Ben Young
Ben Young
November 17, 2023

Edition #425

An ode to the website, branded content trust, we’re on a podcast – and more.

This week AdExchanger shared the conversation I had with James Hercher, on rugby, analytics & more. Would love your feedback and thoughts.

I’ve been having a few chats with various search marketers the last month or so, which prompted me to revisit our search data, and overlay it with our scroll data. In many instances, of our top ranking content, the average person left before seeing any CTA. So we adjusted (and continue to adjust that).

Now why share that? Well, it shows the value of scroll data. But more broadly our websites are our digital storefronts, they need continual tweaking & improving based on the market, what our customers are doing. And that work is ongoing, to keep innovating, to keep finding new areas of improvement. They are right in the thick of the path to purchase!

Every newsletter, every brand campaign, every paid campaign, drives through that channel. Improving how it performs, helps everything perform better.

And in a web universe that is endlessly expanding, with new platforms, ways of storytelling, the website is becoming even more important. It’s a brands wikipedia, the authoritative place for that brand. Now they’re not perfect, but it is the fall back default for anything for a consumer. If they’re not sure, they’ll go to a brands homepage.. And I’d venture to say many brands have underinvested in theirs, but now are trying to find ways to improve its performance.

It’s kind of a weird thing, no matter what you do in digital, your work is impacted by how well the website does. So whether its yours, or your clients, give a thought to the website and how it may impact the work.

Notable stories this week

  • Brand content is trusted more when created by professional journalists.
  • 5 tips for telling newsworthy features from public data.
  • For kids, social media is kaput.
  • The state of media analytics (featuring us).
  • Google to show new information about content creators in search.
  • How the attention challenge is evolving: Insights from Sharethrough’s Richard Ottoy.
  • What Amazons advertising partnership with Meta means, from Eric Seufert.
  • From product placement to the Netflix Cup: marketers weigh up the unconventional twist in its ad strategy.
  • US researchers show that within a few months of the launch of ChatGPT, copywriters and graphic designers on major online freelancing platforms saw a significant drop in the number of jobs they got, and even steeper declines in earnings.
  • Newsletter winter is coming.
  • Actors get AI compensation in historic contract. Does this set a precedent for creators?
  • Time Inc releases a progress update.
  • The case for and against brand safety.
  • YouTube’s ad blocking crackdown is facing a new challenge: privacy laws.
  • Media jobs slashed amid soft ad market.
  • We found out that Google shares 36% of the search revenue generated from Safari with Apple.
  • Advertisers don’t want sites like Jezebel to exist.
  • Web browsing data collected in more detail than previously known.
  • The Trade Desk shares plunge about 30% on weak guidance.
  • Owner of Tumblr confirms a shift in strategy, has spent $100m since acquisition.
  • Positive programmatic.
  • [Thread] On how RTB is being used as mass surveillance.
  • [Long read] What happened to the new internet?


  • Gawker sold to founder of Singapore’s Caldecott Music Group.
  • Karlie Kloss is acquiring I-D Magazine.

Campaign of the week

  • CVS Health on Fortune, Chelsea Clinton is betting on a health care startup to help solve the nation’s caregiving crisis.

View all 2023 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “I’m going to call our current moment the Vapor Web. Because there is actually more internet with more happening on it — and with bigger geopolitical stakes — than ever before. And yet, it’s nearly impossible to grab ahold of it because none of it adds up into anything coherent. Simply put, we’re post-viral now.”Ryan Broderick.

Datapoints of note

  • 43% of consumers trust brand content more when it’s created by professional journalists, and 42% trust it more when it clearly discloses who it’s funded and created by.
  • Time Inc’s direct sold advertising is up 7% YOY.
  • Since implementing Index’s out stream ad unit, Business Insider has seen a 26% increase in CPMs.
  • TV viewership of F1 in the US is down 8% this year.

That’s it for this week.