Voice & Audio
The Amazon Chief evangelist for Alexa spoke at Shoptalk in Las Vegas the other week and was unsurprisingly bullish;
That might sounds like hype but new data shows that in the US over a quarter of adults have a smart speaker - Amazon outselling Google by more than 2 to 1. That’s 66 million people. The latest research we can find on spending habits shows that Alexa owners spend $600 a year more than the average Amazon customers ( $1650 versus $1000 - Prime customers average $1250) With these economics, at some point Amazon will start giving the speakers to their Prime customers.
The big opportunity for brands is Skills - 80000 exist but none are famous. It’s very like the early days of Apps - everyone waited for their app to go viral, then we saw the start of app store optimisation, with mobile ads driving enough downloads to make the top 10.
If you are good at producing content there have never been so many opportunities. The spread of movie studios and TV stations kept a pretty big business ticking over for decades. Following the huge impact of Netflix and Amazon showing up with $billlion budgets, we now see the social platforms paying out hard cash too. We mentioned the Snap commissioning editor the other week and now Facebook are ‘matching’ publishers with online talent to create new shows, that they will fund.
Hulu is also going to have more budgets soon and are going global, as AT&T pump in more money. But they have always been an ad business and are leading the pack amongst the OTT players, with ad revenues in 2018 of $1.5bn - a significant proportion of which comes from DTC brands.
This is a good indepth look at the Amazon strategy for newTV, from their huge commitment with the Lord of the Rings series to their growing involvement in sport. The way they value the shows is driven by how their audience uses Prime - rather than just the number of viewers. They increase their power in this space by acting as a middleman and selling subscriptions to other channels too. A must read.
The huge choice in TV remains a challenge and one can see why ‘competitors’ partner with Amazon to gain audience and subscriptions. This Homer Simpson clip is a great commentary on the current business
It’s odd that the TV model (create content and get a station to show it to their audience) hasn’t been more widely emulated in digital. Constantly driving people to your website is a hard work and in this Peter Kafka podcast the head of Overtime Sports argues his model of distributing content across Facebook, Instagram and Snap makes much more sense. There is a transcript if you would rather read than listen.
..we are trying to build something that is truly global and a distributed sports network, meaning we’re on every platform you can imagine, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, TikTok, anywhere that we can be,
Amazon & Retail
To help build those 20 news stores every week Amazon have hired a head of real estate who knows retail well. 3000 stores over 3 years is a tough job and this guys experience will help. There is clearly a lot of thinking about what these stores should look like and all the 87 US pop ups are to be closed.
A round up of the Shoptalk event looks at how traditional retailers are organising to deal with new customer behaviours. One thing covered is the importance of a single customer view - and the consequent 1st party data. Not being able to connect online and offline transactions for the same customer is depressingly common and getting that sorted quickly should be a priority for any retailer.
The switch from second price auction to first in Programmatic buying seems almost complete now that Google have finally made the move. But not for Adsense and YouTube - only AdX. Our friends at MobileDevMemo have a good explanation of the issue and some implications. This piece from last year goes into the pros and cons of both First and Second price.
With such complexity, brands need smart partners that are both totally transparent and truly expert. This combination seems in short supply.
The issues that drove the pivot keep coming; now Facebook face criminal investigations focusing on the datasharing deals they did with virtually all the big tech firms. So we can expect regular revelations for the next few months.
The new research showing a fall in Facebook numbers doesn’t look that convincing. The study is in partnership with Triton and is focused on audiobooks and podcasts, And it’s conducted over the phone. Is the 15 million drop real? We will see when the Q1 figures are released next month.
New research from the Mobile Marketing Association says mobile ads work in under a second. Interesting research technique but does this mean blipverts are coming? We should be focused on better formats rather than trying to see if a fleeting glimpse can be effective.
The co-working giant’s real product isn’t office space — it’s a new kind of “corporate culture.“
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