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Mobile Fix – the Easter holiday edition

Facebook f8

Lots of big ideas from Facebook on AR, VR and cameras at this weeks f8, as well as more out there ideas like hearing through your skin and brain scanning to save on typing. Lots new on Messenger too - and especially delighted to see the revival of the QR code continue.

It’s clear that Facebook see AR - in its widest sense - as the big opportunity.

But the general reaction wasn’t that good. Analyst Ben Thomson of Stratechery was most damning – saying The shamelessness was breathtaking as Zuch made it clear that Facebook intended to not simply adopt one of Snapchat’s headline features but its entire vision.

Benedict Evans gets in this too with the point that Snap is about creating which differentiates them from Facebook and Google. Both posts go deep and are worth reading.

But the key take is that Snap need to keep innovating because Facebook et al will keep cloning. With Instagram announcing 200m people are using their Stories feature – versus the 161m Snap claimed for theirs at the IPO – the business logic for taking inspiration from others is irrefutable. It is what big business tends to do; copy and adapt.

How long before we see a version of the new Snap World Lenses on Instagram?

The other thing we took from f8 is the implied confirmation that the business model for Messenger is going to be more about advertising than payments. As we keep seeing, the key sustainable business model of digital content and services is advertising.

Which is great news for the Advertising Trinity; brands, people and content creators.

Glass half full

So we continue to be optimistic about advertising for a digital age.

It’s well worth taking 20 minutes to watch Jeff Green – the CEO of TradeDesk - talking about Why The Future Of Digital Advertising Is Brighter Than Ever Before. In the talk he makes a strong case for the efficiency of programmatic or automated advertising and suggests we are only 2% done – in that the vast majority of the $500 billion ad market is still traded in the old – inefficient – way. Green acknowledges the problems of fraud and brand safety but argues that we have allowed the negative messages to outweigh the positives.

In a recent keynote for a Google event we argued that Don Draper, along with Howard Gossage, Mary Wells Lawrence and Claude Hopkins and other real life ad luminaries would have loved the opportunities that data driven automated ads allow. This piece, on whether creative or data comes first, highlights the opportunities firms like Cablata and PhotoSpire offer smart pioneers.

We have only just begun to capture the value that these innovations can deliver.

One of the points that Green makes is about simplicity - suggesting a major factor in the success of the Duopoly is that both Google and Facebook make it easy to quickly spend money. That’s why Facebook have over 5 million advertisers. And with a constant flow of helpful advice many of these small brands understand the opportunity better than the big brands who outsource the whole thing to generalist Agencies that sometimes struggle with the nuances.

Even the news that Google will enable ad blocking in the next version of the Chrome browser is good. Only ads that don’t meet the definition of good ads from the Better Ads Coalition will be affected. So improve your ads and you will be OK.

If you know what you are doing, and have the right partners, there is a great opportunity to steal market share from your luddite competitors, who are late to digital or who under invest.

GAFA & Content

Just as Facebook needs to keep copying new features from other platforms we believe it is only natural that they emulate old media by valuing the audience attention and engagement that great content delivers.

So the idea of Apple buying Disney isn’t that ridiculous. And when they do invest in formats like Amazon and the NFL it’s natural that this will affect the TV ad market too.

Quick Reads

You know those video ads your agency is buying for you? Turns out quite a lot are actually banner ads with videos inside them.

Good Ecommerce business are getting really valuable - Petfood site Chewy is being bought by a competitor for $3bn

What can AI really do? Play with this Google drawing tool

More woes in the US retail space. And a vision of the future of retail from the Farfetch store of the future. It seems Amazon came close to buying Whole Foods - the high street is not dead yet

Finally…… out and about next week. Delighted to be moderating a panel at the excellent Rutberg event and I am also speaking at an Internal Facebook event in London. As ever, if you are there come and say hello

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