March Of The Consultants; Vice Extolls Virtue Of Content Marketing

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Muscled Out

Consulting firms are gaining more sway over media budgets by tugging on marketers’ fears of agency nontransparency and brand safety. “We’re experiencing a lot of requests from clients asking, ‘How can you make the [media planning] process more transparent?’” Accenture Interactive managing director Joydeep Bhattacharya told Digiday. More. As management consultancies advise marketers on media effectiveness and inventory quality, they’re stepping dangerously close to the agency’s domain of media planning expertise. Meanwhile, major platforms like Facebook and Google are offering marketers direct, high-touch services to optimize spend on their respective platforms.

Virtue And Vice

Vice and Airbnb have partnered on custom travel packages created by the millennial-minded publisher and promoted by the hospitality startup. “This is something a bit different than a typical ad relationship, in that we are both putting in money and time to develop the offerings,” Vice strategy chief Spencer Baim tells The Wall Street Journal. The four pilot packages are all tours of local culture and shows: electronic music in South Africa, Tokyo’s LGBTQ nightlife, modern dance in New York City and Paris burlesque. Less than two years ago, Vice rolled out City Guides, tours of US cities highlighting local favorites. More.

Scary Heights

Chinese tech leaders (i.e., Tencent and Alibaba) are on a tear, with 70% growth in share price this year. But being on top means there’s a long way to fall. “To justify those lofty valuations, China’s two largest corporations have to deliver on some of the riskiest bets they’ve placed in years,” writes Lulu Chen at Bloomberg. The two holding companies dropped $55 billion combined on acquisitions since last year. Alibaba is assembling an omnichannel retail and media empire akin to Amazon, while Tencent and its WeChat platform look to spin mobile games and social media into ads and entertainment. Analysts are worried that Tencent’s and Alibaba’s valuations aren’t tethered to realistic growth unless they spin into new categories or take root outside of their home market. More.

One Love

In October, Google will move all app-install campaigns created in AdWords to Universal App Campaigns (UAC), a platform that allows developers to market their Android and iOS apps across Google’s platforms in one go. UAC, which delivers more than half of all app-install campaigns today, has delivered more than 6 billion installs since it launched in 2015 and is up by 4 billion installs since last year, TechCrunch reports. UAC campaigns drive 140% more conversions per dollar than Google’s other app campaigns. And through UAC, marketers can optimize beyond installs for in-app engagement and lifetime value. More.

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