Category Archives: Events

Windows 8 – Mobile Fix

With lots of buzz around Windows 8 this week we were reminded that Bing is pushing out some good mobile products – all getting ready for the imminent debut of Nokia phones running on Windows?

The E word – Mobile Fix

Engagement is a word that has really taken off in marketing recently. Everyone is talking about it – usually without a clear understanding of what is meant and/or how to measure it. Twitter are using it as a measure for their advertising. After reading this very well thought through post –Engagement – Fashionable but Bankrupt - from a Wiedens planner, we’ll be a lot more careful how we use the E word in future.

HTML5 – Mobile Fix

Our pitch in Sao Paulo last week revolved around using HTML5 as the platform, with native features blended in. This is a good summary of the issues and the current state of play on the HTML5 and Native debate. And this is a good article on how the Boston Globe have adopted HTML5 for a redesign

This blog post looks at Taiwan and how / why mobile web is so dominant there.

Branded Apps…Utility & Content rule – Mobile Fix

Forrester have a good summary of brands that are getting it right on mobile. The common theme? They solve a problem for consumers. All our projects are conceived around the belief you can only solve a business problem by solving a consumer problem. Branded Utility is alive and well and thriving on mobile.

And Branded Content is back too -  this article takes a detailed look at how brands are investing in content creation in a bid to get attention. We’re convinced that the best use of mobile is around these two strategies; Brands creating (or curating) content and delivering utility have an opportunity to make mobile really work for them.

Alternatively you can design an app as a more orthodox marketing tool and see what happens.

Quick Reads – Mobile Fix

We’re sure you have heard the mobile conference cliche that Starbucks will, one day, be able to message you as you pass a store, with an offer of a free coffee. That day just got a lot closer -Foursquare is poised to release their Push API.

More evidence that mobile advertising is growing up – $200m of funding for mobile ad network InMobi and agreement on mobile rich media formats from the IAB.

Ben Hammersley of Wired has shared a fantastic speech  – summing up that we are still at the start of the internet. Really interesting thinking.

Interesting Events – Mobile Fix

Over the next few weeks there are some good events that are worth going to. The MMA have an excellent line up for their London forum, with Coke, Unilever, BBC and other major brands speaking. And brands can attend for just £200.

With Connected TV a hot topic around the world (our guys in Brazil are just delivering 20 games for the LG appstore) the MediaTel event on this subject is well timed. Speakers include LoveFilm, Samsung, Google and BARB.

And there are still some places at the Senior Market conference taking place next week.

September 9 – Mobile Fix

The Sao Paulo edition

Writing this in the @PontoMobi office in Sao Paulo – following a two day workshop as part of a global pitch, where we’re down to the final stage. 26 degrees and caipirinhas have defined the week – as well as hard work, smart thinking and great hospitality.

Mobile advertising

Smart analytics company Flurry have stirred up the mobile advertising world with their claim that the huge growth in mobile inventory means it could ‘absorb’ the desktop ad world. Many have questioned whether this is actually a good thing and, to us, it’s apparent that mobile advertising needs to answer some of the questions online advertising has struggled with.

Despite clear evidence that online advertising can and does build brands – and actually outperforms TV ads for FMCG brands in some cases – many still question its validity. Mobile needs to demonstrate that it can deliver against brand metrics and that engagement on mobile is valuable. We also need to provide evidence that attention within a premium environment is more valuable than in non-premium sites or apps. The IAB study with John Lewis is a good start, but we need more. With new Comscore data showing that mobile ads are working on UK youth – 31% recall seeing mobile ads – the potential is clear.

We’re developing some thinking around this space – using some of the great work done by Robert Heath on Low Involvement processing – and we’d be interested in hearing from anyone who would like to get involved.

In a further sign of the sector maturing Google have chosen to reorganise their two mobile ad products, by allocating AdMob to app developers and AdSense to mobile web publishers. Some question whether this sort of thing perpetuates the apps vs mobile web debate that we hoped was abating.

Facebook making money

Leaked data shows that Facebook revenues are up to around double last years – suggesting their $80bn valuation isn’t that absurd. And at just $1 revenue for each user they obviously have room for colossal growth. But should we worry about user numbers slowing. The global perspective is quite interesting; with strong ‘local’ players like Orkut here in Brazil and QQ etc in China, are Facebook running out of new markets to conquer?

