Following the kicking Facebook got over their video measurement issues, new discrepancies in how they measure some key metrics are a problem. To be fair Facebook have revealed the issues and moved fast to extend the work they do with credible outside ‘audit’ firms like Moat and Integral Ad Science. And the issues are on just 4 of the 2220 metrics they focus on.

The relish with which old media enjoy any issues around measurement continue to amaze. There is a bigger picture here – old media is trying to resist the tide of money flowing towards digital and casting doubt on measurement may slow that.

But spend anytime with a brand that can measure the real impact of digital on their business through actual sales – pound notes and dollar bills through online trasactions – and they are increasing their digital spend. We see more and more brands where digital has shifted from ad spend to cost of sale – removing the limitations of a budget and driving as much spend as can be shown to be profitable. If digital works for them there is no reason why it isn’t just as effective where the transaction takes place offline. Clever brands recognize blending old media with new, traditional with modern, digital with analog is the right way – the challenge is identifying the right recipe.

Fake news & adtech

It seems two lots of people profited from the avalanche of fake news around the US Election. Right wing nutcases and Macedonian entrepreneurs. A key driver of the plethora of clickbait headlines was the ad revenue available. And it seemed Trump nonsense did better than stuff about the Democrats – read into that what you will. And whilst the source of much of the content was Facebook it was Google where it was monetised – but interestingly Google is much better equipped to deal with bias and working out what merits being shown. Because they have been doing it in search for a long time and their Panda update was designed to resolve this problem and the hit on revenue was accepted. I am sure Facebook recognise they need to do better and will step up.

The Guardian have a good piece on how political writers are operating - and profiting from their smart use of the various levers and tools of social and digital - ironically ending with the usual request for support.

Buzzfeed found that these fake stores out performed real stories from real news sources on Facebook. Smart publishers will be looking at what they can learn from these fake propagandists – are there techniques which can be used for real news?

And it also raises questions for brands – is your audience focused programmatic buy delivering ads on sites you are uncomfortable with? Trump may have chose the head of Breitbart as a key advisor but do brands really want to appear on his site? Many are doing so.

Context is hugely undervalued in our programmatic world. The AdTech approach can decide a premium news reader is better reached on eBay, Yahoo mail or Breitbart than on the site which creates news content. It may be cheaper but is it the same quality of attention or engagement?

Native Apps

Questioning whether apps are unnecessary last week, sparked some interesting conversations. Most peopkemwe spoke with accept there is a shift underway as new technology – predominantly from Google - allows the mobile web to do much of what native apps can do

Some argue native apps are doomed but there Is probably no one answer; we would council brands to focus on improving their mobile web experience with these new technologies and keep their apps current. There may well come a tome when the mobile web experience is good enough and the native app can be retired.


The word on the street is that Snap have filed for an IPO. Its not official because Snap have filed confidentially – which seems to imply they have less than $1 billion in revenue. So the rumoured $25bn valuation may seem bullish to some.

They continue to develop partnerships to improve their product – a new deal with Foursquare gives them better location data that will make their geofilters more effective. And they are hovering up talent from Agencies and other platforms, with the latest being Fix friend James Chandler moving from Mindshare.

Their Spectacles are getting good reviews – and making some a good return on eBay. Some Agencies have jumped in – one even flying Spectacles from LA to New York and running brand content already. Their ability to create hype around a limited product launch is impressive and their IPO should fly.

China & BAT

Lots happening in China as ever. The huge success of Singles day has been well covered – but consider the sort of infrastructure you need to manage $1 billion of sales in 5 minutes – and $18bn over the day

Alibaba are getting into entertainment – just like GAFA – content is still king.

Tencent talking up wechat ad revenue – again just like GAFA - with overall revenues up 43%

You tell something is a thing when its big in Chain as well as the West – so with WeChat looking at their own version of Android Instant Apps we think the app web is evolving fast

And just as in the West influencers – or (as term them) disciples – are big in China – where they are called Key Opinion Leaders. This is their top 100.

Quick Reads

We often use Starbucks as an example of a company that has really gone mobile first. Their excellent app solves consumer problems as well as business ones – and it is really successful; 24% of all coffees sold in the US stores are paid for with the app. Now we hear that they have more money on their cards than many banks hold in deposits; $1.4bn

Some one has debunked the theory that the growth of Facebook and Google means others are shrinking. But they are still the vast majority of digital growth.

The huge VC investment in vintage fashion store Nasty Gal has ended in tears – just like we saw with Fab a while back, there is a natural size to some ecommerce businesses and no matter how much money you throw at marketing, growth will eventually falter.

Great data from Ofcom on childrens digital habits. We will come back to this next week.

Amazon are expanding their grocery deal with Morrisons to include more product and offer a I hour delivery in parts of London. In our experience they do a good job but tend to have more out of stock products - this should resolve that.

We are fascinated by Hollywood talent agencies and this profile of WME is a good read

Good summary of Programmatic from IAB Australia – useful starter or reminder if you are being overwhelmed with Three Letter Acronyms

And if you want to get global exposure for a Japanese ecommerce business what do you do? Invest in the worlds favourite sport. Rakuten sponsor Barcelona. GAFA will follow.

Finally – I am planning a trip to Australia at the end of the year – mainly holiday but happy to look at speaking opportunities or workshops. And travelling via Hong Kong so may do some work there in early January. We have quite a few subscribers over there so could be a good chance to meet.

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