Mobile Fix – February 27

Mobile TransformationA new report from Boston Consulting says that consumers benefit from mobile to the tune of $3.5 trillion globally – as much as $4k for each user. Whether you buy into this type of analysis or not, their data on what people would give up rather do without mobile Internet is quite powerful. The report is quite a long read but interesting.

Fix readers know that million of people have transformed how they live their lives because of mobile. What may be surprising is just how concentrated the attention is;

A report from Ericsson shows that around 2/3 of peoples mobile time is taken up by just 5 apps – with social and video dominating. If your mobile strategy is based around your app it’s an uphill struggle – especially as Kantar research suggests a quarter of Android apps are uninstalled within 10 minutes of being downloaded.But it is clear we are still quite early in this switch to mobile and there is lots of potential – the Flurry CEO predicting that 2015 is the year of mobile commerce.

In his talk at the Yahoo conference the other week he showed one chart that reinforces the size of the mobile opportunity – the OTT messaging apps now have more users than the mobile operators do

Mobile advertisingThe business model of this new mobile world is clearly advertising.  Stratchery make an interesting comparison between TV and Snapchat – big audiences with a good level of engagement but little or no targeting. And he makes the point that brands want big audiences, especially of young people. And that Snapchat have learned from Facebook that size matters so they are seen as;

the mobile messaging app with the rather old-fashioned business model ready and willing to take the place of TV.

US research shows that young people are just not watching traditional TV in the same numbers.

Mr Juenger at Bernstein Research argues that television is undergoing a “structural” migration from ad-supported networks to streaming video services. “We don’t think those viewers are coming back,” he warns.

But is that old fashioned business model enough anymore?New research approaches from Facebook Yahoo and others are correlating product purchase with ad exposure with increasing reliability. New academic research confirms what we have known for a long time – digital is equally able to drive brand metrics as TV is.

Smart marketers are moving a proportion of their TV spend to digital with Facebook a major beneficiary. But is taking a spot designed for TV into social media the best approach?

Facebooks new Atlas supremo reminded us on Twitter of a point ad guru Dave Trottt made – most advertising is academic because it either isn’t noticed or isn’t remembered.

Headroom: “£18.3bn is spent yearly in the UK on advertising. 4% remembered positively, 7% negatively, 89% not noticed/remembered”@davetrott

— Damian Burns (@damianburns) February 26, 2015

(Read the original Dave Trott article here)If 89% of ads are not noticed or remembered in traditional media should we really be taking the same ads into digital?

Advertising has also talked to strangers – because it had no alternative.

So ads have to be ‘bland’ enough to appeal to everyone. And bland doesn’t get noticed.

But in our brave new data driven world advertising to strangers is an anathema. We can know lots about the people we’re talking to, so we can and must tailor the message to be relevant.

It then has a better than 1 in 10 chance of being noticed.

So the economics of creative change – and when you blend in technology, we can industrialise creative production – and make it more effective.

SME s – The neglected ad opportunity

When we talk about advertising we all tend to focus on big brands spending large amounts through their agencies. But the hidden part of the advertising iceberg is the small advertisers who have a local footprint. Many of these SMEs have already weaned themselves off traditional media – look at how thin local press, trade press and directories tend to be these days.

A large element of Google growth has been these small advertisers using search as a wonderfully efficient way to reach customers.

But Facebook is making big inroads into this market – and seem to be taking revenue from Google. A friend tweeted about this;

Top analysis @brianwieser Pivotal Research: Small businesses represent 25% of @facebook ad revenue much of growth at the expense of @google

— Christophe Cauvy (@ChristopheCauvy) February 24, 2015

And Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview that Facebook now has 2 million active advertisers – up from 1.5m in the middle of last year. A smart Fix friend who works with smaller brands thinks Google is too slow and now focuses on finding leads on Facebook.

As recognition of this growth Facebook now has an app SMEs can use to manage their ads

Quick reads

Boom. As predicted Google are finally going to use mobile optimised as a signal in compiling search results and they expect it will have a significant impact in our search resultsYou have until April 21 to get a mobile site

Given the mystery over the Apple Car this detailed look at the auto industry is an interesting read. It’s noteworthy that the report is from a firm better known for focusing on mobile.

Following up our look at Mobile money last week Google have jumped back in the game by buying the wallet firm the US operators developed. Your enemies enemy can sometimes be your friend. Some think the big opportunity for Google is to buy PayPal.

And this report from Brightons’ smartest thinkers is a very good take on the trends shaping the financial industry.

The UK government have made a huge success of improving their digital presence and it is being copied around the world. Most brands could learn something from the way they approach digital.

A good look at Line – the messaging app that makes vast amounts of money.

Is Pinterest the next big ad business?

Some good examples of retail blending with mobile

YouTube doesn’t make much money – even before the competition really gets going

good new blog post from Ben Evans pointing out that disruption in mobile comes from the top as well as the bottom.  And this is a good profile of Evans and his work for VC a16z

Finally…. I spent last Friday at the Techstars Demo Day. Having been a mentor to the really smart people at Big Data for Humans I had met all the teams at the start of the process. But I was astonished at how the 12 weeks had transformed some of them and the day was a succession of compelling pitches from really promising start ups. This list of some bigger, more established, start ups, reminds us how this start up energy translates into our everyday life.

Mobile Fix – February 20 – Money, Location, Apple Watch & Car & much more

Mobile & Money

Currently there are two fairly distinct centres of gravity in mobile money. One is here in the west where incumbents are looking to use mobile to reduce costs. The other is in emerging markets where people see the potential to transform peoples live through better access to financial tools.

These two will collide before too long – with incumbents disrupted by allowing new players to offer better tools and products.

MPesa as now widely accepted as a huge success story – inspiring services like PingIT in the UK. Now Bill Gates is talking about the potential to transform more lives;

“In the next 15 years, digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets and help them transform their lives. By 2030, 2 billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payments with their phones. And by then, mobile money providers will be offering the full range of financial services, from interest-bearing savings accounts to credit to insurance.”

But if you spend any time looking at what Western banks are doing, it’s fairly unimpressive. Essentially the core element of banking technology hasn’t changed in generations; the written ledger was translated into the paper bank statement listing transactions in date order. Online banking took that statement and made it scrollable and with mobile they have just made it a bit smaller.  The smart people at Adaptive have been looking at this space and have a very interesting report looking at how the big bank apps fare – and how they could be easily improved.

The tsunami of money invested in Fintech hopes to disrupt these firms and we will see lots of activity in this space.  Spain is shaping up as an early mover with lots of innovation – both from existing banks and startups. And the impact of Apple Pay is yet to be seen – but early indicators suggest it is going to be successful. This MIT piece is very positive;

None of the individual technologies is novel, but Apple turned them into a service that is demonstrably easier than any other.

Samsung have stepped into this space with the purchase of LoopPay – where retailers don’t need to change their existing POS systems so potentially this will work in more places than Pay. Both Apple and Samsung see that having your mobile wallet on your smartphone is a potential Anchor – keeping you buying the same make of device.

We can’t talk about mobile and money without mentioning Bitcoin. This video from the FT is a good simple explanation of a terribly complicated space. And Dave Birch, one of the smartest thinkers on mobile money, talks about how Blockchain may be more interesting than Bitcoin. Let’s not forget that really smart people see Bitcoin as (potentially) having more impact than the Internet.

Apple Watch

We are now just weeks away from the Apple watch going on sale and the hype is building. A very long (but fascinating) article on Jonathan Ives manages to capture the spirit of Apples designers and gets over their obsession for delighting users. And it makes you really want the watch.

Lots of brands we talk with are thinking about what to do with Watch. It’s clear that the potential for notifications is huge – but making them useful – even valuable  – rather than annoying, is the challenge. Some great thinking in this piece, that digs into the Apple guidance for Interface. There is a big prize here to make the killer app for the Watch and it may well be someone unexpected who does break through.

