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Mobile Fix - July 14

Creative

 

Whilst there are lots of problems around digital advertising, we shouldn’t forget that some people are doing it pretty well. We believe the best way to optimise a digital media plan is to have good creative, that is informed and enhanced by the data available on the audience and the context.

 

And the good creative often takes advantage of the inherent features and benefits of mobile. Increasingly this creative work is made by the publisher or the platform, as they better understand what is possible. So it’s no real surprise that mobile first companies are leaders in creative.

 

Take a look at the latest showcase from Weve – best viewed on a mobile device

 

Our friends at Adludio do a great job with mobile formats that drive real engagement and their model of selling engagement is ahead of its time.

 

Shazam have been around longer than most and they do some fantastic work – as do Waze, where the formats are perfect for the user experience.

 

And Shazam are one of the best options for weaving together offline and online.

Coke have used them in their TV campaigns to deliver mobile coupons. As visual recognition tools turn cameras into smart sensors we will see more weaving; Why would you run an outdoor ad for an app with an Appstore and Google Play logo, when you could use a QR code?

 

The kings of the QR, Snap have integrated Shazam into their app, so holding your finger against the screen identifies the music playing around you. Could the next version mean Snap can be used as a tool to weave TV ads and mobile together?

 

How tech improves creative is a big question. A Nordics based company doesn’t use HTML5 as it argues that the tech isn’t that well suited to building ads and this is a good showcase of what’s possible. One other (huge) benefit is they are really quick to load.

 

Another story on tech and creative we saw this week is less convincing - at least to me. Of all the possibilities of AI is writing ads a good place to start? This campaign has IBMs Watson writing ads for a Toyota campaign.

 

Given that financial results articles have been written by robots for some time now this smacks of a PR story rather than a real step forward. Especially given the car is feted as futuristic. It would be more convincing if AI was writing Adwords headlines and we could measure the effectiveness. Yet so many brands have search ads written by their media buyers and they never change them.

 

The real measure of good creative is that it works - either against brand metrics or performance ones. And if it works well, it has improved the ROI of the media spend. Good creative creates great value.

 

GAFA, Content & Deals

 

The annual Sun Valley conference – where media and tech tycoons congregate away from the glare of publicity – is imminent. After last years event, all the talk was of the ATT Time Warner deal – still waiting approval – from a government that hates Time Warners CNN channel. But that mega deal hasn’t triggered the expected bonanza for investment bank and other dealmakers.

 

Variety think some are waiting for GAFA to go on a spending spree but sees others are looking at the Netflix model of building your own slate of content.

 

There is a need to do something as the Apple market share for movie rentals and sales through iTunes has halved over recent years. We keep arguing that access to premium content is an Anchor that keeps you in the franchise. Just like few ever leave Sky, imagine that choosing an Android phone would deny you (easy) access to your favourite TV shows or films.

 

One deal that is being discussed is Amazon getting involved with Dish - a US network (originally through satellites) that has tried to get into bed with both Sprint and TMobile in the past. The general view seems to be that some form of partnership is likely and this article is a good read on the possible benefits to Amazon.

 

Remember Amazon has an impressive track record with connectivity. When the Kindle was launched they negotiated free 3G data in most countries around the world

 

(One factor that is an influence on these deals is net neutrality – at its most simplistic the idea that the networks should not choose which traffic gets priority. Following the day of action this is a good take on all the issues – for and against)

 

Publishers Unite

 

As Wall Street ask if we are at Peak duopoly – without answering their own questions, they point up the threat from Oath and Amazon - Publishers are starting to fight back.

 

In the US a collection of 2000 publishers has asked the government for permission to negotiate collectively with GAFA; the US rules on cartels usually preclude this sort of joint approach and you could argue this has suited Google and Facebook, as they have done individual deals

 

In France a number of leading publishers are supporting the Gravity Alliance where they will share their data to improve their programmatic offering. The French adtech market is pretty sophisticated and there is much to learn.

 

An initiative to have the leading UK publishers working together and even pooling ad sales has foundered – although some are still talking. With everyone looking to trim costs I was intrigued to see the Tesco at Bromley by Bow has been stocking the print edition of the New York Times. They have clearly spotted a different demographic there than I have.

 

Amazon

 

As buying through Alexa becomes more prominent – and Amazon are heavily incentivising it through deals and discounts – being Amazon Choice becomes really important. L2 found that in most purchases the Choice product was suggested 60% of the time – and usually only 2 products are suggested.

 

Getting to be the Amazon Choice is a little opaque – products you have bought frequently will probably feature, but in a category where you haven’t bought before customer reviews are key.

