As we approach Christmas we are seeing more device launches. Next week Apple have invited journalists to an event on Tuesday promising We still have a lot to cover. This is almost certainly the new iPads – with more powerful chips and retina screens likely to be the main new features.
With upgraded Kindles and the new Nexus 7 already announced (as well as the Tesco Hudl and the Argos MyTablet) Apple need new products for the peak selling season. Also arriving in time for Christmas is the upgraded Nike Fuelband.
And the rumours of an Amazon phone have surfaced again with the FT claiming they are working with HTC on a smartphone. This makes lots of sense for both Amazon and HTC; Amazon extend their kindle success into the phone sector and reap the benefits of more content sales and usage on their devices. And HTC get a partner likely to drive some volume – which the Facebook collaboration failed to deliver.
The issue that is still unclear is how they get a price advantage given the operators subside smartphone sales in the US. However given the Amazon track record in eschewing profits in favour of volume and the promise of more sales, we should expect aggressive pricing. But it’s likely to be 2014 before we see a launch.
The big news of the week was Apple luring the CEO of Burberry to join them to run their retail operations. Given that Angela Ahrendts earned around £18m at Burberry last year this is a significant hire. And it seems to make more sense than the previous incumbent who came from Dixons and lasted less than a year. As well as being a brilliant retailer Burberry have spent around 60% of their budget on digital and have been strong partners for Apple, as well as Instagram Vine and all the usual suspects
So she clearly gets digital and retail. But we wonder if there isn’t more to this.
We have argued before that Apple is the BMW of mobile; could it be that they are a luxury goods brand? This good FT piece looks at the move and points out that HSBC make the argument the real competitor to Louis Vuitton is Apple. And of course Apple hired the ex CEO of Yves Saint Laurent a while back.
And as people start to get the scale of opportunity of beacons the Passbook concept starts to make much more sense. Could the retail role also encompass making Apple Passbook the defacto shopping assistant for luxury brands and their customers? We spent a lot of time talking with Gucci a couple of years ago and it was clear that luxury retailers need a way of identifying their most valuable customers as they walk into their stores – so they can deliver the best service to their best customers.
The overriding motive for the Apple vertical stack is to keep people buying the latest iPhone and iPad – because that’s where Apple make their money – so baking in services that are hard to give up act as a barrier to switching to Samsung etc. Passbook has the potential to be that must have, but only if the right brands are participating.
Phones are a now a hits business and Apple have turned their products into fashion items too – the colours of the 5C owe a lot to the way the Japanese market their phones – with collaborations with designers quite common. Of course fashions come and go, so a key role for this creative talent is to keep the iPhone franchise on track. This look at the way blockbusters drive movies is relevant reading as we see the same trends in mobile.
The news that Google has changed their T&Cs so they can use your name and picture in Google products (Reviews, ads etc) just like Facebook do – has prompted more focus on privacy. Its actually really easy to opt out – but how many people will bother with that.
When you to talk to civilians about Facebook Sponsored Stories – and the friends names you see on them saying they like the brand – you find people don’t mind them. Until they realize their friends are seeing their name ‘endorsing’ brands. Few people think this technique influences their views – although the thinking around Social Proof suggests it probably does.
We think the real advantage of friend’s names being included in an ad is perceptive filtering; we know the brain is good at ignoring stuff it thinks is irrelevant but when a friends name is there the cocktail party effect kicks in and we notice the ad. Which should make it more effective and hence more lucrative for Google.
But the big picture is about who owns your data – you or the platform you are using. Google make it relatively easy to influence the ads you see – which is a way to take some ownership of your data. And this works well for both parties – people (hopefully) see less irrelevant ads and Google have a better idea of what advertising you are interested in – which should make it more effective and hence more lucrative for Google.
We expect other platforms to do more in this area – not least to try and thwart people like AdBlocker who claim 200 million downloads and helpfully suggested that Twitter should sign up for their acceptable ad guidelines. And a TechCrunch writer suggests that people should participate in tools like the Google one as they can help make advertising better - which we sort of agree with but people still need better tools. This is likely to be the next big thing in AdTech.
But adtech continues to get a bad press. An Adweek expose details just how much ‘questionable’ online advertising there is – suggesting that as many as a quarter of online ads are never seen by a real person.
Some of then fault here is with the media agencies who are buying blind in many cases. This sometime causes a little embarrassment; the same day the Sun ran a headline condemning the AskFM site over bullying, their ads were seen on the site – it turns out their agency was buying blind through a network.