The more tantalizing question is what apps will cause high engagement on the Watch by itself, with minimal iPhone app interaction? That’s what a Watch-first killer app will look like. 

Location, location ,location

An event we spoke at last year coined the notion that location is the cookie of mobile. At it’s most simple we know people that use the broad location of the user to thwart ad fraud. And at the bespoke end, clever people are identifying real football fans by their presence at the Emirates, Elland Road and even Old Trafford at certain times.  Using location history or in real time can be a significant aid to targeting.

The intersection of location and local has huge potential too, as Facebook recognise with their hyper local ads targeting people within 1 mile of a store and their new Place Tips.

Fix friend Russell Buckley digs deeper in this piece on hyper local. And banks are starting to use location to reduce fraud  - and remove a major irritation to regular travellers. Rather than declining a transaction because it’s in a foreign country, the banks will now use location data from the phone to see if that is also in the same country. We pitched this concept to a number of banks 5 years ago, with a business case around the fact a traveller will choose to use a card where the change of a decline is reduced. I think we were a little too early.

The other hot spot in location is beacons and we are seeing more experimentation. A trial with a Swedish newspaper and Unilever shows how they can be used them to gather data to drive retargeting.

The potential for connecting mobile with the real world is enormous  - this report speculates it could influence $40bn in US retail sales next year. The friction is the tech back up needed to scale beacons in a robust way. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors in this space. One of the best startups in this space seem to have cracked this and their partnership with one of the worlds biggest retailers should be a great case study - when they can go public with it.

Apple Car

As we all now know, it looks like Apple want to play with cars.  People in the automotive industry say it’s not their best idea but experts in musicplayers, phones and the watch industry have told Apple the same in the past.  The long New Yorker piece on Ives points out he used to drive a vintage DB4, so he gets cars and has taste.

This FT article points out that Google is partnering with firms like Bosch rather than Ford to develop their cars, as the proportion of a cars cost for electronics has doubled in the last 10 years – with the cost of the electronic parts in the average car now hitting 40% of the total car cost.

And Tesla have shown you can enter the car market and be disruptive. Some predict that Apple will buy Tesla to get traction.  When you have Google driverless cars being tested, Uber changing the economics of owning a car, Daimler replicating Boris Bikes model for cars  and electronic charging points sprouting all over London, the transport market is clearly in flux. Why couldn’t Apple take it to the next level?

Quick reads

A look at what Facebook are doing with Artificial Intelligence and deep learning.

The New York Times know they need a distributed presence across digital and this is a good look at how they use Instagram

Apple do product placement at another level – a whole Modern Family episode filmed on iPhones and played out on Apple devices.

The question Facebook never answer is just how much of their revenue is app install advertising. Now a report says the total spend in the US will be nearly $5bn this year. It’s hard to say how robust this figure is but we do know mobile agencies that are spending ten of millions of dollars on app install ads every month. As brands see the value of apps to their business they can justify significant spend on acquiring a new customer. We saw MyFitnessPal bought for a figure that represented around $5 a user, and King, Amazon and Google etc will know what they can afford to keep spending.

Route55 – Using Tech to make Creative better

Our interest in this space is constantly reinforced by new evidence that tech can add real value. A new Microsoft tool is better at recognizing images than people are. Ikea create 75% of their catalogues using CGI. Nike sent personalised  videos to 100k users of their apps – and this approach could work as a programmatic buy. Facebook have a new ad format where brands can promote a range of their products by tailoring the ad to data on the viewer. (Our friends at HighStreet can already do a lot of this with Google Shopping ads etc )

New research from Celtra highlights how brands want to do more with programmatic but struggle with the current tools and the investment of time and money needed to make creative work harder.

We are working to solve this and we’re looking for brands that want to collaborate with us. We are exploring how we unlock the value of creative optimised against the data signals that programmatic throws off.  Keep in touch with this project by following @Route55 

Finally …. At Chinese New Year it’s a tradition to give friends and family a red envelope containing cash. As you might expect this behaviour has migrated to mobile and last year around 20 million envelopes were sent on WeChat.

This year over 1 billion envelopes were sent. This huge growth was partly driven by a Chinese TV show which invited users to shake their WeChat app at certain points in the show, to have a chance to win  a share of $80million donated by corporate sponsors. This show generated 11 billion shakes – at one point over 800million per minute.

The sheer scale of China is amazing but the thing for Fix readers to think about is that the power of combining TV and mobile has yet to be unlocked in the west. Imagine if ITV and Shazam combined to do this sort of thing?. Or the BBC and Facebook? Or what if a brand comes up with a truly compelling reason to interact with their TV commercial.

Xin Nian Kuai Le

 

Addictive helps businesses profit from Mobile, Social & Content

Our clients hire us to do strategy consulting, creative thinking and to create the mobile and social apps, mobile sites and ad formats needed to make the strategy deliver.

If you could do with some smart thinking or doing around any of the subjects we cover then do get in touch

We produce Mobile Fix every week to share news and views on mobile and related topics. We have over 3400 subscribers across tech firms like Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo etc as well as many Brands and Agencies. We’re happy for you to forward this mail to anyone you think might be interested. If they do find it useful they can sign up for email here.

Mobile Fix – February 15

Video Era

Connectivity has given us 3 Internet eras.

Dial up modems gave us a text based internet – not that different to the dial up walled gardens of AOL and Prodigy that preceded it. Then Broadband gave us an Internet with pictures – you no longer groaned when a page had a photo on it and things like Flickr took off. Now with 4G and mobile we are clearly in the Video era.

As these eras roll out, nothing disappears – but people gravitate to the richer experiences and decades of Hollywood and TV show us that people like watching video. But whilst something that looks a lot  like TV is more appealing to many marketers than the previous internet era ever was, we should recognise that quite a lot has changed.

The means of production are now in everyones hands. Just like the smartphone has more tech than the Apollo Space mission the average smartphone user now has a video camera and editing tools virtually as good as a Hollywood director

So everyone is rushing to make and share video. The Ice Bucket challenge was a huge success for Facebook, as well as the charity, as millions of people learned how easy it is to make and share a video.

Naturally lots of people are turning to those who have made a success of online video – the YouTube vloggers and the Vine superstars. The BBC have drafted in Zoella to give the Comic Relief Celebrity Bake Off some street cred. And one of the keynote sessions at the ISBA Conference ( ISBA is the advertisers trade union) is the MD of Google sharing the stage with MD of Talent Agency Gleam who represent Zoella and many other social media celebs.

We think that focusing on these celebs are sort of missing the point. The potential of online video is about more than here today and probably gone tomorrow teenagers. There is some real talent here, but are endorsements from these people really worth what they cost?

We think the focus should be understanding the tropes of these media and how to get the most out of each new channel. The talent can clearly help here but brands should be thinking through how they can create content for Vine, Snapchat and Facebook that delivers their message.

VC Mark Suster knows more about the video space than most and points out here that most online video companies will fail. His key point is the content people think it’s all about the content and the tech people think its all about the tech. It is, of course, a balance between both. His forensic analysis of how Upworthy do it is a must read.

One of Susters big investment successes  – and a key source of his knowledge – is Maker, which was bought by Disney for $500m. Here one of their key execs looks at how they use data to identify the talent they should bring on board. And how they know when these creators are ready to work with brands.

Twitter too now see video as major opportunity – at the Goldman Sachs conference this week Dick Costello talked about how video storytelling fits well into their platform. And they have bought the US social media talent agency Niche to help connect the talent with the brands.

VC Jason Calcanis – who also knows a bit about video – sees video as a big step for Twitter and suggests that sharing revenue with users could drive growth.

Pointing out that its coming up for 10 years old, The Sunday Telegraph have a good round up of YouTube and How It Has Changed the World.

