5/10 in their social feeds. But they only see the ones that are relevant to them and the person sat opposite will probably see a completely different set.
The precision raises an interesting question. Is there an optimum size for these brands? The natural question for a brand doing $10m of revenue is how you get to $50m or $100m? This scaling needs a different playbook and your learnings on customer acquisition will no longer serve you that well.
Or should the brands re-orientate around their existing customers and focus on driving more revenue from them? It’s the old Seth Godin maxim — it’s better to find products for your customers than trying to find customers for your products. Or are these brands fashion fads and people will naturally move on to a new brand in the same space?
Either way it’s both a product and a marketing challenge — and a space we are super interested in. In the US Red Antler are the go to firm for start ups needing a brand — their CEO was a guest at our VC event — and this is a good piece on the firm and their work.
The other side of the coin is Experiental — or what we call Brand Cathedrals. This is a good article on the topic and i recently had chance to visit the Samsung store mentioned and it’s very good.
If you dig past all the headlines and bluster about bitcoin prices and blockchain as the answer to everything, there is some real substance to Crypto. The acquisition of Earn by Coinbase is one of the foundational moves in the space. And the Earn model — where people are paid in Bitcoin for tasks such as reading an email from a recruiter — is one of the first real use cases.
Apple music claim 40 million subscribers. Last week Amazon talked of their music subscribers doubling. And Spotify claimed 70m in January.
Snap have added a buy button to their app and with their shoppable AR it’s very clear they want to get performance budgets
And Instagram are poised to launch NameTags — their version of Messenger Codes and SnapCodes. The QR code is back.
Unilever are running ads where a donation is made to charity if the whole video is watched. At DLKW we did the same thing for Triumph Bras in 2001
The latest Jeff Bezos letter to shareholders tells us that Amazon now has over 100m Prime customers. Lots of other good stats and a real insight into how they run the business.A must read.
Sobering look at how your activities throw off data; How Pizza Night Can Cost More in Data Than Dollars
The holy grail in marketing right now is a better way of measuring newTV. With Barb announcing their Dovetail project is delayed until September but YouTube etc are still not covered our friends at Tubular outline what’s needed; apple to apple comparison
Lots of coverage of the demise of Sir Martin Sorrell. This is the best coverage I have seen of his remarkable career. Still think there is a next act for him.
Finally quite a few of you know my wife Deb Khan. She has worked with all the best agencies (such as Mother, Fallon, Dare, Zone, DLKWLowe, Albion, YourFavouriteStory Carat & more) and the smartest brands (including King, Unruly, Cancer Research, OFSTED, Nike Foundation, Arcadia, MoneySupermarket, Orlebar Brown, Annoushka and some of the UK’s’ top Architecture firms) helping people to think & work creatively & making businesses grow.
Essentially Deb designs ways of making people more creative, productive, effective & more valuable.
In between all of that, she and her good friend and business partner Lisa Unwin have written an excellent book on rebooting your career — whether you are returning after a break or simply want to reignite and accelerate your career.
I think it’s great, but I am biased. Luckily Arianna Huffington, Matthew D’Ancona, Sarah Wood and many more, think it is great too.
In a world of #MeToo and Time’s Up, She’s Back. And so are you
You can download the first chapter here — it’s a proof so forgive any typos.
What’s cooking at The Media Kitchen?
This week I have been digging deep into aquaculture for a B2B new business pitch working with one of our sister MDC agencies. I am always very happy to collaborate with smart creative agencies on new business opportunities
Delighted to be attending the excellent Rutberg conference in London next week, where I am moderating a session. Always great learning and good networking. If you are going to be there let’s arrange a coffee.
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