The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

We need to talk about Edward
Posted by: Neil Dawson, Chief Strategy Officer, Europe, SapientNitro
Neil Dawson

In the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations, the debate about mass surveillance, government secrecy and the appropriate balance between national security and information privacy raged on at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

"Hiding In Plain Sight: Anonymizing the Internet" was one such discussion – and the alluring title, combined with promotional imagery featuring the iconic "V for Vendetta" mask, attracted a full house.

The conversation was both lively and wide-ranging. Everybody has opinions and nobody has answers, making it a perfect intellectual storm. Host Ian MacDowell, a creative technologist at argodesign – and, more intriguingly, a former bouncer – began by wondering whether proposing this topic could make him the subject of unwanted NSA attention.


Subjects: Digital, Consumers

20 March 2015 20:08

YouTube: Popularity does not equal Profitability
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Paul Kasamias, Head of Biddable Media at Starcom MediaVest Group.

After Google acquired YouTube in 2006, the world's foremost video site has gone from strength to strength, bringing in $4b in revenue in 2014. With numbers like these, it may be a surprise to learn the video site has always been a loss-making business for Google.

A staggering 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The cost of the streaming infrastructure to cope with this demand exceeds the revenue YouTube generates.

It is also worth considering how users access YouTube. It has been reported that 50% of YouTube's views come from embedded videos on third party sites. This includes portals, news sites and social media. If a large portion of traffic is not entering the site at the YouTube homepage, this impacts Google's ability to monetise homepage formats and other deals contingent on visitors. Users viewing videos outside of the YouTube platform are also less likely to watch and discover additional videos, giving a further threat to monetisation. Furthermore, recent research has shown that 9% of viewers watch 85% of online videos. This suggests that the viewing audience on YouTube is in fact quite niche and therefore harder to monetise than may first appear.


Subjects: Digital

18 March 2015 09:24

The rise of the online video stars
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Millie Thakker, a graduate at MEC.

As more of us carry the technology to create videos wherever we go, it is no surprise that online video will become the fastest-growing form of advertising.

Smartphones, iPads, Google Glass… nowadays it is easy to make a video and almost all of us carry the capability with us wherever we go. Online video advertising has grown 86% this year (The Guardian, 2014) with over 100 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube a minute and 6 billion hours of video being watched a month (YouTube, 2014). It is no surprise that people and brands alike are increasingly turning to video content to promote themselves.


Subjects: Digital

11 March 2015 11:53

Four reasons why the audience journey must be the beating heart of your content strategy
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Sandra Peat, Strategy Director at ONE TWO FOUR.

With the explosion of content, consumers are exposed to more and more messaging from brands, and in their ears, much of it is probably white noise. The ever present challenge is to produce and place powerful content that people want to watch and share, while also delivering on business and marketing objectives. To create memorable moments with consumers and truly springboard the effectiveness of content activity to the next level, there are four key considerations why the audience journey should be at the heart of your content strategy.

Use the audience journey to understand when content is the right solution

The audience journey is a fantastic tool to understand how and where content can be most effective. It is made up of many interactions and experiences, with each one having a different and sometimes a small yet significant impact on an audience's journey.


Subjects: Marketing, Digital

06 March 2015 14:09

Please, don't end ad fraud
Posted by: Darika Ahrens Grapevine Consulting
Darika Ahrens

Two guys in New York have created a programme they say will end ad fraud for good. And it's a real shame. Ad fraud was forcing the industry to re-examine how it measures online advertising. But if this tool works, it may not have to. The software's called Submit Guard and it can tell the difference between humans and internet bots with over 99% accuracy. Internet bots are responsible for fake clicks and views expected to cost the industry $6.3 billion this year.

The creators Eric Weissman and Jose Cotto told Business Insider: "Robots and humans interact with the web in drastically different ways. Robots scroll quickly and make herky-jerky mouse movements – we're able to detect all of that instantly and raise a red flag."

