Procter & Gamble Chief Issues Powerful Media Transparency Plan

The digital advertising industry is being disrupted as more independent marketing analytics, verification and attribution technologies go to market. This disruption is being accelerated by top advertisers like Procter & Gamble who contribute to the $200B of annual advertising spend in the United States. Here are some excerpts from Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer keynote at the US IAB Annual Leadership Meeting last week:

P&G to review all agency contracts in 2017 in four-step plan to bring transparency to media supply chain.

“Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s influential global chief brand officer, has urged all parts of the marketing industry to come together to tackle media transparency in a keynote address to the US IAB Annual Leadership meeting in Florida yesterday (29 January).”

“We’re not growing enough. Despite spending an astounding $200 billion in advertising in the US, the growth rate of our collective industries is pretty anemic. Some might say we’re squandering this wonderful gift of technology. Perhaps we could chalk it up to growing pains since digital advertising is relatively new. We’ve been giving a pass to the new media in the spirit of learning – P&G included. But together we’re all spending $72 billion in digital advertising – surpassing TV. The days of giving digital a pass are over – it’s time to grow up. It’s time for action.

“We need better advertising to drive growth enabled by media transparency to drive a clean and productive media supply chain. Better advertising and media transparency are closely related. ”

“The days of giving digital a pass are over. In fact, according to the Wold Federation of Advertisers, some 90% of marketers are looking to review agency contracts in the hope it will deliver greater transparency.”

“We realize there is no sustainable advantage in a complicated, non-transparent, inefficient media supply chain. Getting to a clean, productive media supply chain is the level playing field” we all want and need.”

“We make decisions involving billions of dollars on where to invest our media money. These are big bets so we need objective, validated measurement to be sure that we’re getting the viewability, audience, reach and frequency we pay for. Regardless of how much we trust and respect the people from whom we buy media, we need an objective, impartial judge to perform the measurement.”

“So at P&G, we’re expecting every media supplier – including publishers and measurement vendors – to adopt accredited third-party verification during 2017. It’s taking some work, including technology investments, especially since there are some very legitimate data privacy issues which need to be addressed.”

“So we are now pouring over every agency contract for full transparency by the end of 2017”

“This is a matter of collective will. If we can find a way to drive cars autonomously, we can find a way to track media.”

“I had a moment of clarity,” Mr. Pritchard continued,” and replied, ‘Well, hundreds of millions of dollars may not seem like a lot to you, but it’s a lot to us. We’ve been leaning forward for the past several years. And it’s not going to stop unless you get validated, accredited third-party verification.'”

Advertising AgeCampaign Live, The Drum

Future of Transportation

There are three key trends that will disrupt the transportation industry in the decades ahead: Self Driving (Autonomous) Vehicles, On Demand Vehicle Sharing, and Electric Powered Vehicles. Each of these innovations are in a different stage of the “Hype Cycle” theory but they are all dealing with a similar challenge:  High switching costs and complex infrastructure requirements.  When these costs are absorbed by an enterprise (such as Uber) adoption can grow more quickly than when the costs are the responsibility of the consumer (Tesla).

These headwinds have caused the automotive industry to lag other industries that have already been turned on their head by the introduction of new ideas and technologies. For example, industries that have seen rapid adoption as a result of lower switching costs (or even savings) for the consumer include buying goods from Amazon instead of brick and mortar stores, consuming content online instead of through traditional outlets, and the “cord cutting” movement where cable television providers are being replaced by a combination of internet streaming applications and traditional over the air TV antennas. It should not be a surprise that these markets have moved quickly as all of the transaction values are relatively low and result in an instantaneous benefit for the consumer.  Changes in the automotive business are much more complex, expensive, and in certain cases provide benefits that are not immediately recognized by all consumers.

Eventually the transportation industry will fully transform but it will take much longer as existing vehicles must complete their useful life, new infrastructure and technologies introduced at a competitive price, and our culture adjusted to accept these new concepts.Regardless, everyone should pay attention to these three inevitable disruptions in the marketplace.  To help with this learning,  I have included three videos that explain each innovation regardless of the fact that each product is still in a very early stage of adoption.  I hope you find these presentations interesting and in the meantime enjoy the freedom of driving yourself down the road while burning $40 a barrel oil.

