Cat, I Farted 💨

Adobe gives up on Figma, how Super Saturday is shaping up, and the new agency model

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In Today's Issue

FIGMA • The Adobe Acquisition is Off

Adobe has given up on the acquisition of the design tool Figma.

The two companies today announced they’ve cancelled the deal that would have seen Adobe shell out $20 billion for the company — half in stock, half in cash.

The original deal was announced in September of last year, to fairly widespread derision — Adobe had tried in 2020 and 2021 to buy the company, and got turned down. This deal that took was for double Figma’s estimated valuation at the time.

The reason for the deal cancellation? Government — specifically, European anti-trust regulation.

Although both companies continue to believe in the merits and procompetitive benefits of the combination, Adobe and Figma mutually agreed to terminate the transaction based on a joint assessment that there is no clear path to receive necessary regulatory approvals from the European Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

Adobe press release

The acquisition would have eliminated one of Adobe’s big rivals in the design space. Figma has been beating Adobe’s web design tool, XD, which Adobe appears to have been phasing out.

Adobe will pay Figma a cool $1 billion dollars in termination fees.

Adobe shares were up 2.2% this morning.

TRIVIA • What was the original file format designed by Adobe?

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YOUTUBE • Co-Viewing Measurement Postponed

YouTube is postponing work on co-viewing measurement. That’s the tech they were working on that would give marketers more accurate data when multiple people are watching a single video stream together.

The decision comes after facing resistance from ad buyers who said they weren’t convinced the numbers would be reliable.

Specifically, marketers were concerned about:

  • Lack of transparency: They said YouTube’s methodology lacked the same visibility compared to other measurement companies like Nielsen.

  • Self-reported data: Skepticism arose from YouTube relying on its own data instead of industry-standard third-party measurement.

But the big problem was that measuring co-viewing is messy.

Typically, it’s based on a panel of select audience members and then projected across the total audience using what’s called a co-viewing factor — such as 1.6 — to multiply the number of impressions served by the factor representing the average number of people likely watching on the other side of those impressions.

Squishy as that math may be, it’s been acceptable enough for measuring traditional TV ads, which are largely evaluated based on broad age-and-gender categories.

But given the level of audience targeting that advertisers are accustomed to on platforms like YouTube, agency executives are unsure how accurately co-viewing measurement will count — or, more to the point, not count — viewers according to a campaign’s targeting parameters.

For example, if three people are watching together but only one is part of the advertiser’s defined target audience, then ad buyers don’t want to be charged for the two other viewers.

YouTube's said this delay to the last quarter of next year gives them more time to work on all of this, plus try to bring third-party validation to the table.

LOCAL SEO • It’s True. Your Hours Affect Ranking.

Earlier this month, we reported on a report from the local SEO agency Sterling Sky that found a store’s ranking in Google’s local SEO surfaces — like Maps — is affected by whether that store is open when a user searches. If you’re open, you’re more likely to appear in the local pack; if you’re closed, much less likely.

Now, Google has confirmed the report.

What he means there by “non-navigational” is when you’re looking for a product category, rather than a brand name. So like “lawyers” or “web design companies,” rather than the name of a specific store.

So then the solution is to just list your store as open 24 hours a day, right?

Maybe!

Danny Sullivan, Google’s rep to the SEO industry, said on social media “I wouldn't recommend businesses do this, given the ranking signal may continue to be adjusted."

So they might crack down on that in the future.

Do with that as you will. 😉 

What does Google's E-A-T stand for?

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RETAIL • “Super Saturday” Forecast Down Slightly

I don’t know how I got to be this age and didn’t know there was a marketing name for the Saturday before Christmas – I just knew it as the “oh crap, I forgot a gift for my wife again; I’d better get to the mall” day.

Turns out there are so many forgetful spouses, there is indeed a name for that day: Super Saturday.

And the National Retail Federation in the U.S. says 142 million people will be shopping — both online and in-person, but that’s actually down from last year’s 158 million.

Another interesting trend, people were a little better at getting their gifts together this year — almost half said they’re already done their shopping.

