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May 2
This is the free version of Fridays Fix/Insider newsletter. 
Insiders get Fix first thing Friday & the mid week Deep Dives on newTV & Merchant. Consider Investing in yourself; 
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( and the audio version is here)
🔥 What TikTok Taught Us: Judging the Good TikTok Creative Awards

For the last 85 weeks Antony McGuire and I have been analyzing different case studies of brands on TikTok like NikePepsiCo, and Unilever.

Our learnings have culminated in the very first Good TikTok Creative Awards, where we worked with amazing judges like Rory Sutherland Niran Vinod Ian Crocombe Aman Matharu Délia McNair-Lauret Hannah Ratcliff Ryan Martin.

Come join us on Monday, May 9 at 4PM BST/11AM EST as we reveal the award winners and share our learnings. Sign up here 

newTV

 
The process of privatising Channel 4 is underway. As part of that process the Government is revamping the rules around TV to strengthen the bargaining power legacy broadcasters have;
 
Although a privatised Channel 4 would still be required to commission minimum quotas from independent producers, the government plans would end its status as a “publisher-broadcaster”, allowing it to retain valuable rights to shows or movies.
 
Other interventions will guarantee public service media apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 are “easy to find” on online televisions, imposing a “must-carry” obligation on pay-TV providers such as Sky and TV makers such as Samsung.
 
Tough enforcement powers handed to media regulator Ofcom would in effect strengthen broadcasters in commercial negotiations with platforms over data, control of advertising revenue and even allow them to demand payment for content.
 
This is going to make for interesting conversations with the gatekeepers like Amazon and Samsung. But the Board of C4 has been strengthened too - with Michael Lynch - currently the Chairman of Snap - added as a Non Exec. Some good background on him here.
 
CNN+ vs. Quibi - Trung T. Phan
 
Merchant
 
When we talk about merchants we tend to focus on those somewhere along the path to truly being digital, but in some markets not much progress has been made. So it's interesting to see Volvo invest in online car dealer carwow.
           
Volvo sells roughly one in 10 of its new models purely online, which the brand wants to raise to half of all cars by 2025.
 
As well as learning about customer behaviour online, Volvo also wants to emulate Carwow’s success with video, through which it attracts 70mn views monthly to the YouTube channel that features a mix of in-depth car reviews and drag races.
 
It's also interesting to look at how brands start on that digital path and this interview with the founder of a skin care brand gets into the research they did with their audience. Really understanding who you're talking to is always smart in marketing, but in digital it's essential
 
It started with focus groups. I personally conducted focus groups with 200 teens. It was in groups of eight, two hours at the time, so it's been a lot. I brought like 50 different products and I was like, “Do you like this? Do you like that? What do you like about it? What do you hate about it? What do you currently use?” It was hours and hours of just conducting research. And then after focus groups, we conducted quantitative research with 800 teens, and then we created a community with 4,600 teens, and ever since then, every two to three months, we research with at least 1,500 teens on various subjects that we're interested in. It can be retailers, it could be marketing strategies, it could be celebrities and influencers, it could be product discovery, it could be product innovation.
 
Dollar Dollar
 
It's time for Q1 results and we focus on the dollar bills. In the UK, the IAB just reported that digital spend for 2021 was £23.5 billion - up 41% a year on year. They also note that 2021 spend was up 50% on 2019, so the pandemic isn't really a factor
 
The factor that has to be acknowledged is the impact of the Apple privacy changes and Fix friend Lara O’Reilly wrote this good piece on how these changes have dented Facebook, Google and Snap
 
The Snap results - as shared last week - were actually quite good. They're riding the storm better than most
 
The Google results saw a 23% increase, which is the lowest rate since 2020. Digging into the data, it's YouTube that performed weakly missing the target.They still contributed almost $7 billion dollars for the first quarter, but we'll have to wonder what the effect of TikTok is.
 
Eric Seufert looks at the results too, pointing out that the Apple effect hits everyone's direct response business.
 
