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Mobile Fix November 3


This quarters results from GAFA have held few surprises – other than the relentless rise in their revenues. Year on year growth last year was impressive -so it is quite sobering that Google grew by 24%, a $10bn quarter put Facebook up by 49% and Amazon sales increased by 34%.

With businesses voting with their budgets – and each platform being pretty good at showing ROI – this is a reminder that modern marketing is about making the most of GAFA. The places where people invest more and more of their attention are the natural places for Businesses to invest ad budgets.

Automated Advertising

With the language of Programmatic becoming more toxic through associations with lack of transparency, poor quality context and fraud, we think it is better just to think of Automated Advertising. Automating the process of investment means using the best tech to make better use of the data. And to manage the complexities of a sophisticated campaign where one is learning which of many parameters leads to success.

A smart brand marketer – who runs an inhouse media team - sums it up well;

The process isn’t the point – it’s the outcome that is the point.

Within the process and the plumbing things keep evolving – largely designed to improve efficiency and / or minimise fraud. Ad.txt has been greeted well but actual implementation has been slow largely due to slow adoption by publishers. Now Google have come out in favour things should accelerate.

But already bad actors are trying to thwart the intentions with questionable tactics. As this piece covers, malignant ad fraud practice don’t disappear – they evolve to avoid detection

Fake News

When Russian ads can reach 126 m US Facebook users and have an apparently profound effect on both the Trump win and the Brexit win, we shouldn’t be surprised Facebook ads can sell Cars, cornflakes and computers.

The possibility of making money through ads was a factor in some fake news as Macedonian teenagers quickly learned. And the steps Facebook are taking to bring more transparency to political ads are going to affect everyone. Soon anyone can click on any Facebook page and see all ads that page is running anywhere across Facebook properties. Political ads will also be included in a searchable archive.

In a Vanity Fair podcast Scott Galloway thinks the fake news affair could be the end of Facebook. Well he does have a book to promote… but his questions are quite on point

The FT have a good podcast on the Social Media Effect which goes into fake news in some detail. This issue is clearly about more than Facebook and there are no easy solutions.


With just over 6 months to go GDPR seems to be getting more and more attention. But little or no real insight into the likely effects. I am told one large Agency group has instructed all their people to make clear they cannot give a point of view on GDPR. Not too helpful for their clients.

But refreshingly someone has pointed out a number the smart things that GDPR will enable. Whilst the industry has focused on the perceived negatives of GDPR – ie restrictions on the use of data that drives much of automated advertising – the legislation is designed to give people more control over how their data is used. So here are a number of new products enabled by GDPR that solve real problems for people.

As the bureaucrats say – in this detailed update on the legislation progress;

The smart action now seems to be focusing on how to design an advertising experience that people feel comfortable with.

Criteo this week warned that their business would be hit by the new Apple policy of restricting tracking in Safari – but stressed they didn’t expect a negative effect from GDPR;

Ad Free Business Models

More and more content is offered without ads – and funded by other business models. Netflix, Amazon YouTube Red etc. Some, like Sky, blend ads with a subscription. And most print benefits from both a cover price and ad revenue.

The Guardian are – like most publishers - finding it harder to get ads but have successfully pivoted to a blended model with 800k people having made a payment to them. Their focus on knowing their readers and using the data to inform their product development is likely to influence many others.

Other smaller publishers are giving up on the ad model and moving to subscription – and the paywall that the Guardian is determined to avoid.

It is somewhat perverse that the current state of automated advertising can shovel money into fake news and poor quality sites but seems unable to support content so valued by its consumers that they will pay for it. We believe that is because context has no value within the current climate – but we are working on that.

Dynamic Creative

An article on Facebook entering the DCO space says;

We would disagree. Our work with Photospire and cablato has seen a number of clients achieve real success with tailoring messages to match the data on users and the context. The more simplistic, decision tree driven firms may be under achieving but good tech does deliver.

Facebook entering the market makes perfect sense – many of their advertisers aren’t really taking advantage of the rich data as they haven’t been able to address it with creative messaging. More details from Facebook here

To demonstrate the Google DCO approach they have developed a game where data drives some elements of the play.

