Monthly Brandtech Blend – September 2020

Home Blends & Trends 11 September 2020

Back to school with the tea house! Although these are unusual times, at fifty-five, we are dedicated to educating our clients and explaining the latest changes and trends that are shaping the digital marketing industry. 

So what’s been going on in the brandtech ecosystem over the summer? TikTok is still in the midst of a diplomatic crisis, Apple goes further with its privacy measures while Google advocates for a better advertising ecosystem. In the meantime, advertisers are rethinking their media investments and e-commerce keeps booming.

TikTok’s diplomatic crisis continues

Donald Trump, after having accused TikTok of spying to profit China, had set a deadline of September 20 for the app to announce a plan to sell all of its US operations to an American corporation. Various tech giants immediately showed interest, especially Microsoft in partnership with Walmart and Oracle. In the meantime, the company’s CEO Kevin Mayer announced his resignation. What’s more, the Chinese government then introduced new restrictions on technology exports which could make it more difficult to sell TikTok’s algorithm, the core value of the app. 

But there might be a turnaround: ByteDance – TikTok’s owner – is currently in discussions with the American government to find solutions that would work for both US and Chinese regulators, such as ceding all operational control of TikTok data – which is the major pain point – to an American tech company, while keeping ownership of some assets. 

Read more on CNBC.

Apple goes further on privacy control with IDFA update, and competitors respond

In June, Apple announced its new  privacy feature that would be implemented with iOS14: asking users for permission to track their data across apps and websites on Apple devices through their ID for Advertisers or IDFA code. But their competitors, especially Facebook, had a harsh response to the announcement. The social media platform argued that the measure would prevent advertisers from driving relevant ad spending strategies as it would kill off its audience base, Audience Network. The pressure worked, in a way: Apple announced last week that it would postpone the launch of the feature, granting developers six months to adapt and make the necessary changes. 

Read more in AdExchanger.

Google quietly rolls out its new “heavy ads” blocker feature

Google Chrome surprised publishers and programmatic executives when it started to launch its new feature designed to block ads using an unnecessary large amount of bandwidth. In May, the browser announced on its Chromium blog that this new measure would apply to ads using more than 4MB of network data. Although Chrome announced that only around 0.3% of ads will be considered “heavy ads”, its total share of the global browser market reaches 69%, so the update actually affects a significant number of ads. A move that contributes to building a better and more transparent advertising industry, but should Google be the only judge?

Read more on Digiday.

Digital advertising: how are the biggest advertisers spending their budgets? 

Although many company’s first reaction to the pandemic was to pause marketing investments for a while, companies now have had time to adapt, and various digital marketing strategies are emerging. Some, like Unilever, are promoting coronavirus-safety messages. Others, including Volkswagen, are continuing budget cuts everywhere and promoting a more adapted message. Still others are increasing their investments; McDonald’s has announced it will spend at least $200 million in additional marketing to support its franchises.

Moreover, many brands such as Unilever, Patagonia and Disney took part in the Facebook Ban and pulled ad spend from the platform, which turned out to be a great opportunity for them to analyze their media investments and assess the most effective revenue drivers.

Read more on Digiday.

Online shopping continues to grow, and Facebook wants its piece of the pie

While sales dropped in many sectors during the coronavirus lockdown, e-commerce channels have been more sollicitated than ever. As many retail brands took the leap to be present online in order to stay afloat, many companies’ e-commerce business grew more than expected. In the US, retail e-commerce business hit $211.1 billion in the second quarter, which is a 31.8% YoY growth. 

For Facebook, which initially suffered from a decrease in demand for advertising on its platform, this boom is a great opportunity to accelerate its ambition for e-commerce. Indeed, the recent launch of its Shops e-commerce feature, which lets businesses list products on sale across its app via virtual storefront, is just another reason for e-commerce marketers and especially DTC brands to see value in Facebook and put a large part of their media investments towards the platform. 

Read more on Digiday.

Would you like another cup of tea?