SQAD POD: 5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Should Know – September 2017

Industry news and insights podcast curated from the world of advertising and marketing trends.

Summer is wrapping up and everything is becoming pumpkin-spiced… that must mean fall is just around the corner. Before we unpack the sweaters and schedule our apple picking adventures, there’s just enough time to take a look at what’s moving and shaking the industry right now. This month, we’re taking a closer look at Facebook’s new video service, the vending machine renaissance, the growing number of brands shifting to in-house advertising teams, NFL’s ban on alcohol advertising, and Apple’s attack on ad tracking.

1. Watching Facebook’s Watch

If there is one thing we’ve learned about Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook: they know a good idea when they see one. After swiping all the best ideas from Snapchat for their recently acquired Instagram service and messenger app, they now have set their sights on YouTube. For obvious reasons (nearly every video link on Facebook directs users to YouTube) Facebook has decided to launch “Watch” – a user-driven video streaming service. The new Watch allows content creators to upload their own original videos and gives users access to hundreds of shows from platforms like Buzzfeed, Discovery, ABC, A&E, and more. While Facebook is still testing the waters (read: how advertising and revenue sharing will work for its partners), it’s probably safe to say they have the resources and drive to become the YouTube contender Vimeo never could. According to the vice president of partnerships at Facebook, Dan Rose, the social media giant eventually plans to allow their billions of users to submit shows to Facebook for approval and distribution on Watch, providing a 55% share of the ad revenue. It appears the gauntlet has been thrown down, and the battle lines have been drawn for the future of short-form streaming programming.

2. Mini Retail Kiosks Redefine OOH Advertising

The venerable and once ubiquitous vending machine is getting a fresh new makeover and is making a grand re-entry into the market as the next big digital out-of-home advertising vehicle. This re-imagining is courtesy of Vengo Labs, a new company that has kiosks in 38 states and serves ads on about 1,400 screens. Advertisers can place ads digitally on-screen or physically as a wrap-around on the outside of the machine, while filling the device with targeted products and samples ready and waiting for the next passerby. The concept could be particularly appealing to brands who want to hone in on a specific target audience; for example, a protein powder company might set up a machine in a gym locker room, or a notebook company could set one up in a college library. The little kiosks are coming in with a huge potential to make OOH advertising more engaging and interactive.

3. Brands Are Giving Ad Agencies a Reason to Be Nervous

It looks like the trend of advertisers bringing their creative ad teams in-house is continuing, with Sprint being one of the latest large companies to do so, following in the footsteps of other large companies like Allstate, Unilever, Netflix. At the end of the day, an in-house ad department allows brands to better leverage their data, messaging, and spend – and gives them control over creative initiatives, search advertising, traditional media buying, as well as programmatic buying. As if to illustrate the problems brands are trying to avoid, Uber recently filed a lawsuit against its mobile advertising agency, Fetch, seeking a return of $40 million (out of the $85 million it paid) based on allegations of misrepresentation and false analytics. This lawsuit points to a significant problem the entire ad industry is now faced with, as more companies start to question their transparency and effectiveness. The agencies are going to need to make significant changes soon if they hope to stem the tide of brands jumping ship.

4. NFL Opens Its Advertising Doors to Spirits Companies

At the beginning of September, liquor giant Diageo ran the first ever hard liquor ad during a regular NFL game season, marking a significant milestone for the industry that has long been banned from buying spots during the coveted sports season. The NFL has lifted its ban on airing spirits and hard liquor ads, and allowed four 30-second liquor ads to be aired per game under the condition that they do not represent a football theme in any way and must carry a “prominent social responsibility message.” Despite the regulations set by the league on these ads – many of which do not apply to beer brands – this is a huge step forward for the broader alcohol industry, and opens the door for them to capture a sought-after audience. Is this latest change a sign of an enlightened NFL management, or simply the adapting policies of an organization looking to maximize ad dollars in the face of falling viewership? Either way, you can be sure you’ll be seeing more Captain Morgan and Absolute Vodka commercials during your Sunday night games.

5. Apple’s New Ad Tracking Limitations

With a few changes in the browser code on Apple’s Safari, the ad industry is up in arms. But the tech giant couldn’t care less. In its latest move to protect user privacy, Apple is limiting ad tracking in Safari, making it more difficult for ad buyers to target niche markets. The new limitation will protect users’ privacy by disabling their data from being tracked by third parties after 24 hours of visiting a website. Without long-running tracking cookies stored in the browser, advertisers lose their ability to custom tailor the ads they feed users on other sites. Now, when you look at that new pair of shoes on Amazon, you’ll only see the creepy ad for those shoes for 24 hours on other sites. While not expressly stated, it’s a good bet that Apple is doubling down on their reputation for protecting their users – which could attract more consumers to the products using these more-secure technologies. But, the change is leaving advertisers industry groups enraged, six of which have already published a letter expressing their frustrations over the limitation and how it has the ability to disrupt the Internet’s economy. How much Safari’s restrictions will impact the digital advertising landscape we have yet to find out, but it could really change the game if other browsers decide to follow suit (since the latest version of Safari only accounts for less than 15% of market share, according to W3Counter).