Attribution

Talk to anyone in digital marketing and you soon get to talking about attribution. Knowing what works is still the holy grail in digital – despite billions being spent on traditional marketing with relatively little accountability.

Google has got rich on last click attribution as most revenue goes to the provider of the last click – whether that be search or affiliates. But everyone knows its a more complicated, nuanced story and that brand activity has an effect. As does many aspects of digital beyond the source of that list click before the purchase or other action. Fold in a multi device world and it just gets worse.

One reason that mobile ads have taken so long to scale is that people are still reluctant to complete a form or entering a credit card on mobile – so whilst mobile marketing probably did have an effect, they go to a tablet or desktop to complete the transaction and the crude attribution models we have reward that click. Knowing which half of marketing is wasted continues to be a problem.

So it’s no surprise to find that publishers continue to see the surge in mobile traffic a problem

The nearest thing we have to an answer is first part data. Google and Facebook and others with continually logged in users can – in theory – know exactly what marketing messages their users have seen within their empire. The bigger that empire, the more useful that first party data. As long as your users T&Cs let you use it for that purpose.

Facebook are probably winning here, as their huge reach of constantly logged in users gives them the best market visibility. And their nascent Atlas play looks to extend that empire. Google come close but it seems they have issues with what data they can use. Whilst they know exactly where each Google user has been across a day by tracking their smartphone, they can’t use that to show someone turning up at a Walmart store an hour after seeing a Walmart ad. Instead they have to use

aggregated, anonymized data from a sample set of users that have turned on Location History. This data is then extrapolated to represent the broader population.

Now if you are the worlds largest agency group – who see Google and Facebook as frenemies – this is really annoying. The people with the best idea of what works are the vendors and the WPP spend with GAFA grows significantly every year.

So their latest bit of M&A is for WPP to buy 20% of the leading online measurement company Comscore – using some of their Kantar business and cash. Remember they recently bought a similar stake in Rentrack – who are the leading measurement company in TV so they could

… integrate its national and local TV measurement with a number of Kantar’s US-based services that focus on digital media and purchase data, providing US advertisers, agencies, TV networks and local TV stations with even more powerful tools to understand consumers’ TV and purchasing habits.

With significant stakes in these two complimentary businesses – and the talent in WPP – they must hope to cook up a way to better understand the interplay between TV, digital and purchases. State of the art attribution. If they do crack this they have the chance to take back the ringmaster position, deciding where brands should spend their money.  Otherwise GAFA and programmatic will continue to erode their influence and position.

Quick Reads

Facebook have a new tool that looks at user reaction to ads to determine relevancy. This is an interesting step –and like the Quality Score tool Google uses to assess search ads – makes for a better user experience.

We were reminded of this analysis suggesting Facebook is charging more for ads. We think this is down to the increasing share of ads that are video – but it also supports our view that the healthy growth of mobile advertising hides a polarized market. Those with relatively rare first part data are making more and more money whilst the ad networks with infinite supply of raw undifferentiated inventory are flatlining.

An interesting look at how ecommerce is changing the business model of retail. This is focused on fashion but the thinking applies to other sectors too.

We mentioned last week that some fitness apps were acquitted by Sportwear brand Under Armour. This rolling up of apps continues with Rocket buying a number of food takeaway apps across a number of markets. This is probably a good indicator that we are quite early in this game; whilst big players can acquire smaller apps, it leaves market opportunities for smaller more nimbler niche players. Consider the coffee shops in London. The early mover Seattle was bought by Starbucks and then the big chains like Costa and Nero arrived and the market seemed sewn up. But today most every street has a cool independent coffee shop doing pretty well. As one of our smart Google friends says about mobile – It’s still not too late to be early.

Forrester nail some of the myths about Apps.

Fix readers know most of this but the US PBS have a good general view on how mobile is changing how the news is delivered. A good read.

This long read from Stratchery looks in depth at how Apple are evolving and it picks up some of the themes from our Anchor theory – how Apple create services so compelling that the “cost”of switching from the iPhone is very high. He mentions the CarPlay, which we haven’t focused on yet. We are convinced Apple want to make music an Anchor with Beats and their new Apple Photo service looks like it could be another Anchor. We were asked to help someone consider how Photos was going to evolve with mobile and whilst the project never happened, the preliminary work was fascinating. Our parents had one or two albums with all the key photos from their life, yet we take dozens of pictures which are all stored in various places online. Finding a specific one  – or even a good one – takes forever. Our initial thinking was that social feedback could be used as a quality indicator – if you had lots of Facebook likes then that picture –and ones like it – had a value.

When we first came up with the GAFA idea back in 2010 we were asked about excluding Microsoft. It has never felt like an omission as – for all their size and reach – they never did anything that moved the market. Even the Nokia debacle felt like a diversion. But they now do seem to be stepping up. This piece looks at their new strategy and latest moves – a very interesting read.

Finally ….we keep coming back to Bitcoin and Blockchain as what’s next. This is a good piece on these topics from someone who thinks they will be bigger than the internet. A long but worthwhile read.

Addictive helps businesses profit from Mobile, Social & Content

Our clients hire us to do strategy consulting, creative thinking and to create the mobile and social apps, mobile sites and ad formats needed to make the strategy deliver.

If you could do with some smart thinking or doing around any of the subjects we cover then do get in touch

We produce Mobile Fix every week to share news and views on mobile and related topics. We have over 3400 subscribers across tech firms like Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo etc as well as many Brands and Agencies. We’re happy for you to forward this mail to anyone you think might be interested. If they do find it useful they can sign up for email here.

Mobile Fix – February 6

 

Quad Play is now the only game in town

With the BT purchase of EE going through and the Sky deal to resell Telefonica mobile plans we have a new set of players in mobile. And the influence of mobile grows as a result.

The rationale behind quad play is largely financial – it’s more profitable to sell a number of services to one person and cross selling is  – theoretically – easier. New OFCOM data shows that the UK is already quite open to bundling.

We can expect lots of marketing to try and grow this user base and build out those households taking the 4 services from one supplier. Broadband is the key as – increasingly – TV can be delivered that way – in whatever format that comes as – and a high proportion of mobile traffic is delivered over the home Wi-Fi rather than the network.The same OFCOM report shows how TV habits are changing – in most age groups people claim around a quarter of their viewing is recorded or on demand. (Barb data suggests a slightly lower figure for recorded viewing)

In the US this week Murdochs’ Fox network reported poorer than expected figures which were claimed to be the result of a decline in broadcast TV viewing. Clearly the content is still valued but the means of distribution are in flux.Look at the 16-24 group – only half of their viewing is live. (Remember this next time you are told that Facebook urban myth; that it’s over because young people are leaving it)

The attraction of on-demand, streaming, box sets and social video are proving a huge attraction to young people. (Remember too that cult TV show Breaking Bad was never seen on UK TV other than one early season on C5)

We can’t assume that at some point in their late 20s they are all going to start liking Ant & Dec and switching back to ITV – marketing needs to embrace the Chromecast generation.

Just like Google Search is the front door to the internet on the PC and with Android the front door to mobile for many, we think Chromecast could give Google the keys to the front door of newTV.

In just 18 months Chromecast has sold over 10 million units and has done a billion cast sessions. More and more content owners – of all types – are partnering. BT have dropped their broadcast channels for BT Sport and give a Chromecast to their customers instead.

If you listen to Google talk about Googlecast they want the mobile to become key to the TV experience.

There are over 1 billion TV sets in the world that have a HDMI port
Every TV in a home with broadband is an opportunity for us to connect that TV
….Your experience in your living room is an extension of your mobile experience

Mario Queiroz – Google

So both Google and the Quad Play providers are new actors in newTV and they all put mobile front and centre. With a mobile as the best identifier of an individual, there are clear implications for better ad targeting. Worth watching.

