Jerry Daykin: Marketers – stop blocking the best parts of the internet or they won’t exist anymore- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

It’s hard to turn on the TV these days and not see something about covid-19. As a marketing man, it’s almost oddly reassuring when the break kicks in and the ads give us a reminder of the normal world we knew just a few weeks ago. I could say the same for the newspaper, heavy going as a lot of the coverage is there’s something oddly reassuring about the presence of the adverts among it.
The show must go on after all. It’s going to be a very tough time for businesses but hopefully, most of them will be able to see light on the other side, as will the newspapers and media titles helping share their messages. As an ad industry, I hope we’ll pull together to support one another and the other sectors far more badly impacted by the virus over the coming months.

Homepage of WSJ.. @doubleverify get your act together and at least run a Covid PSA until you can fix your demonetization bugs. Our industry’s response to this crisis has been embarrassing. cc @aripap@augustinefoupic.twitter.com/1nvxkwBt0K
— Marc Guldimann (@guldi) March 15, 2020

It’s no easier to avoid online of course. Twitter is brimming with live updates, Facebook is helping us stay in touch, Tik Tok keeping us entertained, and LinkedIn is full of terrible hot takes on the lessons we can all definitely not learn from it. The odd thing, however, is that in these spaces many of the ads are missing. When Marc Guldimann logged onto the Wall Street Journal he was surprised to see the prime masthead spot taken up by… some clouds?
For those who don’t know, this isn’t a promo for the Weather Channel, but the ‘filler’ image the Double Verify verification technology uses when an advert that was about to be served decides at the last minute it doesn’t want to be there (see tweet above). One of the main reasons for that is the detection of perceived brand safety violations, though it can happen for other reasons such as suspected ad fraud or where incorrect targeting has occurred. In most instances, the advertiser will be able to avoid paying for that impression and, in principle, has swerved a potentially dangerous position for themselves.
The front page of one of the most respected newspapers in the world however isn’t really the kind of environment you need to be swerving is it? Quite the opposite, it’s prime real estate we should be fighting over. And the clouds being there means the publisher most likely hasn’t been paid for Marc’s visit, eating away at their already tough business model. It’s an over-simplification of course, but the reality is we’ve ended up in a very distorted world where online properties are playing to very different rules of brand safety than traditional media is. Rules which not only potentially limit the reach and impact of our brands, but also directly threaten the economics of journalism, the production of high-quality content and the ability for diverse voices to be heard. Weirdly, given the original intention, these decisions play right into the hands of a messy and low-quality internet filled with celebrity plastic slideshows and reshaped memes – pages designed to ace viewability and brand safety tests even if the user experience is awful and the content vapid and recycled.
Brands are right of course to have brand safety settings and software in place. I’m a director of the Conscious Advertising Network and hugely passionate about us clamping down on the darkest parts of the internet and ensuring we’re not funding those. Without brand, safety approaches the absolute worst of the internet can get funded, including hate speech, terrorism and misinformation. You absolutely need settings so you don’t accidentally sponsor fake news spreading lies about the current pandemic and how to react to it. It’s fantastic that brands have woken up to this and are starting to act. We’re not here to blame the tech platforms either, though perhaps they could do more to advocate on this topic and to reshape their defaults. Ultimately, they create tools that allow advertisers to control their exposure but it’s up to the advertiser and their agency to decide how to use them and how to implement them.
