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Mobile Fix – October 7

Last week we opened with some of the doom and gloom around digital and advertising. This week this quote from Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook gets us back on the glass half full tip.

We know it works. You know it works. If it’s done properly.

If some brands and some agencies want to stick with the good old ways of doing things, that’s fine. Consumers have moved to mobile. And businesses that have got there, have a real competitive advantage over the laggards and luddites. In the piece about Sandberg some of the latest ad opportunities from Facebook get a mention – including a location driven campaign for Bud Light which got 8.3x return on spend.

Martin Sorrel sounded a little old guard this week when he said a Facebook 3 second view isn’t the same as a 15 or 30 second TV ad. Well no. But a 3 second view that reaches people who live in the catchment area of stores that sell your product may be preferable to 15 seconds reaching people who don’t. A new partnership between Facebook and Comscore will give people better understanding of video viewability and engagement.

A new study looks at the ad industry over the last century and finds it is remarkably stable – always around 1% of GDP – at least in the US. Why is it so stable? The people behind the study think;

“Advertisers have failed to convince the client community of the value of advertising as an investment.”

That sounds very credible. The UKs IPA Effectiveness Award shows that advertising can have a positive effect – but with only a tiny proportion of UK campaigns entered it’s no surprise that CEOs are skeptical when asked to approve ad spend. And the Economist weigh in with their view on Advertising Trust problem. Yet who does spend big on digital? Ecommerce companies who can track sales back to a pretty decent level.

“The reality is that media businesses have lived off the incredible inefficiency of the advertising market for their entire lives. Now it’s becoming efficient, and that makes life harder.”

This interview is a good look at how an iconic news brand is adapting and the news they are moving away from traditional ad formats like banners to a more native approach makes sense. With the IAB shuttering their more intrusive rising stars formats we can expect more publishers to focus on ads that suit their experience and approach. Creating ads that are specific to a site or platform may seem expensive in terms of production (and quite hard work) but if you don’t tailor the creative you risk the media budget being wasted . And as smart brands now improve their ads by using the data available to make them relevant bespoke is the way forward. DoubleClick are pushing their ad creator tools and firms like our friends at Cablato are getting traction.

Hardware

The new Google devices open up more competition between the big players. The Pixel phones are clearly the first real attempt by Google to take on the iPhone. We loved the Nexus but there was never any real volume sold.  This is a good look at the background to the launch and includes Sundar Pichai at the launch.

Launching a mass market, global hardware product is quite different to anything Google have done before and the fact the phone is priced close to the iPhone – when originally Nexus started at around half the price of iPhones - reflects the investment needed to build out the retail support and get Mobile Operators committed.

With Google Home they are very focused on Amazon and the way they plan to leverage the success of Chromecast is interesting

And the evolution of Cardboard into Daydream View shows they are unwilling to concede the VR space to anyone – with the lowest price point. But the fact that only the Pixel will work with Daydream at launch may hinder them. Expectations that other Android phones will support Daydream may founder if HTC and Samsung want to keep pushing their headsets. Samsung underlined their ambitions with the acquisition of an AI assistant from the founders of Siri

AdTech

As Julie Langley said in the ATS keynote we shared last week Advertising is a $600bn market that is only now really changing as (Ad)tech starts to disrupt the space.

Criteo are building out their stack with the acquisition of Hookware – enabling them to go deeper into Product ads on retailer sites. The smart people at SeekingAlpha though, have a pretty gloomy view of ads, when they look at Criteo.

Salesforce reinforce the trend of MarTech buying into Adtech with the purchase of data giant Krux – for up to $750m. Already a key part of the Saleforce ecosystem Krux will operate independently. Learn more about the remarkable ecosystem Salesforce has built with this look at their DreamForce conference – 170k people and U2.

One group that isn’t really benefiting – yet ­­– from adtech are publishers. The Guardian have investigated the ecosystem by buying their own inventory and saw that 70% of the value evaporates along the way. This panel from ATS is worth watching to hear some of the issues –and some possible solutions.

Snapchat have opened up their ad API and therefore join the AdTech world as third parties can now connect with the wealth of data on how Snapchat ads perform. With a/b testing and more sophisticated targeting coming, including sequential ads, brands will have a much better handle on how their ads are doing and what to do to improve them. Tantalisingly it also sounds like brands will be able to use location and weather etc to improve the ads as well as the Snap versions of custom audiences and lookalikes.

Twitter

Not quite AdTech but Salesforce seem to be one of the few companies still interested in buying Twitter. With Google, Apple and Disney all making it very clear they will not be bidding the Twitter share price has tanked.  But with Salesforce shares dropping because of the apparent Twitter interest, they may pass too.

Chris Sacca is/was probably the biggest investor in Twitter and he has come out in favour of someone new taking over, as he is disappointed with their progress.

Search

Sorrell makes the good point this week that Search is still rather more powerful than Social and we find many people aren’t giving it the attention they should. The launch of Apple search within the App Store may change that – it has come up in a number of Agency conversations recently.

The other area of search that merits extra attention is Amazon – as we mentioned last week half of shoppers start by searching Amazon rather than Google. For brands contemplating Christmas, getting more than your fair share of visibility in Amazon search would make sense for anyone that sells through them.

And don’t forget Bing. With Siri taking more prominence now, the search volume – all of which goes to Bing - should grow. Fold in the emerging art of ASO (Appstore Optimisation) and you should probably be spending more time – and more money – on search.   

Quick Reads

Good take on Chinas tech scene – so much to learn from this Galapagos Syndrome

Smart thinking on the future of TV from Fix friend Tom Goodwin

We have mentioned the partnerships between Apple and consultancies. No surprise then, that Google have a similar deal with Accenture.

And Snap are also reinventing the QR code as an ad mechanism, running ads for movies with Snap codes. We tried to persuade Nike to do this almost 10 years ago, when QR codes were cool.

Finally – there is clearly good and bad with both new media and old media. When Facebook want to get people making Live video they use TV. One of the most important lessons I learned at DLKW was how to blend digital with traditional – and when I left in 2006 20% of the Agencies revenue was digital – in a digital market a tenth the size of todays. The only way to win today is to really understand the digital opportunities and to then orchestrate that along with traditional marketing. It’s a mystery why so few Agencies do this.

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