O2O (Online to Offline)

Despite the relentless rise of ecommerce many smart people remain scepitical that digital pure plays can win. The news that Ocado has finally made a profit caused some amusement in the City and in the video we shared last week Scott Galloway of NYU Stern said Amazon can’t survive without opening physical stores. He suggested gas stations as a suitable purchase and this week we see rumours that they may buy hundred of RadioShack stores. When they launched the Fire phone their partnership with AT&T was designed so people could play with the device and as Apple have taught us how important that is for tech products. And lots of high street stores also help with Amazons other big problem – delivery.

A smart Fix friend Peter Kim has written this good piece on O2O – with some great examples from South Korea. We agree that the winners will be those brands that balance both digital excellence and physical Brand Cathedrals where customers can be inspired.

Ad Avoiders

We talked about ad blockers last week and it seems the main protagonist isn’t as straightforward as it seems. When you download the free plugin –as over 300 million people have done – you see the headline surf the internet without annoying ads. But it seems that firms can and do pay to get on a whitelist, so their ads are not blocked. Amongst the people paying to get around the blocking are Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

Responsive

Some of the smartest publishers are moving to responsive design so they can better manage their content and give their readers the best experience, whatever device they are using. Given how the plethora of mobile screensizes, let alone tablets and desktops, it simply isn’t feasible to take any other approach.

We have been enjoying the Guardian site in responsive for months as part of their public beta but it is now officially launched. The BBC has gone responsive too but some are sticking to their desktop sites. To us this seems risky – a poor user experience that could quickly turn into a SEO nightmare as Google reward mobile optimized sites and penalize the rest

The challenge now switches to advertising – how do best use this palette for a brand? Creating rich experiences that use all the real estate on a desktop view makes good sense. But ensuring that a smartphone user still gets a rich experience is vital too.To help accelerate this, we are working with ResponsiveAds to bring their highly innovative self serve platform to Europe. Used by a wide variety of US publishers the team has delivered great campaigns that incorporate video, social feeds etc. Because you build one ad rather than multiple ones the process is quicker and cheaper – and you don’t have to compromise the idea. We can offer professional services to help develop the creative and or templates too. We are already talking to a couple of publishers and a brand or two, but if you would like to know more get in touch.

Quick Reads

Given the Vertical Stack approach favoured by GAFA it’s not really surprise that Google are considering launching their own taxi app – even though they are a major investor in Uber. Clearly linked to driverless cars, but we think the Chinese experience where Alibaba and Tencent used taxis as a proxy war for their mobile payments, shows Google can get more near term benefits from such a move.

Coincidently (?) Uber are using some of their cash pile to fund research into driverless cars.

Twitter have reached a deal with Google so tweets will show up in search results – virtually in real time. There could be some interesting SEO angles here. And it reinforces Google as the front door to the Internet.

The Daily Mail have bought Elite Daily – a US site aimed at millennials. Can’t image what the typical Daily Mail reader would think of one of their front page stories 8-Year-Old Writes Heartwarming Letter About Being Transgender

Larger than life VC Jason Calcanis is very bullish about Facebook – we tend to agree.

Google Notes gets even better and now incorporates content from your favourite apps – the Front door to mobile?

And this longer read looks at all the things Google are doing in the sharing economy.

Snapchat has more scripted content. This time with Hollywood royalty.  I am speaking at the London Book Fair Digital Minds conference about this sort of thing in a few weeks. There is huge potential to rethink traditional content for new platforms. Can audiobook be a podcast? Can we take the Radio4 book at bedtime format and make that work on Facebook? A new chapter every day? How could brands get involved? Do we reinvent soap operas? Serial was just the start.

In the week that JayZ gets into the streaming business some seemingly well informed speculation about Beats.  As we have said before, curation is key to streaming, so having artists involved makes lots of sense. Not least because lots of people in the music industry just don’t believe that streaming is ever going to make them any money. Dre and JayZ are likely to be more credible in that debate than Daniel Ek.

Bubble? Microsoft are now writing huge cheques to buy apps. They paid $100m for Sunrise  – a good calendar app. But it’s still just a calendar app.

Finally… our talk at the Infectious event on Programmatic and Branding went well and there was lots of talk around how data can supercharge creative. The FT ran a piece on how easily it is to veer into creepy stalking but Unilevers Keith Weed nails it when he says digital personalised marketing is

“a bit like when you to go to your local shop and they know you and perhaps even have what you want waiting for you”

Advertising has always treated people as strangers.

But it no longer needs to. Instead we can create a dialogue that fuses the data inherent in programmatic with smart optimized creative.

If you are interested in this space follow @Route55 to be the first to hear about our new project focused on this huge opportunity.

Addictive helps businesses profit from Mobile, Social & Content

Our clients hire us to do strategy consulting, creative thinking and to create the mobile and social apps, mobile sites and ad formats needed to make the strategy deliver.

If you could do with some smart thinking or doing around any of the subjects we cover then do get in touch

We produce Mobile Fix every week to share news and views on mobile and related topics. We have 3400 subscribers across tech firms like Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo etc as well as many Brands and Agencies. We’re happy for you to forward this mail to anyone you think might be interested. If they do find it useful they can sign up for email here.

Mobile Fix – January 30

This week provided yet more evidence that mobile is changing everything.

Apple made more money than any other company ever. $18bn in profit in just 3 months. Only oil companies have come close. And Facebook blew through predictions to have a record quarter – their results deck is worth flicking through. Whilst the topline figures above are amazing, the stat we think most relevant is that over half a billion people use Facebook each month only from their mobile. And over on the other side of the world Alibaba customers spent over $50billion on their mobiles in 3 months.

The world has changed and we need to evolve marketing to take advantage..

Apple 

The huge success of the iPhone drives the Apple performance, as iPad growth continue to slow. It’s likely they sold more iPhones than all the devices that Samsung sold over the same quarter. And they lost more money due to currency fluctuations than Google made profit in Q3.

The watch is next and the talent drive continues with the hire of the person behind Burberry digital retail initiatives – who dreamt up things like this Christmas window display at Printemps in Paris.

Pay is a key Anchor for Apple – a service so good people will be reluctant to move to an Android – and a new deal takes it into 200k vending machines and self serve locations across the US

Facebook

Another key stat from the Facebook investors deck-  is that the Advertising ARPU is $8.26 – up 55% on the same quarter last year – whilst in Europe it is just $3.22 – up 36% on 2013. So despite fantastic growth, there is still more potential – supporting what we hear from brands.

They continue to grow their suite of tools for brands and a new tool lets advertisers test ads against control groups. The FT looks at their ambition to take TV budgets and concludes by quoting an analyst who says she thinks it will happen very slowly. We disagree. The ability to target video and optimise creative messaging using data will be hugely attractive to smart brands.

And the other end of their mission is to bring people in emerging markets onto Facebook which is helped by a new app for emerging markets. Designed to work on low end Android devices this ‘lite’ app is being launched in 8 markets across Africa and Asia.

Google

The Google results were OK - not quite good enough to beat estimates but healthy rises in revenue and income was 40% higher than the same period last year. Although this was helped by the proceeds of selling Motorola.

Google search share declined by 1.6% after Mozilla switched to Yahoo as its default search engine – showing its vulnerability to the same happening at Apple.

And they continue to drive new/better ways of connecting to the internet, with Fiber rolling out into new cities and investments in Elon Musks’ SpaceX  programme so they can use satellites to deliver internet access to remote parts of the world. But the most surprising thing is their rumoured partnership with Sprint to develop an MVNO – where US phone users could use Google as their phone network. It’s what Virgin and GiffGaff do in the UK and we suggested it was a good idea for Google back in 2006

Not all Google projects are on such a grand scale – the ability to pay bills via your gmail still solves a problem and is now available in the UK.

