Ben Young
Ben Young
March 6, 2020

A quick ask, Gustaf on his team is looking for marketers to provide feedback on a new initiative. If you would like to be involved, in exchange for a treat on us, let me know. Just asking for 30 minutes of your time – over a screen share.

One big thing
Last week I wondered – when or IF we would mention the Corona Virus in the newsletter. This is the week I guess and we have a couple of points of impact on the industry.

I did like The Atlantic piece this week: How many Americans really have Corona Virus, less for the misinformation angle but how data can and is used.

"The point is that every country’s numbers are the result of a specific set of testing and accounting regimes. Everyone is cooking the data, one way or another. And yet, even though these inconsistencies are public and plain, people continue to rely on charts showing different numbers, with no indication that they are not all produced with the same rigor or vigor."

How data is constructed makes a BIG impact, you can have the same event but wildly different outcomes or takeaways based on the data collection.

"People trust data. Numbers seem real. Charts have charismatic power. People believe what can be quantified. But data do not always accurately reflect the state of the world. Or as one scholar put it in a book title: “Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron."

This got me thinking about Chip Heath's new book (see this piece on how Expedia solved a $100m customer service problem for more), where he gets into upstream vs downstream ideas, data reflects downstream, an observation of something that has happened. Predictions and ML predict downstream events.

By the time a chat gets to press, it can be sanitized so so many different ways, removal of outliers, change of axis, cleaning up two data sources which were never comparable.

Healthy skepticism for data, would be very wise, today and always.

Notable stories this week

  • Facebook providing is now transparency on sponsored content, in its CrowdTangle tool. These are posts which are made in collaboration with a partner but aren’t promoted, or are promoted by the content creator. Which means they are not showing in the current ad transparency tool. It’s a tad confusing and I hope they fix this up so it is all in one place.
  • Chicago Bulls become the first NBA team to launch branded content on TikTok.
  • The loss of tracking cookies is fueling the importance of email newsletters.
  • PGA Tour partners with Action Sports Network for golf betting.
  • Podcast publishers eye international markets for growth.
  • Sheryl Sandberg pushing the chat around TikTok for antitrust regulators.
  • Snapchat launches ground lens, that is a lens for the ground in front of you.
  • TikTok rolls out new analytics tool.
  • Meredith is investing in tech to connect ads to sales.
  • [Long read] The wizards behind Bloomberg’s half a billion-dollar makeover. Given Super Tuesday results, this is still worth a read.


  • Quibi has closed a second round of financing worth $750m. This includes the $400m announced at end of 2019. No further plans to raise additional capital this year.
  • Serial was asking for $75m but thought to be in discussions with the NYT at a significantly lower price.
  • mParticle raises $45m to improve data quality for brands.
  • Little Dot Studios has acquired content agency Wing.
  • Kevin Hart partners with AdWeek for podcast, branded content and event integrations.

Campaign of the week

Smartest commentary

  • “TikTok gives credits. Like a drug dealer who gives you a taste to get you hooked, TikTok offers users promotional codes so that $1,000 in advertising gets you $2,000. However, these numbers are suspect. Again, it’s all about the ROI. What will $1,000 or even $10,000 get you on TikTok that you can’t get on Snapchat, IG or Facebook? Like old school video game cheats, these game the algorithm and make it look like you have some real value for your dollar. But when we sat back and measured our results, they just weren’t the same.”Nick Shackelford, Co-Founder at Structured Social & Geek Out Education

Datapoints of note

  • 37.5m people in the US will watch streaming video on Twitch, at least monthly, in 2020. At this pace, it will surpass 40m in 2021.
  • NBCU has sold nearly 90% of its Tokyo Olympics inventory.
  • Another #BullsBMOChallenge video by the Bulls has performed even better, drawing more than 1.3 million views, 190,500 likes, 747 comments, 747 comments, and 4,400 shares. The 15-second video also saw a completion rate of 87%.





Nudge is a dashboard for your content.
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.