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Monday June 27
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Merchant 

A kind mention on LinkedIn ( thank you Nest) drove a few new sign ups from ecommerce people this week so I thought I would share our latest Merchant deep dive - usually only for Insiders. You can read it here
 
Steve Dennis on Retail Moving From “The Great Acceleration” To “The Great Rebalancing” is a good read and it’s hard to argue with his logic
 
As more data comes in, the supposed massive acceleration of online shopping is now turning out to be closer to one or two years in most categories—and one could argue it’s even lower when you consider the important distinction between something being ordered online but actually fulfilled from a brick-and-mortar store. There is also growing evidence that the boom in online grocery shopping—whether home delivered or picked-up curbside, is subsiding markedly.
 
The sheer scale of the Product Updates announced in the new Shopify Editions is so impressive. What are people excited about here?
 
A new deal between Instacart and Omnicom looks interesting - they will share data connecting sales to TV 
 
“We can now see the people that watched Hulu or NBC, then went and made a purchase via Instacart,” …. “That’s huge, because think about how traditional linear [TV buying] has been [about] GRPs or reach and frequency. And now it’s about, ‘Hey, did you see an ad and add it to your Instacart list and buy it?’”
 
newTV 
 
Interest in how Netflix gears up for advertising continues, with lots of conversations taking place. The WSJ has Google and Comcast owned NBC as the lead contenders but its all speculation;
 
Ad-industry executives who have had discussions with Netflix say the company hasn’t provided details of its plans, such as how many ads the company will run for each hour of programming and whether the company aims to offer targeted, personalized ads or mainly focus on the potential for advertisers to reach its user base of 222 million paying subscribers.
 
I still think there is a Roku deal in here and talking with a super smart analyst this week they saw Comcast as a possible buyer of Roku - primarily as a means to distribute the Sky technology.
 
In a piece on Facebook lacking exposure to newTV, this commentator speculates about a Facebook acquisition of Roku. I used to think the same, but that opportunity has now gone, as regulators just would not allow it.
 
New Barb data shows the UK market is dominated by Netflix (17m homes) and Amazon (13m homes) and both grew slightly over Q1. Apple (1.5m homes) and Disney + (6.5m homes) grew much faster and 20m UK homes now subscribe to at least 1 streaming service.
 
Ad spend in AVOD is growing - estimates for this year see it reaching $19bn
 
Advertising-supported video-on-demand platforms—a group that includes free apps like Tubi, Pluto TV, Freevee and Xumo, as well as the ad-supported versions of subscription services like Hulu and HBO Max—are expected to generate nearly $19 billion in revenue this year, more than doubling their 2020 haul, according to Insider Intelligence projections. 
 
Web3
 
From the conversations we are having, it’s no surprise to learn web3 is a hot topic in Cannes and brands are interested in it and the Metaverse, even while unsure quite what it is;
 
“There’s a huge sense of it being a land grab at the moment,” said a WPP exec. “A lot of clients are like, ‘I don’t know what this means, but I want one.’”
 
“For marketers, there is a lot of FOMO about the metaverse and Web3, but no one really understands what the missing part of that is. If we’re not there, what do we miss? Seems like nothing at this point to me,” CMO
 
I think you get this phase with all emerging media, but we have learned that being late to Google, Facebook, Apps and Amazon was an expensive mistake. Being early to test and learn always pays off, but you have to navigate builders who will try to sell you what they build. Better to work with an architect to see what you should do, a project that maps to your brand and your customers. Then find the best builders for that project.
 
Smart brands are testing interesting ideas - as this interview with the L’Oreal head of Digital shows
 
“It’s all about testing, learning and playing,” added Dubey, of activations in the web’s next generation, some of which will be shown at VivaTech.
 
Building ecosystems and partnerships are key to this. That could be with big tech as well as new Web3 players, such as OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace. L’Oréal has also partnered with startups including Animaze and Impact+.
 
At an LVMH event this week the focus was on tech and the LVMH founder talked about their approach to web 3
 
“Creativity is the key of the success of LVMH, and it is at the center of what you do with start-ups,” he told the rapt audience. On the point of quality, he commented that there is still “enormous progress to do” in tech areas that relate to retail, citing NFTs, which he noted are “complicated to buy,” and VR goggles, which he said are “not pleasant.” Together LVMH and start-ups can work toward solutions.
 
More on L’Oreal and LVMH metaverse projects here
 
Other sectors are active too; this new research details how Adidas is testing and learning - including their involvement with the much hyped Stepn - which is explained well here
 
More about sports in this analysis of where VC money is going in sports and tech.
 
The FT think The promising future of NFTs remains in a state of flux and there are new moves in minting and selling; Squarespace is launching a new tool to mint and sell NFTs through its link-in-bio app Unfold and eBay bought the NFT marketplaceKnownOrigin.
 
To grow the web3 space it needs to welcome civilians who are not developers so dumbing down processes - whilst making them super safe - is inevitable
 
Reddit have launched a great guide;  The ABCs of NFTs Playbook - a fairly comprehensive resource on all things NFT
 
And Not Boring attempt to refute the story there are no Web3 use cases today and highlight some really interesting projects.
 
My take is that the technology has turned up before the ideas, and we will quickly see people recognise what the tech enables and start to solve real problems.
 
