Your Weekly Pencil - January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

New Signals


  • Keep an eye on ecommerce shipping costs in the new year — shipping prices for USPS, UPS, and DHL are all set to increase by an average of 4.9% in 2021.
  • Even as vaccinations continue, the pandemic will continue to impact foot traffic — according to Shopify, only 57% of people said they plan to shop regularly in-person in the next six months. Meanwhile, 79% said they planned to shop regularly online.
  • Brand safety and digital advertising don’t always go hand in hand — over the past three months, more than 1000 American brands ran ads on websites that spread election conspiracies.


  • Brands are dialing up emotionally-intelligent marketing in 2021. According to Econsultancy: “We will see a resurgence of ‘community’ in digital forms as a way for brands and businesses to connect and engage with prospects and customers in a more personal, human and empathetic way.”
  • With foot traffic expected to remain low for the first half of 2021, some retailers, including Ralph Lauren and Gap, are testing out VR/3D virtual stores to boost ecommerce.


Highlights from David Prosser's Forbes interview with Pencil CEO, Will Hanschell - How Pencil Aims To Automate The Secret Sauce Of Advertising


  • “The truth is that creatives have always enjoyed using the latest technologies....That reflects the reality that so much of the work is grinding out new assets, so if we can free up people’s time with a more automated solution, they can get back to being more creative.”
  • “Each of our ads costs $10 and takes one minute to generate on our platform....Because that’s so cost and time-effective, advertisers are in a position to try a variety of ads and then to focus on the ones that generate the most attractive returns.”
  • “We’ve deliberately steered clear of traditional advertising fee structures such as share of spend, which many advertisers don’t like...We think charging in this way aligns our interests with our advertisers, since they will want to make more of the most successful ads.”


Something deeper


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