ExchangeWire on Retail, Social Commerce, and Unity Rejecting AppLovin

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, ExchangeWire's Hannah Dillon is joined by Rachel Smith and Grace Dillon to discuss current trends in retail post-lockdowns, social commerce after Facebook's decision to shutter Live Shopping, and AppLovin's offer to buy Unity (and Unity's rejection of the proposal).


Australian Ecommerce Report finds omnichannel approach is key to brands’ growth

Do these findings reflect retail trends elsewhere? How are brands already engaging with omnichannel and retail media, and what successes have they seen?

A report from the IAB Australia and Pureprofile has found that offering smooth omnichannel shopping experiences that provide convenience and value for money poses the most significant opportunity for brands. The Australian Ecommerce Report 2022 also advised retailers to assess their marketing strategies more regularly from 2023 to attract more consumers and to help navigate expected economic uncertainty.

The survey of 1,000 Australian shoppers found that, despite more consumers returning to shopping in person, the number of people making purchases online has risen to 83% since last year. Some respondents revealed that cost of living concerns are key to their preference for online, where it’s easier to find price comparisons on products. Meanwhile, 58% say that they regularly read retailer content (primarily emails and websites), and 90% are signed up to at least one loyalty scheme. However, 55% report some concern about how retailers use their data, and 24% say they don’t know whether retailers share their data with third-parties.


Facebook sunsets Live Shopping

Is social or live commerce an opportunity that is exclusive to Asia?

Facebook is set to close its Live Shopping feature as it turns its attention towards video. From 1st October, users will no longer be able to host any live shopping events on the platform, nor to tag items or create product playlists, although Facebook Live will still be available to broadcast in real time. 

In a blog post, Facebook-parent Meta confirmed that the company would instead prioritise Reels, its short-form video feature for Facebook and Instagram. The company also directly encouraged readers to “try experimenting with Reels,” in order to “reach and engage people through video”. The move reaffirms Meta’s desire to get in on the rampant success of TikTok, who also recently stepped away from live shopping. In July, the video-sharing platform shelved plans to take “TikTok Shop” to the US and Europe, with commentators noting that live shopping’s popularity seems confined to Asia.


AppLovin sought to buy Unity without ironSource (but Unity said no)

Why did AppLovin make this offer, and why do you think Unity rejected it?

Earlier this month, app marketing software provider AppLovin offered to buy video game software company Unity in an all-stock merger for $17.5bn. The deal would have excluded ironSource, a software provider specialising in app distribution and monetisation, which Unity publicly announced its intention to buy for $4.4bn back in July.

A successful merger between AppLovin and Unity would have bolstered AppLovin’s supplies of first-party data, which would enhance AppLovin’s machine learning algorithms. A deal would also have expanded its tech stack to include analytics, attribution, 3D game creation, monetisation, programmatic advertising, and user acquisition tools. AppLovin predicted that the combined entity would have created a run rate of over $3bn by 2024. However, Unity rejected the offer on the 15th August, with the company announcing its intent to pursue the ironSource deal as originally planned.