Amazon

Amazon beat estimates  - the first time for a while – and surprised everyone with a modest profit and impressive growth in Prime customers. But their wallet has been withdrawn - although the benefits to Amazon of knowing what people are spending on is so huge we are confident they will keep trying.

And they continue to try new products – they now offer email with a new WorkMail product.

Alibaba

Of course we now know that GAFA is not the only game in town and the moves made by BAT in China are increasingly influential. Yahoo cooked up a smart way of dealing with their hugely valuable Alibaba stake saving billions in taxes.

The key thing though is that Alibaba users spent $126 billion over the last quarter – of which $53 billion was on mobile.

Snapchat

There is a lot going on at Snapchat. Their news service looks really good. Their ad products are getting a good reaction.  And they are attracting brands looking to innovate, with ATT launching a scripted content play. The production company behind HollyOaks have already used Snapchat stories to reveal a storyline and we are convinced that episodic content with thrive on social media.

Adblocking

I think the ad industry massively underestimates the amount of ad blocking software that users deploy #Adblock

— Darren Herman (@dherman76) January 28, 2015

We agree with this tweet from a key person at Mozilla.  The economics of content creation are fragile enough without users avoiding the main monetization method. Our friends at econsultancy have taken a good look at how publishers play with pay walls and subscription barriers. We probably need better ad models to deal with this and Rezonence are doing some good work on this with their Freewall, as are TrueX for video, who were bought by Fox recently

Quick reads

An FT feature on mobile money points out that across Africa innovations with mobile continue to get mass market acceptance. Lots for Western banks to learn here.

A good take on driverless cars and how they will change the world – faster than you think. One thought – will Google use these as mobile wifi hotspots?

And Googles own futurologist Ray Kurzweil makes some very interesting predictions about the future here. In 25 years non biological intelligence (robots) will be a billion time smarter than biological intelligence (us)

We are increasingly convinced that O2O retailers are going to beat online pureplays. Having an offline presence makes so much sense and this article looks at how people like Warby Parker are investing in shops. And even good old fashioned mail order catalogues are enjoying something of a comeback. Combining the best of both worlds has to be the best bet.

This is an interesting look at how a Vine celebrity is created

With the inexorable rise of programmatic there is some debate over how agencies are approaching the space. This anonymous account of the UK scene is interesting but should probably be taken with a pinch of salt.

But the targeting inherent in smart digital can cause unexpected problems. WeChat users have reacted angrily to a BMW campaign – people complaining that they haven’t been targeted.

Finally… this presentation from the DLD event in Munich last week is a must watch. One of the few people I have found that talks even faster than me, Scott Galloway gives a great take on GAFA.

 

Addictive helps businesses profit from Mobile, Social & Content

Our clients hire us to do strategy consulting, creative thinking and to create the mobile and social apps, mobile sites and ad formats needed to make the strategy deliver.

If you could do with some smart thinking or doing around any of the subjects we cover then do get in touch

We produce Mobile Fix every week to share news and views on mobile and related topics. We have over 3300 subscribers across tech firms like Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo etc as well as many Brands and Agencies. We’re happy for you to forward this mail to anyone you think might be interested. If they do find it useful they can sign up for email here.

Mobile Fix – January 23

newTVPicking up on last weeks thoughts on how TV is changing, the new KPMG research supports our view that watching on demand is growing rapidly – particularly amongst the young and the upmarket.US commentator Michael Wolff also picks up that TV is in the ascendance but points out that the quality needs to be high and it needs to cater to an audience that will pay for content. As we have pointed out in the past we may be moving to a world where the people who see advertising are the ones without much money. Because the rich will be able to avoid advertising whilst the poor won’t.

(On that tip we are seeing a general rise in ad avoiders with new data showing adblocking is growing in popularity. We will come back to this in the next few weeks.)

But Wollf sort of misses the point on digital – the future of TV and digital are inexorably intertwined.  The new players like Netflix and Amazon rely on broadband. BT Sport has turned off the service through the TV aerial and are now giving Chromecasts to their customers

This slightly overexcited piece looks at the background, newish players like Sling and how the US are trying to restrict the power of then cable companies.

And in Europe the push towards quad play has put O2 in play – with Sky a likely suitor although a merger with 3 is possible. now underway Much of our thinking around Quad play remains valid and we continue to believe that the media rights for the Premiership will show us what the new landscape looks like.

The latest entrant seems to be Discovery - who own a stake in Eurosport – and in turn are owned by John Malone, whose Liberty empire now own Virgin. Who have complained to Ofcom about the way the TV rights are handled- pointing out that fewer Premier League are shown in the UK versus top level games in other countries. So they look likely to bid for some rights too. Who else will get involved?

One piece of friction around TV is the fact the data isn’t that useful at the moment – research designed to facilitate trading around mass audience TV programmes doesn’t give the granularity now needed. Nor does it embrace newTV options like Netflix etc. The UK research people are moving ahead with new data on cross device viewing and on demand, which should be available soon.

Whilst the industry plays catch up, the pace of change continues. Yahoo – who have hired a lot of people with TV experience – are to show a Simon Cowell talent show focused on the DJs on the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene.

The money involved in EDM is huge, but whether Simon Cowell can add anything remains to be seen. And how a digital platform handles this type of content will be interesting.

Video

Whilst the Mary Meeker money chart (showing money has yet to follow audience onto mobile) remains burnt onto the retina of many, we are seeing TV spend migrate to digital. As the Omnicom quote from late last year showed, the rise of online video is being driven by a recognition that moving some money from TV to digital makes the campaign more efficient.

Facebook have partnered with Nielsen in the US to hammer this home. But whilst shaving 10%+ from TV budgets helps drive those quarterly numbers, the ambition is for more. Much more. With the upcoming Superbowl we will see a change as Facebook push brands to use their video player, rather than just sharing the YouTube video across Facebook. The way Facebook have built their player makes it much more prominent in the News Feed than a YouTube video. And they have auto play too. Whilst Facebook haven’t shared any research – yet - it seems the Facebook player is much better at getting engagement.

Mashable have more on this, pointing out that Buzzfeed has switched most of their video they share on Facebook from YouTube to the Facebook player. Of course it still makes sense to have your video on YouTube and, with Twitter Video imminent, brands will need to get really good at using all the channels.

If you want to dig deeper this is a good look at some of the video tactics you can use between YouTube and Facebook, which gets into some more detail on how Buzzfeed does this. And long time YouTube fan VC Mark Suster explains his thinking on how to build a successful YouTube business.

This is an area we are fascinated by and we would love to find some brands to partner with to explore this huge opportunity. If you are interested, get in touch.

Retail

Our coverage of retail changing sparked lots of conversations, with the general point being that people have changed their behavior whilst shopping and retailers and brands have yet to work out how to respond.

The best example we know is still Shopkick where they have significant scale and solve a problem for both retailers and users. This video of one of their key people is a must watch.

Another retail brand we admire is Nordstrom. We use them as examples in Digital Transformation workshops often – not least for the way they have organized their Labs to drive real innovation. This Harvard Business Review article celebrates their digital strategy.

One of our mantras is that brands need to find a way to solve a customers problem whilst solving their own business problem. Most marketing failures are when something achieves just one side of this equation. Starbucks are another brand we often focus in in workshops as they are really really good at this.

Most of their innovation improves their business process and makes their customers happy. The latest example is wireless charging for customers smartphones.  Now they just need to sort the coffee.

The biggest investment in retail currently is around grocery deliveries with Amazon and Google pushing ahead in the US and Instacart is now valued at $2bn. The Wall Street Journal has gone back to look at Webvan which IPOd in 1999 and was worth $8bn before it imploded.  With mobile now mass market, many of these dotcom busts are being recognized as great ideas launched too early.