This weekend’s big winners are expected to be clothing and accessories, followed by toys, gift cards, and media items. 

After Christmas? 70% of those polled said they’d be back out buying things — driven partially by the post-holiday sales, partially to redeem gift cards found in stockings, and 16% will be there to exchange gifts they didn’t like.

All told, consumers are expected to spend an average of $875 this year on gifts, food, decorations, and other small holiday purchases.

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TIKTOK: Effects Creator Now in the Mobile App

For the last year, TikTok has had software for brands and agencies that wanted to make their own special filters and the likes: It’s called the Effect House — a desktop tool that lets you build your own prediction games, or makeup overlays, and so on.

Now, TikTok says you’ll be able to make effects for the app directly from within the app, without having to download for desktop.

Just like with Effect House, you can start with some pre-made templates, and pick from any of the 2,000 or so assets they have. You’ll be able to set triggers (like tap screen, smile, wink, and so on) to build out interaction-based effects like randomizers and mini games.

TikTok says you’ll need to update your app, which I did and still don’t have this, so perhaps it’s still rolling out, but once you do get it, you’ll find it in the Effects tray under a new tab called Create.

Also… a new tablet view…

And TikTok has also updated its app to be nicer to people with tablets like iPads. Previously, the app just scaled itself up, but this morning they announced that the screen will reformat itself a bit more intelligently.

AGENCIES • Did TikTok Kill the AOR?

A sea change in the way brands view agencies — according to data from the marketing consultancy R3.

In the past, agencies — particularly the big ones — have relied on locked-in agreements known as “Agencies of Record.” Basically, it’s an honourific meaning “We handle everything for this brand.”

But as the digital marketing landscape evolves and becomes more fragmented, the concept of “everything” is becoming less appealing.

Brands these days are increasingly looking for agencies that specialize in areas like TikTok, or influencer marketing — rather than one big pool of services.

And while there’s certainly value to having people who are well versed in a very specific area of your marketing, do you lose something by scattering your overall brand messaging over a number of partners?

R3 says year-over-year, there’ve been almost 30% fewer media pitches, and the revenue from creative pitches has remained flat.

So what are brands looking for? R3 says it expects to see more agencies merging next year, and forming different partnership structures — like the way opposing political parties sometimes form coalitions to win government, small agencies might group up to offer a set of services.

And so, the new agency might look a lot like the old agency.

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INSTAGRAM • Disable Profile Photo Expansion

A new setting launching this week in the Instagram app might help with combatting brand impersonation.

It’s a new toggle switch in Settings called “Allow profile picture expansion.” Now, if you want, you can turn that off.

Currently, if you went to someone’s Instagram profile and tapped their profile photo, it would expand it to full-screen. This, presumably, part of Meta’s efforts to make their apps a little less welcoming to creeps.

This wouldn’t prevent someone from screenshotting your brand’s profile image, upscaling it in some photo editing tool, cleaning it up a little — but it does add a few steps to trying to get a copy of your logo or photo.

And finally…

As you might know, I live in Canada. And you might also know that Canada has two official languages: English and French.

I’m on the west coast, so we don’t use a lot of French. You see it on all our grocery products and it’s all over our airports, and stuff, but most of us out here in the west don’t use a tonne of French.

That said, I do know the basics — and, since my whole family are Québécois, all the swear words too. Most of them have to do with the Catholic church, for reasons that are too long to mention here, but I will tell you about one very amusing one: To fart — which is pronounced “peh-tay.”

If you want to say “I have farted,” you’d say “j’ai pété.”

And if, for some reason, you’d want to let your family’s cat know that you just farted, you’d say “Chat, j’ai pété.” (Pronounced a lot like “Chat, Gee P-T”)

Which might explain why French people giggle a little when they have to say the name of the leading generative AI tool: ChatGPT.

Yes, the name sounds nearly to “Cat, I Farted” in French.

So pour one out for all the French TV anchors, who are forced to report on the technology, and try their best to not start laughing when they have to say “Is Cat, I Farted going to take your job?”

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