Ben Young
Ben Young
September 1, 2023

Edition #414

We used to hear about agencies all the time, but no more? Threads partnerships & MrBeast tweets.

One of the first agency parties I went to had a snow machine, in summer! It was the last hurrah I guess before the 08 crash. And even then agency folks reminisced of the prior glory days. 

I share that because it feels like we don’t hear about agencies anymore. It used to be we heard about them all the time, movings, wins, in housing vs the agency. So what’s happened? Have they gone? Or collectively are we just focused elsewhere?

Call me biased but I’ve always been pro agency (having started one myself before) but brands re always going to need help to marshal the resources and direct them to its goals. Which is what agencies are good at. And sure, at times you need that skillset more or less but there’s always a role for it. 

I kind of have a hunch that this era of higher interest rates will be for the benefit of agencies as brands have to be even more careful with their dollars. And the concentrated expertise will be event more valuable. Pair that with the ATT crunch on acquisition focused advertising. 

It was nice though, this week in the US several agencies had an employee appreciation week, giving them a week off ahead of the long weekend. Well deserved 👏

We released another handbook, this one on Content Partnerships, for (you guessed it) agencies doing them. Like our others, short, practical and actionable. You can nab it here. Our prior was the Growth Handbook. We hope this can be of help. 

And Yahoo may be coming back to search? A throwaway in a recent Yahoo piece is that they may want to return to their roots, Search. Curious!

A lot of stories for a quiet week, so enjoy. 

Notable stories this week

  • Becoming the envy of all Partnerships folks everywhere, MrBeast simply tweets about needing some brand partners for upcoming videos.
  • More NFL advertisers are running split-screen ads. Here’s why.
  • TikTok’s growth has brands like The Athlete’s Foot seeking TikTok agencies.
  • Inside Thread’s first month of influencer brand deals.
  • Congrats to Nativo who won the Digiday Technology Award for best content marketing platform.
  • We released our Content Partnerships Handbook for agencies.
  • YouTube demystifies the Shorts algorithm, views and answers other creator questions.
  • How podcast producers became rising stars in the creator economy.
  • Casey highlights how attention plays a role in productivity (and implications for brands).
  • ^ I extended on this a bit with a short piece on Attention = Demand.
  • Can news outlets build a ‘trustworthy’ AI chatbot?
  • IPG Mediabrands partners with Google Cloud on generative AI-powered branded content creation.
  • Washington Post lays off staff from tech arm.
  • Media Plan of the Year via AdWeek.
  • Ex NYT CEO to take over CNN.
  • Disney, The New York Times and CNN are among a dozen major media companies blocking access to ChatGPT.
  • The Trade Desk has a plan to reduce the cost of digital ads.
  • So AI art can’t be copyrighted?
  • How Yahoo sparked a renaissance under new owners.
  • Sorry, but LinkedIn is cool now.
  • [Smart take] Atlas Obscura ads are crushing but what’s the story with experiences?


Campaign of the week

View all 2023 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “That was so much worse than I’d thought it would be.” But that was just the beginning. By 2012, Mark and her colleagues found the average time on a single task was 75 seconds. Now it’s down to about 47.…This is an acid bath for human cognition. Multitasking is mostly a myth. We can focus on one thing at a time. “It’s like we have an internal whiteboard in our minds,” Mark said. “If I’m working on one task, I have all the info I need on that mental whiteboard. Then I switch to email. I have to mentally erase that whiteboard and write all the information I need to do email. And just like on a real whiteboard, there can be a residue in our minds. We may still be thinking of something from three tasks ago.” Platformer.

Datapoints of note

  • Linkedin users shared 41% more content on the network than they did in the same period in 2021.
  • Threads use has declined by 79% over the past month, dropping from a peak of 49.3 million daily active users around the world on July 7 (two days after its launch) to just 10.3 million by Aug. 7, according to Similarweb.
  • 17% of programmatic ad clicks are invalid.

That’s it for this week.