Whatever buzzword you use, the idea of an enhanced reality is getting closer very quickly. Samsung Gear headset has 1 million monthly active users according to Oculus – the Facebook division focused on this space. They find that users like video content and are pushing new content on their interface as – like every other medium – discovery is proving a challenge. Whilst the Oculus story has been all about the full headset and the (expensive) powerful PC needed to make the most of that experience, they have a lot of entry level content too.
Google have been making their focus the entry level too and their Cardboard is finally available outside the US at just £15. If you don’t have one we recommend making the investment – as well as the Google content that works on a fun level (some YouTube, StreetView etc) there is lots of content to enjoy.
Whilst we do believe that VR etc is going to be big, we see two markets. One is high end with expensive kit but probably not much bigger than the market for PS4 and xBox. The second is a much larger market where people use their phone with a simple viewer ( carried around just like headphones ) to enjoy content that ranges from 360 videos up to the films developed for Sundance. We think of it like the gaming market – some people buy xBox games for their console and others enjoy mobile games on their smartphone. And bandwidth constraints work in a similar way too.
Much is made of the way Management Consultancies are parking their tanks on the Ad Holding Company lawns, but there are other insurgents too.
Adobe used to be the people who made Photoshop, but read one of their annual reports and they sound like WPP. With investments across the digital marketing ecology they are now a major partner to many big brands, doing what would once have been an Agencys’ remit.
The latest Adobe product goes back to their creative roots in some ways and enters a very hot market. Their Dynamic Content Optimization enables brands to develop ad creative that is informed by data points. Seeing is believing, but with their background in Creative Tools one would expect this to be a credible competitor for tools like Celtra and Cablato. The key issue though is how well the tool works with the rest of the adtech plumbing – being able to blend creative and data is only really useful when it can be easily deployed through ad serving. Will the Adobe tool play nicely outside of the Adobe tech stack or does it require a total commitment?
Another huge business expanding into Marketing is Salesforce. Used by a huge number of big brands they see advertising as a natural fit with their other services and a new partnership with Google means they can use their clients data to drive media buys. Their insight into the details of their clients business, makes them a formidable new competitor for media agencies.
One more indicator of how software is melting the barrier between disciplines is how some big companies are investing in startups to reinvigorate their business. UnderArmour was one of the first to see that it could rethink its’ business and its’ relationship with customers and bought the MapMyFitness app. Spending $150m to buy 20m registered users is a neat way of building a modern CRM platform - $7.50 per user is not a bad acquisition cost. Lots of other lower profile deals have followed.
As this area gets more regulated it’s getting harder for brands and probably for influencers. The latest of the Digiday Confessions looks at how agencies have over invested in Influencers – with some real horror stories.
The next generation of influencers are probably going to be a little more savvy – especially as YouTube put some of them through a Bootcamp. Google, Instagram Twitter and Snapchat all need to nurture these influencers – their talent essentially - as they draw audience. In some ways this is a parallel to how Apple and Google nurture their developers – thinking how best to retain their attention and efforts. Enabling them to monetise their talent is a key aspect (which is why we think Apple will eventually get involved in advertising ) and we wonder whether the new Facebook tool for Branded Content is to give them better visibility of who is doing what.
And Amazon is stepping into the space with a new service that lets any content creator add their video to Amazon – with a range of options to monetise. Another option for influencers and also for more traditional talent used to struggling with the closed distribution of TV and Film.
Video & TV
The piece mentioned above on the YouTube Bootcamp also gets into how influencers are seen by traditional TV and it seems there is still a divide. But whilst the talent may be a bit of a mystery, the hunger to take money off TV is crystal clear to all the TV companies. So the attempt by Daniel Alegre – who is head of Google partnerships –to build bridges with broadcasters seems like a tough role. He talks about building the future of TV together , with examples around discovery and monetisation – and the way companies like Globo are using DoubleClick tools to serve ads in cross screen content.
It is inevitable that – eventually – GAFA will get into TV properly. This is a good look at some of the various attempts and surmises that the issue remains the cost of the content. GAFA are being asked to pay more than traditional broadcaster and they see this as too high. The fear of well funded aggressive new players scares the industry. The whole industry is in flux – as well as eyeballs migrating to mobile so too is (some) money. And now the US networks are starting to reduce the number of ads in programmes. Whilst this may be good news for viewers, it’s not great for the networks as they need to persuade advertisers to pay more – or pay different.
Maybe we are back with the influencers – what can we learn from smart brand integration on YouTube and Vine and would similar models work on ITV and NBC? We have covered product placement before and it seems a promising opportunity, if done well.
Fresh & Frozen Content
In the frenzy to get more video in front of more people, Periscope are to let people save their content within Periscope rather than having to upload it to YouTube. With new search tools and the ability to stream from a drone they are looking to establish themselves as a player, but their only real advantage has been their distribution on Twitter. Could the ability to find and watch Frozen content - just as good as fresh but more convenient – be a winner for Periscope? Having the reach of Twitter on tap is a great asset – especially if they were to make it harder to share other video formats.
Changes too from Facebook where Live doesn’t have to be live. People are realising that there is no rule stipulating live content and some are using the new tools to launch pre shot content at a specific time. Sounds a lot like TV.
One big advantage of Live is the ability to tell people about it – but that can quickly become spam like. But if you have good Fresh content at a specific time, we have long thought the shareability of Facebook would make it a wonderful format.
Surprisingly few traditional production companies have shown any interest but Agency DigitasLBI is stepping up with a live morning show, that appears in a brands Feed. Sounds interesting, but it all depends on the brands that decide to get involved – and write the cheque.
A detailed description of the problems facing Tidal – seems that like us, lots of people signed up for the free trial so they could get the Kanye album, but the vast majority walked once it showed up on Spotify etc.
Google have a new keyboard app for the iPhone where you can search from the keyboard and easily drop search results into the message. A smart service and a good way for Google to protect their position within iOS
Finally, about the time you are reading, this we will kick off our breakfast on Making Mobile Ads Better. This quote from a great interview with US journalist Walt Mossberg captures one of the problems quite well;
But we were seated next to the head of this advertising company, who said to me something like, "Well, I really always liked AllThingsD and in your first week I think Recode's produced some really interesting stuff." And I said, "Great, so you're going to advertise there, right? Or place ads there." And he said, "Well, let me just tell you the truth. We're going to place ads there for a little bit, we're going to drop cookies, we're going to figure out who your readers are, we're going to find out
what other websites they go to that are way cheaper than your website and then we're gonna pull our ads from your website and move them there."
We’ll report back next week on what we learn
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