This is issue no. 129 of 180. The last issue had a 🚀 46.21% open rate with 8.21% of you going to this article on a clever Snapchat ad. Also, a great video on analyzing Amazon reviews [data set: 18,000,000 reviews]. And checkout this TRX x Under Armour collaboration. Lastly, an interesting opinion piece in SeekingAlpha on Nike's pursuit of CrossFit: "where does Nike go from here?" Now to the good stuff.
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MEDIA: Considering how quickly television viewing habits are changing, it only makes sense that advertising models are changing as well. And marketers, to be sure, don't want to abandon video commercials altogether. Whether an ad runs during a traditional television broadcast or on the internet, video spots remain tremendously valuable, because there is still no better way to make an emotional connection with consumers. So the question for advertisers today isn't whether they should continue to spend money on video ads.
BRAND: The ad features a typically-enthusiastic Corden pitching an array of bonkers ideas for Apple Music ads, each one quickly dismissed by incredulous execs Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine and Bozoma Saint John. “What if I’m giving birth to Justin Bieber, who’s giving birth to Anthony Kiedis, who’s giving birth to a phone,” Corden suggests at the start. He then comes up with the idea of dressing “as every iconic music star in history,” and the clip then cuts to various shots of the chat show host appearing as Bowie, Slash, the Spice Girls and Pharrell.
DATA: The speed at which fully autonomous cars develop will have a big impact on Uber’s ability to compete with companies like Apple and Google. Without the need for drivers, Uber’s driver network switches from a strength to a weakness. In this respect, Uber’s move to be the first to put self-driving vehicles in a commercial capacity on the road in Pittsburgh feels like a necessary but scary acceleration of the self-driving game by the company.
INNOVATION: Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes the transition to autonomous vehicles will happen through a network of autonomous car owners renting their vehicles to others. Elon is right that a network of vehicles is critical, but the transition to an autonomous future will not occur primarily through individually owned cars. It will be both more practical and appealing to access autonomous vehicles when they are part of Lyft’s networked fleet.
ECOMMERCE: As a software-as-a-service offering, Giftbit will offer 1,000 active codes for $90 per month. Those codes can be any currency code spent at checkout, including gift cards, credits or promos. From there, it’s $15 per month for each additional set of 1,000 codes. Based in Victoria, B.C., Canada, Giftbit’s team of 18 is backed by $2.1 million in seed funding, led by Freestyle Capital. The round closed in February, with the intention of helping fuel the development of this new service.
FINTECH: Express Pay is driven by Stripe, the San Francisco startup that aims to make digital payments dead simple for all businesses. The company also does something similar for Instacart, Postmates, Care.com, and goPanache, and now, it’s offering the same technology to any online marketplace. It calls this new offering Instant Payouts. This behind-the-scenes tech is part of a much larger effort to streamline the way money travels between people and businesses.
ECOMMERCE: It's hard not to compare Style.com with Net-A-Porter - a site that's built up years of customer loyalty through effective content marketing. Luckily, Style.com also has years of loyal readership from its array of print and online magazines. There's a lot to like - great design and navigation makes for an enjoyable browsing experience. Similarly, with a lack of imagery and room for more in-depth editorial, there's also a lot to improve on.
ECOMMERCE: According to eMarketer, the year 2017 expects to see global online sales of over $2.3 trillion. While online sales in the US, Canada, and the BRIC nations are significantly growing, China alone is expected to outshine the US e-commerce market by 2016. The escalating e-commerce market is being driven by a rapid expansion of the internet and use of mobile devices, along with better payment options and advanced shipping mechanisms.
ECOMMERCE: Brands are beginning to understand the importance of showing potential customers how existing customers work with their products, wear their products, or use their products on a daily basis. For nearly all brands within all industries, the ecommerce space can be competitive. It seems like every vertical has hundreds or even thousands of competitors trying to capture the interest and wallets of customers each day.
ECOMMERCE: In the early 2000s, Wal-Mart appeared to neglect the e-commerce sector, and online shoppers largely ignored Wal-Mart’s website. Meanwhile, the No.1 online retailer, Amazon, kept growing. Amazon’s revenue for 2015 was $107 billion, up 20 percent from the previous year. It had net income of $596 million — barely half a percent of revenue — in 2015 after a loss of $241 million the previous year.
Third Transportation Revolution: Counterpoint
Assuming that you read today's fourth article. Here is a great clarifier and counterpoint. If not, just ignore this!
Zimmer’s piece had the sheen of futurism — autonomous vehicle fleets, the end of private car ownership, the changing nature of cities — but honestly it’s material that has been covered pretty thoroughly over the last few years. What was interesting was the complete absence of any data points that suggested Lyft would create the future Zimmer described. So what was the point of writing it?
Lyft, the second-biggest ride-hailing company in the United States behind Uber…has found that its options are limited. The company, which is based in San Francisco, has in recent months held talks or made approaches to sell itself to companies including General Motors, Apple, Google, Amazon, Uber and Didi Chuxing, according to a dozen people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were private. One person said it was Lyft who was approached by interested parties…
Lyft failed to find a buyer partly because of cost, the people said. Lyft was valued at $5.5 billion after an investment round by G.M. and others in January, making it one of the more pre-eminent unicorn companies in Silicon Valley. Any sale would most likely have to fetch a premium from Lyft’s last valuation to be desirable to the company and its investors.
In this context Zimmer’s piece makes perfect sense: one of the primary conclusions in my piece Google, Uber, and the Evolution of Transportation-as-a-Service is that winning the future of transportation entails far more than simply building a self-driving car, and that Uber’s lead both in terms of its technology and customer mindshare is very significant. To that end, Lyft does make sense as an acquisition target for any company wishing to be more than a commodity supplier: they have useful technology and some degree of mindshare. The problem, though, is that Lyft itself is a doomed business; Uber can and will spend them into the ground, which makes that valuation tough for a potential acquirer to swallow unless Lyft is seen as the missing piece in winning the future. So, Zimmer is selling that future.