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Mobile Fix September 8

Reset

When Mark Pritchard of P&G hit the RESET button in January the whole industry listened. Since then we have seen some positive signs as much of the business attempts to clean house but P&G think there is still a way to go. At next weeks Dmexco Pritchard is expected to score efforts so far – and this adweek article suggests brand safety is one area needing more work

Efforts to clean up the swamp continue – Trade Desk can now scan every impression in real time to guarantee a human is seeing each ad.

 

A Faceboook exec argues that the impact of some of these issues has been overstated - they continue to do really healthy business with CPGs as brands invest where their consumers spend their time. He sees the real growth coming from driving real world metrics like store visits.

 

But the Brands global trade union the WFA has a new report showing that brands are changing how they act in regard to these issues, with lots of action from their members includes restricting exchange buys.

 

New tech like Blockchain is now being explored as a means of brining rigour to the market – with adtech veteran Jim Luttrell launching amino, with support from App Nexus and others. This does look promising but needs adoption from the big players to get real traction and one could argue a significant proportion of the market enjoys a lack of transparency as it suits their business model.

 

A simpler tech innovation is ad.txt from the IAB and this should get adopted more quickly. Its ambition is similar to the Blockchain initiative – make it harder for bad actors to cover their tracks.

 

As these changes take root – largely driven by clients rather than agencies - the FT wonders whether the WPP conglomerate actually ever made sense. Rolling up dozens of specialist agencies maybe doesn’t really help as clients demand horizontality. To illustrate an interesting point on regulation, Stratchery looks at WPP and the changes wrought by the dupopoly. His prediction is really interesting;

 

In truth I expect WPP to continue to lose business to digital agencies structured from day one with the assumption that Google and Facebook are the integrators in the advertising value chain.

 

And one of his former C level execs has interned at Facebook and learned a lot about creativity

Beyond the duopoly

There is a hunger for a third force to emerge that is big enough for agencies and brands to spend a significant proportion of their budget outside of the duopoly.

 

Snap is one contender but the shadow of Instagram copying its ideas is an issue – as is the demographic fit for many brands. The core Snap user is a little young for luxury cars and many drinks companies are loath to risk using it - although that is changing

 

Probably the main contenders are Amazon and Oath. Amazon is helped by the ability to drive sales across the platform and their latest ad sales deck makes interesting reading

 

Oath is coming together and the amalgamation of AOL and Yahoo is taking shape but their CEO seemingly doesn’t want to go head to head with Google (his former employer) and Facebook. He plans to go around them. No, me neither. But this podcast interview is well worth a listen.

Verizon bought Yahoo to build out Oath, with ambitious plans to use all their subscriber data and the WSJ estimates their current share of the US market at 4%. Their new promotion is designed to capture wider data on their customers and they are being quite upfront about the data they capture.

Content

Murdoch won the cricket with a combined broadcast and streaming bid, but the attempt underlines that content is firmly on the Facebook agenda and that they are willing to spend heavily. As the article mentions a big NFL deal comes up at the end of the year.

The economics of GAFA and streaming are hinted at in news of how Amazon intend to monetise their NFL deal - they can sell 2 minutes of ads each hour in the streaming, with the rest sold by whoever is broadcasting each game. These 2 minutes will feature pretty standard ads and everyone will see the same ads for now, with dynamic ads promised in the future. The cleverness is that Amazon will monitor who sees each ad and tell the brand how many viewers then went to the Amazon site and took action.

As we saw with the Facebook comment above, this is gold dust to brands.

In a move full of symbolism, the new Content team at Apple may move into the iconic Culver Studio in Hollywood - firmly declaring their ambitions. In Robert Altmans classic look at the Movie Industry The Player, one of the characters is described as a Comer. That’s Apple.

But they are rethinking their music strategy and have cancelled their London Apple Music Festival after 10 years. Music looks like being the next battle for GAFA as Facebook launch Watch and throw money at music labels to avoid copyright issues when music is used in Facebook videos. This generosity could also help lure labels and artists away from You Tube. BTW we missed the recent update of YouTube but the mobile app is now much better with some smart features like gestures and the AI driven suggestion of what to watch next.

Voice & Audio

Lots going on here. My boys are now thankfully too old for telling bedtime stories but I can see the appeal of Novel Effect, as app that listens to the story being told and interjects with the appropriate sound effect. It is still early days but there is lots to come in this space - this MIT piece gets into detail on what is happening in voice.

Closely related is the burgeoning Podcast space where WPP have made an investment in Gimlets who produce and distribute many podcasts and sell ads in them.

There are already people worrying about voice being hacked as ultrasound can silently send commands to Alexa etc. One area where brands can ready for this opportunity is optimising for voice search with Snippets.

Snap

One of the most sought after sessions at the recent Edinburgh TV festival was Nick Bell, the Snap content chief, being interviewed. The video is an hour long but really interesting. And this press interview is also great insight into how Snap see content.

Influencers

Understanding how to make the most of the influencer space is a big priority for many brands these days. It is clear this is now a valid tactic but navigating the scams and measuring the effect is hard.

A friend has an interesting new business that brings some rigour to the space and makes it easy for anyone to profit from their influence by earning commission when a sale results from their share. As well as the app the tech is great for any brand looking to drive post purchase buzz.

The bad actors are active in this space too - people using AI to drive fake reviews

Quick Reads

Working on another retail workshop - this time for Nike - and looking for good examples on instore tech we see that you can buy a Bucket of KFC in china using facial recognition from Alibaba. Its likely the new iPhone will use similar tech to let people unlock their phone but on Samsung this can be hacked quite easily.

Apple have backtracked on the Blue Bar when apps are using your location – as long as the app has permission to always use location the Bar will not show.

And they spent over $16bn on R&D last year –with the rest of GAFA spending heavily too.

Finally…. a long piece in the New Yorker that looks at the pros and cons of our obsession with mobile – but decides the benefits of being better informed outweigh the negatives

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