Ben Young
Ben Young
November 8, 2019

Pleased to announce the youngest young joined the family last week, thanks for the notes. We’re back to normal albeit with less sleep. ?

This week is jam-packed, so save a few links, keep an eye on commentary from Darren Herman and datapoints of note. Oh and LinkedIn launched a newsletter tool?

One big thing
The piece that I dug the most this week is the Spotify tapping Viacom for content marketing on DigiDay. And for a number of reasons, the deal is global spanning 15 markets, it follows the Netflix playbook of content-first, it is integrated across linear-digital – the new norm for branded content and this is a digital-first brand.

“My penultimate goal is to grow user acquisition,” she said. “All users are not created equally. When I think of a partner, I want to partner with someone who can bring high-value customers to us. It’s our determination that Viacom can lend us the reach into a consumer base that will be of high value to us. ”June Sauvaget, Spotify Global Head of Consumer & Product Marketing.

Notable stories this week

  • Sharethrough announces general availability of its enhanced banners product.
  • Vox is launching DK Nation, a partnership between SB Nation and DraftKings to focus on betting content.
  • ‘There was no accountability’: What went wrong for The Players Tribune.
  • Jon Steinberg previews the self-serve tool for buying linear TV, OTT, CTV, and digital video.
  • Focusing on efficiency, not effectiveness led Adidas to over-invest in digital advertising.
  • SalesForce names Adam Blitzer as the new CEO of Marketing Cloud.
  • Spinner uses retargeting just to target your friends.
  • [Solid long read] How the Texas Tribune is revamping its sponsored content.
  • Spotify selects Viacom for content marketing globally.
  • Linkedin rolls out a newsletter feature.
  • Outbrain launches an extension into publishers' newsletters.
  • This piece is great from Sarah Sluis, what happens to programmatic advertising as cookies crumble away?
  • This read on Content Marketing Trends, some good nuggets from the middle onwards.
  • Brands don’t take our work seriously. Inside work from a travel influencer. “My biggest challenge is finding brands that value me and my content.”


  • Facing activist pressure, Nielsen to split into two companies.
  • Hubspot acquires PieSync, a customer data synchronizing platform.
  • Chernin Group in talks to sell Barstool Sports to a gambling operator.
  • Viant acquires itself back from Meredith off the back of strong revenue growth and profitability.
  • Fimalac seeks to rival Martin Sorrell’s S4 with its acquisition of Jellyfish. “We want to create this new kind of agency that Martin Sorrell started,” said Véronique Morali, president of Webedia, Fimalac’s digital media subsidiary. “Now we are in very good shape to be a real competitor.”
  • Seismic acquires Percolate to expand its marketing tools.
  • DoubleVerify buys Ad-Juster to launch a sell-side offering.

Campaign of the week

  • JFOODO on NYT, with their piece, 'Is Sake the new White Wine?'. Don’t know about you, but I’ll be giving sake another shot. Fantastically executed piece – only gripe is I'd like to have seen more backlinks to their own site throughout.
  • Submit your own and view the best campaigns of 2019.

Smartest commentary

  • “You are as good as the measurement you have access to. If you do not have transparency or depth to your marketing measurement, you are flying blind and at some point, you are going to crash. Having marketing telemetry is super important and this should be a top priority for any CMO.”Darren Herman, Interim CMO, Michaels
  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that subscriber numbers aren't really the best metric to measure competition because you can bundle services for free — it's total viewing time that will determine winners and losers“

Datapoints of note

  • Publishers and content creators are missing out on $13.4b in ad revenue because of crummy metrics.
  • Only 49% (of content marketers) track MQLs/SQLs and even fewer track sales effectiveness, customer acquisition costs, customer retention, or lifetime value.
  • Whilst brand awareness is still important (27%), the most popular KPIs are a shift in brand perceptions (31%) and time spent with content (28%).
  • A credible editorial environment is still the number one factor when selecting a media partner (57%), followed by audience profile (52%) and quality of audience engagement (49%).
  • There were 86 ad-tech mergers and acquisitions in the first three quarters of the year, according to data from Results International.




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