Long keyword blocklists are a choice, and having a list with 1000s of words you can’t keep track of is probably a bad one. It’s arguably not the best placement for most brands to appear next to a breaking news story about a terrorist attack, but it’s infinitely better to appear there than it is to appear on content which accidentally funds and supports the terrorist’s cause itself. No one is actively funding coronavirus but by putting it on your block lists you are effectively taking funding away from almost half the Internet. To be clear I’ve totally made that stat up, but certainly, a lot of traffic at the moment is touching on the subject. As advertisers, we need to adopt a more sophisticated approach to brand safety. We need to take a step back from the cliff edge of panic that some bad cases have pushed us towards and have a clearer mindset around what represents a true brand safety issue & what represents a perfectly reasonable placement.
Consumers understand that adverts and content are separate, they have realised this for 100 years. Except in the most unfortunate misplacements (an airline advert casually alongside the story of a crash for instance), there really is very little actual brand safety issue on high-quality sites. For me that means brands need (at least) two lanes of safety settings. If you’re bidding on the vast open web then, of course, you need a long and stringent list of words and contexts you want to avoid, it’s a scary and weird place out there with all sorts of bad actors and adjacencies to avoid. Yet if you’re working with high-quality content, with reputable publishers and networks which curate proper journalism or diverse voices then different standards need to be applied. Here it’s less about writing a list of generic naughty words (sex, attack, covid-19) and more about thinking of category-specific considerations what might jar in the consumer’s mind. If you’re advertising chocolate obesity is probably one to avoid. Alcohol companies can steer clear of drink driving stories, Disney videos or pregnancy tips. On the other hand, the word ‘attack’ sounds scary but gets featured in huge amounts of sports coverage, Frozen might be a Disney kids film but it’s also relevant to a range of adult cocktails.
Within news websites the front page, with a wide variety of potentially keyword triggering articles, is about as quality as placement as you can get and, on all but the most extreme of national news days, a perfectly reasonable place to be. There is perhaps a golden circle of brand safety reserved for spots like that, and then other layers based on how much you can trust a publication, or how deep into their system you will appear. Social networks and UGC platforms like YouTube bring their own challenges and need specific solutions of their own. Look for quality networks, quality publishers, quality platforms can give you all this. In these challenging times please look for ways of scaling reach across smaller quality publications and across diverse and minority voices who won’t be there at the end of it if we abandon them. There are well-established stats showing that even on a good day as much as three-quarters of positive and safe content mentioning the LGBT community can be demonetized by some advertisers using broad block terms like ‘lesbian’. These are unlikely to be good days. Publishers, ad tech companies and agencies there are opportunities for you here too. Take a stronger stance on not running any adverts on your heaviest and most inappropriate stories so the chances of questionable adjacency are greatly diminished. Make clearer recommendations to the advertisers you work with where you see their settings being unduly limiting. Proactively find networks and partners who can better help us all navigate to content we want to be around and see continue. There are going to be budget cuts for many in the coming weeks. There are going to be continued pressures around brand safety terms. If we cut the funding from high-quality content and journalism it simply won’t exist for us to advertise against in the future.
Even forgetting the societal and cultural impacts of that, can you really build your brand alongside the content on a celebrity plastic surgery slide show? It’s time to look again at brand safety, and as with all data and targeting to make sure we are using it to be relevant to more people not visible to fewer. For help and advice on how to approach the challenges of brand safety and other issues in the digital ecosystem check out the Conscious Advertising Network. I’m also proud to be part of the WFA’s Global Alliance for Responsible Media which is working with agencies, ad tech and publishers to build out new standards, educate stakeholders and try and change the internet for the better.
Jerry Daykin is the EMEA senior director for GSK