Quick Reads

Despite them being so unfashionable we are still convinced QR codes have a future and the Chinese are showing how they should be used. Alibaba have invested in an Israeli firm that is focused on this space.

Flurry point out that the end of the PC is coming, but spend any time in a Starbucks or other coffee shop and you can see that the laptop is still the device of choice for some people for some tasks at least some of the time. The same applies in most offices, so smart brands build experiences that work across devices – so WhatsApp now have a desktop product. And we love the fact they use a QR code to connect your mobile to the desktop service.

It is still possible to have a good idea and go viral overnight. It’s not always a good thing as the story of the Glitter ecommerce firm shows. We tweeted this and were followed by two more Glitter sites within minutes.

Talking of Twitter we met a smart analyst who is convinced Twitter is doomed until they change leadership and direction. We tend to disagree but accept that the product needs to evolve to make it easier to use for civilians. Our solution would be around Twitter lists and this post shows how someone uses them very effectively.

In our Vertical Stack work on GAFA the lack of a Facebook hardware play is probably the biggest anomaly. But as Home showed they do have ambitions in hardware and it now seems Facebook came close to investing in Xiaomi. That would be a very interesting collaboration.

This is a good look at how Google continue to innovate around search. Quite long but very thorough, it’s a must read – as are the follow up articles.

We believe that getting really good at using the emerging platforms is a vital skill for brands as there can be real competitive advantage here. Here are 10 good examples of campaigns on WeChat. What can we learn here?

More on Snapchat and advertising – they are partnering with media to distribute content

Not so quick reads

There are some good reports around at the moment that are worth digging into;

WPP media agency MEC has a good preview of 2015

Behavioural Insights specialists Canvas8 asked lots of experts (and us) for thoughts on the big shifts expected in 2015

And the clever people at WeAreSocial have put together a hugely detailed document of stats around mobile social and digital. Essential stuff.

Finally – we are out and about again and next week I am speaking at a fascinating event about Programmatic and Branding organized by the smart people at Infectious. My bit is around the huge opportunity for creative that works with programmatic – drawing upon all that data to make more relevant and more effective ads. If you work at a brand and are interested in this area we may be able to squeeze you in – let me know.

Addictive helps businesses profit from Mobile, Social & Content

Our clients hire us to do strategy consulting, creative thinking and to create the mobile and social apps, mobile sites and ad formats needed to make the strategy deliver.

If you could do with some smart thinking or doing around any of the subjects we cover then do get in touch

We produce Mobile Fix every week to share news and views on mobile and related topics. We have 3400 subscribers across tech firms like Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo etc as well as many Brands and Agencies. We’re happy for you to forward this mail to anyone you think might be interested. If they do find it useful they can sign up for email here.

Mobile Fix – January 19

Last week we said the world had changed and looked at how Retail and Media evidenced this. Now lets consider Broadcast and Agencies.

TV is changing 

TV has never been healthier. The ITV share price has never been higher and it’s now around 10 times what it was shortly before Adam Crozier joined as CEO. Part of the reason is that Liberty Media have bought a stake and are rumoured to be planning a takeover.

The programming has never been better. There are some iconic programmes that almost overshadow films. From the Sopranos to MadMen and the Wire to Breaking Bad.  Lots of great talent prefers TV to the Cinema now – partly because of the freedom of the medium.

And the research tells us lots people still like watching linear TV – ie in real time, rather than using DVRs to watch at other times – and perhaps fast forwarding through the ads 

However for brands it could be argued that things are different now. Much of the iconic programming is watched in ways where advertising isn’t available. As well as those seemingly unusual people who do choose to timeshift and fast forward ads, binging on box sets has become a thing. Netflix and Amazon are getting traction across Europe. The Chromecast is still selling well at Amazon. And viewing video on YouTube continues to grow.

These new(ish) behaviours may not be showing up on the industry research just yet but it feels inevitable they will eventually. And whilst tablets are clearly a big factor, the ubiquity of games consoles and growth in connected TVs (as well as Chromecast/Fire Apple TV) are driving change on the big screen too.

The economics of TV will continue to shift – Amazon winning a Golden Globe  – and Jeff Bezos dressing up to go collect it – shows how importantly Amazon view content. As does them signing up Woody Allen to do his first TV show. More evidence that Hollywood sees them as their new best friend. This interview with the head of HBO is good background reading on the evolution from cable to broadband.

Whilst the background to the North Korean movie premiering on YouTube etc may be unusual, it did give the industry a chance to see how that new window works. Once the window when a new movie was only available in cinemas was 6 months – but it’s now typically 4 before a movie is available on DVD and on demand. Given the Interview made $31m in the first couple of weeks in the US alone, newTV will be higher on most peoples attention now. The new Spike Lee movie will premier on Vimeo, weeks before the cinema release.

Things are changing and it looks like traditional TV advertising is likely to be squeezed. Of course brands have quite an interesting alternative as Facebook is getting close to matching ITV for both the reach and the time it takes to get that reach.

Agencies are changing – slowly

If the Broadcast advertising environment changes, then that’s another element of change for Agencies, many (most?) of which are struggling with the challenge of a digital world.

Smart agencies can and do make much more than TV commercials. But the pareto principle still sort of works with the majority of most agencies making the bulk of their money from TV.

One of the points we keep making in our workshops looking at digital transformation and disruption is that in virtually every industry someone from 1965 would struggle to recognize their business now; retail, transport, money and most others are total transformed. But teleport Don Draper from 1965 to today and he would probably feel quite at home. A little over dressed perhaps and perplexed by the fact the media people are now based somewhere else.

Now opportunities like mobile and social challenge existing structures but now some agencies are reverting to one digital team to cover all digital elements.

Technology is changing things too – at least in the media agencies, where programmatic excites CFOs and confuses client CMOs with a plethora of TLAs*

GroupMs Rob Norman explains how the automation of media is playing out within the industry as a whole, whilst explaining the WPP game plan.

But some clients aren’t that happy with the transparency in this new world and a senior Mondelez client expresses their frustration with agency margins – whilst accepting that client procurement has some responsibility for driving agencies to find new ways of making money. (He is also very bullish on Facebook and talks about their desire to innovate)

Fix Friend Neil Perkins runs a great set of events for Google called Firestarters and the inaugural New York one looked at the New Agency Operating System and there is some really smart thinking here.

Whilst Agencies may be resistant to change in some ways, their ability to solve big problems for brands remains hugely valuable – even if the comms tools used are changing.

The issue is that all the very smart thinking has tended to be given away for free whilst the agency makes it’s money out of making something. Now that making stuff is so much cheaper, there isn’t the money to indirectly fund the thinking. 

Working out how to solve this is the big issue for the industry. But we suspect that technology can help here. As programmatic matures it should allow the value of communications to be better understood. Can agencies start to be paid for being clever – by sharing in the value they create?

* Three Letter Acronyms

Devices

Some seemingly well informed predictions about how the iPhone and iwatch will work together have emerged. The source has a good track record and the Companion app described makes sense.  It does reinforce our view that the watch is essentially a peripheral, or accessory, to the iPhone though.

But not everything in devices is driven by Apple. Often accused of copying the iPhone (and of theft by Jonny Ive) Chinese firm Xiaomi have announced a new phone that is pretty innovative. Described by their CEO as shorter, thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6+ the Mi Note is also much cheaper. The firm is now valued at $45 billion – around 4 times its total turnover last year.

Google are also pushing the boundaries of what a phone is, with their modular ProjectAra device. The first review is out – although they journalist wasn’t allowed to turn the phone on – and it does seem interesting. We should remember that its likely the Apple Watch will be modular in some way, so people can upgrade it as new iPhones come out. No-one is going to buy a watch that will be redundant after a couple of years.

Quick Reads

The evidence that the world has changed is everywhere;

Sales via smartphones and tablet devices recorded a 55% growth on the same period in 2013. £8bn was spent via mobiles this Christmas, compared to £5.1bn last year. The Index reveals that 37% of online sales are made on a mobile device; an estimated 8.9% of total retail sales.