It is no longer acceptable to treat people as strangers when – as Google point out - 70% of the effect of a campaign is down to the creative. So using the best tools you can to create contextual video or ads makes good business sense. We are happy to help.

Vision & Voice

A great Wired piece on just how ahead of its time Google Goggles was. And it’s a good insight into how Google is unable sometimes to follow through on ideas because of the regulatory pressures small starts ups don’t have to worry about.

With Vision vying with voice to be one of the key inputs into mobile, this is a must read. And this snippet of research is fascinating – a major use of the smartphone camera is to capture info people need to remember – shopping lists, slides etc. Imagine you combine Goggles and / or Optical Character Recognition?


The idea Snap use intuition and gut feel over data in product development brings some criticism but this seems unfair. The innovation in product is a major strength and the fact that others copy these features for their larger users base is a different issue. The article has some good insight into Snap and is worth a read.

One of the more surprising partners for Snapchat Discover was the Economist who launched there a year ago. Their insight into how to work with the platform and how their approach has changed is a good read too.

And Snap continue to get up to speed on their ad offering with Pixel tracking now available

The hot new App is HQ and its blend of live TV show and mobile game is a sign of how ideas from one platform can be reimagined for another. The next biq acquisition? Or does it just inspire similar formats on Snap and Facebook?

Mobile ad spend

With UK adspend up 3.7% (and TV down 4.4%) the driver of growth was mobile – up 38%. That’s should be no surprise given how well GAFA are doing and the vast majority of their growth is mobile. The amazing thing is how poorly done so much of this spend still is – remembering that Google view that 70% of the effect is down to creative.

Building on last weeks news about Mobile First and the health of mobile apps, a new survey says the average US iPhone user will spend over $60 on apps this year.

When you consider that it typically costs around $4 to get a download of an app and double that to get a registration, it’s not that surprising that spend on app promotion will hit $8bn in the US this year. So a significant proportion of that ad spend is likely to be app promotion. Mobile advertising is successful at getting people to download apps to their phone – and to buy things with their phone too.

New TV

The BBC have warned that UK production of TV shows is likely to drop by half a billion over the next few years – down 20%. This is largely due to the poor ad market for TV and the fact Netflix Amazon and Apple are not spending that much on UK talent.

One of the distinctions between old TV and new TV is the screen it is watched on. Whilst the vast majority of new TV is on mobiles and PCs, most old TV is watched on the big screen. But with Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV sticks this is changing. Google claim to have sold 55 million Chromecasts and now say over 100 million hours of YouTube watched on TV sets each day – up 70% on the previous year.

Now some still think YouTube is all cat videos, but working with the Account Planning Group they have a set of awards for brand campaigns that used YouTube to good effect. There are some good case studies here and if you want to go really deep this is a 2 hour video of the full session on making the most of YouTube. At around 1 hour 10 there is a great look at Attention – featuring the vjdeo we mentioned last week of an hours viewing in a minute and an insight into the work Google are doing on this. I am looking forward to taking part in a Google workshop on this in the next few weeks.

Quick Reads

Campaigns we wish we had done – Netflix launch the second series of Stranger Things

Debenhams launch a Progressive Web App - a mobile website with app functionality

How much Influencers get paid – our friends at Mporium have a very smart way to unlock more value from Influencer posts – let me know if you would like to know more.

More and more clients are inhousing skills that they would have once used an Agency for. The Unilever in house agency now operates in 20 countries

Finally - Talking about the disappointing WPP results Martin Sorrell said he thought the threat from Consultants was over stated. This PWC piece on the Agency of the Future shows there is some smart thing at the Big 6 on the problems with Agencies and on how to solve them. This threat isn’t going away.


MDC results

Our partners KBS Albion won a Cannes Lion for Innovation (and a Clio) for their work on the Ada Health App, so it is great to see they have raised $47m

With yesterday being the Day of The Dead the work our team did on JOSE CUERVO merits sharing - this is one of the Gifs we used on Facebook

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