Ben Young
Ben Young
August 9, 2019

One big thing
London folks, please do come along to our event later this month. As a kiwi in New York the biggest change between how content is seen here vs internationally, is the practicality. In other markets people are a lot more practical, I do this to get X or Y. Here the value chains are bigger. So they’re trying to help move the needle on that component.

It’s good and bad. For emerging areas the value chain helps it get bigger scale faster. The former helps ground the approach and validate it.

Often it’s viewed that the US market figures it out and then it goes around the world. But it’s the propagation through other markets which helps inform any change in marketing and firm it up. A symbiotic relationship if you will.

A reminder, I’m holding office hours in August and September – nab a call with me here.

Notable stories this week

  • Stylists branded content growth is 60% YOY.
  • Business news publishers are investing in branded content studios to attract more b2b clients.
  • [From us] How emotional responses to advertising (and branded content) impact brand recall.
  • RTB doesn’t make sense if the industry is going to contextual, Brian O’Kelley. Nudge data tends to support this, with the danger in long-tail programmatic being good at driving ‘clicks’ but not quality. It can be achieved but cost-benefit needs examining.
  • Activate deepens their influencer analytics on Pinterest.
  • [From me] Poolside FM’s fresh new redesign is proof: There’s tremendous power in creating a distinctive vibe — and an experience that delights.
  • Facebook is offering publishers up to $3m/year to license their content.
  • Comscore stock down 85% since resignation of CEO and cash infusion.
  • Facebook launches its first lawsuit on ad fraud. When they acquired LiveRail they pulled back on the audience network to avoid leakage but also to circumvent any fraud. Facebook (as Google would) have the best idea when fraud is happening, just by detecting a ratio of identified clicks, as they have real profiles of people.
  • Google adds playable podcast episodes to search results.
  • [Long read] What is Amazon? This is a really good read.


  • GateHouse will acquire Gannett, to grow local ad sales with a focus on their digital offerings.
  • Attention Capital is in the market for businesses to add to the portfolio.
  • Vice trying to secure a deal with the post-merger CBS Viacom entity. Price down from $5.7b two years ago to $1.5b today. The idea is that Vice could bridge the gap between the CBS and Viacom generations.
  • Microsoft acquires Promote IQ, ads in eCommerce sites. Indicating a new approach to growing its ad business.

Campaign of the week

Smartest commentary

  • “Imagine if Rolex stopped the high-end sponsorships and glamorous advertising. Instead, they run big buy now discount offers. They’d have six months of record sales. They’d also destroy their ability to command a high price premium for years. Food for thought.”Chris Bartley, MD at Havas Life Medicom
  • I like the explanation of WHY content for luxury brands via LuxuryDaily. “The ubiquitous nature of social media and content platforms has created an overload of messaging. For luxury brands, this makes content marketing more important than ever. While consumers are overloaded with content and have shrinking attention spans, this gives luxury brands an opportunity to be creative with their communications. Content that pulls customers in through a message apart from the traditional advertising concept is a vital method of forming a bond.”

Datapoints of note

  • [OutBrain study] Consumers are significantly more likely to understand why they’re shown native ads compared to ads on Facebook (57% vs 52%).
  • ^ This understanding extends to trust with 22% of consumers trusting native ads versus 17% trusting Facebook ads.
  • ^^ 28% of consumers have clicked on native content in the past six months. Native Discoveries are considered educational, interesting, and relevant.
  • [Sharethrough study] Consumers are 25% more likely to look at a native ad than a banner ad.
  • ^ They look at them 53% more frequently and check them out 4.1 times per session on average, versus 2.7 for standard banners.
  • Sponsored posts with #ad on Instagram almost double.


For August and September I’ll be holding “office hours” on Friday. Simply sign up for a 20 minute slot and we can have a conversation about trends, best practices, what we are seeing in the market and even do some troubleshooting.




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