 

By the way in the US Amazon now has 85m Prime customers.

 

They plan to launch a Guru service to help with IT issues particularly around smart homes. The share price of Best Buy, who have the GeekSquad doing similar things, dropped by 8%.

 

Agencies

 

As every big pitch now seems to be won by a new model agency, it’s good to hear more about Hearts & Science who arguably kicked off this trend when they won the P&G business in the US. Their emphasis on CRM makes such good sense in a world where 1st party data can be a competitive advantage.

 

Starting with a blank sheet of paper is an advantage though and a good piece by (my former boss) Nick Emery of Mindshare prompted lots of conversations this week. His arguments for new operating models make good sense and as one experienced commentator put it If he can’t effect change no-one can.

 

Whether he is allowed to make too much change depends on WPP and following a round of downgrades none of the holding companies have much wiggle room.

 

There are lots of interesting things going in smaller agencies. The smart people at Adaptive aren’t really an agency but solve problems for clients, which is essentially what agencies are hired to do. In their manifesto they describe the wider set of tools and skills they use

           

RGA are more clearly a part of the ad world (being owned by Interpublic) but would also argue they aren’t really an agency. Their long piece on reshaping Adland is an essential read. They pose an interesting question;

 

Can the top creative agencies do consulting better than the major consultancies do creative?

 

The news that 20th Century Fox went outside the Agency word for their digital transformation shouldn’t be much of a surprise but their choice of Salesforce probably is. With so many differing firms able to solve problems, Agencies need to get better at defining what they do to add value

 

Measurement & Video

 

When I was a meeja lad, frequency capping was key – how many times should someone see an ad and how should a plan be constructed to meet that target? And crucially how to minimise excessive frequency which wasted money and annoyed people.

 

That simple and sensible discipline never caught on in digital as it was really hard to measure. GroupM are now trying to crack it

 

But then you are faced with how to measure frequency between digital and traditional. Again, back in my old media days chasing the elusive light viewer was key to maximizing cover, so adding some obscure films on Channel 4 would enhance the plan. Now the obvious thing is to take the TV ad and put it in digital platforms to maximise reach. But that’s about judgement, as there is no real data to support the strategy.

 

The whole issue of measuring media is in flux. Having two sets of tools and standards - one for traditional and one for digital - is pointless. The old panel ways of doing things doesn’t really scale for digital and a new system is inevitable.

 

The question is what does that look like and who needs to ‘approve’ it for it to be adopted? The second one is much the easier to answer – the big brands like P&G, Unilever etc want a way to look at their whole budget. If/ when they can find something that meets their needs, it will quickly get traction, as everyone who wants a slice of their budget will fall into line.

 

GAFA therefore are very keen on finding a new measurement that lets their platforms be compared with - lets face it – Telly. The main game is around video and who watches it and for how long.

 

Google hired one of the top people from Channel 4 and have subsequently commissioned research into what a new measurement system might look like. It’s hard to imagine similar work isn’t happening at other Google offices and that Facebook aren’t focused on this either. So, sooner rather than later, someone at GAFA is going to come out with a way to compare digital and traditional video.

 

If that passes muster with P&G et al, it could change the market really quickly.

 

One of the issues that holds the whole industry back is a divide in the data and research community. There are lots of very smart people who get traditional media research but many aren’t that savvy when it comes to digital. And few of those au fait with big data and programmatic really get the old world.

 

An event, that I have had a small role in developing, seeks to remedy this and brings together the smartest form both ‘sides’. With lots of good speakers this should be a useful way to spend a day

 

Quick Reads

 

GroupM guru Rob Norman makes the excellent point that users generate context by choosing to watch or read digital, as it is sought out rather than passively consumed.

 

Spotify seem to be developing own label music. Calling them fake misses the point – and commissioning your own EDM tracks isn’t that different from Amazon producing their own RomComs or even Kanye restricting his album to Tidal. There is another take on this topic here.

 

Nike are starting to sell on Instagram

 

Louis Vuitton take branded utility to a new level with their smart watch that includes content from their excellent City guides

 

Adidas have launched their new app that aims to be a lifestyle tool rather than just a fitness one, with content on food and wellbeing as well as exercise

 

Pinterest are gearing up their ad team with a hire from Google

 

Facebook ads come to Messenger. As they run out of space elsewhere will the ads feel more intrusive?

 

A Consultancy guide to Digital Grocery from the PWC magazine

 

YouTube is still the platform of choice for many video makers

 

The FT digs into the new Ofcom report we mentioned the other week and conclude Trad TV is a turn off for youngsters. Have they not heard the industry wisdom that, at some point in the future, all these kids will settle down and start watching proper telly? C4 had to dig into their cash reserves as ad demand slows.

