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May 16
This is the free version of Fridays Fix/Insider newsletter.  
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I mentioned the new Creative Works research from Google last week but it deserves more attention. The above chart from the video is old news in many ways – we have been sharing solid research showing the power of creative for years. It is undoubtedly the best way to improve media performance and therefore has huge value – a 10% improvement on a $1m budget means the creative is worth $100k
 
But…
 
Look around and the ads are still crap. Quality publishers like Guardian, Telegraph and FT pollute their fine editorial with crap banners that earn them pennies. Social campaigns run cut downs of TV ads – with the same lame ad looking wrong on every platform.
 
Our friends at CreativeX get the opportunity and their CEO shares her thinking on a Creative Quality Score;
 
Creative quality is necessary but not sufficient, and it won’t win you any awards. But it’s an important start to establish and control our ability to scale content with confidence and it’s often overlooked: the average adherence to creative quality stand
 
A few do get this opportunity. The VP of Global Ads at the New York Times says;

We…help brands tap into The Times’s exceptional audience, and elevate them through the industry’s highest quality ad experiences. We believe in fewer but better, higher quality ads that reach the right audiences, and our team continues to focus on develop
 
Conde Nast take a similar approach ( working with our friends at Responsive Ads) and just announced their digital ad revenues were up 38%. Caring about the creative enables you to sell a premium service that works for everyone; readers get a better experience, brands get better results and the publisher makes more money – often a lot more money.
 
Some of the best agencies get it too – here the global CEO of BBDO talks about their work with Google on a campaign for catfood brand Sheba. His advice;
 
Adopt a flexible, digital-first mindset, act on data, and seek out complementary partners who can enhance the appeal and impact of your work.
 
All the platforms have teams who are eager to help and there is no end of inspiration – the regular Creative Sparks is a good resource
 
As is the work we did on TikTok – we ran our webinar sharing our learnings and announcing winners – you can see the video and read the deck here.
 
In any advertising we know that bigger better ads work best – and that the ends usually justify the hard work. It’s just the same with digital.
 
So why the persistent crap? One issue is people nickel and diming on creative development and production. It’s more expensive to build high impact ads and it can be expensive to adapt them for a plethora of formats and partners. (but the right tech can help here)
 
And people use spurious measurement to justify current bad practice – I had a long argument with the ad team of a major platform who were adamant mobile banners worked, because they did well on 28 day viewthrough data.
 
But as this chart (and many others we have) shows, this expense can be a great investment – you just need to measure the impact in media terms. I am really keen to help solve this issue and know most of the tech firms that can help – and I happy to work with anyone who wants to improve – ping me and lets plot over a cup of tea. 

Fewer, better. high quality ads. Lets make that happen.
 
How Google helps brands build resilience - The real magic comes when powerful technology fuels creative — inspiring action and delivering results

AR
 
I am speaking at a Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) event next week on the Metaverse and have spent a lot of time looking at what’s happening in AR. As well as the ongoing moves by the major players, we see new product from smaller firms too.
 
EE are inviting customers to register interest for their exclusive on Nreal Air AR glasses from Chinese firm NReal
 
Mark Zuckerberg visited Milan to talk with Sunglasses giant Essilor Luxottica and showed off a wrist worn XR controller. Techcrunch note that a newly announced feature for Google visual search - the capability to search within a scene – lends itself to AR
 
And the new CEO of Magic Leap talks about their plans – and their imminent Magic Leap 2 glasses
 
Merchant
 
Our Deep Dive this week looked and the coming and goings in Fast Last Mile as well as Merchant Media and the moves from Shopify towards ads.
 
The news GoPuff are struggling with cash supports the concerns over the likelihood of this sector ever turning  a profit. That hasn’t deterred Instacart who are pushing ahead with plans for an IPO – a CEO letter on their 10th anniversary, doesn’t mention the IPO but shows their ambition – including a low key mention of advertising, which could transform their economics;
 
At Instacart, we believe the future of grocery belongs to those that invented it — not tech goliaths or newcomers trying to drive grocers out of business. Our vision is to build the technologies that can power every single grocery transaction. And by doing so, we believe we can help our partners effectively compete and invent the future of grocery together.
With our world-class, at-scale technology, grocers have the power to do so much more than just provide same-day delivery. They’ll have the latest in eCommerce, fulfillment, in-store innovation, advertising, and insights— everything they need to build the store of the future.
 
An adjacent business, meal kit pioneer Blue Apron is struggling – sales half that of 2017 when they floated. Pioneers can be identified by the arrows in their back.
  
newTV

Walt Disney gains ground on Netflix with strong growth in streaming - 8m new subscribers but we don't know how many are in India, paying a low fee to watch the cricket.

BT Sports has found a new home for its Sports service - agreeing a joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery for the UK and Ireland. The deal gives BT a get out, but they start as a 50% shareholder. Combining the extensive BT rights library with Eurosport makes for a strong offering and it should do well with consumers and advertisers.
 
