Fresh Meeker

There is an old saying (from Churchill I think) along the lines of sorry for the long letter, I didn’t have time to write a short one. Often very true of Fix, it is increasingly true with Mary Meeker - this years opus comes in at 355 slides.

But as ever, she covers lots of fascinating topics in great depth. We have concentrated on the ad section so far and that chart is updated;

We are seeing an almost mature market with Radio, TV and Internet now just about equal in terms of time spent and money. Only Press and Mobile to go.

Meeker makes much of the Right ad at right time and right place, with some good examples. And all our work with brands and ad tech firms shows this sweet spot is now viable

This is a good summary of the key findings and you can see Meeker deliver the presentation too. Lots more good stuff in here and we will be going deep into China and India, in particular, to see what can be learned.

End of Times for Digital advertising

A new Forrester reports tells us it’s the end of the advertising as we know it. Claiming their report as a bombshell the author pulls together many of the issues with digital ads (terming them the current backlash) and predicts the end of interruptions. Their view is marketers will build branded relationships with consumers using new tools such as Bots, Agents, Alexa etc.

Now we have no intention of paying $499 to read the full report but we think this is an over dramatisation of what smart people in the business already know.

Ads are increasingly in the right place and at the right time and consequently evolving from interruptions to discovery. Many years ago a former colleague used to talk of Ads so good they are a Service and we are getting there.

We used the model of Branded Dialogue for the digital advertising we did at DLKW back in the day and now the ability to use 1st party data reduces the divide between advertising and CRM. One element of inspiration for this was Doc Searls and his Cluetrain Manifesto – especially the opening theses; Markets are Conversations.

New thinking from Searls on Customertech is just as influential; as people use their own tech to mediate their online experience, they can have a more balanced relationship with brands. We talk about the shift from brand Algorithms to My Algorithms and see this as crucial shift.

The tools, techniques and the possibilities are endless. Many brands waste their money on old school bad ads, so the competitive landscape is less of a challenge. It’s a great time to invest in advertising.


One crucial support for better ads is a real understanding of how they work. Brand metrics are important and are starting to be used more and more in digital.

We mention Google Attribution last week and this is a good step forward. Within the announcement, the news that Google are partnering with credit card companies to track offline purchases is really interesting.

As it becomes easier to measure which ads work, so more money flows into these ads and away from ones that don’t work – or can’t be measured.

Modern Programmatic

The plumbing of adtech that allows brands to use data in smart ways continues to evolve and the way brands use it is maturing too. P&G have announced a new model for their investments and this piece look at the details and likely impact.

As and when brands take more responsibility for their data, and the tech needed to exploit it, their relationship with Agencies inevitably changes.

Our friends at Infectious believe we are entering a new phase of Programmatic where Agencies can have a deeper more collaborative relationship with brands.

This only works though for agencies that really get the new world – proven by news this week that Nokia have hired Essence ( with 11 Offices) to handle their global relationship with GAFA whist Mindshare (with 116) does the local stuff.

And underlined by the news that WPP is to merge MEC and Maxus to save money that can be used to expand the Essence business.


Accelerated Mobile Pages from Google has enjoyed good adoption from publishers and as we mentioned last week, the AMP principles are being used to speed ads up.

Now Facebook are to adopt the technology to make Instant Articles even more instant. And Google are pushing it as an open format rather than a proprietary one.

The Progressive Web App, another innovative platform from Google, is also getting more traction – as they focus on the Speed benefits of an app like experience, delivered with web technology. A good example of the benefits is this new service for booking Movie Tickets in India

Adopting these new tools, that drive speed and efficiency, fits well with the Stratchery view of the Faceless Publishers; platforms that sit behind content creators.


One topic is increasingly mesmerizing CIOs is data regulation. GDPR is widely discussed but it seems still poorly understood. As this piece shows it doesn’t need to be as scary as it seems but there is lots to do.

In a smart piece of content marketing, a Law Firm that can help you with GDPR has shared their survey results, saying 17% of marketing agencies would go bust if subject to the maximum fine. This will focus some minds.

It looks like GAFA will be affected less than many of its smaller rivals in that most people are quite relaxed about the Brand Bargain they have with Google etc. Explain that Google knows your location and everything else, and we find people are quite relaxed – that’s how it works and what I get from Google make it worthwhile. Talk them through retargeting though and they find that quite spooky. So when GDPR kicks in, we expect some will suffer.


Online To Offline is a key theme in our Google keynote next week and we keep finding interesting new models. The Bulletin in New York offer shelf space to online brands and are doing well – a cross between WeWork and AppearHere.

All the action is in last mile delivery and this is a good summary of the key approaches. Supporting our view that food delivery startups don’t have a long term future, Sprig in San Francisco is closing down – after $56m investment.

With a natural limit on how much someone will pay for a meal delivery, the only advantage is how you exploit minimum wage staff. Amazon, or someone else who can mitigate the delivery costs with another business model, will win.

Quick Reads

Instagram don’t believe they are copycats. Good interview with the CEO

Our friends at Google Play are looking at how mobile apps are increasingly enabling social impact use cases around the world. You can nominate any promising social impact apps/games for consideration by Google Play via their form.

Notifications are a huge importunity for business to add value to their app users. But we spend a lot of time withdrawing permission for those apps who use them badly. This is a good look at the issues.

Snap is taking Brand Safety more seriously through partnerships with Moat and others

In the week that Amazon stock passed $1000 a share, they close their QVC style TV show. Not everything they do is a success – but they tend to learn quickly from their failures.

Google and Apple maps are constantly being updated. Great reminder that brands should keep investing in and improving their digital services.

Finally… I am in Dublin next week for the Google Retail event –if you are there do come and say hello.

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!