Mobile Fix February 1

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Continuing on the money tip from last week Facebook have announced their results. Revenues were up 40% on the same quarter last year and mobile at $306m was double that of the previous quarter.

Today there’s no argument, Facebook is a mobile company… ..It allows us to reach more people, and we’ll be able to make more money for each minute people spend with us on their mobile devices.” Mark Zuckerberg

The stats on user growth are still amazing –they picked up another 74m mobile users over the last quarter.

Whilst this impressed some, (and surpassed analyst expectations on earnings per share) the view from Wall Street was Meh.

The stock price fell initially and ended up around the same. Which suggests that Facebook might have some problems going forward.

With Wall Street so demanding, will Facebook have to push even more ads at their users? We have heard a few people remark that the ads are annoying them.

But of course it’s not to true to say people don’t like ads. People just don’t like irrelevant ads. And Facebook has more data than just about anyone else, enabling them to deliver really relevant ads.

But do brands and agencies care enough to use these scalpel like tools? Or do they prefer to just use the mass reach, with the same messaging for everyone?

We think many brands see the potential of Facebook but are struggling to find people who can help them unlock this.

With the huge reach and more and more evidence that Facebook ads work, we firmly believe that Facebook (along with mobile search) will be the first partner on any smart brands mobile plan. And those that do focus, will reap the benefits.

We are seeing more companies concentrating on Facebook because of this opportunity – Triggit have seen huge success since doing this.

The Wall Street Journal have a good round up of how Facebook is going mobile

Amazon Up

Amazon results were also released this week, and whilst they didn’t meet expectations, their share price ended up almost 10%. Although they did fall 5% first. Despite growth being lower than in previous quarters 

Henry Blodgett has written a good piece explaining why Wall Street likes Amazon and has fallen out of love with Apple, which is well worth reading. Henry has some history with Amazon – he famously predicted that Amazon would reach $400 a share and in 1998 it did – going up 128% in a month. On the same pre split basis Amazon shares are now worth $1554.

Amazon shareholders believe there is more growth to come in ecommerce (and mcommerce) and that Amazon is well positioned to capture the value of this growth.

Retail Dead?

Following the demise of HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster there has been some interesting thinking around the future of retail and ecommerce, with Brent Hoberman writing a typically smart article. 

But Marc Andreessen has a gone a step further than most and predicts the absolute death of retail

“Retail guys are going to go out of business and ecommerce will become the place everyone buys. You are not going to have a choice,” he says. “We’re still pre-death of retail, and we’re already seeing a huge wave of growth. The best in class are going to get better and better. We view this as a long term opportunity.”

Whilst we can see what Andreessen means, we’re with Brent and see a healthy future for retailers that embrace the digital opportunity and blend it with a great physical experience.

Blackberry Out

The new Blackberry finally arrives and the firm has bet the farm on this launch. As we’ve shared before, we don’t think that device launches are actually that important anymore. The crucial thing for brands is the huge changes in consumer behaviour that smartphones drive.

But having people migrate from the old Blackberry to the new one is important in one way. Whenever we find an agency person or a client that is underwhelmed by mobile and social we usually find a Blackberry on their desk, with the red light flashing. Lots of decision makers in marketing are still totally addicted to the Crackberry.

This means they haven’t experienced the revelationary experience of a real smartphone. So they just don’t get what we’re all so excited about. 

As we always explain, shifting from a Blackberry to a smartphone does mean the email experience changes. Two things happen; because it’s a little harder to type on a touchscreen, you tend to reply to fewer emails. Which is a good thing. And when you do, you tend to write shorter replies. Which is also a good thing.

A marketer sticking with an old Blackberry is like staying with Black and White TV, when colour was launched. Or still using dialup to access the web. You just don’t see the magic.

So if people upgrade to the new Blackberry, they just might start to smell the coffee.

The reviews seem pretty positive – although they may have made a terrible error. When we spent most of our time schlepping around the world for WPP, one thing that made it bearable was playing Brickbreaker on the Blackberry Bold – but it’s no longer preinstalled.

Mobile Scores

The big news in Football this week was Leeds knocking Spurs out of the FA Cup. Shown only on ESPN, most of the nation missed the chance to see a wonderful performance from the team the Premiership need. Now Murdoch has bought the mobile rights to Premiership matches, most of the population will probably miss out on seeing goals on their phones – unless they change the Times paywall policy.

Previous owners of these rights were ESPN and Yahoo, both of whom struggled to make any money. 

We were interested that this news coincided with YouTube announcing that they will soon launch subscription channels, where consumers pay to watch and Google share the revenue with the content provider.

Whilst the early partners are all likely to be entertainment firms, we think this move accelerates the likelihood of sports clubs choosing to sell their matches direct to consumers, rather than just through the Premiership or the NBA for example.

There are an awful lot of Leeds fans who would happily pay £5 to YouTube to watch our next FA Cup game against Citeh –also on ESPN. And who knows – it may not be a complete waste of money.

Quick reads

Econsultancy look at how clever thinking from the pioneers of Direct Marketing is still relevant to digital marketing.

Avinash Kaushik is one of the smartest thinkers on best practice in digital and this piece on 7 great digital experiences is a must read.

Marissa Mayer shares her vision for Yahoo. Really interesting.

Finally… This GQ piece on Netflix is a good (long) read on how new business models are impacting TV


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