Mobile Fix – December 16

It’s almost the end of the year and still the pace of change is relentless.

Facebook have just announced that timeline is now available on mobile. Over the coming months we’re going to see lots of developments in how Facebook use mobile and that’s going to have a big impact on the whole ecology.

And Amazon have broken with their usual secrecy to release sales figures for their Kindle. In the US they are selling over a million Kindle devices each week with the new Fire the topseller. UK data is less specific but Amazon tell us they sold over 3 million items on just one day (December 5 – Cyber Monday) with the Kindle the top seller.

Facebook are rumoured to be ready to jump into mobile advertising early next year and given the wealth of targeting data they have access to they should do very well.

And this week we heard that Apple are struggling with their iAds product – dropping the minimum buy to just $400k (down from $1million at launch) and allowing a cap on the cost per click they charge in addition to the cost per thousand for the campaign reach. As George in Seinfeld was told, Double Dipping isn’t popular.

Still on mobile advertising, new data from a good Ofcom study showed that the UK is doing pretty well in mobile advertising compared to some – but there is still a way to go. Looking at mobile ad spend per head of population, the UK is at £1.33 compared to the US at £1.25. But Japan shows the potential with £6.52.

And eMarketer gives us a clue why we are lagging; whilst mobile gets around 10% of peoples time in the US, it only gets 1% of adspend. The UK figures are probably similar. As Mary Meeker points out there is a $50 billion opportunity as this gap between time spent with digital and adspend closes. All the data and charts are on our blog.

Money always follows audience and we will eventually see mobile take its deserved share of adspend – specially as brands start to be able to close the loop between ad exposure on mobile and actual transactions.

We’re not that far away from campaign measurement that links exposure on the mobile device with someone checking in at a retail store, redeeming a mobile coupon and buying the product with their mobile wallet. When this happens we’ll see huge shifts in budget.

But one issue that needs work is understanding how mobile advertising works. Right now mobile is hampered by the disdain for banners and buttons that plagues online advertising. Whilst mobile is unlikely to emulate the clutter that mars online we need some thinking about how and why digital advertising works.

Ignoring clickthrough for a moment we see some advertisers like P&G buying mobile and online ads for reach. Studies from all the research companies show that online can and does affect brand metrics. But we need to understand how it works and we think its time to think about how low involvement processing works in digital. This theory from Robert Heath is well respected amongst marketers and is accepted as one of the ways that TV advertising works. The basic thought is that whilst we don’t consciously pay attention to a message, our sub conscious processes it with low involvement from our brain.

We suspect that’s how digital banners work and we’re keen to explore if we can prove this in mobile. Years ago we invented a brand (YesSirNoSir) and advertised it online, to see what the effect of pure digital was. One of our plans for 2012 is to replicate this on mobile and we’ll be looking for partners; if you would like to get involved get in touch.

Quick reads

Booz Allen have looked at which brands are getting organised for social

Our friends at Infectious are nailing the emerging space of exchanges and have shared a great case study showing that this approach works for brands as well as response advertisers

The smart people at WeAreSocial point out an interesting new opportunity for brands in Facebook – Private Messages.

Amazon have upset some people with their aggressive push on mobile price checking – whilst Google point out that retailers need to improve how they use mobile instore.

Google+ is building out the features and now has facial recognition. Maybe we’re being slow but couldn’t you hack this security with a photo of the person?

And the Google answer to FlipBoard has launched in the US. The skunkworks name was Propeller but its launch name is Currants. Reaction is generally good but its lack of social features seem to be an issue.

The Adobe Investor presentation is – as you might imagine – a little dry . But it’s worth reading as what they offer sounds very like what a digital agency might offer.

Finally

its Christmas and we’re out of here.

Rather than cards we thought we’d share some of our collection of soulful Christmas music we’ve been building over the years. In the past this has been a CD and a YouTube playlist. This year it’s a Spotify playlist.

This will be the soundtrack as we enjoy Turkey and Pinot Noir on the beach in Sri Lanka. However you spend your Christmas we hope you enjoy listening and that you have a great time.

By the way if you still haven’t sorted New Year, our place in St Ives is available.

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