2017.03.17 Last Week in Digital Media

Here’s what you may have missed:

  • Facebook, who has relentlessly been copying Snapchat features has had to reverse that trend on WhatsApp. If you recall, a few weeks ago, WhatsApp status messages were replaced with a Snapchat-like story. This is being reversed in beta versions of the next release of WhatsApp (Forbes also has a write up about this).
  • xAd (a Magna partner) announced this week that you can now buy mobile targeted ads that drive foot traffic on a performance basis. At the risk of being called a shill, I do think this is a big step forward for location targeting and mobile. xAd will use Placed (an IPG partner) as 3rd party verification of foot traffic.
  • The WSJ reports that Google is testing voice ads on Google Home. Users reported hearing an ad for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast when they asked about their schedule for the day. Apparently, this was only a proof of concept and no money changed hands.
  • eMarketer predicts that twitter‘s share of ad revenue will decline. That said, twitter continues to build out live streaming rights, this time picking up live streaming rights to the National Lacrosse League.
  • Snapchat (who’s post-IPO share price peak continues to decline) may be looking to make more money from existing users as opposed to adding more users. Recode notes that Snap’s S1 outlines a desire to focus on Top 10 markets. Is there room for growth? Yes, if you look at the ARPU, Snap averages US$2.15 while Facebook achieves $19.81 (75% from the US, Canada and Europe).
  • Is it possible for Facebook to beat Snapchat by just copying features? There’s a good write up on Mashable that explains how Facebook is trying to position Snapchat as just a feature, not a product and that Snap needs to innovate.
  • Amazon is bringing the Alexa app to iOS (within their main Amazon app). If you have the Amazon app, you will see a little microphone at the top right corner and you can interact, just like you would with Alexa. You can’t (currently) tweak how Alexa responds within the Amazon app unless you own a physical Alexa.
  • A question always asked about Programmatic is how do you guarantee brand safety? On Friday, Google UK published a blog post saying they were working to improve brand safety tools after some recent inappropriate ad placement issues. I have reached out to Google US for an update (and will share when it becomes available).
  • Last mention of the week goes to Forrester research. When asked, I often say my job is less about encouraging people to use digital media and more about helping with digital transformation. Here’s a simple graphic (twitpic) from Forrester aptly titled traditional thinking hinders transformation to a digital business. A good reminder that digital is more than just media, but also a way of thinking.

Have a brilliant week!