 

The new tech hub from luxury brand Net a Porter is focused on AI and Mobile

 

Finally a Fix friend confirms my theory last week on Snap filters – his daughter bought one as a birthday present for a friend. Now $6 isn’t a lot of money but the Facebook ARPU is just over $4 and Snap comes in at less than $1. So getting a reasonable number of people to buy a filter could start to add up.

 

And it highlights one of the paradoxical issues about advertising. It’s actually too cheap.

 

Streaming movies online generate around $8k per thousand – so that’s a hell of a lot of ads to sell and why iTunes or Netflix reject ads; an annoying user experience that does not make enough money.

 

Because they can be avoided, no-one wants to pay more. Yet a presence within the movies – as product placement - can’t be missed and is thus reassuringly expensive. Creating ads people want to see is expensive – The Hire from BMW- but can be a good investment? When someone chooses to seek out a Brand video on YouTube, that is incredibly valuable.

 

Good creative is the best way of making the media budget effective.

Creative

Whilst there are lots of problems around digital advertising, we shouldn’t forget that some people are doing it pretty well. We believe the best way to optimise a digital media plan is to have good creative, that is informed and enhanced by the data available on the audience and the context.

And the good creative often takes advantage of the inherent features and benefits of mobile. Increasingly this creative work is made by the publisher or the platform, as they better understand what is possible. So it’s no real surprise that mobile first companies are leaders in creative.

Take a look at the latest showcase from Weve – best viewed on a mobile device

Our friends at Adludio do a great job with mobile formats that drive real engagement and their model of selling engagement is ahead of its time.

And Shazam are one of the best options for weaving together offline and online.

Coke have used them in their TV campaigns to deliver mobile coupons. As visual recognition tools turn cameras into smart sensors we will see more weaving; Why would you run an outdoor ad for an app with an Appstore and Google Play logo, when you could use a QR code?

The kings of the QR, Snap have integrated Shazam into their app, so holding your finger against the screen identifies the music playing around you. Could the next version mean Snap can be used as a tool to weave TV ads and mobile together?

How tech improves creative is a big question. A Nordics based company doesn’t use HTML5 as it argues that the tech isn’t that well suited to building ads and this is a good showcase of what’s possible. One other (huge) benefit is they are really quick to load.

Another story on tech and creative we saw this week is less convincing - at least to me. Of all the possibilities of AI is writing ads a good place to start? This campaign has IBMs Watson writing ads for a Toyota campaign.

Given that financial results articles have been written by robots for some time now this smacks of a PR story rather than a real step forward. Especially given the car is feted as futuristic. It would be more convincing if AI was writing Adwords headlines and we could measure the effectiveness. Yet so many brands have search ads written by their media buyers and they never change them.

The real measure of good creative is that it works - either against brand metrics or performance ones. And if it works well, it has improved the ROI of the media spend. Good creative creates great value.

GAFA, Content & Deals

The annual Sun Valley conference – where media and tech tycoons congregate away from the glare of publicity – is imminent. After last years event, all the talk was of the ATT Time Warner deal – still waiting approval – from a government that hates Time Warners CNN channel. But that mega deal hasn’t triggered the expected bonanza for investment bank and other dealmakers.

Variety think some are waiting for GAFA to go on a spending spree but sees others are looking at the Netflix model of building your own slate of content.

There is a need to do something as the Apple market share for movie rentals and sales through iTunes has halved over recent years. We keep arguing that access to premium content is an Anchor that keeps you in the franchise. Just like few ever leave Sky, imagine that choosing an Android phone would deny you (easy) access to your favourite TV shows or films.

One deal that is being discussed is Amazon getting involved with Dish - a US network (originally through satellites) that has tried to get into bed with both Sprint and TMobile in the past. The general view seems to be that some form of partnership is likely and this article is a good read on the possible benefits to Amazon.

Remember Amazon has an impressive track record with connectivity. When the Kindle was launched they negotiated free 3G data in most countries around the world

(One factor that is an influence on these deals is net neutrality – at its most simplistic the idea that the networks should not choose which traffic gets priority. Following the day of action this is a good take on all the issues – for and against)

Publishers Unite

As Wall Street ask if we are at Peak duopoly – without answering their own questions, they point up the threat from Oath and Amazon - Publishers are starting to fight back.

In the US a collection of 2000 publishers has asked the government for permission to negotiate collectively with GAFA; the US rules on cartels usually preclude this sort of joint approach and you could argue this has suited Google and Facebook, as they have done individual deals

In France a number of leading publishers are supporting the Gravity Alliance where they will share their data to improve their programmatic offering. The French adtech market is pretty sophisticated and there is much to learn.

