Ben Young
Ben Young
April 3, 2019

Digital Content NewFronts is coming up, if readers have invites, would love to join a couple more sessions. 🙂

One big thing
There were a lot of smirks this week about Apple News+. But Apple is smart, especially at research and consumer segmentation. There will be more than enough people who don’t presently subscribe to anything, that bat away subscription notifications, who will be interested. Like HBO you just need three or four titles to make it compelling.

Apple is bringing new, additive users to the subscription ecosystem.

This is a lesson for the whole industry, be additive. If you peek at the MarTech 5000, rather than target P&G like 10,000 other companies. Who are the new and emerging customers? That will tip if you cater to them.

The problem is that existing spend is clearly identifiable and you can deploy a salesforce to go out and grab your share. But when everyone is doing this? Costs go up, differentiation goes down. The whole ecosystem becomes more inefficient.

Be additive, be bold, be distinctive.

Notable stories this week

  • The Atlantic nabs Johanna Mayer-Jones from WSJ/Dow Jones, a tremendous hire, on the heels of their commitment to invest in content.
  • Brand safety and viewability tags slow publisher sites >> definitely something that needs attention.
  • How big is ad blocking really? Doc Searls wades into the data.
  • Bundles always dilute the brand, thoughts on Apple News. And related, back of the envelope calculation suggests WSJ will need about 670,000 subs to break even on the additional hiring for their Apple News content. That could vary quite a bit, depending on how much of the dwell time they can get.
  • Google seeks to make emails more interactive with AMP emails. Email truly is the private social network.
  • WSJ CRO talks about Apple News and shines a light on their branded content efforts.
  • In India Netflix tests a low-cost mobile-only subscription. Priced at $3.61 a month.
  • More on Red Bull Media.
  • Former MoviePass CEO launches new venture; watch 20 minutes of branded content to earn a free movie pass. Incentivized viewing is a hot topic.


  • Bustle acquires TheOutline.
  • Australian influencer marketing startup Tribe raises $7.5m to launch in the US.

Campaign of the week

  • P&G and National Geographic, how P&G’s water purification method is helping it achieve its goal of providing 15 billion liters of clean drinking water to people in need.
  • Hilton dropped its latest limited video series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-In for Peace (which took place at the Hilton Amsterdam).

Smartest commentary

  • “If an agency bids $1 through an exchange that has a 30% rev-share with publishers, that bid would submit at 70 cents. But another exchange with 10% rev share would submit that same bid at 90 cents and win the auction. If the agency doesn’t know about those business arrangements, they’ll have no insight into why they lost”Alison Weissbrot
  • “People throw around the term “data-driven” a lot, but RBC gave more context to how that actually works in practice. Jason Lewin, director of digital marketing and optimization, explained that RBC uses content data to tell a story internally.”Contently

Datapoints of note

  • Stronger-than-expected internet advertising will drive 4.7% growth in total global ad spend in 2019. “We have upgraded our forecasts after internet ad spend markedly exceeded our expectations in 2018,” Barnard explained, adding, “We now estimate that internet advertising grew 16% last year, up from our previous forecast of 12%.”
  • YouTube is responsible for 37% of all mobile internet traffic. In contrast to Netflix, which is 2.4%.
  • Snapchat expected to exceed $1b in revenue in 2020, slower than expected but still growing.
  • Bing Ads took down 900 million bad ads and removed 300,000 bad sites from its system. It also suspended nearly 200,000 accounts from the Bing Ads platform in 2018 – twice the number in the prior year.
  • Reddit to cross $100m in ad revenues this year.
  • [On Reddit vs Facebook video ads] Video completion rates on eight- to 10-second video ads were 2.5 times higher than benchmarks, and 70% of the views occurred on mobile.




Measurement and intelligence for content-first brands.
Nudge is built by marketers and aims to serve brands investing in content-based media, across any category, looking to illustrate ROI, generate deep performance insights, and save time.