Fixing the Agency Problem
WPP just suffered its worst stock drop since 1999, after posting its worst year for revenue in almost 10 years. And they're not alone. Omnicom, Publicis, IPG, and Dentsu have all struggled in recent years, too.
The agency model is starting to feel dated. And in many cases, it's not really working anymore. As a result, brands are starting to pull away from agencies, either turning to consulting firms or taking matters into their own hands by building in-house agencies.
Digiday suggests that we need to work to reinvent ourselves: "Agencies are durable businesses, and flexible ones. But as they have flexed with marketing trends, their costs have ballooned." The piece also echoes the ideas mentioned above (consulting agencies cutting into our turf and brands pulling business in-house), as well as raising other factors like the Duopoly (Google and Facebook) working directly with brands on their creative and placement.
Facebooks Adds Dimension
There are a lot of factors that make VR and AR a challenge for marketers, but perhaps the most prohibitive is the technology's lack of scalability. Even as new, interactive content becomes possible, the limited reach make it a difficult cost to justify. Facebook thinks it can fix that.
It doesn't start with full-blown headsets, though. It starts by introducing 3D posts into the newsfeed. Facebook is now polishing up "Phases one and two" of its 3D content initiative. They are now looking to perfect the experience, which will eventually allow users to "take 3D posts and bring them into Facebook Spaces, its social VR hangout rooms."
Ocean Quigley, Facebook’s Creative Director for Social VR, explains:
“We’re trying to make 3D a native part of the Facebook ecosystem... We’re trying to lay the foundational steps so Facebook can go with users into their 3D worlds of VR and AR.”
So, the TL;DR here is that Facebook's VR efforts may not be yielding fruit yet, but they are preparing the soil in which this tech can grow. It's still early to begin thinking of VR as a realistic tactic in most cases, but this development is a friendly reminder that it’s only a matter of time.
Instagram’s New Toys
Instagram is rolling out a few new features—the first, which agencies are saying has huge “potential,” comes in the form of interactive, swipeable carousel ads that are embedded within Instagram stories. The feature will certainly help make social more shoppable, despite cringeworthy quotes like, “Instagram Stories will enhance the storytelling capabilities for brands.”
The platform is also testing a new feature that lets users regram posts to stories without having to screenshot or save the image. This development feels long overdue and is a welcome addition to the platform, offering users an easier method of doing the behaviors they are already doing.
Snap Embraces Metrics
Snapchat’s redesign is here, and... The people hate it! But it’s not all gloom and doom for the platform. The platform has finally begun sharing analytics with users—telling them how their stories are doing, how long people are interacting with content, and audience demographic info. And just in time, too, as those users that are leaving Facebook: Well, they’re heading to Snapchat, apparently.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said of the new tools, “We have historically neglected the creator community on Snapchat... Developing this ecosystem will allow artists to transition more easily from communicating with friends to creating Stories for a broader audience, monetizing their Stories, and potentially using our professional tools to create premium content.”
Articles exploring the impact of Algorithm Zero® continue to drop. The algorithm change shouldn’t be as dramatic as many claim. We’ve known that organic content is a waste of time and resources for ages—but it’s still nice to have new headlines backing the advice we’ve been giving over the years.
AdAge’s advice to those unsure how to navigate FB now boils down to:
1. Stop posting organic (“Focus on quality over quantity.”)
2. Find out where your consumers are (Duh)
3. Prioritize experiences over advertising (“Make doing business with your brand delightful at every touchpoint.”)