Mobile Fix – February 10


As we gear up for Euro 2012 and the Olympics what we can learn about the prospects for mobile from the Superbowl?

One fact that terrifies all the operators is that people use their phones at these events to share pictures and video – AT&T reported that people in the stadium uploaded about 40% more data than they downloaded.

But the second screen hype seems to have been just that – hype. Whilst Shazam are bullish about how the ads they tagged performed other commentators suggest a missed opportunity. Many of the ads had no call to action and others just had a web address, whilst only 16% pointed people to social.

As we expected the thing that did work was search. Google tell us that;

SuperBowl ad related searches in the US rose 200% on desktop, 970% on tablets and a whopping 2700% on smartphones.

The nice people at Frukt have a good round of the ads that ran and we’re reminded that TV can and does get people talking. Chrysler ran a fantastic 2 minute ad, created by Wiedens with a little help from Clint Eastwood, that hassparked lots of debate with the Fruitcake party – sorry the Tea party -condemning it as political. Searches for Clint Eastwood during the game went up by 5000% – we hope that Chrysler had bought search directing people to somewhere they could watch the ad again.

As Google say in their blog post;

Advertisers are beginning to see that mobile can deepen engagement with their brands and extend the value of their ad buy beyond the 30 seconds on air.

But we agree with those that point out the real winner might have been Apple – who didn’t run any ads but got fantastic coverage when virtually everyone on the Giants team pulled out their iPhone to take pictures of each other.

Facebook ads coming soon

Following the IPO filing we’ve seen speculation that Facebook are about to solve their mobile monetization issue with the extension of featured stories to mobile users. It’s clear that mobile is an issue for Facebook, but also a huge opportunity.

In the US the mobile ad market as a whole is expected to be worth just $2.6bn this year with Google $750m) and Apple ($90m) the key players. With the huge usage, high dwell time and the data that Facebook have, they should be able to make a big impact in mobile ads.

Some question just how effective this well be, arguing that the mobile experience on Facebook is underwhelming. Whilst we tend to agree, we expect to see some radical improvements in the mobile experience soon. Remember that at F7 we were told Timeline would be available on all devices?

One other interesting revelation from the filing papers is that the Facebook interpretation of an active user is a little looser than one might expect. For example, if you click the like button on the Addictive homepage, you’re an active user of Facebook, even if you never visit the Facebook site. Looking at Nielsen data it would seem that around 8 million US users (of 161m) fall into this category, so it’s not a huge issue.

One other piece of news on Facebook underlines their commitment to mobile –they have announced a deal with UK company Bango, to enable mobile payments. Few details yet, but its an interesting step for Facebook, adding payments to their vertical stack. Intriguingly we see that Bango also signed a deal with Amazon recently – again no details on what the deal is about. Given how dominant Amazon are with their one click payments it seems odd they need to bring in a partner in this space.

Path runs into privacy problems

When people question whether Facebook will be as dominant on mobile as it is on desktop, Path is invariably quoted as one of the examples of potential threats.Since relaunching they have done very well and would seem to have a bright future.

But this week they have been getting attention for the wrong reasons. A smart programmer discovered that Path takes a copy of each users contacts and stores it on their servers. So somewhere in San Francisco is a full copy of all our contacts. Path were quick to apologise and change their policy. And it was swiftly pointed out that many social apps behave in a similar way. But it does feel like this issue isn’t going to go away and the Guardian has a good round up of the story and some thoughts on implications.


Google have been busy this week with news of their Solve for X conference where they bring together some of the smartest people in the world to look at solving big problems. Some of the amazing subjects include a new way to produce fresh water and a way to take a picture of the minds eye.

News of some high tech glasses they have developed, leaked too. These glasses are wearable but provide a computer interface. So, as you meet someone, Google Googles can identify the person and give you their profile on your glasses – so you need never forget a name again. We’re getting closer and closer to the Minority Report.

The new Google office – or campus – in East London looks like a great resource and a way to connect with the vibrant start up culture in this area

But thinking about their business now, we were fascinated by a chart on Splatf called eggs in one basket – which looks at what proportion of a companies revenue comes from its biggest revenue source.

So Amazon make nearly 90& of their money from product sales. Apple make 52% of their revenue from iPhones. RIM make nearly 80% of their money from hardware sales.

And lots of business rely on advertising; Facebook around 83%, Yahoo 81%, AOL 63%. And Google makes 96% of its revenue from advertising. That is a lot of eggs in one basket and some people think this is in jeopardy as Apple, Facebook and Amazon seek to balkanise the web and lock Google out of their walled gardens.This Time article on the subject is worth a read.

We think it’s always dangerous to underestimate Google.


After our piece on Brand Cathedrals last week we were interested to see thatAmazon seems likely to open a physical store – probably to promote the Kindle.

Forrester have a new report out looking at the renaissance of the retail store and we think some smart retailers are going to use showrooming, mobile and ecommerce to reinvent high street shopping. As the Tesco QR shop in Koreashowed, you don’t need a lot of space to sell product. And just as stores like JCrew’s Liquor Store in New York sells other brands to compliment their own label product, why doesn’t a retailer use the Amazon affiliate scheme to dramatically expand their range? 6% isn’t a bad margin

Switching to online retail, the hottest thing in social right now is Pinterest, andthey are starting to monetise their content with some affiliate deals. Given the rapid growth of this site and its clear influence on retail, we wouldn’t be surprised to see someone like Amazon come sniffing round with a checkbook. Whilst, the Google foray into retail, failed, people like ASOS and Net a Porter are showing you can sell a lot of schmutter if you get social and online content right.

There are lots of interesting starts ups playing in this space.

Moneyball Marketing

Over the past few weeks we have read some interesting thinking around how marketing is (finally) adapting to digital. In Harvard Business Review there is a good piece by McKinseys Davis Edelman looking at how different the consumer journey is nowadays.

And a former Googler has some great thinking on how brands can play Moneyball marketing –using data to get real competitive advantage.

Demonstrating just how mainstream this new approach is, Adage has this great quote;

a December investor presentation by Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed in which he noted several digital programs that produced north of $3 in revenue for each dollar spent.

Although this thinking is around digital we’re seeing clear evidence that mobile can play it’s part. A new study from research firm Insight Express shows how over the past few years Mobile has outperformed Online in its ability to drive brand attributes like awareness, favourability and purchase intent.

So as well as getting response, mobile advertising can drive the brand too – we just need to improve the standard of creative work.

Quick reads

This is smart thinking on the need to integrate mobile and online

Amazon are signing a deal with Viacom to get more films for their Web Video service.

Some good reading on the need for a mobile strategy.

Siri is only the beginning – good article by the guy who invented Siri

Google have launched  a mobile version of their Chrome browser for Android.How long for the iOS one?

Mobile search volume in the US doubled between December 2010 and December 2011.

And finally you’d be forgiven for thinking that digital has had a disastrous effect on entertainment with piracy etc. This report shows the opposite is actually true; the industry grew, whilst consumers increased their spend.


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