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‘We’re not weird anymore’: Giffgaff’s CMO-turned-CEO on giving the brand purpose- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

It’s been 18 months since Giffgaff’s chief marketing officer was propelled into the top job, a rare move in the dog-eat-dog world of British telecoms. In hindsight, Ash Schofield admits he may have underestimated how big a leap the change of desk would be. Now, after a challenging period, he is settled in and has revealed his ambitious plans for the brand.
Schofield has been at the decade-old Giffgaff brand for nearly eight years. He joined from Tesco Mobile in 2012 when it was a plucky upstart and housed just a handful of employees. Today, he runs a company of over 230 staff.
“Marketing had always had a very strong voice in the company so what would be different?” he recalls of his promotion. “As soon as I changed desk – everything was different.
“I had thought Giffgaff was a marketing business but as CEO I realised that actually I’m running a technology company. I was on a bit of a journey that first six months to find my place in that. How I describe it back to the team now is that what we’re running is a brand-led technology company.”
It’s a bit of a mouthful, but a fundamental idea that the entire group has had to get its head around over the past year. Schofield wants his cohort of data and technology experts to have the same appreciation for brand building that the marketing team do, and conversely for his marketers to approach everything with the fast pace, “test and learn” mindset that’s embedded within the technology side of the business.
“I want to make marketeers out of everybody. Everyone is working on the brand in some way, whether it be writing a line of code to deliver an experience, or working on creative, and it all impacts our members and potential future members. So, I want everyone to think with that kind of value creation mindset. That’s the mission,” says Schofield.
“Gone are the days when you rely on a marketing team and its agencies to come up with that big idea that you’re going to spend six months or a year building, and then place everything on that bet and cross your fingers that you win. We now embrace a lean UX methodology.”
Despite the business being five times the size from when he first walked through the doors, Schofield has been determined to maintain the start-up “habits” that would have been so easy to park at some point along the way. It’s critical to the way he sees the company working in the future as it continues to grow.
“When I joined, every Monday 40 people got together to talk about what had happened [in the past week] and what was going to happen. We still do that today,” he says of the weekly ritual which sees all staff congregate in its Uxbridge auditorium to update on business priorities.
“It’s really important to keep these things as you scale. Because you don’t want to lose that edge. I don’t want anyone to ever say ‘I don’t know why we do this – it’s just the way we’ve always done it’. You’ve got to challenge constantly what you do and how you do it.”
This mindset is what’s perhaps helped it through challenges in the past year that no new chief executive wants to face. Chief among them, a potentially brand-killing revelation that Giffgaff had been inadvertently overcharging 2.6 million customers for most of its existence. Ofcom fined it £1.4m for the error, though gave it credit for admitting the mistake.
Schofield was just a few months into his CEO tenure when he had to deal with the fallout.
“I knew that people would judge us on what happened next. We are all human and people do occasionally make mistakes. By the time we’d told Ofcom, we had already started paying everybody back, including people who had already left Giffgaff. We hired an agency to try and find them to give them the money back, even if it was like only a pound,” he recalls.
In that period it obsessively tracked the impact on the brand, but encouragingly it didn’t fall. In fact, Schofield claims that as a result of the swift action and comms strategy, it actually saw its steady Net Promoter Score of 68 go up a couple points.
“That’s how opinions are formed. You can’t get it right every time, all the time. And people will form their judgments based on what happens when maybe it didn’t go quite so smoothly,” he continues.
“I guess being from a marketing background, being used to managing comms it was an area that I could add something to. When you’re CEO, you’ve got to decide which kind you going to be. Are you going to be one that tells everyone what to do or are you going to the kind that liberates people? For me, it’s the latter. And where I can personally make myself helpful by guiding people through a situation based on my experience and they grow out of it as well.”

Troubles behind him, Schofield is now looking ahead and wants Giffgaff to establish its “purpose” over the coming year. Its 3 million strong customer base is broadening from the 18-25 male-skewing audience it first attracted with its cheap bundles and “freedom” positioning. And with that has come the opportunity to talk about more than just price and convenience.
A major focus is the idea of sustainability. He’s still working through what this means long-term for Giffgaff, but the relentless push for everyone to embrace a “test-and-learn” way of working means it’s been making small bets on a few projects to see how the concept lands with customers.
So far, it’s paying off.
At the beginning of 2019 it invested heavily in its refurbed phone division, which allows people to buy a second-hand phone whether they plan to use a Giffgaff sim-card or not. It quickly filmed a series of 300-idents for its sponsorship of ITV’s The Voice, all of which were shot on second-hand phones.
A few months later, on Black Friday, it launched a pop-up store – the first time the brand had gone offline – which it filled with second-hand items, including phones, and asked visitors to pledge to make more sustainable choices. 1,500 people participated in the experiential stunt and it highlighted just how “useful” the phone company could be in giving people an alternative to buying new from the big brands.
“It’s a massive shift,” Schofield says. “We’re building a category. The majority of sales are coming from refurbed phones. The success that we’ve had has given us an extra poke to look even deeper on whether there’s more we could be doing that’s a win-win for us, our customers and society.”
How this continues to play out over the coming year is still a bit of a mystery. Schofield says he doesn’t want to set marketing budgets or concrete plans for the year; doing so would limit its flexibility to launch something at the drop of a hat. He does, however, expect to spend more on events that get the brand off screens and allow people to interact with it in the real world.
“Giffgaff is much more mainstream. 10 years ago, it was a mobile network that didn’t have any shops and didn’t have a call centre and seemed a bit weird. We’re officially weird anymore,” he laughs.
This broadening appeal to more than just the teens and student demographic means it’s also opening the door to more commercial opportunities. In yet another experiment last year it allowed start-up energy company Bulb to effectively advertise to its customer base.
At the time, it was running a series with financial advice and was looking for ways to help people save money. The opportunity then came knocking for Bulb to promote its affordable green energy services on its platform.
“We’re a community-based platform that happens to focus on mobile, but we can sell anything our community wants,” Schofield explains, saying there are around 10,000 members of this online group that Giffgaff consults on everything from new bundles and app ideas to how its services are performing.
“It was an interesting experiment to work out whether people would listen if we we’ve started to talk about things other than mobile. They did. It’s exciting for us.”
Schofield and co are now mulling how they can “shine a light” on other brands to its customers though they stress it’s simply “territory to explore”.
He surmises: “The environment that we operate in feels like it’s changing. Both socially and technologically and that’s going to be really exciting.”

