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Why we need to use tech to amplify human ambition – rather than turn it off

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Stop me if you are still in helplessly in love with the culture and practices of 80s adland, but there’s an inherent decadence in the agency sector these days, as technology surges on and humans lag behind. And it’s not helping anyone.

You can see it on the media side, where so many seem to switch on the tech and go to lunch, not worrying about the detail, because it’s all clever stuff and if it doesn’t get the job done, the offline media probably will. That’s the seductive peril of lazy media: technology has become more accessible, more connectable and spread across more media channels than ever before, and the reaction of many is simply to sit back and let it run on autopilot.

You can see it on the creative side too, where much of the ad world’s most expensive talents sit around writing big telly ads that hardly anyone is going to notice. Whilst ignoring the creative opportunities of many formats with just as much – maybe more – potential – the banners, the specific copy, the data-driven creative and formats – because it’s all a bit “downstream".

Media has changed, and so has the creative it requires, but the industry isn’t changing fast enough to capitalise. Tools and automation should amplify human ambition, not replace it. Technology should make us sit forward, not back, bringing us closer to our audiences and the market, enabling us to think faster and move faster to help our businesses compete.

If they're going to compete, of course brands must select, connect and manage their data and technology to surface insights, execute against them and measure the result. But we believe that ultimately, it’s still human ingenuity that provides the real sustainable advantage. And too much of that ingenuity is rising to the wrong challenges and fighting the wrong fights.

At a recent conference there was a particular lamentation about ‘the death of the billboard’. Meanwhile, someone said ‘my son makes about 20 memes a day, and at least ten of them have more of an impact than most of your billboard creative.’ There is plenty of creativity outside the great creative shops, and it is fast, furious and knows its market.

There will always be a need for the kind of creative that requires a longer gestation period. Bigger ideas do take time to percolate through. But a fast world needs fast creative too. And if you’re missing that, then you’re missing a large opportunity and probably a lot of your audience, too.

Smart clients have for years been trying to get their creative and media agencies to work more closely together. But they need more than that – they need a creative message that’s built for the different media opportunities and how that media is being targeted.

As long as creative teams are removed from the wider media landscape, with its technology, its targeting capabilities and its rich market insights, they will fail to do their job right. Creative that is developed without a granular knowledge of the media targeting options is doing half the job, at best. At worst, they will completely miss the point.

The more native the creative, the better it works. The more your Snapchat work looks like great Snapchat content, the better it will perform. Your telly ad squished into that, or a skyscraper banner format, on the whole, probably won't

Perhaps the answer is to follow the example of John Caples, a naval engineer turned creative who now lends his name to some prestigious awards. At BBDO from the late-1920s, he pioneered ad-testing, constantly measuring creative against its results. Tweaking, tinkering, combining. But continually sensitive to the place in which the ad appears, obsessed by the results, and forensic about which aspects worked, what didn’t and why.

Perhaps the answer in this tech-rich age is to get some really old-school ambition.

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YouTube gives more creators option to monetize channels

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YouTube is dropping the number of required subscribers for access to Channel Memberships to 50,000, a reversal from the 100,000 threshold it set in June.

Why the change? Previously called Sponsorships, YouTube’s Channel Membership program allows creators to offer $4.99-per-month subscriptions to their channels, giving paid subscribers access to account badges, emojis, members-only posts in the Community tab and exclusive content from creators. The update gives more creators who are trying to grow a loyal fan base on YouTube the opportunity to monetize their channel beyond ads.

Why you should care. The Channel Memberships offer creators a way to monetize their content beyond YouTube ads. One success story, According to YouTube, is Wintergatan, a Swedish instrumental band and designers of the Marble Machine musical instrument. The band reportedly increased revenue more than 50 percent using Channel Memberships. The creators behind the channel, which currently has more than 1 million subscribers, are also using Channel Memberships to provide perks like early access to tickets for concert tours or free tickets to long-term members.

PR Play, a channel with nearly 150,000 subscribers, is using Channel Memberships to offer premium content like driving lessons, and Tristar Gym is offering exclusive Brazilian jiu-jitsu instruction videos.

The post YouTube gives more creators option to monetize channels appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Sharpen your digital marketing skills with an SMX East workshop

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Passion drives you to become a more accomplished marketer, grow your career and go the extra mile. You’re the reason we created the SMX® East workshop series.

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The EU’s Competition Commissioner is investigating Amazon

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Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, said on Wednesday that the oversight agency is looking into Amazon’s business practices.

Why? While acknowledging that hosting third-party merchants provided a benefit for smaller businesses and collecting data had legitimate uses such as improving customer service, she also noted that access to third-party data may give Amazon an unwarranted competitive edge. The effort is a preliminary investigation, not yet having reached the stage of a formal inquiry.

It’s about data. Speaking during a press conference regarding the Luxembourg McDonald’s State Aid case, Vestager responded to a reporter’s question about whether the commission was looking into antitrust concerns raised about Amazon’s use of data collected from merchants hosted on Amazon’s merchant platform.

“The question here is about the data, because if you as Amazon get the data from the smaller merchants that you host — which can be of course completely legitimate because you can improve your service to these smaller merchants — well, do you then also use this data to do your own calculations? What is the new big thing, what is it that people want, what kind of offers do they like to receive, what makes them buy things.”

She said the oversight agency has sent a number of questionnaires to third-party merchants that sell through Amazon to gather more information about the company’s practices.

What it means for Amazon. The inquiry comes at a crucial time as revenue from third-party selling services comprised nearly 20 percent of Amazon’s revenue in the second quarter of 2018. The company this week also launched a new “Storefronts” initiative dedicated exclusively to servicing 20,000 US small and medium-sized businesses featuring more than 1 million products.

While the EU inquiry is limited to the European Union at this point, the company has come under increasing criticism recently, having recently been called out by president Trump as being in a “very antitrust situation.”

The EU also has a history of levying huge fines against US tech giants. The most recent, in July of this year, was a $5 billion antitrust penalty against Google over Google Play and its role in the Android ecosystem.

The EU previously slapped Google with $2.7B antitrust fine for favoring its own content in search results.

The post The EU’s Competition Commissioner is investigating Amazon appeared first on Marketing Land.

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