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Mobile Fix - December 2


App Nexus is to IPO and they will become the canary in the coalmine for the rest of the Adtech industry. If the flotation goes well maybe the investment climate for adtech will thaw. But if it has problems, it could make life very difficult for the scores of VC backed firms currently burning through their cash, as they try and differentiate themselves from everyone else on the Luma Landscape. The WSJ summarizes the sectors woes well here

App Nexus is well positioned to prosper as Programmatic grows  - a new Zenith report suggests growth of 31% in 2017. – given their dominance of the market. And these five charts are a good take on the wider perspective of where Programmatic is now and how it is poised to continue to grow in size and influence.


It’s odd that such a fundamental change to how the ad industry works is only really discussed in one half of the industry – the media bit. In our experience the traditional creative agencies are aware of programmatic but few are really engaged.

Our friends at Infectious have a good point of view on how Agencies need to evolve, and they are further along the journey than most. But it has seemed likely for a while that outside forces may reshape the industry. At ATS this year Results International made a compelling case for optimism around ad tech and marketing services citing new buyers from China, Martech (like Salesforce) and the Consultancies.

So the news of Accenture buying Karmarama isn’t too much of a shock. Many service design firms have been gobbled up by consultancies – including Fjord bought by Accenture a few years back.

Karmarama is more digital than most big creative agencies and the deal looks good for both parties. Obviously the challenge is to retain the talent over at least the medium term, but the Fjord buy seems worked pretty well for both parties. As the big 5 Holding Companies shuffle their digital assets – with Sapient merging with Razorfish – the battle is for the attention of the C level at big brands and Accenture have better access than most ad agencies. A City expert thinks the deal is a game changer.

Over at WPP there is quite a lot going on too. Their investment in AppNexus has been helpful  to both sides ( partly through getting their fair share of GroupM spend and cementing their position as market leader). WPPs focus on adtech continues and they now seek to take on the walled gardens with their own data from the new mPlatform. The key to this 2000 strong team is the mID – code that will describe a person based on the range of data sources WPP has – across all devices. Hugely ambitious, but quite how it will play out remains to be seen. Will we see more attempts to harvest first party data like the DonateYourData programme in the Netherlands? This site encourages people to use a plugin to manage their data and the money generated is donated to charity. And Xaxis have the rights to use it.

And new data regulations like GDPR may well make navigating this whole area trickier in the near future.

One commentator sees this as a response to the success of OMD in creating Hearts and Minds to bridge the gap between media and creative. But there isn’t a lot of Mad Men in the GroupM move. Is that the next piece of the jigsaw?


Visiting the Amazon London HQ on Black Friday was a little odd – whilst we half expected to see smoke coming out of server rooms, the retail team were all in Black Tie celebrating their success, slightly in advance.

No figures have been released but the general view is that Amazon won. Some in the US suggest Amazon took half the market on Cyber Monday – up from 36% last year. This piece from Bloomberg suggests their growth continues at some pace.

As well as dominating retail sales, Amazon increasingly takes a significant share of retail advertising through their Sponsored Product Ads and other ad formats. Because they tend to work;

One ad business that can stand up against Amazon is Criteo and they have shared their thoughts on the future of ecommerce. Lots of smart thinking and some good advice.


At our latest Deep Dive session in the learning programme we have developed for one of the Media Agency groups, we had Snap come in and talk about Video.  As well as some astounding stats, they talked about creative a lot – and clearly see themselves as a platform for Creativity.

With 10m daily users in the UK - with 8 million lens and 40m Filters used each day they have the scale to attract brands. And globally they do 10 billion video views – although Adage point out these tend to average 3 seconds. But maybe that’s enough if you design the ad accordingly? There seems to be evidence that they are effective.

As they prepare for their IPO the New York Times thinks they have revolutionized Social Media – they don’t see themselves as social network and talk of themselves as a Camera company. The article is an essential read if you want to understand Snap.

Media owners looking to connect with young audiences continue to gravitate to Snapchat – Elisabeth Murdoch launched Brother exclusively for Snap back in the summer and German News organisation RBB has launched a news service aimed at Teens.

Missing Metric

The key reason that brands and agencies persist with crap ads is that there is no measurement for pissing people off. This Missing Metric holds the industry back and this Adage opinion piece goes through the issues.

The smart people at Essence have data to prove that ads don’t need to be annoying  - and that the annoying ones are no more effective.  We agree with their conclusion;

..we must use all the data and technology at our disposal to make ads as relevant, respectful and effective as we can.

The IAB have some new standards around improving ads which look promising but we really need the ad industry to start saying no.

Publishers should say no to annoying, intrusive ads – yes it’s turning money away but isn’t the user experience for readers more important in the long run?

Media Agencies should say no when a Creative Agency gives them repurposed TV ads or resized Desktop banners. Yes it causes a row, but crap creative means the media budget is wasted.

And Creative Agencies should say no to briefs with too little budget and or too little time. Demand the money and time needed to do effective work.

Yes there is always someone who can do it cheaper and quicker but we have the tools to prove that good creative work makes the media budget work harder.

Quick Reads

GroupM are using their muscle to change how TV is measured. Makes sense as the current measurement is poor

Notifications are the new battleground for news publishers. A great new report from the Reuters Institute

Emoji ads are coming to Messaging. What could possibly go wrong?

The scientists who make Apps addictive. A good read from the Economist

Finally… with smart people like Mark Ritson constantly dissing digital media and digital measurement we liked this response .

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