🐇Rabbbits Weeekly: Metaverse is Singular🕳️
There can only be one, metaverse that is. Computer chips are rather important. And more tips, trends, and headlines.
The news feels pretty repetitive these days:
Tech companies are taking a beating
Advertising spend only forecast to grow a small amount next year
Agencies and marketing initiatives to be under increased scrutiny in 2023
You won’t believe what Elon just did!
We’re also in the (presumed) holiday slow down period. So expect this space to be filled with less news and more tips and strategic thinking points, at least until the new year.
And really, that’s what the original idea for this was: take the stuff I share with clients and team members and put it in one spot.
This weeek: Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” and recently clarified the concept, what you’re actually competing with, semiconductors as national security, Twitter alternatives, some handy guides, conflicting recession signs, and some headlines.
Neal Stephenson, the man who coined the term “metaverse,” was on the a16z podcast to talk about it. It’s worth a listen if any of that sounds interesting, but here are some of the things that stuck with me.
The Metaverse is one thing. It can have many different sub-metaverses, but they have to all work together in some fashion to be The Metaverse as Neal sees it. This means the interoperability many shout for from current social platforms (hello, ActivityPub (a deep dive here coming soon)). The (likely imperfect) metaphor I thought of was the Earth. The Metaverse is a digital Earth, and all these different metaverses companies talk about building (Meta, Roblox, whoever) will be the countries.
The Metaverse does not require Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR). Much of the reasoning Neal and the host discuss is in line with how I’ve thought of these technologies: we are (currently) too social a creature used to interacting in physical space to suddenly become Ready Player One.
If you have Neal on your podcast you are legally obligated to ask about the trends he’s currently watching for the next 30 years, so here’s what he’s got:
Carbon (especially capture and sequestration)
The Polarization of Society (and it's being weaponized by bad actors that benefit from it)
Your True Competitor
Here’s a long Harvard Business Review post that I think can be summed up by this quote (I say “think” because I stopped reading after this quote, it had all the hallmarks of a long-winded business piece that drives its point home at the expense of brevity (like this parenthetical, perhaps?)):
The last best experience anyone has anywhere becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere.
Bridget van Kranlingen, a senior executive at IBM
Everything is customer service. Experience is high on my list for brands, it’s why I will never not like Death Wish Coffee. I had a lovely support experience with my HSA company today about a Two Factor Authentication (2FA) issue today. I am months into an ongoing back and forth with Facebook over the same 2FA issue and, at this point, think my next step is asking them to nuke my account. (Yes, it was user error, but if it can happen to me I guarantee it happens to others.)
Trend: National Security Chips
TSMC has announced a second US facility, next to their other one in Arizona, to manufacture those all important silicon chips (a.k.a. the things that turn all the other things into computers). The US government also passed the CHIPS Act that sets aside a Scrooge McDuck pile of money to throw at stateside efforts to build out the semiconductor supply chain.
TSMC is also a foundation of Taiwan’s hopes that the US will back it if China gets a little too aggressive (again).
The COVID induced supply chain crunch and general distrust of important tech components that could double as spy devices made in China (looking at you Huawei and ZTE) has put the spotlight on chip diversification. The explosion of machine learning and resulting development of specialized chips by any major player has wrestled the duopoly away from Intel and AMD. NVIDIA was the darling thanks to gaming, crypto, and AI, but two of the 3 of those have crashed or gone elsewhere.
Chips are now more than just a component that makes our shiny new toys. They are a competitive advantage. And that advantage is no longer limited to just companies.
Life After Twitter
Maybe Hive Social is the Twitter replacement you’ve been looking for.
(Or Mastodon or Cohost or Micro.blog, as mentioned previously.)
And I promise the ActivityPub Primer is coming. New stuff is coming out every day on this front and I want at least one programmer friend to spot check it to make sure I’m not completely off base.
LinkedIn’s Document Ads are high on my list of things to test, so this guide from the platform is well timed. The quick version:
It starts with the format. That means use a PDF smaller than 100MB.
Make it mobile friendly. That means the text is big enough and in a one column layout
Get fancy. That means an eye-catching cover page to lure them in and a visual, scannable layout.
I have not reviewed this yet, but if you have a podcast you should probably check out this 67 page guide from YouTube on podcasting on the platform.
A breakdown of the 5 Facebook bidding strategies, I like the Google Ads comps:
Highest Volume = maximize clicks
Highest Value = maximize conversion value
Cost Per Result Bidding = target CPA
ROAS Goal = target ROAS
Bid Cap = old school manual CPC
Is a recession coming? That’s the million dollar question right now and indicators are a bit murky. They aren’t all rosy as things are slowing down, but spending is still happening.
This piece is gated, but the Google snippet covers it:
While the U.S. ad market declined for the fifth consecutive month in October, signaling signs of a new advertising recession, a longer view suggests it is more of a stabilization than a downward correction.