Doubts over participation need to be balanced against the news Barcelona now has over 20 million Facebook fans. And we recently heard Tom Bedecarre of AKQA talk of how clients are now setting targets for the number of Facebook likes they have – everyone wanting 5 million or 10 million. But do brands know what to do with these fans once they have them? Are they building a dialogue with their most valuable customers?

Mobile disrupting music

We all know how digital disrupted the music business and the battles continue between Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon over music in the cloud. In live music mobile is being just as disruptive as this interview with the head of LiveNation shows.

We wonder whether there is potential for mobile to create new revenue streams for music. In the past album covers and CD notes provided value to buyers of music – could apps provide similar value to people who buy MP3s?

The Black Eyed Peas app has done well, providing a new experience for fans and a new revenue stream for the band. And Bjork added an additional dimension to her last album with a whole suite of apps.

Significant value is also being created by new ways of packaging music – could there be a role for brands here to curate music for their customers?

Disruption can be just as much about creation of new business models, as the destruction of old ones.

Amazon – the most disruptive company?

When we started including Amazon in our GAFA model many people questioned whether they were on the same page as Google, Apple and Facebook. In recent months that question has gone away – but we were intrigued by this excellent Wired article suggesting that Amazon has swiftly become the most disruptive company in the media and technology industries

Their big news is the Kindle tablet and there are more and more stories emergimg about what it will offer. As part of the preparation, Amazon are reportedly redesigning their website – a very big deal when you have the most successful ecommerce site in the world. Most ecommerce players live by the rule if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it and satisfy themselves with ongoing a/b testing to look for marginal improvements.

But Amazon are under some pressure in one part of their business – independent app store GetJar is pushing their Android offering with promotions of free premium apps. We expect the whole area of app distribution and discovery to mature in the coming months, with smart promotions becoming the norm. Our favourite example is EA slashing the prices on their top games last December. At Christmas they put the prices back to normal, and cleaned up by dominating the best selling charts on the App Store (EA games held the #4, #7, #8, #10, #11, and #12 spots in paid iPhone apps and the #1, #2, #4, #7, #9, #10 spots in paid iPad apps through the holiday charts freeze.)

Quick Reads

McKinsey have a good study on the value of search to business

Still on search, Google once claimed they could predict the opening weekend revenues for movies, weeks before release based on search volume. They are now building on their involvement in the movie business with some fascinating data on searches for films and trailers.

And maybe they intend to be just as involved in the restaurant business – we just saw that Google bought Zagat. Expect to see Google Places evolve quickly using these new tools.

Thinking from a global perspective we were fascinated to see that Chinese search giant Baidu is to launch their own mobile Operating System. It is based on Android, but strips out android apps and replaces them with their own. And Dell are partnering with Baidu to launch a range of devices too. With huge businesses like Baidu, QQ and video site Tudou the Gang of Four struggle in China.

The big problem with social media is that there is no way – yet – to capture the valuable information outside of real time. This is demonstrated by some research from Bitly – showing that half of all clicks to a link shared in a tweet are in the first 3 hours. When someone solves this, they create a really valuable business

Back in the days of dotcom madness we tried to sell one of the oil companies an idea to install lockers on their petrol stations for people to get ecommerce deliveries. We basically stole the idea from Japan where Amazon delivered to local 7/1l stores.Now we see that Amazon are testing this a new version of this approach in the US.

Finally

One piece of learning from our pitch; it’s clear that the current artisan approach of building bespoke apps is evolving towards a platform based solution, where smart use of APIs can deliver the most appropriate content and services to the individuals device(s). This integrated approach means we need to consider desktop usage as well as mobile devices and connected TVs. The new appstore for Chrome is a good example of how worlds are colliding – the team at PontoMobi are about to launch 20 Chrome apps – commissioned by Google – for some of the biggest brands in Brazil.

And Seth nails it again with a must read post on talent and vendors. We see ourselves as talent and count ourselves lucky that our clients think of us in that way too. Are you talent or are you vendors? And what about the people you work with?

Mobile Fix – September 2

The Back to School edition

Keep taking the tablets

We have to come clean. We’re sorry to say we were part of the geek mob that rampaged around the web last week, crashing the sites of PC World, Comet, Dixons and Carphone Warehouse.

Getting a 32gb HP Touchpad for just £115 may not be looting, but it’s not far off.

We did get lucky and finally got one and have enjoyed playing with what is a nice bit of kit. It’s not an iPad and at the full price of £480 we would be less pleased. But at £115 it’s a great buy – and shows the plethora of Tablet makers what they need to do to compete with Apple; produce something that’s almost as good as the iPad but much, much cheaper.