Half of US internet users go to Facebook every day. Almost a third use it several times a day.

Facebook talk of a new visual language;

In just one year, the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US.2 And every day, people upload more than 350 million photos on average to Facebook

Remember all that research that said Apps were much more used than the mobile web? Seems it is not that straightforward. As we keep saying, getting a good mobile web site is the first priority for brands – then consider what problem an app could solve for your customers.

And Snapchat are being bullish on advertising –asking brands for $750k a day.

We are fascinated by BlockChain – the technology that enables Bitcoin  – and think there are some fascinating opportunities around marketing and communications. But it is very complicated. This is a good attempt to explain what it is and why it matters

The smart people at PSFK run a great conference on retail – this video from the latest one features some Google advice on mobile and retail.

Finally LinkedIn is one of the big success stories of digital but it seems a little tired and slightly dated now. But the sunk cost for the millions of people who have kept their profile updated and built their networks would seem to make a successor unlikely. The new Facebook for Work could have a chance to displace it.

Pitched as a workplace collaboration tool it faces lots of competition from Yammer etc but Slack has shown that a better mousetrap does get adoption. If it does get traction, adding LinkedIn type profiles would be relatively straightforward.  Until then you can connect with me on Linkedin here.

Addictive helps businesses profit from Mobile, Social & Content

Our clients hire us to do strategy consulting, creative thinking and to create the mobile and social apps, mobile sites and ad formats needed to make the strategy deliver.

If you could do with some smart thinking or doing around any of the subjects we cover then do get in touch

We produce Mobile Fix every week to share news and views on mobile and related topics. We have over 3300 subscribers across tech firms like Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo etc as well as many Brands and Agencies. We’re happy for you to forward this mail to anyone you think might be interested. If they do find it useful they can sign up for email here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile Fix – January 9

Happy New Year

It’s 2015 and the world has changed.  Flurry tells us app usage grew by 76% in 2014. Variety point to 3 key deals from last year with the potential to transform the entertainment industry. Video views on Facebook grew by 75%. Messaging is huge and WhatsApp has 700m monthly users. And the Washington Post points out that tech disruption is only really getting started.

Everything is Mobile. Everything is Social. Anything is possible.

And smart brands have never had a better opportunity to profit from change, as their slow competitors continue to do what they did 5 years ago. What are you waiting for?

Retail

Some sectors are changing faster than others and retail is one of the canaries in the coal mines everyone should be watching. Over Christmas we saw that digital has profoundly changed the way people shopped.

John Lewis saw over a third of their sales online – up 19% – with click and collect bigger than home delivery. House of Fraser saw digital sales increase by 31%.  Mobile was a key factor with John Lewis telling us their mobile sales on Christmas Day peaked during Downton Abbey.

This year we will see more of this online offline mélange, with delivery and click to collect driving who succeeds and who doesn’t.  Making your stores work for you as both experiences that inspire purchases and destinations for the collection (and returns) of ecommerce is key. But lots of the high street are struggling with this.

Amazon sort of won Christmas in the UK, as they managed to make their delivery system work just as well over the holidays as it does normally. So too did Ocado. The people that had problems with late or non deliveries of parcels and groceries are not going to give people a second chance next Christmas. Owning delivery is an increasingly important part of vertical stack.

Ebay are looking at how they stay relevant and as well as the Rebecca Minkoff concept stores we mentioned they have an interesting innovation lab too. And Westfield are being very active, looking at ways of keeping their malls an attractive option. In this interview their head of digital talks about their experimentation with search on apps and using beacons to connect before people arrive at a mall.

Knowing how online and offline channels are connected remains the holy grail and the new Google metric of Store Visits as a Conversion Action in Adwords. Now the scarily detailed  data Google have on its app users would let them see exactly who and when visits each store, but that would freak out those concerned with privacy. Instead Google use estimates from aggregated anonymous data from a sample of people with location enabled on their phones.

One fascinating snippet from the Flurry data shows how shopping apps are used across a typical day and commuting and lunch times are key. US retailer Target view mobile as the new front door to their store.

This whole area is clearly crucial for online and ecommerce retailers, but it is also hugely important for the brands stocked in these stores.

Media

The other canary is Media – a business that is attracting increased investment but it’s still unclear as to whether new entrants will find the mobile world any easier than legacy media. The poster child of the sector is Vice, which has attracted investment and partnerships from a number of old media businesses.

Digiday have a good look at the difficulties faced by those who seek to emulate Vice, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post. And Elizabeth Spiers – who has been involved in some of the better attempts – goes into detail on how to be a good media owner. Essentially, be good at herding cats. Though this long New Yorker read on the King of Clickbait shows that you can still do pretty well by gaming the system.

And this piece from an investor boils media businesses down to one thing; Revenue. And he predicts carnage in 2015 as the VCs look for a return – or at least some indications that one is likely.

Apps

As the Flurry data shows apps are taking a bigger and bigger proportion of peoples time on mobile – reflecting the fact that a handful of destinations now monopolise peoples attention.

The new data from Apple showing that their AppStore revenues grew by 50% in 2014 – to around $15bn – proving some people are making a good living from apps

But the very nature of apps continues to morph and whilst the constellation effect (where an app ‘splits into two or more connected apps) doesn’t seem to be working that well, deep linking is getting traction.

This long piece from the NYTimes gets into some detail on who is doing what with deep linking. And this piece from the former Deezer head of Mobile gets right into how to make it work. Both essential reads.

Along with things like motion design, this level of sophistication means app development a now a fairly rare, specialist skill. Even though there are still lots of mac jockies knocking out cheap and cheerful ones, that are unlikely to ever get any traction.

Forrester have taken to calling mobile the anti channel as it eliminates the whole notion of channels by blurring online and offline. Their new report suggests only 4% of brands are truly prepared to take full advantage of mobile. Getting your apps right is a big part of this – along with a truly mobile optimized site.

Quick Reads

Twitter found Ev makes a great case for better metrics. Monthly users just isn’t goo enough

Google continue to push for faster cheaper internet access – now with a new way to make wifi work with an underused section of wireless spectrum.

A new book dishes lots of dirt on Yahoo. VC Jason Calcanis comes out in strong support of CEO Marissa Mayer. And it looks likely they will merge Flurry with Gemini to take on Google and Facebook for mobile ad revenue.

A good piece on BlockChain – the technology behind BitCoin that may have more potential than the currency

A valuable part of the Tesco firesale ( after TalkTalk bought Blinkbox) is Dunn Humby. This firm was profiting from data before anyone started with the Big Data cliché and where it ends up will be a good sign of how the industry us shaping up. WPP have made it clear they are interested but some private equity firms have also declared an interest. Any of the big players in adtech and marketing automation would find this a smart acquisition. Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce are all looking to help brands make the most of their data services and even Facebook and Google could benefit from the expertise here.

Facebook search has matured and their ability to mine the resultant data is quite amazing. Maybe Dunn Humby would help here.

A teenagers view on social media

Nike ( and AKQA ) show us the future of advertising – 100k personalised videos. Smart use of data to make layered/relevant messaging.

Finally…there is some more quality thinking around what is likely to happen in 2015, so here are three of our favourites;

John Battelle

Benedict Evans

Fred Wilson

Mobile Fix – Dec 19 – The Christmas Issue

On holiday already? Go straight here and enjoy the soundtrack for your Christmas

Still working? Scroll down

Have a Soulful Christmas - from addictive!

 

It’s that time when everyone either does a round up of the year or predictions. But we’re going to resist the temptation. As they say in Hollywood, No-one knows anything And our last attempt at predicting the future back in 2002 still stands up quite well.

