TBS’s Dino Myers-Lamptey on the Duopoly, Morocco’s Crypto Law, and Shopify Audiences

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Dino Myers-Lamptey, founder of The Barber Shop and co-chair of The Alliance of Independent Agencies, joins ExchangeWire editor Grace Dillon and head of content John Still to discuss the duopoly's ad share declining, Morocco's plans for crypto regulation, Shopify's focus on Audiences, and more.

Duopoly ad share to decline to less than half

Is this the beginning of the end for the duopoly? How critical do you think video (i.e. TikTok and streaming) will be for capturing ad revenue?

Tech giants Google and Meta are expected to account for under 50% of US digital ad spend for the first time in nearly a decade. The pair, known collectively as the ‘duopoly’, have brought in more than half of the market’s revenue since 2015.

According to Insider Intelligence (cited by Axios), Google will be responsible for 28.8% of US digital ad revenue and Meta for 19.6%, amounting to a total of 48.4%. Google’s poll position within the search space has been encroached upon by rivals Amazon and TikTok, who have seen more users turn to them to discover new products and services. Meta, meanwhile, have seen their dominance in ad targeting severely stymied by privacy changes introduced by Apple last year.

Furthermore, the rise of streaming services has meant that more companies have been able to target consumers, allowing them to muscle in on the duopoly’s patch. Amazon’s investment in their digital ad network has also enhanced their standing in both search and targeting.

Morocco propose new crypto regulation

What do you think of BAM’s approach to crypto? What do you think this move could say about crypto’s future?

Morocco’s central bank, the Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) have presented a new proposed law that will regulate cryptocurrencies. The governor BAM, Abdellatif Jouahiri, reportedly emphasised that the new law aims to safeguard citizens from the risks that can accompany investing in crypto.

Last year it was reported that BAM were consulting with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) over crypto best-practices, something which Mr Jouahiri reiterated when he announced the new bill. According to Morocco World News, two of the country’s leading market and insurance watchdogs — the Moroccan Capital Markets Authority and the Moroccan Insurance  and Social Security Supervisory Authority — are amongst those who will review the prospective bill.

If passed, the new law would reverse Morocco’s current ban on cryptocurrencies, marking the government’s acceptance that crypto trading in the country is “inevitable”. Morocco became North Africa’s fastest-growing crypto market last year, and the MENA region is reportedly the most rapidly expanding for crypto globally.

Shopify lean into Audiences for retailers amidst tracking changes

Will Audiences help retailers, or are there factors that could hinder its offering? Could Audiences help Shopify compete with Amazon?

Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify are bolstering Audiences, with CEO Harley Finkelstein asserting that the company will invest more into developing the tool. Launched last year, Audiences lets Shopify merchants combine customer data and enhance ad targeting and outreach, and is integrated with both Meta’s and Google’s ad platforms, allowing advertisers to target ads towards “lookalike” customers based on pooled purchase information from other retailers.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Finkelstein said that further developing Audiences will be a “key area of focus” over the next year. Shopify also told the FT that the offering’s system is specifically designed to help merchants reach potential customers on iPhone, who have become less accessible thanks to Apple’s changes to tracking. 

Finkelstein also asserted that the tool will help Shopify to compete with leading rival Amazon, whose advertising unit garnered more than USD $9.5bn (~£7.9bn) in revenue by Q3 2022. Last year was less rosy for Shopify, who saw their share value fall almost 75% from their 2021 peak and were amongst a number of large firms to announce substantial cutbacks and layoffs.