Below is a recap of the five advertising/media stories that I found to be the most interesting/important/informative from this past week, along with a brief POV on each issue.
STORY 1: FACEBOOK NEARING PRIVACY SETTLEMENT
Why it matters: Facebook has your number. And your name. And they know a whole lot of other things about you. And until now, Facebook could change the rules around how they’re allowed to use that information without asking your permission.
STORY 2: GOOGLE’S BING SWING AT CONTENT
Why it matters: Google is taking a drastically different approach to content – they are finding great talent and then handing out cash. In what appears to be a shot across the bow of the big TV networks (maybe they are getting back at them for this), Google has signed up the likes of Madonna, Amy Poehler, Ashton Kutcher, Disney and others to create premium content channels on YouTube, the world’s largest destination for watching digital video.
POV: TV companies have built a system for creating and monetizing content. They often consider many dozens of scripts before choosing a select handful that eventually become shows. Google’s shotgun approach without maintaining creative control indicates that they are more focused on quantity than quality. Yes, they’ve chosen great talent, but creative carte blanche could mean Google ends up with nothing. But when you consider the challenges TV networks have had in recent years finding and keeping a loyal audience, Google’s approach might be a better one.
STORY 3: FTC WANTS BROWSER LEVEL OPT-OUT
Why it matters: Until this announcement, many companies who use data to target consumers with their clients’ ads weren’t feeling much pressure to include the AdChoices icon on their ads (AdChoices lets you say no to data targeting). This is mostly because this type of opt-out was on a network by network basis (one opt out just meant you said no to one ad network).
POV: If a browser-level opt-out becomes mandatory, and is well publicized, this could have a big negative impact on the big business of data-targeting. At some point soon, online privacy issues are going to come to a head and consumers are going to begin to vote for their own privacy with their clicks. If large numbers of consumers begin to opt-out of all data targeting, many digital media companies are going to take a hit.
STORY 4: AD EXCHANGES ARE COMING OF AGE
Why it matters: Some are predicting that as much as a third of all digital media will be purchased through some type of open marketplace within just a few years. The power of targeting makes what used to be unsold inventory into targeted, response-based marketing that’s available to the highest bidder.
POV: Ad exchanges allow buyers and sellers to come together to buy and sell media (banners for the most part) through real-time bidding (RTB). These open marketplaces essentially remove the need for intermediaries like ad networks (companies like Adconion, Advertising.com, ValueClick, etc.) The removal of the middleman means significantly lower prices and generally better ROI. However, the highest quality, premium inventory (ESPN, Hulu, VEVO, NBC) is likely never to show up on these exchanges because of the power of context, mindset and environment. Look for exchanges to grow to a point, but advertising on premium content will always command a premium price.
STORY 5: SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS MAKE UP 7% of DIGITAL TRAFFIC
Why it matters: The digital media industry, which has historically been pinned to consumers’ PCs is being uprooted by a whole new type of consumption: mobile. The adoption of tablets is the fastest in the history of connected technology; and if consumers are diving in, so must we all.
POV: When you consider how many consumers are on connected computers at work all day, and that less than half of U.S. consumers even own a smartphone or tablet, 7% of all traffic is a very big number…and that number is expected to grow. And with that growth will be a greater focus on new marketing tactics that simply didn’t exist a handful of year ago (like second screen multitasking and targeting a consumer’s exact location). It will be exciting to watch as the marketing industry finds creative ways to take advantage of these and others we’ve yet to discover.
Bonus of the week: MW3
As always, I would love to get any feedback on the stories above (positive, negative, otherwise), so that I can ensure that this newsletter is interesting and relevant to you all.
P.S. Louis C.K. hates Twitter.