Interesting week for Apple - their big event came and went and their stock has stayed fairly static. They didn’t make the big AR play that many expected but as Bloomberg point out it is what’s inside that is the big story. With Apple making their own chips etc their annual R&D spend of $11bn makes sense.
But do people who are willing to spend £1150 on a phone care about AR? Or animated Poo? As the Louis Vuitton of personal tech, many will want the X as a way of demonstrating their wealth. But is it enough? And what about the 8 – do millions of people plan to upgrade to the second best iPhone?
With many features already offered by other handsets – albeit probably executed less well - the door is slightly ajar for competitors. The One Plus and the Essential are getting traction with some influential people. My Pixel has been great and the new one is out soon. Google are rumoured to be buying HTC – who make the Pixel. And we still think Amazon will step up at some point.
Getting people to spend significant money on a new device each year takes all these firms into the fashion/ luxury space. And eventually every brand loses the cool cachet and struggles to get it back. Launching two devices at once is a risk for Apple and it will be interesting to see whether the competition can put up a good fight.
Clean up the swamp
The cream of the Adtech industry made the annual pilgrimage to Cologne for DMexco this week. The big event was P&Gs Mark Pritchard speech where he said the clean up agenda he set at the start of the year was 60% done – and would be 100% by the year-end.
The remaining big issue is what the ads look like – his research shows people are watching under 2 seconds of an ad and P&G are looking for ideas on the next generation of ad formats. He also shared that P&G are investing with Amazon and Alibaba to drive sales on those platforms. And they are thinking about context more.
All good news and the effect on the ecosystem is good for everyone else – as long as people remember to prioritise quality over quantity.
Facebook are setting a higher bar for publishers and only paying ad revenue to those that meet their standards. So all those Macedonian playboys who made a fortune from Trump ads will find things harder.
A former colleague at GroupM gets into how they manage brand safety, and makes the reassuring point that money is now starting to flow towards quality content makers again. There are more and more firms able to help ensure safe campaigns and they are getting traction with brands and agencies.
But there are still problems and this week we saw some fascinating technology that filters out fake inventory from a campaign in real time; often it’s as much as 40% from reputable DSPs and smart Agencies. And with as much as half of all European display now being traded programmatically the scope for fraud is very high.
The complicated nature of the market and tracking is well demonstrated by this piece on the issues with cookie matching. Too few people responsible for investment in this area really understand the details here. And with Safari and Chrome taking steps to limit what can be tracked in the browser, smart new thinking is needed.
The swift Amazonization of Whole Foods seems to have paid off – store visits went up by 25% according to Foursquare data. With substantial price cuts and the addition of Wholefoods product to Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry, the deal looks even better for everyone. So inevitably the conversation moves on to who could be next?
They are quite forward thinking and their newest initiative is small stores that carry no stock but let people try on clothes which can be ordered for home delivery – or same day pick up from the store. With Macys seeing people picking up orders are likely to spend more, this is a smart move. And it echoes Argos success in using a hub and spoke system for stores, so stock is moved from a large store to a small one as orders are made.
Perhaps the ultimate in small stores are Bodegas – cabinets full of suitable items placed in gyms or offices. The app unlocks the display cabinet and cameras record what you take – and you are charged through the app. An interesting concept that probably doesn’t deserve the controversy over its name
We have learned lots about retail preparing for an imminent workshop – and with the work we are doing with a bunch of very smart adtech firms we are well equipped to help anyone in this space. If you are interested in our take on the reinvention of retail - and how to profit from this - get in touch.
One of the most interesting challenges for modern brands is how to take advantage of the shift to Voice. Getting ready for Voice search makes good sense but navigating Alexa etc is more of a challenge,
In the US Home Depot have partnered with Google Home for voice shopping. Really brands need to be ubiquitous so should be available on all these platforms –but a key challenge is how you make your customers aware.
The way Snap measures its audience limits the ability of influencers to make money, so they are absconding to Instagram. And Facebook is looking for ways of extending Instagram Stories directly into the Facebook newsfeed
Finally… Whenever there is a report pointing out issues with digital it seems to get lots of press. Which is right – we need to surface problems so they can be dealt with.
But it is interesting there has been little coverage - yet - of a report suggesting outdated TV advertising is 90% too expensive It’s from academics at UCL and Duke so must have some credibility. Maybe the PR firm didn’t reach the marketing press? Or ThinkBox?
The PR seems to relate to this research, which is rather too dense for me to really understand, so hopefully a simpler explanation is coming. But a debate over the real value of TV advertising, in a world where everyone is second screening, seems due.
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