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The Galaxy Note 10+’s Display Is Practically Perfect, but Does That Matter Anymore?


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Ever since Apple unleashed the term “Retina Display” upon the world, smartphone manufacturers have been laser-focused on improving display technology. In the beginning, these gains absolutely mattered. A lot of ink was spilled (some of it by yours truly) on the difference between OLEDs and LCDs, or PenTile subpixel arrangements versus the traditional RGB.

In the end, OLED won the high-end smartphone display race. LCDs continue to be used in some models, of course, including Apple’s iPhone XR, but OLED technology has won the day in high-end displays. At DisplayMate, display technology expert Dr. Raymond Soneira has written a shoot-out on Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10+, and declared it the best phone display he’s measured to-date. The question is, does anyone really care any longer?

According to Dr. Soneira, the Note 10+’s display has “has again raised the bar significantly higher.” But the significance of that movement as a whole has never looked more tenuous. Consider how close the Note 10+ ranks against the S10, the display Samsung launched earlier this year. Data below drawn from the Galaxy Note 10+ and Galaxy S10 display reviews:

Note 10+ versus S10

Data by Dr. Raymond Soneira, chart by ExtremeTech

We’ve created this chart using the metrics Dr. Soneira declares are most significant for each display. As you can see, the Note 10+ and the S10 displays are extremely similar. This is not a bad thing on the face of it — both the Note 10+ and S10 are recognized as having an excellent panel to begin with. Dr. Soneira declares that the shift in color accuracy and intensity values for both the Note 10+ and S10 are record-setting. While there’s a numerical difference between the two, the value is below 1 in both cases, which means it’s visually indistinguishable from perfect. The fact that we’re literally measuring differences that humans can’t visually perceive tells you something about how far down the rabbit hole device manufacturers have gone already.

As Dr. Soneira notes in his evaluation of resolutions, moving to 4K over 3K in a panel this small does not provide a noticeable improvement. He states, “As a result, it is absolutely pointless to further increase the display resolution and pixels per inch (ppi) for a marketing wild goose chase into the stratosphere, with no visual benefit for humans!” We may have hit this point in more ways than one. Reading over the Note’s performance, it’s one “excellent” score after another. The iPhone XS and S10 are scarcely different. It’s not that there are literally no differences in the designs of these screens, but that the differences have shrunk to virtually nothing. The major chatter these days is on when Android vendors will adopt panels with high refresh rates, because moving to 90-120Hz makes a display feel faster than a 60Hz equivalent.

Even so, screens don’t really feel like the upgrade-drivers that they once were. There was a time when a faster phone, better panel, and sharper image combined to make a new iteration of Android or iOS feel like a reinvention of mobile computing, especially if you skipped several OS versions at once. The strength of this effect obviously depended on when you upgraded — some Android and iOS versions have overhauled the UX more than others — but the boost used to be significant. Larger devices may have also indirectly helped with this — if you went from a 4-inch panel to a 5.5-inch or even 6-inch display, you obviously got a very different experience in that regard as well.

For all the hubbub over foldable displays in 2019, it seems telling that the most interesting and important aspect of the panel is a trait that has nothing to do with its actual ability to display an image. In 2012, the hottest thing in smartphone displays was a phone that could display a crisp, sharp picture. In 2019, the hottest thing in smartphone displays is a phone that can fold like a washcloth (until it breaks). Apart from faster refresh rates, smartphones seem to be topping out against the limits of human visual perception if nothing else. The enduring problems of smartphones, like the difficulty of reading them outdoors, are intrinsically difficult to overcome. The Sun, being powered by nuclear fusion, has a distinct performance advantage over the hapless OLED screen attempting to outshine it. Incremental improvements in JNCD, viewing angles, and reflection certainly seem possible, but these gains are all subject to diminishing marginal returns.

This leads to an odd scenario: The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ may indeed have the best screen you can buy today, but I’m less certain than ever that this empirical observation will lead to additional sales. Much of the conversation around the phone has debated whether or not(e) it should even exist with the extremely-similar S10 on the market, though stylus lovers continue to defend it.

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