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Google Performance Max Will Eat The World; Subscribe And Stay (Pretty Please)


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Performance Maxin’ And Relaxin’

Performance Max may be the most important name in ad tech that many people in ad tech have never heard of (unless you read this newsletter, of course). 

PMax, as the cool kids call it, is Google’s new optimization product. First it ingests a brand’s creative assets, product descriptions, profit margins and business KPIs, then it digests the data in a black box and, finally, PMax spits out Google inventory (Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Search and the display ad network) and modeled campaign reporting. 

PMax will see rapid adoption, says Mike Ryan, head of marketing at Smarter Ecommerce GmbH, in an interview with Friends of Search. The post is worth checking out in full, but one particularly interesting nugget is that distinguishing business outcomes from campaign outcomes is useful for any platform advertiser.

“I view campaign outcomes as whatever a given ad platform is telling you – for example, classic metrics like impressions, CTR, CPC, ROAS,” Ryan says. “Business outcomes are things like cross-channel revenue, inventory turn and profit. Campaign metrics are important to observe, but they can be quite circular or self-referential. The platform only knows what it knows, which makes it really important for us to recognize the bigger picture and respect the bottom line.”

Pay To Stay

The streaming market is crowded. To stand out from the crowd, CTV services are searching for ways to entice and retain viewers.

NBCU’s Peacock, for one, has a promotion for premium subscribers offering a free $15 Fandango movie ticket or a $7 Vudu movie rental every month. (Fandango and Vudu are both also owned by Comcast.) Aside from being a Peacock selling point, the promo could inspire people to spend more on movies, TechCrunch reports.

Still, it’s unclear whether cost-conscious viewers will pay a premium for a movie ticket when their subscription also includes a free on-demand library of content. Also, the terms and conditions of the promo mention that a Fandango convenience fee can be applied at the user’s expense. Oh, and any unused balance can expire at any time. Sweet deal.

NBCU, which has been running this promotion since March, says it’s seen positive results. Then again, NBC said that about the Summer Olympics, too.


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AT&T has seen the flip side of this trend. After the WarnerMedia spin-off, HBO Max is no longer included with its top AT&T wireless plan. That is a serious blow to its appeal.

A Sporting Chance

Defector Media, a sports and culture publisher created by former Deadspin reporters after Deadspin was acquired by a private equity firm running publications into the ground, is forging a new kind of multi-revenue, new-age media business. 

Unlike most subscription-based publishers, including sports news sites like The Athletic, which was bought by The New York Times this year, Defector has a more social-based approach to subscription value.

In addition to all of the site and podcast content, top-tier subscribers also get access to exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage and Normal Gossip’s “Close Friends” list on Instagram. (Normal Gossip is Defector’s podcast, and the list feature on Instagram allows account creators to distribute only to a specific group of people.) Friend-level subs also get entered into a lottery to make a guest appearance on the podcast. 

“Normal Gossip” was born out of idle Twitter threads that were turned into anonymized stories about athletes and famous people. The podcast recently sold out its first live-produced show with a studio audience, Nieman Lab reports.

Podcasts can be a particularly valuable potential audience extender. Defector subscribers are 75% male (typical for sports news), but its podcast listeners are 65% female.

But Wait, There’s More!

What if … things turned out differently for AppNexus. [Digiday]

Mike Shields: “The ad business has a Hispanic American blind spot.” [blog]

Apple and Google face new antitrust investigations in the UK. [WSJ]

Thomas Petit at RevenueCat: A practical guide to Apple Search Ads. [blog]

Apple’s lack of new tracking rules leaves advertisers “shocked.” [Ad Age]

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