Digital Trends: 02.15.22

Super Bowl LVI

The Super Bowl combines my love of roman numerals and advertising (and this year, 90s hip-hop). Here is a run-down of all of the notable ads from the game, and USA Today has posted its audience ranking (congrats Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage!) From a digital-perspective, Coinbase stole the headlines with its bouncing QR code ad that directed people to its app (which crashed from all of the traffic). Here is a good thread estimating the ROI from the campaign. If you’re more into the classics, the editors from The Drum have a list of their all-time faves listed here. The Rams won, FYI.

Apple Air Tags & Tap

Bit of Apple news this week. The company received criticism regarding its AirTags product, which can apparently be used by burglars and stalkers to, well, burgle and stalk. AirTags were also used recently by a researcher to uncover a secret German Intelligence agency. I use them to find my keys. The company is now rolling out new privacy warnings to protect people. Another innovation from Apple that I’m sure will lead to some nefarious edge use cases – iPhone users will soon be able to buy from each other by tapping their iPhones together.

Ottawa Protests

Lots to unpack in this ugly mess. From a digital perspective, a few interesting things caught my eye. This piece explores how counter-protestors are using social media to blur the line between activism and vigilantism in doxing protesters –<em>“what is the difference between public shaming and vigilantism?” Websites like this are set-up to report encounters on a map, and accounts like this are posting photos and videos to identify people. One video has led to a police officer being investigated. Ethical debates have also spilled into the decision for GoFundMe to refund donations to the protest. Messy stuff indeed.

Digital Advertising Evolution

Ben Thompson is a brilliant thinker and writer on media and technology. His latest piece is a useful deconstruction of digital advertising in 2022 (worth the long read). He explores why lower funnel advertising for commerce is so profitable, which makes Google and Amazon so dominant in media and market capitalization. This is playing out in recent news, as Facebook is not growing (and its stock is suffering) and Amazon’s advertising revenues have increased from $10bn to 31bn in under 3 years.

Fresh Digital Trends

A few solid digital trends pieces were just published, and worth a skim:

  • Meta Trending Trends 2022: Matt Klein has done what I’ve talked myself out of doing every January – synthesize the overlaps among different cultural trend decks. He highlights 14. Well done, Matt.
  • 10 Ecommerce Trends: Shopify has a decent round-up of the trends that they predict will shape online shopping in 2022, building on their Future of Commerce research initiative.
  • New Normals for 2022: Digital marketing guru Ashley Friedlein shares similar views, more directed towards the importance of first-party data and D2C in this Econsultancy post.
  • Visions of the Internet in 2035: I’m still working my way through this one, but love it so far - big thinkers providing their big picture predictions about the future of the Internet (and hence, the world).

Good, Long Reads

  • Lessons from a D2C Failure: A super interesting post-mortem on the fall of D2C darling Casper, and why / how it lost to Purple. Lots of great lessons to take from this – from finance, to marketing, to culture.
  • Andy Warhol, Clay Christensen, and Vitalik Buterin walk into a bar: Another long-but-worth-it read from Tim O’Reilly (who first coined the term Web 2.0). He connects disparate threads to explore what’s ahead for Web 3.0 (aka the Metaverse).
  • We Don’t Sell Saddles Here: Part internal memo / part manifesto from Steward Butterfield from Slack. In it, he encourages staff to reframe Slack from a software product to a provider of organizational transformation. Using marketing strategy to move from product features to emotional / purposeful benefits. I see you Steward Butterfield!

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