Global adtech investors turned on the sector about five years ago and fled. But now VC and private equity funds are back with big investment appetites and Australian ventures which broadly fall into driving the structural shifts across advertising, customer data, demand prediction and analytics are seeing a renewed surge in investment attention.
Australia’s biggest spending marketers risk cutting directly across their corporate responsibility compliance by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Facebook alone, potentially funding misinformation, social division – and worse. Amid Facebook’s latest crisis, they’ve all gone quiet. But ignoring financial and reputational risks in pursuit of cheap reach may yet come back to bite them.
Google is walking away from last click attribution – a false proxy and a "mistake" the marketing and ad world's smartest piled into for nearly two decades. Some blame Google for popularising the concept in the first place and hoovering up ad budgets for the last 15 years as a result. How did it start? Early legitimacy from the IAB and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s eye for the value in analytics, say those in the know – and lazy marketers and ticket-clipping agencies kept the money rolling in.
Kraft Heinz took a $15 billion write down in early 2019 and watched its share price collapse after neglecting brand spend – an ironic reward for shareholders and disciples of zero-based budgeting. But does advertising investment correlate to share price? Mi3 mapped ad spend for some of Australia's biggest ASX-listed advertisers from 2018 to 2020, including the collapse caused by Covid-19. Here's what we found.
Telstra has made sustainability a key plank of its first brand campaign in five years – and it's pushing suppliers to cut their carbon emissions. CMO Jeremy Nicholas says these mandates will ultimately extend to agencies, media and tech providers, so "it's in their best interests" to decarbonise. Four of the five ad holding groups, and some publishers, are already mobilising. Others like Omnicom and TV networks are moving slowly. But as Australia's biggest brands plot similar strategies, everyone will have to follow.
An overhaul of Australia's federal privacy laws is imminent, with the Attorney General's Department last week advising a Senate Committee hearing on Foreign Interference Through Social Media that draft privacy changes will likely be released by next week. Tougher rules for collecting personal data and gaining consent, and a raft of additional proposed restrictions specifically targeting social media platforms and the data collected from young people will also land. A more combative information and privacy regulator, and changes to the definition of 'personal information' are on the cards. It could mean that even when people consent to data being collected, brands are ultimately not allowed to use it – and lawyers expect compliance will be quickly enforced.
Eftpos-owned payment platform Beem It is preparing to woo the younger set with blended cash, crypto and reward points payments, and an ID, data, loyalty and commerce hub – with former Mi9 execs (Microsoft-Nine) Mark Britt and Pat Darcy at the helm. The duo see a major opportunity for brands to tap its 1.4 million users, for whom they intend to build a "lifestyle app" that rewards them fairly for deep data and goes far beyond banking, payments and retail.
So the rise of the second tier platforms is on? Reddit and Pinterest picked Sydney over Singapore for their APAC HQs because they're likely to generate more ad dollars, say insiders. While the likes of Amazon's Twitch, TikTok and Snap may argue otherwise, they will need much stronger Australian data and metrics beyond reach to unlock the biggest advertisers and snack at the tables of Facebook and Google.
Publicis Groupe has swooped for Australian start-up CitrusAd, which powers digital media and ad sales for dozens of major global retailers – including Woolworths and Coles – beating venture capital and holding group rivals in the process. It’s preparing to take on Amazon and predicts massive multi-billion dollar growth.
ANZ is starting to fully leverage its $26m investment in ASX-listed Cashrewards. The bank is positioning the loyalty scheme as a key plank of its personalisation and CX strategy in a bid to gain and retain customers – and crucially unlock customer data consent to branch into new areas with other brand partners. Meanwhile, Cashrewards merchants now have the opportunity to target all ANZ customers via the bank’s owned platforms.
As yoghurt companies go, Chobani is big, roaring from nowhere to a 20 per cent market share in less than a decade. For the last couple of years, it has been investing heavily in retail media via Woolworth's Cartology unit. General Manager of Growth, Olivia Dickinson, says there are four reasons why – and she thinks the retailer media companies are only just getting started.