So instead we thought we should focus on some of the big questions for 2015; 

Will the M&A fervor around AdTech ever quieten down? Fox have just paid $200m for an interesting video ad startup.  Or will VC money start to flow elsewhere? In the excellent Google Ventures summary of their year Life Sciences got the biggest chunk of their investment.

Who will win the battle for the money migrating from TV to digital? Google or Facebook? Facebook seem to be winning the battle for display. And this analysis of the reach of the new Apple ad on Facebook shows video is getting really interesting too; broadly 20m views on Facebook (vs 2m on YouTube) is more than you would get with an ad in a big TV show like NCIS. Not that scientific, but more evidence that Facebook can now get close to the reach of TV. Finally a quote from one of the key AdTech people at Facebook sums up their pitch; “Don’t spend a dollar unless you know that dollar is delivering ROI,”

What is the next big thing in messaging? Payments are going to be important; Facebook have poached another PayPal exec to work with David Marcus who made the same switch earlier this year. Kik have a smart new idea on how to use hashtags to create micro social networks.

Which of the next tier firms has the best chance to grow? Twitter are going after app download ads with their new features around phone activation. Even with all their smart acquisitions are Yahoo hampered by their CEO? – this is a pretty damning attack on Marissa. 

Will peripherals* get significant traction? The idea that Netflix will serve up recommendations to your smart watch shows what a lack of imagination there is around watches and wearables. Right now – like Google Glass – they don’t solve a problem for civilians. *Given none of the watches etc seem to function properly without a smartphone close by, we think wearables is a misnomer and peripherals a much better term.

Are QR codes going to be cool again? We have pointed out that WeChat reinvented them in China and amongst the leaked SnapChat emails we see they paid $50m for a startup focused on QR codes and NFC, beacons etc. The ability to instantly connect mobile with the physical world is a big deal, even if we haven’t really worked out what to do with it yet.

Can anyone make a success of Media on digital? Michael Wolff thinks its all crap but Wired has a good look at some of the newer players like Circa and Buzzfeed. John Battelle has some good advice; To me, just one question matters when it comes to a publication and whether it has a chance of long term success: Is it a must read?

And how will Programmatic change the ad industry? It’s already making big changes to the media side of the industry – and this interview with GroupMs  Rob Norman is well worth reading.  Next it’s the turn of the Creatives to adapt. Or not.

Over the next couple of weeks you will probably have some time for reading so we recommend you flick through these;

The 10 year anniversary ContagiousX.

Boston Consulting have shared a good report on Mobile in Europe

Criteo have an interesting Slideshare on the state of mobile commerce

The guy behind the XPrize and the Singularity Hub has a good post on Mobile, the megatrend of the decade.

And if you get really bored you should read this and change all your passwords.

Finally 2015 is going to be another rollercoaster ride on innovation, change and hype. Those that seize the mass market opportunity of ubiquitous mobile with a social layer baked in can profit. Those that hang back and keep repeating their old strategy are running out of time. It’s time to experiment.

Now we recommend you recharge the batteries and are delighted to share our soundtrack for a Soulful Christmas. Best enjoyed with a large glass of something red.

Have a great Christmas 

Mobile Fix – December 12

Apps still evolving

We have a view that apps are the CDs of mobile content; a clear winner over the ‘analog’ mobile web where so many sites still don’t work well for smartphone. But eventually the hunger for a stream will switch attention from apps just as they did from CDs. Notifications are the clear portender of this evolution, even if we don’t yet know what form the stream will take.

As ever, looking at China gives us a glimpse of an alternative to the western user experience. This long post from a US mobile guy working in China is fascinating and there is a lot to learn from his various examples. For instance the idea there is still life in voice input and QR codes is interesting, especially when you see the problems they are solving for Chinese users.

At LeWeb this week the webs inventor Tim Berners Lee spoke up in the apps vs web debate and – unsurprisingly – comes down on the side of the web. He makes the point that closing content up in apps make collaboration and sharing harder.

Deep Linking, one of the ways that apps are evolving, goes some way to addressing this. This is a good summary of the current state of deep linking. Again China is a good place to see some interesting examples. And Google – who have more to lose than most if apps win over the web – are pushing deep linking with new ways to benefits from deep linking in Android apps.

There are other ways to enrich the app experience and Layer give good examples of how their native communications make apps more useful.

If you are interested in user experience – and you really should be – its worth finding some time to read this design class that looks at Maps to make some key points about design. After seeing the attention to detail needed to get these things right, maybe brands will stop hiring their ad agency to do throwaway $20k apps and get some expert advice.

Talking of maps a new report on Googles mobile woes* says that Google Maps only has 100m monthly active users on the 400m iPhones in use. Being the default can be enough for a good enough product, even if there is a better one available. The Homescreen project shows Google maps is on 39% of homescreens versus 36% for Apple maps.

And Ben Evans makes the point that much of Google services aren’t that useful to civilians.

* We don’t subscribe to the Information so haven’t read this report – if anyone can share it with us we would be really grateful.

Smart newTV

The new Ofcom report shows how the UK is now the worlds most advanced digital market – more money spent by consumers on ecommerce that anywhere else. And more money spent online by brands than any other country.

We are also the country with the most smart TVs; 22% of homes claim to have one and 84% are connected to the internet – so 18% of UK homes can watch Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon etc on their big screens. That’s not including PlayStations and xBoxes . Or Chromecast and Amazon Fires.

In the US Chromecast is doing really well and this chart shows how it is outperforming Apple TV. In the UK retail support is good with buyers rewarded with a Google Play voucher and a 3 month trail of NowTV. A Fix reader tells us that when you watch YouTube via the Chromecast the ads now play – so Google are selling TV ads in around about sort of way.

The FT asks whether streaming will lead to a new golden age of TV with Netfix and Amazon commissioning shows as well as YouTube and Vimeo encouraging new talent.

With Sky now selling TV with postcode targeting and Virgin introducing dynamic ad insertion brands can now use TV in a different smarter way –albeit with limited reach.

In its usual click bait fashion Business Insider declare TV is over, based on a range of US data about cord cutters. We don’t think that’s true but things are changing and a King Canute approach won’t work. There is lots of potential for brands to be early and be smart. Will we see a new golden age of TV advertising too?

Year in Review

Lots of looking back at 2014, inevitably at this time of year. It’s worth looking at how the key players see the year;

You Tube celebrate some of the years memes with their most famous YouTubers- who tend to be unrecognizable to anyone over 20

Twitter uses hashtags to show the key moments of the year and the perspective of an eclectic list of 20 celebs –from Lady Gaga to Gary Linekar via Bollywood start Amitabh Bachchan

Facebook has a video pulling together celebs and news – plus a bit of ice bucket challenge and you can did deeper on some key topics and events

Our key takeout is that these are no longer tech companies – they are media companies that both reflect and define culture.

Quick Reads

This is a really good look at how Facebook have transformed themselves into a major player in adtech.  And just how well positioned they now are to fight Google for the money moving from TV.

The Chinese are coming – 2 of the biggest digital media revenue companies and 4 of the fastest growing.

Wired digs into the point we keep making – most of the dotcom ideas were actually smart – they were just a decade too early.

Facebook are doing really well in video and making life difficult for YouTube. But smart brands know you need both – and that there is a lot of reach elsewhere on the Open Web

Too many people still lump tablets with mobile when all the evidence suggests tablets tend to be used in the home. So they should be considered as desktop alternatives. Google are recognizing this by focusing on context rather than devices. It’s worth checking to see whether your team are looking at tablets separately or are they distorting your data by treating them as mobile.

Monitise have aggregated lots of good data on mobile money.

The FT looks at the new social apps – and tell us that ello is doing well amongst female impersonators. Now that is niche.

Mobile Internet is worth £73billion to the major European economies.

Finally….Buzzfeed have a great listicle that proves that 2014 is the future.