The Month in Media: April

Our CEO John Kehoe has his say on what’s new in the advertising world and the latest here at MAG.


Mother of all adblockers

Researchers from Princeton and Stanford universities are claiming to have developed the most effective adblocker yet. One advantage adblockers have over publishers / advertisers is that the latter has to declare their content as an advertisement by law or self-regulation standards.

Hence Facebook making their ads as indistinguishable as possible, at a glance looking like regular content in a newsfeed. Other platforms will probably have to follow suite sooner rather than later, especially if such adblockers make their way into the mainstream.

However there’s little need for panic, as the main goal is combatting intrusive ads rather than all ads in general. Further reinforcing the need for high quality and tailored content that isn’t deemed as intrusive.

Google’s own adblocker

Those researchers aren’t the only ones developing adblockers. Google is apparently set to make an unprecedented move and building their own blocker to work inside their own chrome browser.

Considering most of Google’s income is generated by adverts, it could seem crazy that they are willing to take such a measure. Especially after losing so many huge advertisers following the controversy that surrounded some of their ad placements last month…

It appears user experience is now at the forefront for Google. Whilst not every advert will be blocked, things such as pop-ups , auto sound-playing videos and ‘countdown ads’ which are all deemed unacceptable by the Coalition for Better Ads, will be the ones that are disappearing.

Burger King voice control controversy

The fast food giant was the latest big brand to come under fire for intrusive advertising. Their latest ‘Whopper’ campaign featured a 15 second clip of an employee saying “Ok Google, what is the whopper burger?” which was designed to trigger Google’s voice feature into reading out the Wikipedia description for the burger.

Google quickly distanced themselves from the campaign and updated the feature to not be triggered by the ad.

This was followed by Amazon banning all adverts on their ‘Alexa’ service apart from in their music, radio and flash briefings features. Very possibly before more companies follow Burger King’s example in using voice recognition as a form of advertising.

Amazon advertising slow but steady

Amazon’s ad business generated around $1.4 billion in 2016, according to Barclays estimates. The company doesn’t break out its ad revenue but includes it in the “other” segment. This segment reached $1.6 billion in 2016, jumping 56% year-on-year. Many see this as clear evidence of Amazon’s swelling ad business.

Whilst the platform is still some way from being at the level of advertising giants, Google and Facebook, Amazon is expected by eMarketer to become the third-largest digital advertising player by 2019 with $2.4 billion in revenue.

Pintrest distancing itself from social

The platform has ditched their like button in an attempt to reinforce that they are not actually a social network, but are more a visual search engine. It is now mulling a significant spend on out-of-home, digital and print for a campaign in America in an effort to show how different it is from other photo-heavy apps like Instagram and Facebook.

Comparisons to Facebook have hurt Twitter over time, so the platform could be aiming to avoid a similar fate. Coincidently Pintrest hired their first CFO last year, Todd Morgenfield, previously of, you guessed it… Twitter.

2016 a record breaker

Statistics have been released and it’s official that the past year saw records shattered for advertising market spend, growing to £21.4bn.

Predictably Facebook and Google took the largest shares of the sum, with internet advertising growing by 13.4% to 10.3bn and Facebook and Google apparently being worth around 80% of this. That’s more than half of the UK’s online advertising with that share predicted to grow to 70%+ by 2020.

Here is how the UK’s £21.4bn 2016 advertising market divides up according to AA/WARC:

Internet: £10.3bn, up 13.6%

(of which mobile: £3.9bn, up 45.4%)

TV: £5.3bn, up 0.2%

National newsbrands: £1.1bn, down 10%

(of which digital: £230m, up 4.9%)

Regional newsbrands: £1bn, down 13.2%

(of which digital: £193m, down 3.4%)

Magazine brands: £877m, down 6.8%

(of which digital: £282m, up 0.2%)

Radio: £646m, up 5.4%

(of which digital: £28m, up 35%)

Cinema: £257m, up 8%

April at MAG

We’ve been working closely with Cauli Rice, who have now released their first ever nationwide TV campaign, which premiered on ITV alongside ads running on Youtube.

We have also continued our fantastic work with Go Vegan World, continuing our nationwide pushing their message nationwide as well as a huge takeover of Manchester, with the striking OOH campaign turning heads across the city once again.

MAG coordinated Todd Doors brand new TV campaign, airing at peak times through some of the UK’s most watched programmes across ITV and Channel 4.

Portaventura who we have recently been appointed by, opened their much anticipated Ferrari Land and we were there for the grand opening which was very special!