On Demand Vehicle Sharing: Uber’s plan to get more people into fewer cars

Electric Powered Vehicles: The mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity

Self Driving (Autonomous) Vehicles: How a driverless car sees the road

KPCB’s 2015 Internet Trends Report

The 2015 Internet Trends Report is must read material.  This research is conducted by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Venture Capital firm who has financed many of today’s most prominent technology companies.

The comprehensive 197 page report covers key internet trends, changes in the mobile internet advertising landscape, the transformation of the work environment in the United States, the evolution of internet adoption in China and India, as well as an analysis of public and private company valuations.

This is the 17th edition of the Internet Trends report which has provided insights into emerging trends in the technology industry since 2001.

Download the Internet Trends Report

Le Web

The Le Web London conference took place last week and many of the presentations are now available on their youtube channel. This is the second time I have watched Le Web and they have delivered another interesting set of videos from the event. Here are a few highlights:

The Collaborative Economy: How People, Startups, and Corporations build a new Market
Jeremiah Owyang, Partner, Altimeter Group

Sharing Economy
Loic Le Meur

Sleep Better with FLUX

Flux is a cool program that makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

It’s even possible that you’re staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.

Download f.lux


Songza is how I have listened to music for the last 6 months. This streaming music provider offers a fresh new approach to matching music to your current activity. Upon logging into Songza the “concierge” is displayed which uses the date and time to propose relevant activities each of which are mapped to a set of playlists that are developed and updated by professional DJs. In two or three clicks you can match your current activity, mood, etc. to a set of songs that match.

Check it out. I recommend Songza to anyone looking for a different experience than what Spotify, Pandora and offer. Songza is available on the web, iOS, Android, and Kindle however as with all streaming audio services you’ll need to stick to your mp3 library when flying (most of the time) or are without an Internet connection and use a wireless provider who meters and bills for heavy data usage.

How to Block Online Advertising

Ad blocking is an emerging trend in the online advertising industry.

I recently figured out how to block most online ads using a combination of two Google Chrome web browser extensions. All display ads have been eliminated from any website I visit and I am also blocking all Facebook ads and YouTube video ads.

Thanks to Adblock and Adblock Plus over 16 million Chrome users are now blocking most online advertising. That’s more than 5% of Chrome’s 310 million users.

The ad free experience has been refreshing and I highly recommend it. It will be interesting to see how this trend impacts the delivery and performance of display, facebook, and youtube ads.


Insights from Quarterly Investor Calls

For years I have dialed into quarterly investor calls for a handful of the biggest technology companies. It’s one of the sources that I use to keep up on industry trends. They offer a wealth of information on financial performance but my favorite sections are when the CEO, CTO or CCO offers their perspective on the future of their market, customer, and product. By investing a couple hours you get direct access to some of the top leaders in tech. I usually take notes from each of the calls I watch and have included a recent example from Google below. I’m surprised there are only a few thousand people, mostly investors, who attend this call with Google’s leadership on a regular basis.

Insights from Google’s Q3 2012 call

There are now half a billion android devices. Mobile run rate is over 8 billion dollars vs. 2.5 billion in 2011. Majority of this from mobile advertising and a smaller contribution from google play content and apps.

Sunset 19 products last month alone – have now closed or have combined 60 products and features in the last year. As screens multiply, it’s more important than ever that services converge

Live streamed over 1 million hours of election coverage

Generating 20 million phone calls per month from click to call advertising products. Recently decided to monetize product listing ads

Sales and marketing expense up 17% QOQ primarily due to Nexus 7 launch which has generated 3 million sales as of mid October 2012. Total gross consolidated revenue grew 45% YOY, 15% QOQ to 14.1 billion

Minds and Machines

Unleashing the Industrial Internet

Below are highlights from the GE Minds and Machines conference keynote where Chris Anderson of Wired interviews Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz and Jeff Immelt CEO of GE

Opening Speaker: Andy Mcafee, Principal Research Scientist MIT

  • Rapid worldwide social development has occurred only recently due to the industrial revolution
  • Big data will soon cause the storage industry to measure capacity using “yotta”, the last prefix in the metric system.

