Ben Young
Ben Young
June 2, 2023

Edition #405

2/3 of the way through Q2, will the promising land of H2 arrive? Cannes, JRR Tolkien on creativity and Emily in Paris.

2/3 of the way through the second quarter. With many looking to close it out on the promenade over frose in Cannes. We’re closer to the second half, will that promised, we pushed it to the second half eventuate? Let’s see as the quarter closes out. If the hype around Cannes is any indication, it may be a fast and furious H2.

For those of you reading this, who may have a website, or content. Just a reminder, that Google Analytics swaps over to GA4 at the end of the month. So you do need to swap! As otherwise will lose data. Whoever does that swap for you, do ask them to check out what we do at Nudge, it may be a great additional tool to help drive performance.

This week there are a couple of long read pieces on Defector and emerging newsletter businesses. Collectively they make up a refreshing snapshot, of some of the newer playbooks and some hope for media! A zig to the zag of big media news of late.

Notable stories this week

  • Advertisers want Emily in Paris-style branded content.
  • Google Search Console Insights upgrade adds insights for sites not associated with Google Analytics.
  • Reddit is squeezing popular app developer Apollo with its new API pricing.
  • Generative AI comes for advertising. WPP announces a deal with NVIDIA.
  • JRR Tolkien on the instinct for creativity. Thanks Faris.
  • The Future of Media from Axios.
  • With advertising in flux, Twitter is outsourcing ad monetization to ad tech.
  • ^ Smart way to outsource improvements to their ad buying experience to the market.
  • Oracle to shut down AddThis.
  • Meta threatens to pull news from its apps in California.
  • Axios Local slows its rapid expansion after missing revenue goals.
  • Microsoft lanches Fabric their unified analytics solution, and Microsoft Ads adds extra analytics to their conversion pixel.
  • Augury launches attention measurement capabilities.
  • [Long read] The last good website. Defector in pursuit of a journalists utopia.
  • [Long read] The rise of the newsletters. A good summation of a few of the newer players.
  • ^ You may recall we did a piece on the origin of the newsletter, they date back further than you’d think!


Campaign of the week

  • Startup bank, Mercury launches their own magazine, Meridian. Love that they created a playlist to accompany reading the magazine ha.

Mercury launches their own business magazine, Meridian

View all 2023 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “AI is almost certainly going to usher in an unprecedented torrent of crap… I suspect you’re going to need to use [publishers’] brands as proxies for trust”A.G. Sulzberger, NYTimes
  • [Comparing Defector to the neighborhood bar] “This is our little business—we just need to have these margins, pay our employees, and that’s it,” he said. “No one who owns a bar is thinking, ‘I can’t wait for NBCUniversal to come offer to buy my bar for a hundred million dollars.’ If you think of it as a business that you’re running with your friends, it becomes a lot easier to just be like, ‘Yeah, we’re having success, and that’s all we need.’”Tom Ley, EIC, Defector

Datapoints of note

  • AirMail brings in about $15m annually.
  • A study last year by the Meta Branded Content Project (MBCP) and Borrell Associates found the majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) engaged in, and invested, approximately $80 billion into content marketing efforts including branded content marketing. That’s $20 billion more than what they spent on content marketing in 2020.
  • Axios Local generated $8.6m of revenue in 2022.

That’s it for this week.