Microsoft announced our new partnership last week after years in the making. The amount of data we’re collecting together is crazy. Unprecedented, actually, for data of its kind.
Not long ago, we were raking in about 3 million poll responses in a month (which is still a lot by polling standards). Now we can do that in a day. A few other imminent partnerships should have us doubling again before spring break.
It means we’ll be able to study more stuff (and the intersection of more stuff), at greater scale, faster. And it will compound the predictive power of our magic box, which will – among more lucrative things – make these little emails more interesting.
Now what do we do? There are a lot of industries where the future is unclear, where our crystal ball can make a difference. Retail, for sure. Restaurants. CPG.
But media, probably more than anything.
So, we asked Colleen Fahey Rush, Chief Research Officer and EVP at Viacom to join our board. She said yes.
That’s McClatchy (newspaper), Cox (cable and digital), Schurz (local), and now Viacom on our board – giving us a unique cross-dimensional view of the media and advertising landscape. Figuring out how to plug our data into all of that is a fun puzzle to solve.
Fortunately, I have lots of help.
Our board chair is a guy named Tod Johnson, who you’ve probably never heard of because he likes it that way. He’s the owner and chairman of NPD, which you also probably haven’t heard of – unless you have, in which case you know what a powerhouse they are.
I do what Tod says. Not because he controls the company or anything. He doesn’t. But he’s the smartest person I’ve ever met and I trust him. And if he’s reading this, he knows I’m not saying that to kiss his ass. I became an entrepreneur so I wouldn’t have to kiss anyone’s ass.
But you can’t build a company this ambitious all alone. You either surround yourself with people who are smarter than you or you don’t. Either way, you’re the dumbest person in the room. Might as well own it.
It’s going to be a wild ride for us in 2019. I’ll give you a peek under the hood occasionally. Just do me a solid and get more people to sign up for this email
And one more thing, if you want to know why news about the Trump campaign rigging online polls is completely irrelevant to us, you canread about it here.
Here’s what we’re seeing this week:
Twitter had another bad quarter of user growth in the U.S. Whenever the little blue bird gets around to reporting their Q4 numbers, it’s likely they will reveal a second consecutive quarter of monthly user (MAU) loss. The percentage of “at least monthly” users age 13+ fell from a high of 29% in early October to a low of 23% around Thanksgiving. It climbed back to 25% this past week. The good news is that the platform found revenue success in Q3 despite user declines. Hopefully, they can keep that up while figuring out a better user acquisition strategy.
Twitter wouldn’t trade places with Snapchat right now. While Snapchat’s daily user (DAU) numbers stabilized by the end of 2018, the far more troubling trend is the one below. The blue line shows the percentage of U.S. teenagers who used the platform daily from Q4 2017 through Q4 2018. Take that small 1% bump in Q4 with a grain of salt, as it’s within the statistical margin of error. There’s no evidence in our overall numbers that Snap’s user metrics are improving.
One bit of good news for social media: Influencers have surpassed conventional celebs in their ability to drive commerce. AdWeek published some of our more head-turning findings this week. In short, 22% of people say they have recently purchased something because it was recommended by an influencer on social media. Only 12% purchased something because of a celebrity. What surprised me most is the trend isn’t only prominent among young people. If you want more detail, it’s on our blog.
People are spending beyond their means right now and they need to pay down debt. We saw signs of this in our holiday retail data. 32% of Americans who expect to receive a tax refund this year plan to use the proceeds to pay down debt. 36% are planning to save or invest the money, and about 32% are planning to spend it. Home improvements (9%) slightly outrank vacations (8%) as the top spending choice. Bucking stereotypes, men are more likely than women to use their refund to go shopping.
There appears to be a niche for augmented reality in the home furnishing space. I had to look this up but basically, you can use AR to see how couches and rugs would look in your house without actually buying them. It’s a pretty killer application of the technology. Turns out almost 10% of Americans have already tried it. See for yourself.
Most importantly, 21% of people are totally down with getting naked in the locker room. This was reader-inspired research from a buttoned-up-hedge-fund guy whose name I’ll keep to myself. I was intrigued because this octogenarian at my old gym used to do yoga in the steam room buck-naked and it weirded me out. I can confirm now that locker-room-nudists are more likely to be men. Surprisingly, they don’t skew older. One theory was that people with a better self-image would be more likely to let it all hang out. Au contraire. In the end, the chart below explains it all. Naked Locker Room Dude just doesn’t care all that much.
Finally, our most oft-answered questions of the past few weeks:
- Do you leave your toaster plugged in when you’re not using it?
- Do you understand how people keep spotless homes?
- Are you comfortable walking around nude in the gym locker room?
- Do you have expensive taste?
- Have you ever moved somewhere for love?
- How long has it been since you’ve cleaned out your closet?
- Are you guilty of having too many browser tabs open?
Go ahead, answer the locker room question. Please.
Hoping you’re well.