So some of the large brands have decided to look at going direct and lots of the adtech firms have jumped at the chance to deal direct. One of the smarter thinkers on the agency side has pointed out that it’s actually not that easy to do media even when the computer is doing lots of the work.
New tools continue to emerge, and that Lumascape chart isn’t going to simplify anytime soon – so brands need smart advice on how to get the best out of both the media and the creative. But will they get the best advice from the existing agency networks?
We continue to enthuse about Google Now in all our consultancy work, as it’s a glimpse of the future of mobile – context driven information and services. This is some good thinking about what an advantage this is for Google and looks at how they could evolve the business model.
We talked about the changes in news and this memo from the FT editor to his staff about reshaping their business is another step in the evolution.
Still more new players and products in mobile money. Simple is very interesting as is Square Cash, the new payment product from Square. Just send someone an email with an amount of money in the subject line, copying in Square – and they make the transfer. A few security issues but these companies are changing how people see money – and traditional financial services firms need to respond.
The competition between Twitter and Facebook seems to be intensifying and this article looks at how Twitter seems to be getting their platform right and matching Facebook product for product. Their issue is that they are so much smaller than Facebook.
Amazon is getting closer and closer to big brands – here they are putting their own people in P&G depots so they can better sell their products.
Finally ….the pace of change in tech, media and marketing continues. When we originally planned Fix we thought we would do it weekly to start with and then, when things calmed down, we would go monthly.
Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
This article peers into the future of media and is a good round up of likely change – but we still think our Futurology video (that we did some 10 years ago) is a pretty good take on where we are now, even if a little cheesy.
If you would like us to peer into the future for their business, get in touch.
But next week we are focusing on Cornish beaches and waves, so no Fix next Friday – back on November 1.
Yet more moves in the gradual blending of old TV and newTV. For ages rumors and speculation of Apples move into TV have been swirling around. Whilst some people expect Apple to develop a range of TV sets, we don’t. The economics aren’t that attractive and the replacement cycle is pretty slow.
We think the set-top box and the software is the sweetspot for Apple and it seems they are about to do a deal with Time Warner Cable to stream all their content through the Apple TV box. The 12 million people with the Apple TV would still need to be Time Warner subscribers but this sort of arrangement helps move Apple TV up the list of options –on the way to becoming a gateway.
One company already committed to the TV market is Samsung and they too are making waves – this week they bought Boxee to help them improve their connected TVs. Boxee started as a software business focused on streaming video then launched their own hardware – a settop box.
With bidding for Hulu coming to a head we may have a better view on the likely shape of this market in the next few weeks.
One of the players with most potential to disrupt TV is Tesco and the interview with their CMO that we featured last week sparked a few interesting conversations this week.
McKinsey have a very good interview with the CEO of retail giant Ahold – who are big in Europe and across the US. This interview has a biog focus on multichannel and its fascinating to hear how they see online as complimentary to supermarkets. And their ideas around remote pick up points are really interesting. Of course, they are very focused on mobile.
Still on mobile this is a good look at how Amazon have put the band back together from dotcom boom and bust Webvan. The Webvan experience of building the first online grocery delivery business (spending $800m before closing down) is proving very useful as Amazon expand their grocery business. Lots of learning for the UK players here.
Old tech players still contenders
We have been pushing the GAFA theory for a while now – how nearly all tech innovation either starts ( or ends up ) within Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Of course there are exceptions; Twitter has resisted temptation and Yahoo are buying people like Tumblr.
But the old guys are still pretty influential. Microsoft have now got 100k apps developed for Windows phones and they continue to support Bing. One area where Bing is having some success in battling Google is social – where both Twiter and Facebook have partnerships with Bing
And this is a good look at all the things IBM are up to and how that could give them a strong position in mobile. The transformation of IBM is remarkable – back in our Modem days they were a client, partner and a competitor – and they have divested their hardware business and become a major player in consulting.
Old tech still contender
We should also recognise that old tech still has a bit of life. Fix is a great example; back when we were doing mobile, social and content at Big Picture in 2005/6 ( not a very lucrative business model then) we used our blog to air our thinking. It was highly respected and with RSS we got a pretty good readership – it’s still there and at least some of the thinking still stands up.
But for Fix we went back to email because it works incredibly well. Wired point out that for ecommerce businesses email outperforms social and the core part of any digital service remainss the email address
And Bluetooth is about to get another day in the sun – it is starting to look like one of most disruptive things in iOs7 is AirDrop – which uses Bluetooth and WiFi.
