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Snail Mail Still In The Race; Who Wins If Twitter Loses?


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Snail Mail Prevails

Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency sent advertisers looking beyond Meta and Google for attribution-based advertising.

Most of those budgets went to test performance on other digital or social channels, like TikTok or CTV. But some brands are giving more love to good ol’ direct mail as a way to improve online conversion rates as well as generate closed-loop sales, Ad Age reports.

The DTC activewear brand Vuori, for example, sees catalogs as a customer acquisition strategy, said CMO Nikki Larson Sakelliou. Vuori sends 60% of its mail to a prospective customer base (aka prospecting, not retargeting).

Clothing retailer Smartwool, on the other hand, sends mail primarily to existing customers to stand out from email or social feed clutter. Wayfair also considers catalogs a more personal customer connection.

In a survey of 160 DTC brands, 44% increased their direct response budget in the past year, reports marketing agency SeQuel. And half of those brands cited climbing customer acquisition costs on other digital channels as a reason why.

Ready For Reddit?

Twitter’s post-Elon Musk travails have kindled small fires under a number of would-be social challengers, like Post, Hive, Spill and Mastodon. 

But the emphasis is on small fires

If anything, Twitter’s moment of vulnerability right now reveals how immense the moat is between scaled platforms with hundreds of millions of users and startups trying to make a living on the margin. 


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Mastodon, probably the biggest relative gainer of that set, went from 300,000 accounts to 3.5 million in the seven weeks since Musk’s Twitter takeover, The Verge reports. That’s massive, considering it took Mastodon six years to reach 300,000 users. Still, even with that wave, Mastodon’s total of 3.5 million monthly actives (who are at risk of churning or returning to Twitter) is still a blip on the social media scale. 

That’s why the biggest opportunity belongs to Reddit. If Twitter does shed users and content creators in a lasting way, Reddit has the scale – it’s the fifth-most-popular site in the US, per a New Yorker article – and a text-based social model. The platform also possesses a certain irreverence, which wouldn’t fly on LinkedIn, home of the corporate humblebrag.

Retail Remedies

Amazon put in place important changes to avoid a potentially massive fine and satisfy EU antitrust regulators that it isn’t unfairly leveraging the Amazon marketplace for private-label brands.

Amazon must allow all sellers to access certain ad placements – including the formerly Amazon-only Buy Box. It’s also barred from using nonpublic data about items carried by Amazon for its own product development or pricing, The New York Times reports. The biggest concession: Outside sellers can access Prime if they don’t use Amazon for logistics. 

However, the settlement only lasts for five years and, of course, only applies in Europe. 

The agreement is a knock against Amazon’s attempt to frame itself as a retailer with regulators (as opposed to an online platform model). Walmart, Target, CVS and other retailers enjoy unfettered marketing advantages with private-label lines: end-cap aisle placements unavailable to outside brands, the best shelf spots, special cardboard setups at the cash register. 

Amazon wants exclusive site placements to fit that retailer mold, and not that of a Google-like platform. Similar to this Amazon case, Google was tagged by the EU with a multibillion-dollar fine for self-preferencing Google shopping ads via Google Search.

But Wait, There’s More!

Ad tech firms focus on layoffs as ad recession fears build. [Digiday]

ChatGPT, the new chat bot AI, is ‘code red’ for Google’s search business. [NYT]

AdTechCares, a 501(c)(3) organization co-founded in 2020 by ad tech businesses, partners with Project Drawdown, a nonprofit focused on greenhouse gas emission reductions. [release]

Snapchat adds more features to its subscription service, Snapchat+. [TechCrunch]

The EU ombudsman says the central commission will require more oversight of data protection enforcement in Ireland, where US Big Tech companies have congregated due to allegedly sympathetic regulators. [Irish Times]

Google’s YouTube is near a deal for NFL Sunday Ticket streaming rights. [WSJ]

You’re Hired!

Leadspace names Hadas Finkelman as CFO and David Gai as chief experience officer. [MediaPost]

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