Ewan Macleod has a good piece on the (missed) opportunity for HP to buy a chunk of the market by investing a $billion. Well worth reading. And we’re fascinated to see that HP are going to make some more touchpads – ostensibly to use up their stock of components. And they keep running free app promotions too – but not for the UK yet. With people hacking the Touchpad to run Android and rumours about HP selling the WebOS operating system we suspect we haven’t heard the last of the Touchpad.

One company who will have taken note is Amazon – who very smartly only dropped the price to around £250. Rumours about an imminent Amazon tablet proliferate and Forrester think they will be very disruptive – as do we.

In the face of this drama, news of tablets from consumer electronics giants like Sony struggle to cut through. The products sound interesting but few are convinced they will have much impact.

Clash of the Titans

As the hype machine gears up with various leaks and rumours about the iPhone5 some hapless Apple employee has managed to lose a prototype. Hopefully its not the same guy who lost the iPhone 4 just before that launched. At the time we speculated it was a PR stunt and second time around you have to wonder…

We’ll see some intense competition for the new iPhone with the next Android Nexus – called the Prime – due in October and the first Windows Nokia devices due soon too. With so much riding on these for both Nokia and Microsoft we shouldn’t be surprised that the hype is starting. This article focuses on the design resources Nokia are lavishing on their new range.

Mobile Internet is mainstream. It’s official.

New UK Government statistics show the dramatic growth in mobile continues;

17.6m people used their mobile to access the internet – 45 per cent of Internet users. And 6 million people accessed the Internet over their mobile phone for the first time in the previous 12 months.

Comscore research shows mobile is reaching critical mass as an advertising medium too.

5.4 million UK smartphone subscribers (25 % overall) recalled having seen ads through a mobile browser or app in the quarter ending June 2011, representing a 28-percent increase from three months prior.

And Google have published a UK version of their US Mobile Movement research. Few surprises but plenty more good evidence of how mobile has changed peoples behaviour, creating new situations that brands can take advantage of. What is everyone waiting for?

Frenemies?

As we predicted, Eric Schmidt was making friends in Edinburgh last week, and he expects that Google TV will make better progress over this side of the pond than in the UK. It is well worth reading the full transcript of his speech at the Edinburgh TV festival.

He talks of his surprise over the decision to bin Kangaroo and the opportunity lost through the slow progress on YouView. But if Google do end up buying Hulu they may move a lot quicker over there and over here.

There seems little to stop them crippling YouView by launching a UK version of Hulu – and given the thoughts on YouView we have heard from some broadcasters we wonder if anyone would really care? If Google can demonstrate they can make the cake bigger, we’d expect broadcasters to play ball.

Or would the programme makers do best from a Hulu? – weakening the position of the broadcasters. One theory behind the sale of Hulu is that the content producing owners (Disney and Fox) want a strong alternative to Netflix. With Tesco and Amazon lining up to offer streamed movies in the UK, can their involvement in TV shows be far behind?

This is a good take on what’s happening within TV as the internet park their tanks on the lawn.

Quick Reads

Last week we noted that Amazon was rolling out local offers and now we see that Google are doing the same – does anyone really think Groupon can dominate this market?

This is a good infographic showing Google acquisitions over the years

Whilst the other GAFA players have made their moves in music Facebook now steps up with their music service – opening the door for people like Spotify to deliver their service within Facebook.

And this good article details how Facebook places is still going strong after the changes we mentioned last week.

Finally

Despite mobile and social already going mainstream, it is clear that the pace of change is going to continue. A new report from Britain’s Technology Strategy Board (the UKs national innovation agency. No, we’d never heard of them either) makes very interesting reading. It looks at the future of the internet and with talk of the Internet of Things and Converged Services it’s not an easy read – but it’s well worth looking through

It makes interesting reading especially as we are currently enjoying Kevin Kelly’s latest book – What Technology Wants.

And after hearing today about some use cases for WiGig – including the ability to download a HD movie file from a poster in around 5 seconds – the future looks just as fascinating as the present.

Is your brand ready for the future? And are you taking full advantage of the new opportunities that are now ready for prime time?

Mobile Fix – May 27

The Disruption issue

Mobile disrupts. As Mary Meeker says, some companies will win big (with mobile) and some will wonder what just happened. What’s going to happen to your company?