If it works, the software could restore faith in ad reporting again. And that's the problem. It'll be business as usual measuring clicks and views. Last year Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, published research proving how overvalued the click really is: "The more page views a site gets, the more people are reading, the more successful the site. Or so we thought…" Chartbeat analysed the user behaviour of 2 billion visits across the web and found that most people who click, don't read. More than half (55%) spend fewer than 15 seconds on the page they clicked through to.


Subjects: Digital, Advertising

04 March 2015 09:54

#IBC: The rise and fall of social media challenge campaigns
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Dino Myers Lamptey, head of strategy at the7stars.

The proliferation of high-profile, selfie-driven campaigns like the No Make-Up Selfie and Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 could trigger a backlash in 2015. People will quickly tire of the Social 'Campaign or Cause' Selfie and eventually stop participating – an apathy that will start to impact on brands.

Cancer Research can be proud to be associated with arguably the first ever marketing campaign of this kind to go viral. It's estimated the #nomakeupselfie campaign raised £8m in just six days (Source: The Guardian, March 2014).


Subjects: Digital

28 February 2015 15:44

Understanding the big issues of 2015
Posted by: Stephen Whiteside, Reports Editor, Warc
Stephen Whiteside

Despite the wintery weather afflicting parts of America - or, perhaps, to escape from it - Warc's US reporting team has been back on the conference trail in recent weeks.

One event seeking to cut across some major reoccurring themes we've been hearing about - such as evolving research techniques, big data, the changing face of media and emerging technology - is The Big Rethink, being convened by The Economist and taking place on March 5th in New York City.

It will not surprise readers of The Economist magazine to learn that the conference, based in large part around the rise of "the entrepreneurial CMO", combines a thought-provoking agenda - addressing topics such as neglected global trends, shifting organisational structures and the Internet of Things - with insights from numerous industry heavyweights.


Subjects: Marketing, Digital, Media

18 February 2015 15:37

The future of Marketing Leadership
Posted by: Brand Learning
Brand Learning

These are challenging and interesting times to be in Marketing. The twin forces of technology and a more empowered consumer are making it increasingly necessary for Marketers to lead in a complex and dynamic environment.

Brand Learning’s Singapore leadership seminar, attended by senior marketers across industries spanning FMCG, technology, banking, paints, sportswear and lubricants, discussed the opportunity and challenges for marketing leadership going forward. In a lively and engaging conversation, they shared the issues they face, and how Brand Learning’s new customer-centred leadership framework can help address these.

Three of the themes that emerged are particularly valuable for defining Marketing Leadership now and in times to come...

Subjects: Marketing, Brands, Digital

16 February 2015 09:39

New technology makes old technology redundant
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

Returning to work after the festive season, we found ourselves comparing our children's respective Christmas present lists. And we noticed something surprising. Between us, we have three children, ranging from six to 21 years of age. And on all their wishlists, alongside the stuff you'd expect modern kids to desire – clothes, money and electronic gadgets – there were a lot of books. Not e-books, but real, paper books.

And what was noticeable was that all the kids spent lots of time reading these good old-fashioned books over the holidays. Not because they had to – there were plenty of other electronic options – but because they wanted to. One of them even spent New Year's Eve reading a book from the public library, of all things, ignoring her pile of shiny Christmas presents.

Surely not? Aren't books supposed to be dead? Don't kids spend all their time nowadays Snapchatting, watching YouTube and updating Facebook instead? It seems not. On New Year's Day, one of us had the odd experience of being the only one Facebooking while the rest of the family were engrossed in their books.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

13 February 2015 14:01

Five tips for getting your content shared
Posted by: Imaad Ahmed, Marketing Director, Warc
Imaad Ahmed

In the age of tech savvy millennials and cross-channel media consumption, getting content shared has become vital to brands. Viral video is one such opportunity for brands to amplify their message.

Recently, I watched Warc's webinar with Ian Forrester, the Insight Director at Unruly, a video ad tech company which, amongst other things, collates and curates its own Viral Video Chart to give insights into what people tend to watch and share, and why they do so.

You can watch the webinar recording at the Warc Webinars archive. In the meantime though, here are the five key takeaways from Ian's presentation and before that, a brief background to measuring the "virality" of your content.


Subjects: Digital

11 February 2015 11:34


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