This is issue no. 117 of 180. The last issue saw a 42.95% open rate with 11.63% going to this article on the people who matter at Uber.
You'll see several stories today that highlight the shifts that 2PML often covers, (1) the inverse relationship between the proliferation of eCommerce and the devaluation of retail brick and mortar space.
(2) Another is online media's dependence upon Facebook's API, Twitter's links, and native mobile apps. Tomorrow's letter will cover (3) a short list of media groups who've built direct eCommerce businesses that generate between $3M - $15M / year in gross revenue.
DATA: Data wasn't being received from Facebook’s “Graph API” feature, which publishers use to help understand how links to articles are being distributed and engaged with across Facebook. Some publishers also use the information to display a counter on their website pages that shows the number of shares links to their articles, videos and other content receive across Facebook. After being contact by The Wall Street Journal about publishers’ concerns, Facebook said the halted data was an unintended glitch, introduced as part of an update on Aug. 8.
MEDIA: But the relative simplicity of Tasty’s videos that make it such a repeatable and potentially lucrative format have also made a low bar for look-alikes to emerge. Publishers already in the cooking video field such as Tastemade have ramped up their creation of that style of video, so has Thrillist and Cooking Light. All of them have pitched brands on sponsored video deals, distributing them on Facebook. Even though there often isn’t much stylistically to differentiate many of the recipe video makers, some are trying to set themselves apart by having niche audiences or by packaging in other platforms.
BRAND: The suggested retail price for the new drinks is $1.69 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, 50 cents more than for Gatorade Thirst Quencher, the nonorganic equivalent. Gatorade, which controls 70 percent of the sports-drink market, is facing increasing pressure from new challengers like coconut water as consumers are focused more than ever on ingredients. Organic food industry sales in the U.S. reached $43.3 billion in 2015, up 11 percent from the year before, while broader food sales gained 3 percent, according to the Organic Trade Association.
DATA: We can analyze the data without hypotheses about what it might show.” Uncovering hidden patterns in data thus became the new Holy Grail. But even if data scientists are able to find the Grail, these discoveries are often divorced from business problems. Companies that have been successful in harnessing the power of data start with a specific business problem and then seek data to help in their decision making. Contrary to what Anderson preached, the process starts with a business problem and a specific hypothesis, not data. Consider these three cases.
RETAIL: Lacking a reason to shop — compelling product, an engaging or emotional shopping experience — some customers are opting out, but L Brands stores are still offering both of those and the sales are there. “The secret sauce, if there is one, is a relentless focus on staying in touch with the customer,” Wexner said. “You won’t have exciting merchandise if you don’t understand the customer. We don’t lead them. They lead us.” A big culprit for the bad rap malls have gotten is the struggle of the all-important anchor department stores.
MEDIA: Instagram notes that the feature is coming to iOS today. It uses a simple pinch gesture, as you would expect, and works with video as well. It covers content on your feed, profiles and in Explore. Instagram is finally shaping up as a platform for more serious photographers rather than just social media mavens. Multiple aspect ratios helped you share images as they were meant to be seen and opened up some creative opportunities, while zoom let’s you hone in on the details. That said, Instagram still should to let you rotate your phone for landscape images.
BRAND: The rebrand comes as the Ohio-based retailer reported disappointing second quarter results — net sales were down 4 percent to $783 million and same store sales were down 4 percent — while the company said it expects “the second half of the year to be challenging.” The company’s stock tanked by 20 percent to $18.30. It also said it would close 60 of 744 stores in the US. While the entire teen apparel sector has been struggling with notable bankruptcy filings over the past year, including American Apparel, Aeropostale, Quiksilver and Pacific Sunwear, Abercrombie’s answer is to dump teenagers.
DATA: Dropbox hurriedly warned its users last week to change their passwords if their accounts dated back prior to mid-2012. We now know why: the cloud-based storage service suffered a data breach that's said to have affected more than 68 million accounts compromised during a hack that took place roughly four years ago. The company had previously admitted that it was hit by a hack attack, but it's only now that the scale of the operation has seemingly come to light. Tech site Motherboard reported—citing "sources in the database trading community"—that it had obtained four files, totalling 5GB in size, which apparently contained e-mail addresses and hashed passwords for 68,680,741 Dropbox users.
ECOMMERCE: Most consumers who are picking up items in stores do so only a few times. Of the consumers who said they had picked up an online order in a store, 51% said they had done so two to five times in the last year. 37% said they had done so only once, while 10% said six to 10 times, and about 3% said more than 10 times. Moreover, the number of consumers who buy something additional once in store to pick up their item—often cited by e-retailers like Target and Home Depot as a major motivation for their buy online pick up in store program—seems to be fairly limited.
DATA: Field Agent’s latest report, “Football Fans as Customers 2016,” profiles American football fans and, more specifically, their shopping attitudes and behaviors. Based on a survey of 520 fans, the report offers insight into a variety of timely questions: DATA: Which retailers are most popular with football fans for purchasing groceries, fast food, and fan gear to enhance their game-viewing experiences? What foods, beverages, and other products (e.g., grills, plasticware, team gear) do fans use/consume when enjoying gameday at home? Which specific brands of salty snacks, soda, beer, and liquor are most prevalent among football fans?
The reason this matters is that building a self-driving car is like building a smartphone: it’s a hard problem, to be sure, but it’s only half of the equation when it comes to transportation-as-a-service. After all, just how useful would an iPhone or Android device be without the cloud? Similarly, a transportation-as-a-service company built around self-driving cars not only needs cars that can drive themselves, but an entire infrastructure on the back-end that tells those cars exactly where to go in a way that maximizes what will undoubtedly be a massive capital investment in the cars themselves.
This is likely the motivation behind Google’s Waze-based ride-sharing service. Kalanick may be right that Google is ahead when it comes to self-driving cars, but they have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to telling those cars where to go.