Whilst GAFA and tech reshape our world, providing people with addictive experiences delivered through their mobile – with some not so good consequences – the business element of this world is still largely driven by big companies spending their ad budgets.
So the ad business is not a bad place from which to observe - and influence – how this brave new world works out.
But the business has so many siren voices, suggesting digital isn’t viable. That all the (valid) issues of viewability, transparency, measurement etc mean brands should stay - King Canute like – doing the old ways of doing things.
As Fix readers know, that’s just not viable. That ship has sailed
New Ofcom data shows that whilst the average amount of TV watched has stayed fairly static over the last decade, it is because the medium has become so much older. Every group below 54 is down and every group above 55 is up;
65+ up 17%. 16 – 24 down 27%. Kids down 23%
This report shows Binge watching has gone mainstream; 40 million people in the UK use iPlayer and Netflix to watch multiple episodes. A good FT piece on the Netflix phenomenon makes the point these new behaviours have an effect on ads;
So the challenge is to work out the new models that meet the needs of the Advertising Trinity. How do brands reach their potential customers in a way that meets peoples need to discovery new interesting products? And continues to reward the talent which creates compelling content to capture the attention of people?
Some brands are finding ways of transferring old media approaches to new media. Mass reach remains intoxicating to many mass market brands and Heineken is switching TV money to Google and Facebook following the shifting attention of big audiences. And behind all those headlines of brands rejecting targeting, the truth is more subtle. Ehrenberg-Bass (the High Priests of Mass Awareness, and the home of Byron Sharp, whose books are like bibles to many marketers and a must read for all of us) say they do advocate targeting; smart targeting. And their view on strong creative makes sense too.
It’s worth taking the time to watch this video on how Coke approach digital. The speaker is a really smart planner who gets both the old world and the new world. And he knows both have their role to play.
Many share our optimism for digital advertising. In a good piece on the current market the Trade desk CEO makes a good point;
GAFA needs Content
To keep selling ads, smartphones and everything else GAFA need to keep peoples attention. And they have seen that the best way to do that is great content - especially if it’s exclusive.
So the early steps, we see now, will quickly grow and change the economics of the content business. Already the fat wallets of Amazon and Netflix disrupt the world of TV and Film. Now Apple are opening their purse too
But one principle we always think about is Collateral Damage – GAFA usually wins over specialists as it has a bigger prize than the revenue from a specific niche. So in pursuit of their own ends they can wound a start up doing well in a particular niche. In food delivery we believe Amazon - and possible Uber - are likely to win as they can make other revenues from the delivery. So Deliveroo and Just Eat could be Collateral Damage. In content they make their money through Prime memberships and the consequent boost in buying through Amazon – so subscriptions are vulnerable and Netflix could be Collateral Damage. And the other bidders – like Sky - for the ATP Tennis were focused on potential ad revenues and maybe some subscription revenue. So Amazon can outbid them. And it’s clear football is next.
“Because of the digitisation, I think what we could see in the next few years is a huge change in the consumption of media. It’s started already. Try to imagine if all the Premier League games were now available, easily accessed by match or by season or by team via Amazon or Netflix. The audience could be much bigger. The single price per client could be lower; the total amount would still be bigger.
Finally, I have a legitimate reason to mention Leeds. This smart quote is from our new owner – who made his fortune in Sports Rights. The streaming of EFL matches abroad is the first step towards a new model.
Netflix is vulnerable too to rights owners removing content from them. Disney is strong enough to make their own streaming work – and having a Disney app on your smart TV or your smartphone (with Chromecast?) solve some of the distribution issues.
As Telcoms companies seek to become the third force in digital advertising, they will have to play in content too as the AT&T purchase of TimeWarner ( and hence HBO) shows – and their CEO is going Hollywood.
Copy Copy Copy
Copying makes good business sense and it is more likely that the spate of me too product comes from good consumer understanding rather than cynically copying the latest arrival into the App Store Top 30.
Lots of rumours about Google trying to buy Snapchat last year for $30bn and now they are developing similar product, building on their AMP technology. StAMP sounds promising and Google need more social elements – but can they win users from FB, Instagram, Snap and the plethora of startups focused on video? Business Insider think Google should still buy Snap but we think it would be smarter - and cheaper - to make Stamp work.
It flows both ways – the new Snap ad tool looks a lot like the Facebook Power editor. That tool now feels dated and in probably in need of a revamp - as so much functionality has been added since it’s first iteration. So copying it is a little surprising but every media buyer in the Snap target audience know Power Editor inside out, so some familiarity is good.
More brands and Agencies are taking Amazon seriously as a media partner, with L’Oreal moving search money to them. It seems spend levels are up 10 / 15 times what they were according to GroupM. Most brands recognise their power as a retail outlets and have a strategy for making the most of the opportunity
New Pew research shows 93% of US adults get news online. Lots of interesting stats in here. The Monday Note people have a typically good analysis of the problems facing News – essentially you cannot sell it for the price it costs to make – and he has some interesting ideas about a Quality Score for news.
Facebook is tweaking its algorithm to favour faster loading content – which should drive more people to use instant Articles and possibly AMP pages will benefit too. We think speed is still underrated by many and the latency caused by slow adtech plumbing will become more of an issue over the next few months
With all the hype about influencers, some problems. It is really easy to fake followers and naïve brands are getting ripped off. But it is a valid strategy when done right and now Facebook will let brands boost posts where the influencer has tagged the brand. An interesting Israeli start up does something similar with influencer posts integrated into publisher articles boosting the reach
Finally….on holiday we tried to use phones less, but looking around you see how addictive they are. This article makes a good analogy with the Tamagotchi craze of a few years ago. And this Ted talk gets into The manipulative tricks tech companies use to capture your attention.
Think back to how we started Fix today. Most of the GAFA purpose is focused on getting ad spend and these addictive ways to seize and hold our attention is the way they do that. I think that (some) people will start to realize this and we will soon see people regulating their time on their phones.
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