Walmart's SMB Pipe Dream, Bookseller to Bond Villain, Google Loves Long Posts

Walmart's SMB Pipe Dream, Bookseller to Bond Villain, Google Loves Long Posts

Walmart Buys Dynamic Creative Platform Thunder

Walmart is buying PaperG/Thunder and its dynamic display ad platform, in part to lure more SMB advertisers. The self-service technology will be used to provision ads on Walmart's owned media and current PaperG employees will join the company. Thunder creates multiple versions of display ads and can optimize them based on performance. The integration will go live later in 2021.

Our take:

  • PaperG, which became Thunder several years ago, started life as an SMB landing page and website builder.
  • The technology will likely be used more broadly than simply for SMBs.
  • Walmart's dream of SMB self-service may turn out to be a pipe dream.

Jeff Bezos: From Online Bookseller to Bond Villain

Earlier this week Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he would become executive chairman, passing the CEO baton to AWS chief Andy Jassy. Jassy has been with Amazon since the '90s. Bezos will continue to be involved but focus on strategic projects. Jassy's AWS was responsible for more than 60% of Amazon's operating profit in 2020. The company exceeded $100 billion for the first time in Q4 and reached nearly $390 billion in 2020 revenue.  

Our take:

  • Founded as an online bookseller, the company is now a $1.7 trillion marketplace under heavy antitrust scrutiny in the US and Europe.
  • A kind of metaphor for other ethical problems, Amazon agreed to pay $62 million to settle FTC claims that it stole tips from its own drivers.
  • Jeff Bezos himself, over the last 26 years, has transformed from a nerdy startup founder to someone more closely resembling a Bond villain.

Google Likes Long, Complex Articles Most of All

Semrush analyzed 1.2 million blog posts to understand the characteristics of top performing content. The company looked at word count and headline length, content structure and the presence of images and video. It found that very very long articles — more than 7,000 words — performed best. Headlines of 10 to 13 words were more effective than shorter ones. Finally, posts with images and complex structure (lists, h2+h3+h4) outperformed simpler pieces.

Our take:

  • These findings fly in the face of shorter human attention spans, though perhaps humans aren't actually reading these pieces.
  • Many who read the study will zero in on its structure and length recommendations for SEO purposes.
  • We shouldn't seek rigid formulas as content guidelines; quality matters more than anything else.

Short Takes

  • Google is considering a less strict version of Apple's IDFA opt-in, anti-tracking feature.
  • Apple is close to a deal with Hyundai-Kia to build the long-rumored Apple Car in Georgia, with an emphasis on autonomous driving.
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced new antitrust legislation, shifting the burden to dominant tech companies to prove intended acquisitions don't "materially lessen competition."
  • Apple's forthcoming mixed reality headset is rumored to have a wealth of sophisticated features – and will require wealth to afford it ($3,000).
  • The NYTimes said digital revenue overtook print for the first time in 2020; digital subscriptions are now the company's top revenue source, while ad revenue in 2020 fell 26%.
  • Stalwart Super Bowl brands such as Bud, Coke, GoDaddy and Avocados from Mexico are skipping the big game; despite these and other brand absences, ad slots are reportedly sold out.

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