Adtech companies continue to fight, although Google and Facebook have already won

Digiday Editor-in-Chief Brian Morrissey talks about the latest marketing trends in the OMR Podcast

Brian Morrissey

Digiday Editor-in-Chief Brian Morrissey

As Editor-in Chief at Digiday, Brian Morrissey knows the INs and OUTs of the digital marketing scene stateside. In the latest OMR Podcast, Brian paints a pretty bleak picture of the industry at present, while still finding rays of hope on the landscape in the form of some successful companies. In his chat with OMR founder Philipp Westermeyer, Brian discussed at length the latest developments in the publishing and adtech-business landscapes, who he thinks will emerge victorious in the impending platform battle and why paid content is a realistic chance for modern publishers.

Since 2011, Brian Morrissey has been Editor-in-Chief at Digiday. Digiday is one of our favorite observers on the advertising scene that provides readers in the USA, UK and even in Japan varied content on the latest trends and happenings around the digital marketing scene. This year the people over at Digiday have lined up some 41 focus events on different digital marketing topics all over the world. As the man in charge of content at Digiday, Morrissey has his finger firmly on the pulse of the industry, putting him in the position to speak frankly and objectively about current winners and losers and why—as his appearance in our podcast demonstrates.

Is display advertising dead?

“Every company that is still reliant on display advertising, especially desktop display advertising, is kind of screwed,” says Brian. In his view, Google and Facebook have been dominating the scene for a while and yet are still only slowly consolidating. Adtech companies will still be able to make money, but only if they become more efficient—hardly a point of view that figures to sit well with the industry. In the mid- 2000 many still believed that display was the key to a bright, prosperous feature. Now, it’s mobile that’s all the rage, and rightfully so. He went on to say that Adblock Plus also figures to go bell up if Eyeo isn’t able to make the switch to mobile. App usage, however, figures to make that a very tall order.

Morrissey went on to discuss how Axel Spring is perceived in the US in general and offered his thoughts on its purchase of US publisher Business Insider for €300 million. He added that Business Insider is just one more example of a company with incredible reach that is unable to build the corresponding business behind it. Similar to Buzzfeed, the revenue compared to the number of users is surprisingly low.

Facebook is the new Microsoft

In the battle of platforms, Brian sees a real chance for Snapchat to establish itself as platform number 3. “A lot of people in media and agencies really want Snapchat to succeed. As a business they have a major challenge with Instagram copying them.” Every new innovation, he says, runs the risk of being copied by Facebook. “I say Facebook is the new Microsoft. Because Microsoft’s strategy was always, let others innovate and then we’ll just follow. It’s a pretty good strategy, if you want to become a very large company,” says Morrissey. Many continue to underestimate how big and bureaucratic Facebook has become—full of middle managers with competing interests.

The sheer size of Facebook and Google is not only a major problem for adtech companies, but publishers, too, are becoming more and more dependent. The way Brian sees it, the only way to break away is to stop viewing advertising as the most important source of revenue. “Subscriptions are a much more reliable revenue base than an ad market that goes up and goes down.” Publishers with strong content should have an additional advantage through functioning paid-content offers: Morrissey sees a very distinct possibility that Google and Facebook will soon begin paying for publisher content directly.

Check out the entire OMR Podcast to learn what Brian thinks about marketing’s role in the election of POTUS Donald Trump, why Vice, in contrast to Business Insider, is able to generate lots of revenue with limited reach and how Gary Vaynerchuk’s agency Vaynermedia ticks.

Here’s a topic by topic breakdown of the OMR Podcast with Brian Morrissey

  • 2:43 Brian Morissey’s first point: Paid content is the most important model for publishers in the future.
  • 3:45 What are some examples of publishers who’ve already enjoyed success with paid content?
  • 5:38 How is Google’s new content strategy setup?
  • 7:00 What role will Snapchat play in the upcoming platform battles?
  • 9:46 A question about Vice: How are they able to generate so much revenue with such little reach?
  • 12:50 How has the Business Insider deal with Axel Springer been received?
  • 15:16 Is display advertising already past its prime?
  • 18:59 How does the agency model at Gary Vaynerchuk’s agency Vaynermedia work?
  • 21:15 As a CMO at a major brand, which channel would Brian Morrissey invest his money in?
  • 21:56 Why are influencers able to command so much money right now?
  • 25:30 Brian’s take on some successful subscription models.
  • 28:05 Why Brian Morrissey doesn’t get the way Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk work.
  • 32:25 Why did Brian stop attending CES or SXSW?
  • 33:55 Is Donald Trump’s presidency a story of successful marketing?
  • 36:25 Is it reasonable to say that Trump was elected through the assistance of companies like Cambridge Analytica and the clever use of Facebook ads helped get?
  • 40:00 What does Brian Morrissey think about adblock plus?
  • 43:46 Are there old school media companies that continue to produce quality work?

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