The YouTube algorithm is coming under scrutiny as extreme content seems to do particularly well. The same algorithm is keeping users engaged and for brands and users that is good news, especially given — if agencies are doing their job properly — the problem content can be avoided. And content creators continue to focus their efforts on YouTube — especially as Facebook Watch is not yet getting real traction. And Google now allows advertisers to use search history to target ads within YouTube — and within the Google Prefered content where brand safety isn’t really an issue.
We think True View is the one of the best digital ad formats but YouTube also now offers 6 second bumper ads and in an effort to demonstrate that this can be a great canvas for creativity, Google commissioned a number of agencies to retell classic fairy stories in 6 second spots. Well worth a look.
Creators & Infuencers
All the platforms need creators because the content they add to the platform drives usage and engagement. There are all sorts of creators, from you and me sharing with friends on Facebook to app developers for Apple and Google and Influencers on Instagram and Snap.
Facebook have a new initiative designed to attract UK talent with an incubator in their London offices. When Twitter closed Vine many of the people who built a strong following migrated to Instagram and, to a lesser extent, Snap; now Twitter are planning a new camera focused feature but it sounds quite dry.
There is a dark side to creators as some bolster their audience with bot followers and firms who can detect this are doing well. Snap is courting creators with better tools for them to understand their audience and now a way to accelerate growth by allowing tagging of a user in a story. Whether that will lure them back from Instagram remains to be seen.
And don’t miss Scott Galloway taking down the influencer industry
As May 19 looms, we are seeing more and more content and advice on GDPR from different parts of the industry. But little insight from the regulator themselves. Rather than speculating and fear mongering we prefer to consider Steve Jobs thinking on privacy. It’s a few years old but it is very timely.
Despite all the problems they have had with news Facebook remain keen to have good news content on their platform and are now looking at News video on Watch. Reports are that they are testing different video formats with 10 publishers. Having affected so many publishers, when they switched their algorithm around and tanked referral traffic, it will be interesting to see who they have persuaded to put time and effort into this trial.
Apple are still very focused on news and a new acquisition this week suggests they could expand their Apple News service. Texture is an app that aggregates magazines and is one of the more successful attempts to offer a Netflx for magazines.
A lot of the debate about when and how GAFA will make a big play for sports is based around the need for them to have content that will keep their global audience engaged with the platform. Which is true, but the other side of the table also needs things to change.
As this chart shows, the US audience for sports is getting older — which impacts their ability to strike the best deals with sponsors.
So the competition from GAFA should drive up the value of the rights and the inherent youth of the platforms should start to bring down the age of the audience. A win win.
But it’s likely that the way the sports are presented is going to change too. Most sports consumption on social seems to be around clips and highlights rather than the full games. As we know from Netflix mobile viewing is key but lots of viewing migrates to the big screen — thanks no doubt to the 50m plus chromecasts sold, along with Amazon Fire Sticks etc.
Just as Sky reinvented how football was televised we should expect innovation here too. With Facebook signing a deal to show Major League Baseball games the momentum continues.
But we missed the Facebook deal to show Champions League games in a partnership with Fox announced last year in the US — does anyone know how that is going? And any insight into what is happening with the two remaining Premier League packages? It sounds like the leverage is with Amazon or Facebook as it is unlikely Sky or BT wants to spend any more — so is the delay caused by rethinking how the remaining games can be packaged to suit an online platform?
The FT has a good piece on what GAFA can learn from BAT and what the differences are. In a Galapagos market Baidu Alibaba and Tencent have grown without outside competition so some of their practices may not travel well. But lots will and we think there is great learning to be had here. In social the influence of WeChat is huge and the convergence of Chinese social and ecommerce is watched closely inside Facebook and Snap.
The ex editor of Wired has been looking at China and is hugely impressed by their energy and their ingenuity. As well as the work ethic; everyone is a 9 9 6 company — the staff work 9 until 9, 6 days a week. That’s double the typical working week in the west. Donald Trump is concerned too — and blundering towards a digital trade war
Still not convinced? Look at all these Chinese Unicorns we have never heard of. Yet.
Still trying to work out what the best name for these emerging brands that act like tech start ups but operate in a vertical such as fashion, beauty or food. The IAB like Direct Economy Brands and some of the other commentators like Digital Native Vertical Brands. Either way it’s a big focus for us as a core competence is digital marketing.
The founder of General Assembly is now a key player in this space, providing tools and support for entrepreneuers. This interview from our friends at PSFK is a good summary of the space. Online butchers are some of the latest firms to move into this space. The consultancies are also active in this space and the latest PWC report on consumer insights looks at new business models.
The importance of tech is underlined by old world retailer Nordstrom buying two tech firms to improve how it operates its stores and connects with customers offline and online.
At the Guardian event we attended last week Martin Sorrell was defending WPP as still relevant. But the FT isn’t that convinced floating the idea of a merger between WPP and a rival. And there is a lot of hedge fund money betting the pain is going to get worse. One former ad exec thinks the holding company model does have a future but needs to transform itself. I would argue that MDC — that TMK is part of — is a pretty good reimagination of the holding company.
On the other side of the industry old school publisher Meredith is doing a good job of reimagining themselves as they buy Time
We mentioned mobile money last week and a Fix reader pointed out a new GSMA report on that subject
20 good ideas that cost under $20k Are you getting ideas like this from your agency?
Finally.. Much of the Sorrell conversation centred on what Mark Pritchard of P&G did and didn’t say at the ISBA conference in London last week. So here is the video of his full talk — very insightful.
We focused in on his comments about Reinventing media — around 10 mins 20 seconds in;
Reinventing Media ..from a wasteful mass blasting to mass reach with one to one precision.
We’ve been broadcasting to broad demographic audiences with huge waste
That has to change…..(but) we still need to reach a lot of people
Data & Analytics facilitate greater precision, so we can remove the waste and increase the effectiveness
That’s what we are all about — factoring in also making sure the creative is just right for the channel.
What’s happening at Media Kitchen
First some client news. Our friends as Spirable (the Contextual Video company formerly known as Photspire) have been shortlisted in the Campaign Tech awards for a great Guinness campaign, where they used Facebook ads to remind people which games were showing in their local pubs. Very smart stuff and highly effective too. Eagle Eye announced good results and more contracts with top retailers — we see them as key to the Uberfication of high street retail. And our friends at Mporium have hired an agency heavy hitter as COO. Again highly effective tech, which neatly avoids any GDPR issues. We work with each of these firms on strategy and growth so let me know if you would like to see a demo and case studies from any of them.
Some US colleagues visited the Amazon GO store in Seattle — you can watch their Facebook live video of the visit here — start a couple of minutes in as it is a true Live video. If you want to know more please shout — we are building a good understanding of tech and retail and particularly excited about the opportunity to use first party data on high street store visits to drive online outcomes.
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