Channel 4 have been demonstrating the business nouse Nadine Dorres thinks they lack. A deal with YouTube to show 1000 hours of hit C4 shows for free - with C4 selling the ads around the shows. Great move for C4 and good for YouTube TV ambitions.
 
Apparently Netflix are in a hurry to start their ads business - with the NYT saying its scheduled for Q4 of this year. That does seem quick and begs the question how they are going to do it. An internal note said; “Yes, it’s fast and ambitious and it will require some trade-offs,”
 
And it would launch; “in tandem with our broader plans to charge for sharing.”
 
It sounds like it will be used more as a stick - if you share you will have to pay a smaller fee and you will see ads.
 
They need people and tech and they need them quick. A deal with The Trade Desk or Roku seem most likely?
 
More on newTV - including C4 and Sports - in our next Deep Dive
 
Adtech
 
Over the years the idea of people managing their own data and profile for advertising has kept popping up - but it never got traction. The benefits of sharing in the value of your data sounds nice but the meagre money never seemed worth the hassle.
 
But with My Ad Centre Google have revived the idea. Because the service doubles as the c control for privacy settings it will get used and as a source of data this is top class. But can they get volume to make it useful as a targeting tool?
 
The Trade Desk Open Path initiative is expanding with more publishers joining. The quality is there and it seems the quantity is good. This would be a great initiative to develop better creative around too. Digiday look at the good results The Trade Desk announced for Q1 - revenue up 43% and look into the Open Path story in more depth.
 
We know how successful Amazon have been building their ad business but a big new series from Business Insider looks inside this success, how they did it and whats next;
 
"If Amazon advertising successfully transitions into CTV and in-store media, it will tap massive new pools of marketing spend, like linear TV and shopper marketing. That would put Amazon on a course to surpass Meta in US ad revenue over the next several years," said Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence
 
Are Apple on a similar trajectory? Responsibilities for ads has shifted around and now Todd Teresi - who was heavily involved with iAds back in the day - is firmly in charge. His LinkedIn says;
 
Todd Teresi is Apple’s vice president of Advertising Platforms. Todd oversees the strategy, design, development, and operation of Apple’s advertising platform that connects people with what they care about and helps advertisers grow their businesses. 
 
Business Insider tell us He was quietly promoted at the beginning of the year and now reports directly to Cue, people familiar with the matter said.
 
"The Services portfolio is too big now, with too many other growing segments. The ad business is big enough to live on its own," one of the people said.
 
web3
 
I am fascinated by how advertising manifests in the metaverse and web3. This quote from the Roblox CEO on their results call is a hint;
 
I don't want to speculate on any dates or any times. I do want to highlight that everything we do is values consistent and within advertising guidelines and appropriate for the various ages. One can imagine advertising units that appear as in-game billboards, in games teleport that all developers on Roblox can choose to use. So this creates a dynamic ad server rather than with 2D image or video pre, well, these are in-game 3D units. You can imagine brands using these units to bring traffic to their own brand experience. We've highlighted in the past brands like Vans and Nike have built brand experiences. We would never claim that they would use this form of the advertising of the other types of brands that might do it. And then as fans are hanging out in brand experiences, you can imagine a wide range of activities within those experiences that includes acquiring virtual items, just like in the physical world, that can include drops, that can include limited numbers of those items that our community would be interested in acquiring. That can include items related to stars, celebrities, athletes that our community would like to acquire virtually.
 
A Corporate's Guide to the Metaverse | Digital Trends | BCG
 
WSJ says 'The NFT market is collapsing,' but the data says otherwise
 
NFTs: the great rush may be over – but are they in actual decline? | Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) | The Guardian
 
Leaping from web2 to web3 - a 6 month reflection - Meta exec moving to Coinbase
 
Mark Zuckerberg - Enjoyed talking to Tom Bilyeu about NFTs, web3 and the metaverse| Facebook
 
What is the metaverse—and what does it mean for business? - McKinsey podcast
 
7 Essential Ingredients of a Metaverse - A16Z
 
 Are collectible trading cards NFTs-in-waiting? Some investors hope so
 
Beeple: Next Era of NFTs Will Focus on 'Emotional Connection and Utility' - Decrypt
 
plus+
 
Snap didn't make enough Pixy drones, but won't say how many it made - The Verge
 
The S4 results presentation is interesting - especially Scott Spirit with their take on the market (starts at 14 minutes in)
 
State of the media market, 2022 | Arthur D. Little
 
5 Essential Questions To Ask Paid Social Interview Candidates In 2022 | Traktion Blog
 
Measuring digital effectiveness | WPP Sandeep Pandey, Global Head of Analytics at Wavemaker, for a masterclass on all things programmatic.
 
Google I/O 2022: Advancing knowledge and computing

Amazon Ads Partner Awards - a long video workshop where a number of Amazon partners (inc Nozzle, Amerge & Vyper) present how they work with Amazon, followed by a Q&A

This weeks Good TikTok Creative looks at Vegan dig food and Omni
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