Music disrupted

The first industry to be disrupted by digital (remember Napster?) is going through a new change as cloud based music services are launched – with Amazon and Google already out there and Apple imminent. The Google service (well explained in this video) has been well received as has the Amazon service– liked by everyone but the music business who think storing music in the cloud is different to storing it in your PC and want more money.
Facebook are rumoured to be about to enter the market with a partnership with Spotify – who are signing deals with the record companies. Apple are signing deals with all the record companies – and the publishers – which is taking a long time.
But whilst most people write off the music companies as dinosaurs one person is very bullish about them. Sean Parker – the man behind Napster  – tried to buy Warner Brother and thinks labels are now undervalued.
“I think that there is a pretty dramatic change in the way music is monetised that is on the cusp of happening. Back catalogues of record labels are going to become extremely valuable. If you believe this transformation is occurring, if you believe the broken distribution systems are on the verge of being fixed, those recordings are dramatically undervalued”

Money disrupted

As we explored in our session on Mobile and Money for Google a few weeks back, everyone is positioning themselves for the imminent disruption in money. And now Google are due to announce their own play. They are partnering with Sprint, Mastercard and Citibank to launch a mobile wallet. With their flagship Nexus S device having NFC they are looking to seize an advantage over Apple who are rumoured to be including NFC in the next iPhone. And with Offers folded in they take the battle to GroupOn et al.
The other disruptive player is Square who have grown their business very quickly, and are now evolving beyond allowing people to take credit card payments with their iPhone. Their new service enables retailers to build a relationship with their consumers as well as letting them pay with one click on the app. Very interesting and we can’t wait for it to get to Europe.

TV disrupted

The 2screen behaviour is now clearly recognised – with the consequent transfer of attention from TV to smartphone or tablet, which we have described before, confirmed by some new research from media agency UM.
Viewer distraction, most commonly in the form of smartphones—which are “a persistent companion to video content”— reduce attention to ads for both TV and online video
We’re now seeing people looking to monetise this behaviour and Bluefin are connecting tv shows and the ads within them to whats being said about them online. Started by MIT academics the data from Bluefin is being used by brands and agencies to understand how best to use TV – what spots to buy and what creative to show. A simpler version of this approach is being employed by agencies – using social buzz to determine which shows combine quality of viewing with quantity of viewers.
Once the Demand Side Platforms and Trading Desks – which are starting to drive digital buys – are unleashed on TV we’ll see the Agency model change radically.

Advertising disrupted

As you would expect Google are pushing these changes and they see huge opportunity.
“Our belief is that by Google’s participation we can grow the overall display advertising pie,” Mr Mohan told the Financial Times. “The fundamental problem we are trying to solve is how do we get from [being] a $24bn industry to a $200bn industry in a few short years.”
The tensions  of an industry in change are well observed in this article about Maurice Levy – who runs Agency group Publicis  – interviewing Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.
“If you think about advertising, what’s going to be more effective than any advertising you show is something your friend says they like,” says Zuckerberg.

Luxury & Retail disrupted

One sector that tended to resist digital for a long time was luxury. We’ve now found that mobile is seen as a positive by many of these brands as it offers the opportunity to connect digital activity to the stores that are so valuable in this sector.
No-one does it better than Burberry and this interview with their CEO is essential reading, with learnings for any brand.
“People talk about the age and positioning of a brand but, hell, it’s not about that. The global language is digital and we need to speak the language,” says Ahrendts.

Content disrupted

Its easy to focus on big brands when we’re looking at disruption but we must remember that a major factor in disruption is the ability of talent to surface, without the help of the gatekeepers that characterise the recent past.
One of the most succesful youth media channels SBTV is ran by a 24 year old and uses YouTube to reach a big audience.
And a new generation of writers are self publishing on Facebook, a chapter at a time.

Quick reads

Our Tweets this week

We share interesting stuff on Twitter throughout the week and thought it worth adding a selection of them here, in case you missed any of the stories. To get the links – and to follow us on Twitter if you don’t already – click on the images or the column on the right of this page.

Facts & Friction – the film of the book

Our friends at Albion have uploaded the video of their Albion Society talk The Revolution will be Mobilised and you can see me present the Facts and Friction deck I shared here a few weeks back.

You can also see a summary of the whole event on their site and see @flirtomark, @raamthakrar and @cdickens talk too.

Mine is probably best kept for when you really can’t sleep.