Last week I mentioned that Agencies were pronouncing their web 3 capabilities. More hype - Publicis are building out the team behind their avatar - and have gone for real people. PR firm Edelman have hired a GenZ cohort and appointed a ZEO - and someone pointed out their COO is the daughter of the Edelman CEO
 
McCann have a metaverse experience showcasing their work entered for Cannes. I am sure it's lovely when viewed with a VR headset, but for the 99% of visitors who will have followed the link and looked at it on their laptop, it seems like a late 90s flash website. To develop it they worked with Meta and Berlin studio Journee, who appear to have trademarked The Metaverse Company and use it to describe their business.
 
Social
 
TikTok used Cannes to declare their ambition for growth - talking of growing the number of advertisers from hundreds of thousands to millions. A good WSJ piece before Cannes looked at their dramatic growth to date, with revenue tripling to $12bn - partly down to offering great value;
 
Steve Netzley, chief executive of Havas Edge, an agency that works with small and midsize e-commerce and consumer-goods businesses, says some of its clients have shifted money to TikTok because—although pricing can vary depending on the ad product and targeting—the cost of reaching 1,000 people on the app can be about half of what it would be on Instagram and YouTube. 
 
But to grow they need to assuage advertiser concerns over brand safety and that is underway, with them working with EU regulators to improve policy around branded content
 
The music industry is struggling to work out how it uses TikTok - talent is complaining they have to spend too much time promoting their music as labels will not releases songs until they take off on the platform.
 
Our latest Good TikTok Creative celebrates the success of Cirkul - a water bottle business valued at $1billlion, which credits TikTok with much of its success.
 
The TikTok Creative Centre is a good resource too - lots of info and insights
 
Should the growth of Poparazzi and BeReal worry TikTok and Instagram? Probably not yet, but are they ushering in a new wave of 'authentic' social media
 
Voice
 
All of a sudden Voice is getting attention. The news Amazon plan to have Alexa mimic someone's voice has caused a few headlines as people worry about Deep Fakes
 
Amazon shared its vision for companionship with Alexa at the conference. In a video segment, it portrayed a child who asked, "Alexa, can grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?"
 
A moment later, Alexa affirmed the command and changed her voice. She spoke soothingly, less robotically, ostensibly sounding like the individual's grandmother in real life.
 
Another Voice deal feels more significant and has had little attention. I met Sonantic when I was researching whether to use Amazon Polly for the audio version of this newsletter. I met them before the pandemic and even though they were really early I was really impressed; their ability to deliver compelling, lifelike performances with fully expressive AI-generated voices. Now Spotify has bought them
 
Around the same time I met the Unilingo founder who was using similar technology to translate YouTube videos - now they work with Influencers like Mr Beast.
 
 Our friends at ACAST have a new partnership with Meta to help podcasters build community
 
Adtech
 
good Stratechery piece on data and definitions deconstructs how Apple have used the changes to ATT to wound rivals and position themselves as an ad business.
 
The Universal ID project continues to build momentum - but its still unclear whether Chrome or Safari will work with this approach. Amazon Web Services is to partner with The Trade Desk on UID2, making it easier to deploy
 
Targeting
 
Our friends at Blis have a new interactive e-guide designed to help marketers understand the real impact of ID-reliant solutions on addressable audiences and the virtues of privacy-first solutions that don’t rely on IDs to achieve accuracy at scale. Their CTO explains the thinking;
 
“There’s still this belief that brands are achieving the right audience at scale – and that that will only change once the Chrome deprecation comes into force,” said Aaron McKee, CTO at Blis. “But the current reality is much more troubling, as advertisers that still rely on IDs are already missing out on almost half of their audiences. This is happening right now, in front of our eyes and marketers need to have the right questions in mind when choosing their advertising partners. Today, not tomorrow. If your partners tell you they’re still reaching your precise audiences at scale with ID-only or cookie-led solutions, you’ll see that the numbers in our ‘missing audience calculator’ tell a different story”.

Plus+
 
Making our marketing, and Cannes, more accessible - Google
The Analyst: Ian Whittaker on the future of media
 
Snap Inc's Yellow Accelerator Demo Day
 
ResponsiveAds™ Puts Responsive Display Ads on Steroids | Business Wire
 
Why France is betting on deep tech instead of the metaverse
 
Apple AR Glass now in design development stage; iPhone 15 Pro's periscope camera raises questions
 
Tim Cook interviewed for a Chinese show is asked about AR and he says;
Stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer”
 
How to buy a used car in Kuala Lumpur - Rest of World
  
The Behavioral Science Annual 2022 | Ogilvy
 
Blis secures investment from LDC to accelerate global expansion
 
CreativeX Raises $25M Series B as CMOs Shift Focus to Creative Excellence
 
LIONS releases State of Creativity report
 
PwC Releases Its Global Entertainment And Media Outlook For 2022-2026 - B&T
 
This Year Next Year: 2022 Global Mid-Year Forecast - GroupM
 
Finally.. this a great piece on The Chernin Group, ran by a former Murdoch exec, who invest in modern media, increasingly with a web3 angle. Great insight into how modern media brands work and good learning for anyone trying to build or monetise audiences.

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