Apps still evolving
We have a view that apps are the CDs of mobile content; a clear winner over the ‘analog’ mobile web where so many sites still don’t work well for smartphone. But eventually the hunger for a stream will switch attention from apps just as they did from CDs. Notifications are the clear portender of this evolution, even if we don’t yet know what form the stream will take.
As ever, looking at China gives us a glimpse of an alternative to the western user experience. This long post from a US mobile guy working in China is fascinating and there is a lot to learn from his various examples. For instance the idea there is still life in voice input and QR codes is interesting, especially when you see the problems they are solving for Chinese users.
At LeWeb this week the webs inventor Tim Berners Lee spoke up in the apps vs web debate and – unsurprisingly – comes down on the side of the web. He makes the point that closing content up in apps make collaboration and sharing harder.
Deep Linking, one of the ways that apps are evolving, goes some way to addressing this. This is a good summary of the current state of deep linking. Again China is a good place to see some interesting examples. And Google – who have more to lose than most if apps win over the web – are pushing deep linking with new ways to benefits from deep linking in Android apps.
There are other ways to enrich the app experience and Layer give good examples of how their native communications make apps more useful.
If you are interested in user experience – and you really should be – its worth finding some time to read this design class that looks at Maps to make some key points about design. After seeing the attention to detail needed to get these things right, maybe brands will stop hiring their ad agency to do throwaway $20k apps and get some expert advice.
Talking of maps a new report on Googles mobile woes* says that Google Maps only has 100m monthly active users on the 400m iPhones in use. Being the default can be enough for a good enough product, even if there is a better one available. The Homescreen project shows Google maps is on 39% of homescreens versus 36% for Apple maps.
* We don’t subscribe to the Information so haven’t read this report – if anyone can share it with us we would be really grateful.
The new Ofcom report shows how the UK is now the worlds most advanced digital market – more money spent by consumers on ecommerce that anywhere else. And more money spent online by brands than any other country.
We are also the country with the most smart TVs; 22% of homes claim to have one and 84% are connected to the internet – so 18% of UK homes can watch Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon etc on their big screens. That’s not including PlayStations and xBoxes . Or Chromecast and Amazon Fires.
In the US Chromecast is doing really well and this chart shows how it is outperforming Apple TV. In the UK retail support is good with buyers rewarded with a Google Play voucher and a 3 month trail of NowTV. A Fix reader tells us that when you watch YouTube via the Chromecast the ads now play – so Google are selling TV ads in around about sort of way.
The FT asks whether streaming will lead to a new golden age of TV with Netfix and Amazon commissioning shows as well as YouTube and Vimeo encouraging new talent.
In its usual click bait fashion Business Insider declare TV is over, based on a range of US data about cord cutters. We don’t think that’s true but things are changing and a King Canute approach won’t work. There is lots of potential for brands to be early and be smart. Will we see a new golden age of TV advertising too?
Year in Review
Lots of looking back at 2014, inevitably at this time of year. It’s worth looking at how the key players see the year;
You Tube celebrate some of the years memes with their most famous YouTubers- who tend to be unrecognizable to anyone over 20
Twitter uses hashtags to show the key moments of the year and the perspective of an eclectic list of 20 celebs –from Lady Gaga to Gary Linekar via Bollywood start Amitabh Bachchan
Facebook has a video pulling together celebs and news – plus a bit of ice bucket challenge and you can did deeper on some key topics and events
Our key takeout is that these are no longer tech companies – they are media companies that both reflect and define culture.
This is a really good look at how Facebook have transformed themselves into a major player in adtech. And just how well positioned they now are to fight Google for the money moving from TV.
The Chinese are coming – 2 of the biggest digital media revenue companies and 4 of the fastest growing.
Wired digs into the point we keep making – most of the dotcom ideas were actually smart – they were just a decade too early.
Facebook are doing really well in video and making life difficult for YouTube. But smart brands know you need both – and that there is a lot of reach elsewhere on the Open Web
Too many people still lump tablets with mobile when all the evidence suggests tablets tend to be used in the home. So they should be considered as desktop alternatives. Google are recognizing this by focusing on context rather than devices. It’s worth checking to see whether your team are looking at tablets separately or are they distorting your data by treating them as mobile.
The FT looks at the new social apps – and tell us that ello is doing well amongst female impersonators. Now that is niche.