Mobile Fix – Feb 22


For a talk we did at Google last week we focused on the disruption being caused by mobile across a range of sectors.

Mobile Money is a hot area and some new research from Deloitte shows how mobile is becoming key – in the US 8% of transactions are on mobile, versus 53% online and just 14% in Branch.

But another US research piece points out that consumer expectations are not being met by the current banking apps. Just as we found when working on the digital strategy for HBOS, people have high service expectations set by the way GAFA deliver great experiences.

There is a great opportunity to differentiate through mobile, but who will step up?

“Banking institutions have an opportunity to create third-generation mobile applications that can enable a more proactive role in their customers’ finances,”

With new players like Square and Braintree disrupting key parts of the money value chain, will the existing banks retain their hold on customers or could new players emerge? Bain think the credit card business is under threat, but to us Visa seem to be covering the bases with smart investments into some of the new players.

Creating a new mobile focused bank would be a relatively cheap way to enter the market. It’s worth watching what Tesco and Virgin/Northern Rock do – both have mobile businesses as well as money ones. Can they blend them together and take on the incumbents?

Another industry we looked at was publishing. It’s not news that everyone is struggling with the move to digital and mobile. But when you look at the ABC data showing the combined readership across print and digital, one person who looks to have a real problem is Mr Murdoch.

Because of their paywall strategy the Times and Sunday Times have a very low proportion of digital readers. Of course this data doesn’t cover tablet and mobile readership, so this may not be a totally accurate view. But the digital ambitions of the Times have been dealt another blow this week, with the launch of the new iPad app for the Times and Sunday Times getting a big thumbs down.  Last time we looked there were 1439 ratings for the latest version, of which 1255 were 1 star. Oddly, quite a few of the 55 5star ratings are also slamming the app.

A couple of years back News Corp had a really strong digital team working on Project Alesia. But that was axed because  (so its rumoured) the money allocated was needed to fund taking full control of BSkyB; with hindsight, not the best decision ever made in Wapping.

Is there a way back? Time will tell but you wonder how much appetite there is to really invest in the newspapers now.

Twitter advertising

Advertising on Twitter reached the next level this week with the launch of their API making it easier for Agencies to buy ads at scale. Right now ads on Twitter are pretty simple to use but if you want optimise campaigns it’s largely a manual process and takes time. The API means people can industrialise the process and plug Twitter into the same systems they use to manage their social content.

And which agency is the first to step up and take advantage of this new opportunity? This tech firm bought Buddy Media last year and is now a major player in social.

(Marketing was another industry where we looked at digital disruption in our Google talk. Whilst it is clear that GAFA has had a huge effect on marketing, the way the industry works hasn’t changed much – yet. Someone from the Madmen era could walk into most agencies now and see little real change. Except the tailoring isn’t as good these days.

Yet tech firms are hoovering up tasks and budgets that would naturally have gone to an agency once upon a time.)

And Twitter have also shared data on their 10 million UK users. 80% of them use Twitter on mobile and these mobile users are 40% more likely to access twitter more than once a day than the average user. More evidence that Mobile and Social have merged. Is your social strategy FitForMobile?

Google Glass

As Google Glass gets closer to launch the marketing has kicked in. Previously pre-ordering was only available to developers, but now mere mortals can play. You just have to participate in an interesting social media campaign to say why you want a pair. The lucky winners get the right to preorder – and still pay the $1500 price tag.

We can expect to see some smart product placement as they seek to normalise Glass – moving from a tech thing to a cool thing. And it’s no surprise to hear they are working with cool eyewear firm Warby Harper to make them a little more stylish.

Google search

As Google ‘enhance’ the way they sell search, some people see it as a cynical way to get more brands to spend on mobile – by removing the option not to buy mobile. As this piece details, how you react  – and when you choose to ‘upgrade’ -depends on how you are using search. If you have a sophisticated mobile search strategy you should wait. If you haven’t, you probably need better advice anyway.

But you should take your time to really understand the new regime and look for the best way to make it work for your brand.

The other news on Google search was an analysts suggestion that Apple probably get around $1billion in 2014 from Google for the right to be the default search engine on the iPhone and iPad. This is up from around $82m in 2009.

With rumours that Yahoo want to extend their new ad partnership with Google from display into search –at the expense of Bing – we still wonder whether Bing will try to steal the Apple relationship from Google at some point. How much would it be worth to Microsoft to have Bing as a significant player in mobile search? $1billion would seem cheap, as Apple is the only real way they can get scale.


Our thinking around newTV last week got a good reaction. We saw some interesting pieces in the FT this week looking at the same issues, making the point that longer form video on the internet has a good futuree – with Informa predicting that online video will be worth $37bn by 2017.

We’re seeing the form of content change back towards TV, but with a very different engagement model,” Ooyala CEO

In another article they look at the challenges for the advertisers with on demand TV – somewhat overstating the issue as most brands have adapted to the rise of online video pretty well. But the early signs of what could be significant changes can be detected;

“Five years ago, two per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds did not have a TV at home,” said Jonathan Allan, sales director at Channel 4. “Now it’s 6 per cent. These people are watching TV solely through non-TV devices”.

And Seth Godin makes a good point that the ‘old’ model of TV is better at building buzz and breaking new shows is than the Netflix approach for House of Cards.

Quick reads

New Comscore research shows mobile was 11% of US ecommerce in Q4 2012 – up from 3% for the same period 2 years earlier. Lots of good stuff here.

Some smart (if a little obvious) advice on how to make Facebook ads work harder

Harvard Business Review have some good articles on the Future of Advertising

P&G have taken user generated content to the next level with a site inviting people to help them solve their business problems

McKinsey marketing lead David Edelman has some good data on big data here and reminds us that Marketing and Tech collaboration is now crucial.

This is a good interview with the UKs smartest VC, Saul Klein.

One exercise we always include in training or workshops is our Buzzword Bingo. (When we did it for the IAB we got the best ever feedback rating from the delegates) It’s a good way if getting past the jargon and the TLAs* that blight our business. Econsultancy have a very helpful list of the 100 most used digital acronyms. Our Meeting Magician app has a fun buzzword bingo element  too – we must get around to updating it.

The spectrum auctions are now over and we’ll see 4G come to all the networks this summer. The auction raised £2.3bn. Which is good news for everyone except our supersmart Chancellor.

We mentioned the French ISP Free in our look at newTV and this is a good piece on how they are disrupting the French market. They are a company worth watching as we suspect many people will try and emulate their strategy in other markets.

eMarketer has a good look at how US brands are shifting their focus from traditional to digital this year. 82% expect to increase their focus on mobile and 76% on social.  You have to wonder what the other 18% are doing.

* TLA – Three letter acronyms

Finally.……..Just as the buzzword bingo of tech jargon complicates our business, so too does the marketing mumbo jumbo that has corrupted our language. Martin Weigal of Weidens shares a wonderful deck where he reminds us;

The rhetoric and metaphor of modern marketing – ‘community’, ‘relationships’, ‘fans’, ‘loyalty’, ‘love’, etc. – fundamentally misunderstands how people really feel and behave towards brands. Facing up to people’s general indifference to what we make, putting aside our egos and letting go of our personal need to feel significant is creativity’s best chance.

It’s a must read.


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