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The ExchangeWire Team on SMB & DTC Marketing, Esports, and Tech for Good

The MadTech Podcast

On this week’s episode of The MadTech Podcast, ExchangeWire’s own Ciaran O’Kane, Rachel Smith, and Lindsay Rowntree discuss the latest news in ad tech and martech.

On this week’s episode:

AdExchanger wrote last week about Facebook launching a $100million USD grant programme for small businesses to access during the COVID-19 crisis, in the form of cash grants or advertising credits. This is a smart move by Facebook since a big proportion of their ad business relies on SMBs, so they want to ensure they stay in business and are in good enough shape to return to advertising once the pandemic is over. In addition, FGB wrote a piece on which DTC or Fast Growth Brands are set to survive and possibly even thrive in current circumstances.

Under the umbrella of innovation and collaboration for good during tough times, the Play Together Apart initiative by the games industry and the WHO, which encourages gaming as a means of staying connected during times of social distancing, was announced a few weeks ago. Backed by big name mobile game companies like Wooga, Zynga and Pocket Games, supported by PC & console game publishers Activision Blizzard and Riot and broadcast platforms such as Twitch and YouTube gaming, the initiative is set to launch special (virtual) events, activities and in-game rewards to encourage gamers to take responsibility and abide by social distancing rules during the pandemic. Together with news of VC fund Index Ventures, securing USD$2bn for growth and start-up investment, this helps to shed some light on innovation coming out of times of adversity. Categories which the fund is expected to focus on to uncover pockets of tech innovation include delivery services, healthcare tech, medical treatment tech and anything that helps to enable seamless online experiences for essential services – such as remote working.

Digiday reports that the ad market is slow to provide opportunities for publishers looking to capitalise on increased esports viewership and suggests that brands still view the advertising opportunity as niche. Advertisers are looking for low risk ways to get into esports, such as financing competition prizes, or providing product giveaways, which is seen as a more nuanced and light touch approach, while other marketers are reluctant to get involved at all, eagerly awaiting the return of live sports instead.