Mobile Fix – March 8

Facebook Remix

The big news this week is happening as we write Fix – Facebook are to launch their latest redesign. Rumours suggest that the key feature will be to atomise the news feed making heroes of music feeds, photo feeds and perhaps even feeds of links friends have shared and updates from other apps like Instagram and RunKeeper. TechCrunch also remind us of a rumoured radical redesign of the mobile app that could be part of the redesign.

In a New York Times piece Zuckerberg is quoted as saying that;

“Advertisers want really rich things like big pictures or videos, and we haven’t provided those things historically,”

Remixing the experience so it looks more like Flipboard, Google +, Path etc could create an environment where ‘richer’ ads feel more at home. But will users go for that?

Teenagers over Facebook?

Stories of user malaise are circulating again, with new reports that teenagers don’t like Facebook and prefer to spend their time with Instagram and Snapchat

As we have talked about with Apple, with big success comes a big problem – early adopters want something new. Facebook crossed the chasm a while back and they can have a great future as the ITV of social – and let Instagram be the MTV.

The problem about users not liking advertising is an industry one rather than  just for Facebook (and everyone else in GAFA). We are always quick to argue against the myth that people don’t like advertising. People don’t like irrelevant advertising but they do like relevant, useful advertising – and it doesn’t hurt if it’s entertaining too.

Messaging Tapestry

We’ve been spending quite a lot of time looking at the ad opportunities on Facebook and they are quite intoxicating.  The wonderful granularity of targeting that Facebook allows means it is quite easy to find the right people. And there are now some really interesting rich media ad formats with video, through vendors like Celtra and Moontoast. Combine these with the huge reach that Facebook can deliver and it’s hard to argue with the Facebook pitch – especially when it comes to mobile.

But of course we see that many agencies are missing the opportunity by eschewing the targeting in favour of mass reach, with just one or two ads used. The real value of Facebook can only be unlocked with lots of creative work where each message is relevant to a specific target group. Building a messaging tapestry like this can still deliver huge numbers – and everyone sees relevant ads; it’s just a bit more work for the agency. But we are convinced the returns will make this worthwhile.

MIT has a good look at the considerable progress Facebook have made on mobile so far – with a good quote

Everyone, including Zuckerberg, worried that users might balk at ads mixed with posts from friends. So far, that hasn’t happened. Tests that Facebook ran found the insertion of ads reduced comments, likes, and other interaction with news feed updates by 2 percent, a small decline that the company deems acceptable.

Carolyn Everson, the head of sales at Facebook, shares this illuminating quote in a good interview;

“When Mark [Zuckerberg] first interviewed me, he said: ‘I want the content from marketers to be as good as that from your best friend.’ That was his vision – I don’t think we’re there yet; I think it’s a long-term vision that we have to get to – but the goal is to have marketing become as integrated an experience as any content you’d get from your friends.”

It’s our job to make this happen.

Google Delivers

In an interesting video interview the Google head of sales Nikesh Arora makes a similar point about advertising – people want advertising that’s virtually indistinguishable from information. Google built their business doing this with adwords – which 40% of UK consumers don’t know are ads.

Of course the key factor that caps adspend is the uncertainty over whether it works. And the best way to know whether it works is to be involved in the sale – something Google has got closer and closer to with analytics etc.

Now it seems Google want to go further. They capture the intent, they can facilitate the transaction with their wallet and now they are going to deliver the goods on the same day.

“The transaction is the ultimate click,..”

This takes them head to head with both Amazon and eBay who are trialing similar services.

As Marc Andreessen has said, all (most) of the dotcom ideas were good ideas, just too early. Kozmo was heavily backed and its model of 1hour delivery was popular with people  – they just burnt through their VC money really quickly. But just as ASOS looks a lot like and Groupon like LetsBuyIt, maybe the Kozmo idea will actually work now.

But as the supermarkets know, it’s not hard to acquire customers for home delivery services – it’s just hard to make money. For all the vans tearing around London streets delivering groceries it’s rumoured that the supermarkets lose £15 on each delivery.

Given that lots of people just aren’t at home to take delivery, we wonder if these same day services won’t be part of the colonization of the High Street by GAFA. eBay have experimented with popup stores, Amazon have lockers in Spar and the idea that Google should have retail stores in getting traction.

In a neat demonstration of just how intertwined GAFA is we saw data this week showing that the biggest user of Google paid search is Amazon – by a huge margin.

One group that does seem to buy the Google story is investors, with a lot of money switching from Apple to Google.

“It’s no coincidence that Google’s rise has coincided with Apple’s demise,” Elsheshai said. “Making money from services versus devices is growingly perceived as a better business model.”

Tesco TV

Tesco continue to build out there content play. They have hired top talent to run their book and music divisions.  And in an audacious move they are taking on Amazon and Netflix with a film and TV streaming service – which is free for their 16 million Clubcard customers.

With all the data they have on customers brands will be able to target advertising precisely  – and in theory they should be able to measure effectiveness through sales. This is a very significant move and we’ll come back to look at it in more detail soon.

Quick Reads

This week Amazon kicked off its new advertising play, with the launch of their mobile ad network for Android devices,

More smart thinking on how marketing is changing – this time from Forrester.

Nature thrives on complexity and so too does innovation. As of yet, few marketers are meeting the demands that accompany this seismic shift in consumer behavior, and the effects are showing

Growth hacking score high on buzzword bingo right now – this article explains and demonstrates how crucial this focus on the detail is. We think MoneyBall Marketing is a better term.

Our friends at eBay have shared their plans for this year;

In 2012 we exceeded our original targets for mobile sales reaching $13 billion and we’re expecting to see this grow to over $20 billion this year.

Ever wondered just how search actually works? How your esoteric search query triggers millions of results all nicely ordered in terms of relevance  – within a fraction of a second? Google shows you here.

This is a good round up of the current state of mobile advertising  - agreeing with our take that its still early days yet. Yet again we find ourselves agreeing with Marc;

“I think mobile advertising is going to be more lucrative than Web,” said Marc Andreessen, the tech entrepreneur and investor, during an interview in New York City in December. He described a smartphone that knows you, your money, your habits, your wants: “The targeting is going to be amazing [and] more valuable.” He paused, and added, “These formats don’t exist yet. They have to be invented.”

Since we covered MWC last week we have read a few other reviews and these tow are well worth a look; Thomas Husson from Forrester and mobile guru Chetan Sharma

We have never been convinced by NFC, suspecting that something new will make it redundant before it gets anywhere near massmarket take up. And now we think we know what will take its place – Graphene.

New thinking from John Willshire is always welcome and this new deck is really thought provoking

Finally ….  we sometimes get stick from people over our constant refrain that our business is changing . Lots of people think it’s still pretty much business as usual – as long as you throw in a bit of social and use the latest buzzwords. This piece from the media team at New York agency Kirshenbaum shows the profound changes that result from embracing the new opportunities. – Everything you know about the media business is about to change.

We are out and about speaking at the moment. We have another talk at Google next week  – this time as part of their Squared initiative – then we are talking about Tablets at the WARC  Measuring Ad Effectiveness conference. And next week we will be taking part in the MediaTel Media Playground event  - always a very interesting event.

If you are at any of these events do come and say hello.

  • Sunil Gunderia

    The weekly Mobile Fix is a terrifically engaging round up. It is a must for all interested in mobile commerce. cc @simonbigpicture @addictivemobile