Ben Young
Ben Young
February 8, 2019


One big thing
I want to speak on the pace of change.

Twitter this quarter is changing their reporting metric to mDAU, monetizeable daily active user. The market did not like it.

Imagine if they had used this number a few years ago when Jack first came back. They would have been decimated. Were they measuring it? You can guarantee it.

3000 employees isn’t a ship you can turn overnight. Nor the expectations of millions of users.

In New Zealand there’s a CPG brand, Mainland Cheese whose motto is good things take time. Their ads are classic.

Overnight successes don’t happen overnight and course corrections don’t either.

So, before griping, have a celebration for some of the small wins. Twitter is now sharing what they likely always wanted to share but couldn’t. And that means good things are to come.

Notable stories this week

  • Selling fake social media engagement is illegal. A clear statement from the New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  • Local Media Consortium and Local Media Association announce applications available for Facebook-funded Branded Content Project. Fellow technology companies please take a look at this – see how you can help local grow their branded content businesses.
  • [From us] A shout out to the Twitter thread on TV vs Branded Content from our own Gustaf.
  • InPwrd shared the best content amplification headlines to drive post-click engagement.
  • It’s time to ditch Google Analytics, a dive into the data practices.
  • Nativo shares more of its self serve progress with DTC in their sights.
  • [This is a great read] Oracle didn’t see the data reckoning coming. A dig in to their acquisitions in the data space and a recent downturn.
  • How Unilever is navigating ad data across Google, Facebook and Twitter. Through external third parties, Kantar and Nielsen. They pixel the users in a closed environment to help dedupe across networks. As brands seek efficiency, this will be the way to go.
  • ShutterStock shares this year’s trends, based on their search data. Very neat. 80s Opulence is back!
  • YouTube stops subsidizing the brand safety bills.
  • Facebook will now reveal who targeted you that ad, i.e. X brand uploaded your customer info. A step towards more transparency but maybe unnerving consumers more. Progress in the right direction though.
  • Vice plans to cut 10% of employees and focus on growing Virtue, their content agency.
  • Brand builders should go beyond ‘snackable’ content in 2019 and seek longer form. Couldn’t agree more.
  • [Earnings week] Google’s CPC is dropping and acquisition costs growing. Snap reports better than expected self serve revenue growth (nice) but still concern with executive turnover and growth has plateaued. Twitter now focused on monetizable daily active users, coming in at 126m users – the shift in metrics scares investors. IAC reports 44% growth last year.
  • [From us] The measurement problem facing modern marketers. “Whether we are winning or not, if we don’t measure it we won’t know. This has to be the utmost importance for marketers, getting to transparency and accountability.”


  • Spotify bought Gimlet and Anchor, in one swoop taking share of the podcast market. What’s next? Voice? AdTech? Contextual firms? With $400m-$500m more earmarked for acquisitions, I’m sure many corporate development folks are knocking.
  • raises $2.6m to expand their newsletter network.
  • Taptica and RhythmOne merge.
  • Reddit raising a round near a $3 billion valuation led by Tencent.

Campaign of the week

Smartest commentary

  • “Dotdash has a disarmingly simple approach centered on quality content, site speed, and respectful monetization,” said IAC CEO Joey Levin in the letter to shareholders. “The company doesn’t buy traffic nor rely heavily on social networks. Dotdash’s brands simply help people to answer questions, solve problems and find inspiration when they’re searching for answers. Our readers come with specific intent, enabling us to connect advertisers to consumers based on stated interests using high-performing ads in a safe online environment.”Joey Levin, IAC CEO

Datapoints of note

  • Brand investments in advertising and scholarships in to eSports will double from $694m in 2018 to $1.39 billion in 2021.
  • Business Insider has crossed $100m in revenue and is profitable.
  • With a lean, profitable operation of 10 full-time employees, Morning Brew’s revenue topped $3 million in 2018, according to the company. Morning Brew’s native advertising revenue averages $200,000 a week thanks to more than 40 active clients, including Microsoft, JPMorgan and Allbirds. Clients are charged for every unique reader who actually opens the email. “They get what they pay for,” Rief says. “If it doesn’t do well, that’s on us, not them.”


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