An initiative to have the leading UK publishers working together and even pooling ad sales has foundered – although some are still talking. With everyone looking to trim costs I was intrigued to see the Tesco at Bromley by Bow has been stocking the print edition of the New York Times. They have clearly spotted a different demographic there than I have.

Amazon

As buying through Alexa becomes more prominent – and Amazon are heavily incentivising it through deals and discounts – being Amazon Choice becomes really important. L2 found that in most purchases the Choice product was suggested 60% of the time – and usually only 2 products are suggested.

Getting to be the Amazon Choice is a little opaque – products you have bought frequently will probably feature, but in a category where you haven’t bought before customer reviews are key.

They plan to launch a Guru service to help with IT issues particularly around smart homes. The share price of Best Buy, who have the GeekSquad doing similar things, dropped by 8%.

Agencies

As every big pitch now seems to be won by a new model agency, it’s good to hear more about Hearts & Science who arguably kicked off this trend when they won the P&G business in the US. Their emphasis on CRM makes such good sense in a world where 1st party data can be a competitive advantage.

Starting with a blank sheet of paper is an advantage though and a good piece by (my former boss) Nick Emery of Mindshare prompted lots of conversations this week. His arguments for new operating models make good sense and as one experienced commentator put it If he can’t effect change no-one can.

Whether he is allowed to make too much change depends on WPP and following a round of downgrades none of the holding companies have much wiggle room.

There are lots of interesting things going in smaller agencies. The smart people at Adaptive aren’t really an agency but solve problems for clients, which is essentially what agencies are hired to do. In their manifesto they describe the wider set of tools and skills they use

RGA are more clearly a part of the ad world (being owned by Interpublic) but would also argue they aren’t really an agency. Their long piece on reshaping Adland is an essential read. They pose an interesting question;

Can the top creative agencies do consulting better than the major consultancies do creative?

The news that 20th Century Fox went outside the Agency word for their digital transformation shouldn’t be much of a surprise but their choice of Salesforce probably is. With so many differing firms able to solve problems, Agencies need to get better at defining what they do to add value

Measurement & Video

When I was a meeja lad, frequency capping was key – how many times should someone see an ad and how should a plan be constructed to meet that target? And crucially how to minimise excessive frequency which wasted money and annoyed people.

That simple and sensible discipline never caught on in digital as it was really hard to measure. GroupM are now trying to crack it

But then you are faced with how to measure frequency between digital and traditional. Again, back in my old media days chasing the elusive light viewer was key to maximizing cover, so adding some obscure films on Channel 4 would enhance the plan. Now the obvious thing is to take the TV ad and put it in digital platforms to maximise reach. But that’s about judgement, as there is no real data to support the strategy.

The whole issue of measuring media is in flux. Having two sets of tools and standards - one for traditional and one for digital - is pointless. The old panel ways of doing things doesn’t really scale for digital and a new system is inevitable.

The question is what does that look like and who needs to ‘approve’ it for it to be adopted? The second one is much the easier to answer – the big brands like P&G, Unilever etc want a way to look at their whole budget. If/ when they can find something that meets their needs, it will quickly get traction, as everyone who wants a slice of their budget will fall into line.

GAFA therefore are very keen on finding a new measurement that lets their platforms be compared with - lets face it – Telly. The main game is around video and who watches it and for how long.

Google hired one of the top people from Channel 4 and have subsequently commissioned research into what a new measurement system might look like. It’s hard to imagine similar work isn’t happening at other Google offices and that Facebook aren’t focused on this either. So, sooner rather than later, someone at GAFA is going to come out with a way to compare digital and traditional video.

If that passes muster with P&G et al, it could change the market really quickly.

One of the issues that holds the whole industry back is a divide in the data and research community. There are lots of very smart people who get traditional media research but many aren’t that savvy when it comes to digital. And few of those au fait with big data and programmatic really get the old world.

An event, that I have had a small role in developing, seeks to remedy this and brings together the smartest form both ‘sides’. With lots of good speakers this should be a useful way to spend a day

Quick Reads

GroupM guru Rob Norman makes the excellent point that users generate context by choosing to watch or read digital, as it is sought out rather than passively consumed.

Spotify seem to be developing own label music. Calling them fake misses the point – and commissioning your own EDM tracks isn’t that different from Amazon producing their own RomComs or even Kanye restricting his album to Tidal. There is another take on this topic here.

Louis Vuitton take branded utility to a new level with their smart watch that includes content from their excellent City guides

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