Facebook beat expectations but they were lower following the disastrous results last time round. Like Google, Ukraine was mentioned as a factor and their response to TikTok is to announce an advertising model for Reels - which now accounts for 20% of all time spent on Instagram 

Amazon surprised everyone with growth of just 7% - the slowest growth since 2001. Advertising revenue was $7.88 billion - slightly below expectations.

adtech
 
The big news in advertising tech focused advertising is the rapid emergence of retailers as major players. We and others talk lots about Merchant Media and analysts forecast dramatic growth and the new Walmart results show their ad  business is already at $2 billion dollars. This quote from Michael Kasson sums up the opportunity well;
 
“Retail media networks are taking ‘adland’ by storm, because they’re finally able to give marketers the holy grail – insights and access to high quality, first-party data that tells them about how their customers are actually making decisions to buy a product or a service,”
 
As the industry waits for the white smoke from Google on what their latest privacy thinking looks like, the IAB tech lab are busy working on their react project and elements of this are feeding into the market.
 
Our friends at Responsive Ads on the opportunity for high impact display. If you would like to see how you can make ads work harder and make more money, ping me.

AR
 
The AR market is moving really fast. In the Snap results last week they mentioned 250 million of their users use AR everyday.
 
Most of the big players are taking the space very seriously and Amazon is looking to hire people for a new AR / VR project. The language used in the job ads is intriguing but we'll have to wait to see what they are up to.
 
This Forbes article collects some of the facts and figures on how AR. VR and MR are expanding
 
Some new products are imminent. Niantic have released early gameplay for their new AR game Peridot, which seems to be around raising and breeding Adorable creatures. So far so tamagotchi, but the track record Niantic have makes us believe this is going to be a big deal. 

Vice did an ad feature with Meta, focused on their Ray Ban collaboration Stories AR Glasses I Wore Smart Glasses to Coachella and It Changed My Whole Experience
 
Chinese startup has launched some smart glasses in the UK and envision have a product for the blind that can help them read documents and scan faces. It is built on the enterprise version of Google Glass.
 
And we were reminded of another old Google project this week; Google Cardboard, and especially the distribution with the New York Times which promised so much. Does anyone know what happened to this project? Is it just parked somewhere?
 
Does Twitter add up?
 
I didn't really want to cover Twitter, because lunatics taking over the asylum isn't really a Fix type of story, but then we learn that their audience figures haven't added up correctly.
 
The difference between the figures Twitter reported over the past year and the true count ranged between 1.4mn to 1.9mn, it said, or just below 1 per cent of the total. It did not provide a reconciliation for 2019 or most of 2020.
 
It is worth reading Fred Wilson's thoughts on Twitter. This VC was a very early investor and his plea to open the API back up makes a lot of sense.
 
Web 3
 
A Coinbase article raises an important issue;
 
The metaverse, despite all the interest from venture capital and the world’s major brands, is struggling to attract users, and token prices have begun to reflect this
 
But there is smart thinking on the opportunity - this report from WPP agency AKQA is a good read and this quote makes good sense
 
Just as the adoption of the internet was a beacon for the bold and the adaptable in the ’90s, the metaverse provides a new landscape of undiscovered rewards and risks. By recognising and anticipating shifts in behaviours, the more open-minded will likely find greater success than those who remain steadfast to old wisdom in a new world.
 
There are interesting projects - the Digital Village has good people involved
 
Digital Village’s mission is to redesign our social understanding and sustainable integration of Web3 in Art, Design, and Culture to improve our online spaces and their impact on our physical lifestyles.
 
This map of use cases for NFT is a reminder of the range of possibilities
And at the latest Crypto Curious event organised by our friends at Vida, we saw artists mint an NFT live. So much going on and as they used to say you have to be in it to win it.
 
Plus+
 
Autocorrect Explained: Why Your iPhone Adds Annoying Typos While Fixing Others
 
GroupM Announces Next Steps in its Transformation with Enhanced Agency Offerings and Unified Performance Organization

In this weeks Good TikTok Creative we look at Canva


The Future Of Music Business With Economist Will Page - Trapital by Dan Runcie
 
Dave Limp: Amazon’s focus is on the real world, not the metaverse - FT
 
VC Rex Woodbury with a great thread on Lego
 
Beyond Aggregation: Amazon as a Service - Stratechery
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