Shopify Gets Into Audiences (But Still Not Ads); EA And FIFA Cut Ties On Long-Time Branding Deal

Comic: In-game advertising

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Shipshape Shop

Late last year, Shopify began testing a prospecting product called Shopify Audiences, and it just graduated to a general release. 

The product uses Shopify’s “unique perspective on purchasing intent from supporting merchants and their buyers,” according to a release. That’s hardly crystal clear – though it implies Shopify aggregates and analyzes data from across merchants. 

The Shopify Audiences are only available with Facebook and Instagram to start, although the company says it’ll roll out to TikTok, Snap, Pinterest, Microsoft Advertising, Criteo and other partners down the line.

The release also says Shopify Audiences can be used for audience-level attribution, rather than attributing by campaign. For context, Facebook alerted advertisers that, after the Apple iOS14.5 release, they should optimize at the campaign level rather than optimize every element of creative targeting (which used to be Facebook’s bread and butter). 

Despite attempting to discourage gossip of an eventual Shopify ad platform – Shopify refers to each platform partner using its audience segments (Meta, Snap, TikTok, Criteo, etc.) as a potential “ad network” of choice – rumors will fly.

“Ad network” is a tainted term, and the implication is that Shopify wouldn’t ever launch one of its own. 

Get In The Game

EA Sports and FIFA, which organizes international football events such as the World Cup and the European Champions League, will drop their licensing deal for the iconic FIFA video game title after almost three decades.

The two sides were unable to agree on new terms beyond the Women’s World Cup next summer, and FIFA hasn’t yet lined up an alternative game developer.

EA’s new game will be dubbed EA Sports FC, and it can still use the domestic leagues and national squads, just not the FIFA branding and tournaments. The teams and leagues still take their cut of EA’s licensing. 

FIFA apparently wanted double the $150 million yearly fee and the rights to use its brand for other digital products, including other video games, The New York Times reports. 

In a release, EA flexed its partnerships with other major football leagues and associations and, notably, its “long partnership” with Nike.

FIFA will now be able to attach its brand to another studio’s video game title. But EA Sports will also be free to ramp up its brand integrations, since, formerly, it was bound by FIFA rules about other marketing partners. 

Mapping The Amazon

In 2009, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said “advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product or service.”

Fast-forward 13 years and Amazon has become one of the major forces in advertising, driven largely by its dominance in retail. 

Insider documents the company’s transformation into an ad tech titan, covering the introduction of Amazon search ads in 2015, the rollout of the Amazon ad API in 2017, the pandemic ecommerce and digital media surge, the expansion of Amazon’s off-site ad network, the introduction of the Amazon Marketing Cloud clean room and Amazon’s ambitions in CTV and the grocery business.

Amazon’s early ad pitch was as a straightforward awareness play, says Todd Hassenfelt, Colgate-Palmolive’s ecommerce director of growth strategy and planning. Now, he says, Amazon has Alexa smart speakers, Fire TV Sticks, new Amazon-manufactured TV sets and the Whole Foods chain in an endless closed loop of sales and personalized ads. 

“The FOMO piece is big,” Hassenfelt says.

But Wait, There’s More!

Netflix tells employees the company aims to launch a cheaper, ad-supported tier in the last quarter of 2022. [NYT]

The media company Future acquires WhoWhatWear, the women’s fashion and lifestyle publisher. [release]

Kantar sells Kantar Public, its civics and policy business, to private equity. [release]

Robin Berjon: Reinventing W3C governance. [blog]

Apple is planning to shake up its massive services business to push further into streaming and advertising. [Insider]

Target shares an update on its commitment to increase spend with black-owned businesses, including a new $25 million Roundel Media fund to cover marketing costs. [release]

My Code acquires Impremedia, owner of La Opinión, El Diario and several other Spanish-language publications. [release]

You’re Hired!

Media planning and data management provider Redmill Solutions names ad tech vet Jay Stevens as CEO. [Adweek]

Sprinklr announces Arun Pattabhiraman as its new CMO. [release] adds Michelle Wimmer as head of ad ops and data. [release]

Livestream commerce startup Firework hires Shivkumar Krishnan as VP of engineering. [release]

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