FB & Ecommerce

For all the focus on Facebook selling dodgy politics to people, we see smart brands using the platforms ability to target people with products they may well want. This is the holy grail of marketing and it’s just as good for people as it is for the brands and the media platforms.

Now some people are selling less desirable products - as this post about the scammers reveals - and better regulation of this is much needed. Facebook have reacted to recent events with some changes to how their systems work; no more access to third party data from people like Axiom and more subtle changes to how custom audiences work.


Digital Native Vertical Brands thrive on Facebook but there is more to the best businesses than just smart customer acquisition. We think fashion is one of the most interesting sectors and this VC view supports that. Another VC firm believes that identifying and alleviating friction is the true measure of potential when predicting which firms will win. And expanding into a physical retail store is becoming pretty standard. Getting the right sort of store is key - many take pop ups shops in secondary locations whilst the smart brands look for areas that have exactly the right traffic. On our last NY trip we stayed by the HighLine and the Warby Parker store there was full every time we went past.

Our favorite UK DNVB is Form&Thread who have experimented with pop up shops and will move into the prestigious Coal Drops Yard development in Kings Cross when it opens in October.

The potential for these brands is underlined by the news that Gwyneth Paltrows’ Goop has raised $50m


Less than 2 months to go and still no-one really knows what GDPR means for each part of the ad value chain. So the most popular strategy is to try and get someone else to deal with it; let them take the risk. We have seen brands decide the risk is too high so ask their agencies to indemnify them. We have heard of agencies looking at the quotes for indemnity insurance and decide to avoid risk by just buying ads from GAFA.

Google want publishers to collect consent on their behalf - acting as a co-controller of data alongside each publisher. Our friends at PageFair see some problems with this approach.

Publishers strong relationships with their readers puts them in a strong position to gather - and manage - consent. And recent initiatives like that of the Telegraph and the Guardian mean they are strengthening their hand. But the value of this consent makes it attractive to everyone else - hence the Google interest and that of Agencies.

GroupM were reported to be asking publishers to sign contracts which protects GroupM from GDPR risks and seemed to make the data available to GroupM. But there was a swift rebuttal for GroupM.

The massive scope of GDPR, coupled with the opacity, is costing everyone lots of money as people struggle to rethink their process and adapt their tech accordingly

Wired make the point that GDPR will change the web everywhere and with the concerns highlighted by the Cambridge Analytica debacle we think people are going to be more cautious about the data they share. When I requested and read my Facebook data I was surprised by how many apps i had given permission to and amazed to see dozens of advertisers, many of which i had never heard of, have my details. A Guardian piece going into exactly what both Google and Facebook hold shocks lots of people too. Doc Searls has been pushing for VRM - where people control their own data - for some time and argues that all the publishers who are covering the Cambridge Analytica story are equally culpable when it comes to using data to sell advertising

When asked for GPPR consent, people are going to be more circumspect. But there are real benefits to sharing data as this look at data portability makes clear.

So don’t delete Facebook. Profit from it.

AdTech Tax

There are now Four Horsemen of the Digital Ad Apocalypse. Along with Adfraud Transparency and Brand Safety the idea of a Tech tax is now getting attention. WARC make the claim that less than a third of brand spend on programmatic actually makes it to the publisher.

Which sounds like a problem, except it ignores the fact that the raw material of programmatic is more than publisher inventory. Without the auction process, the data for targeting and the tools for tracking and attribution, the whole thing collapses. Obviously dealing with ad fraud and brand safety are important and merit investment. And transparency is clouded by the complexity and uncertainty where the money ends up.

But a smart Fix friend from Essence dismantles the argument over the tech spend being excessive, making the case that most of the spend is justified by the results. Well worth reading.


Much of the data for the WARC claim comes from new Ad Spend reports from Zenith and Magna. These have some good insight - with Magna pointing out the imminent demise of banners

And they demonstrate the decline in TV spend which is starting to match the decline in TV viewing. With 8 consecutive quarters down, this is a recession and Magna see it as permanent.

Some other commentators call out the rise in TV spend from online brands (very evident in the UK where they are now the biggest spending sector). But this increase merely masks the size of the decline in spend from traditional TV advertisers who now see real value in OTT video. TV is still a valuable media opportunity but the share of spend is being rebalanced and eventually we are convinced TV will need to be repriced.


It’s Easter and we want to share our optimism. The fuss over data and the onset of GDPR will mean signals are a little more elusive but focusing on them will continue to unlock great opportunities for brands.Those with first party data can build a powerful dialogue with their customers and readers, that brands can be part of, as long as they add value.

So going forward it will be about quality rather than quantity. Smart thinking will trump throwing money at the wall. We will stop treating customers as strangers. The value of great creative will be recognised as the most powerful asset in optimising a media plan. And measuring success against real business objectives will prevail over eyeballs and clicks.

Some things to think about;

Rich immersive ads are feasible on mobile and desktop. Our friends at Responsive create amazing ads that are truly cross platform

Context is key and tailoring messages is so effective - read what Diageo say about our friends at Spirable

Getting the customer journey right is still a huge challenge in mobile but as this survey of the top mobile sites shows, some do get it right

And the really big opportunity is still blending TV with a mobile experience. We are waiting for someone to use TV to invite viewers to a part two on the mobile. Some brands are recognising that most TV viewers have a second screen right by their side.

Get this stuff right and you have huge competitive advantage. We are happy to help.

Quick Reads

A top Facebook exec acknowledges that they need ways to verify real news. And a project is underway to quality score news. This would be a big play for advertising too - imagine being able to specify that your ads always appeared in quality news environment by mandating a certain quality score

Influencers are so last year -says the FT

The legendary founder of Atlantic Records explained his business model as Walking slowly and hoping you bump into a genius. It worked pretty well with Ray Charles, Aretha, Otis, Cream and many more. Now Warner Brothers (who bought Atlantic) are turning to machine learning. And an ex baker is now teaching the music industry how to do modern marketing.

The smart people at Infectious know more about Programmatic than just about anyone and have some good new thinking on measurement.

We are taking next week off for Easter, so Fix will be back on April 13. Enjoy the chocolate.

Fix is my thinking rather than that of MediaKitchen. We now have over 5600 subscribers across Google, Facebook, Snap, Yahoo etc as well as many VCs, Brands and Agencies.

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