This thread predicts rough times ahead. The massive growth prior to the recent drags and dips has me wondering how much of this is just things leveling off and returning to some sort of normal? How useful are prior experiences as indicators when we’ve just experienced an unprecedented period of time? The thread is about B2B which I imagine will really feel it this next year as many hunker down for whatever’s to come.
In an attempt to recession proof, many businesses are forgoing customer acquisition to focus on retention. This makes sense, but may also open up acquisition opportunities for those customers that are shopping around.
Speaking of retention, heed this advice from the Marketing Against the Grain podcast:
When business gets going poorly, the worst thing you can do is tax your existing customers for your strategic mistake.
Retail Tea Leaves
Want to know what products were hot like Hansel this year? Google’s got you covered.
Shopify is testing out a platform-wide search feature in the Shop App that basically turns it into Amazon or Etsy. I get this from Shopify’s end: boost discoverability, try to generate more purchases, maybe entice more merchants. But what about sellers? The search may bring them more revenue but it likely won’t bring brand equity. Is it just another set of SEO hurdles to worry about? Do they want another marketplace to worry about?
Secondhand shopping is going full zeitgeist thanks to Poshmark adding Secondhand Sunday to the Turkey 5 shopping/spending extravaganza lineup.
PayPal’s Happy Returns has rolled out a Shopify integration that aims to turn returns into revenue.
Looking for a new marketplace to sell your products on? This chart might help.
Online video is eating the ad world. It’s taking over digital and making non-internet video providers nervous. And, of course, TikTok is the ascendant. So maybe your 2023 marketing resolution should be short form, vertical video. (On the flip side, this could mean less competition around other formats, placements, and platforms.)
Amazon is all about those video ads too.
Declines in ad spending are slowing. Part of the reason for the recent declines could be the crazy growth in 2021 that carried over into early 2022.
I’m not going to try to interpret this post since I’ve only spent a few minutes in Amazon’s ad platform to date, but it’s worth checking out if that’s your world. Account organization only gets more important the longer you run campaigns.
Should you add a dash of science to your marketing? Well, it depends…
when we’re exposed to “hedonic” ads -- ads that appeal to pleasurable sensations -- the parts of our brain that retrieve memories kicks in. This isn’t true when we see more utilitarian ads. Predictably, we approach those ads as a problem to be solved and engage the parts of our brain that control working memory and the ability to focus our attention.
It’s time to stop depending on platforms
we should spend less time trying to game these platforms and more time doing whatever we can to convert these users to our owned and operated properties..
Meta’s ad woes are grabbing the headlines, but the company is also grabbing Black Friday ad budgets. An estimated 70-85% of these budgets are going to the classic social app, but advertisers are branching out to TikTok with about 1/10th of budgets. Google and YouTube are getting the rest. Why Big Blue? The Trend Machine has yet to prove its performance marketing chops. Interesting to note, early sales windows haven’t caught on as expected so Turkey 5 could still be a gold rush. (Paywall, podcast recap)
Facebook’s newest Widely Viewed Content report dropped. The good news? Political content is going down. The bad news? A lot of the most viewed content is basically Taboola but in your feed. So now we’ll learn how much ad revenue a tabloid company can rake in. Of note, 15% of content viewed in feeds came from the new discovery via curation efforts as discussed in Rabbbit Spottting last weeek.
How is AI being used by marketers? Natural Language Processing (NLP) is common in things like chatbots and social listening sentiment analysis efforts. But the big winner is personalization via data a.k.a. The Amazon Effect. (Paywall, podcast recap)
Minecraft has an anti-advertising policy, not allowing logos in the game. But maybe advertising can still happen. One Minecraft Influencer created in-game locations for partner advertisers, giving them a presence in the game while still allowing for experiences that could be completely brand free for users.
Snapchat is struggling to recruit and retain Creators. But I’m not sure how big an issue that will be for the platform long term. It leads the pack on AR and may be able to make Quibi’s dream a reality.
Gen Z is driving the trends and brands are chasing them, but the real population trend is aging. People are living longer and many countries have fertility rates below replacement, which means most populations will get older and then smaller.
Have a Google My Business account (or access to one)? Seeing a lot of weird access requests? Me too. And so are others. Don’t fall for the scam.
Google services like Maps and Flights are moving from subdomains to the main domain (like maps.google.com to google.com/maps), which could mean allowing location access to one service (say, maps) is actually just saying “Google, have at my geo data.” (And here’s a Hacker News thread about it if you want to waste some time and see if there are any useful nuggets or clarifications on that “could” (let me know what you find if you make it through the whole thing).)
I’m just pasting the headline for this one:
Tax filing websites have been sending users’ financial information to Facebook. The Markup found services including TaxAct, TaxSlayer, and H&R Block sending sensitive data.
Hey! You made it down here. That’s pretty impressive. Thanks!