Marc Andreessen, Founder Andreessen Horowitz

  • Moore’s Law of Sensors that are generating massive amounts of data
  • Ubiquitous communications – device’s can be wireless, should be wireless
  • Software eats the world thesis:
  • Within the industry the innovation has shifted from hardware to software
  • Mobile phone adoption has enabled software distribution which is eating retail such as the book industry
  • Major trend right now is the shift of focus from sickness to wellness. Jawbone Up device is a good example of hardware, software and analytics will not get too involved with healthcare startups due to regulation challenges.
  • We invest in companies where if the software team was removed the company would collapse. We believe that if the software team is that strong then regardless of the industry they will be able to beat the incumbents this superior understanding of software.
  • Consumer industry is where the innovation is first and then trickles upstream to the enterprise. This is how Marc came up with the idea for Salesforce. He saw the click and buy capabilities Amazon offered the consumer and wondered why that didn’t exist for the enterprise.

Jeff Immelt, CEO GE

  • The next holy grail is all about decision support and analytics. The ability to model data and predict failure.
  • It’s a billion dollar investment to make a jet 15% more fuel efficient.
  • In all our products there’s another 5-10-15% improvement in productivity identified using software analytics and data analysis
  • If you want the right engineers you have to come here (San Francisco)
  • “I’d rather acquire the people than the companies”
  • Favorite question to ask clients: if you had 10 million dollars and you were in charge of GE how would you spend it
  • 50% of all electricity is wasted. The grid has tremendous opportunity for software, analytics, and decision support.
  • One of the reasons we have hosted this Minds and Machines event is to develop our relationship with the software community.
  • We know what we don’t know. That’s why we partner with companies like
  • Accenture because they bring skills that we don’t have.
  • If you are a purchaser at a hospital our goal is to make sure that no one ever gets fired for choosing GE.

Mobile Messaging Trends

Text messaging is an old technology developed almost 30 years ago in the Franco-German GSM cooperation by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. Ironically, the 13 to 17 year old demographic is the heaviest user in the United States. Text messaging is frequently ranked as the top reason for teen cell phone ownership. 77% of American teens now own a cell phone and 58% own a smartphone compared to 36% just a year ago.


The 13-17 year olds have averaged over 3,000 sms messages per month since 2010. In order to achieve that volume kids have developed skills like “in class texting” where the cell phone is hidden in a shirt sleeve and texts are typed without looking at the screen! The heavy usage of the internet and text messaging has also been linked to a decline in the percentage of teens who get their driver’s license. Thirty years ago, eight in 10 Americans ages 17‐19 had a driver’s license compared to six in 10 according to University of Michigan researchers. This communication trend is vastly changing the way people manage relationships and conduct business.


Despite the growth in youth text messaging, the US has experienced it’s first ever decline in overall text message volume this year. In the third quarter of 2012, United States cellphone users sent an average of 678 texts a month, down from 696 texts a month in the previous quarter. This trend is already underway in the Philippines, one of the top texting nations, where users sent roughly 400 text messages a month each in 2011, down from about 660 a month in 2010, according to a study by Chetan Sharma, an independent mobile analyst.


The smartphone surpassed 50% adoption in the US as consumers continued to upgrade from mobile phones. This smartphone growth has enabled several significant mobile messaging alternatives such as Apple’s iMessage, Google Voice, Skype, Facebook, Kik, and WhatsApp who are all competing for a share of the 9.6 trillion text messages forecasted worldwide for 2012. Several of these providers already handle over a billion messages per day.

Screen-Shot-2012-11-26-at-12.07.31-PMFor now, the cross platform compatibility between all the mobile carriers, devices and operating systems continues to differentiate text messaging from the fragmented mobile messaging alternatives. Hopefully this competition will eventually force the consolidation of text messaging and data plans by carriers still charging monthly or per message fees. Regardless of whether carrier supported text messaging or 3rd party mobile messaging applications are used it is clear that the millennial generation prefers mobile messaging over video, email and voice communications.

PEW Research Center
Chetan Sharma
New York Times
International Telecom Union
Portio Research