Whilst the new new thing is always appealing clever ways of using old tech can be just as interesting.
End of advertising?
Rei Inamoto of Akqa has written a good piece on the End of Advertising as we know it. He sums up his well thought through argument by saying;
Brands should aim to solve real problems by providing connected services over 365 days and by inventing new businesses that benefit people, not just the brand.
The sort of thinking that inspired our Skratch project.
On a similar topic there is an interesting deck on Slideshare on the evolution of advertising – it’s really long with over 470 slides, but is interesting. It ends up promoting the idea of brands creating their own content. Which we agree totally with – the question is where they go help to do that properly.
Book of the week
Book of the Week
Whilst we talk about tech, mobile and social we are still really looking at advertising. Most of the tech firms are essentially ad businesses in that their revenues come from brands looking to influence peoples behaviour. And if we want to get good at advertising that makes the most of these new opportunities, we should have a good sense of whats been done in the past.
The History of Advertising is an update of a book that came out 5 or 6 years ago and it’s a pretty comprehensive look at the key players and their stories. It is also a rewlly good read and we think its the perfect book for the beach – and ours will be read on Porthmeor in a couple of weeks time.
Forbes have a good round up of the trend we have been focusing on for the last year or so – how tech and consultancies are annexing marketing services. As mentioned earlier IBM scores well here too.
Mobile operators are (finally) getting better at launching mobile focused services. Orange have their TVCheck app. Vodafone have invested in VoucherCloud and now O2 have launched an interesting travel related service called JetSetMe. This uses location and the wonderful IFTTT – “If This Then That” – to allow their customers to automate useful services like send a tweet when I arrive in a new country or update Yammer so colleagues know not to call as you are in different time zone. Well worth watching.
The CEO of Groupon who was sacked earlier this year (and wrote this great resignation letter) has a new career – singer songwriter. His album Hardly Working is apparently management hints delivered as soft rock. All sounds a little David Brent for our taste. Maybe that’s the idea?
Finally….. if the tracking and privacy issues we talked about last week concern you at all you should check out this MIT project – where linking the service with your gmail account allows you to see your own metadata. It’s a very good demonstration of how much can be gleaned from not much information.
The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed
Whilst the pace of change of GAFA and the huge scale remains a key issue for any brand, its still worth looking around the world to see how people are using mobile and social in a simpler way.
The geeks amongst you will recognise the William Gibson quote – and nowhere is it truer than in mobile.
Take the Unilever campaign for Wheel detergent in India. Promoted on radio and by outbound calls people were encouraged to call a 0800 number, then hang up. They were called back and hear an entertaining clip from a well known comedian and his endorsement of the product. 16 million calls drove higher brands awareness and a spike in sales. Watch this video for the full story.
Still in India, Intuit has developed a new mobile service for farmers that gives free advice and information on agricultural issues by SMS. For example, helping the farmer make more money through telling them crop prices at local markets – so they can go to see at the one paying more. And Intuit make money by selling advertising on the service.
In Africa IBM are using mobile data (looking at where SMS messages are sent from) to map bus services and look for ways of improving the routes. A similar service in the West is Waze where 47 million drivers share their location and traffic news – and it seems Facebook are about to buy them.
Back in India, an IT company called Mastek have taken the traffic idea one step further. To help make the company buses that pick up employees more efficient, they developed a featurephone app so the driver of each bus has their phone on the dashboard. This means their system can poll the app for exact location of the bus at any time and send a SMS to the employees waiting for it, when it is 10 minutes away then 5 minutes away. There is a big opportunity in apps that work on featurephones, but this tends to be overlooked as developers focus on smartphones. Back in 2005 we worked on the market entry of Refresh Mobile – now better known as Mippin – and did a lot with java apps. There is a lot of friction in developing for phones with small memories and requiring lots of accepts to install etc – but it can be done.
Of course GAFA is active in these emerging markets. Facebook have a team focused on partnerships with operators to encourage Facebook usage whatever sort of device you have. Google are pushing NFC payments in Kenya and their very interesting Trader platform – where you can buy and sell just about anything – works on SMS in Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana.
“It’s the medium of future and the future has already arrived”
Eric Schmidt has caused a bit of controversy this week by implying YouTube has already crushed regular TV. We’re not sure he actually said that; and we do have some experience of journalists misquoting you to make their story hang together better – especially when Google is involved.
For us the two key quotes were Eric Schmidt saying;
“It’s not a replacement for something that we know,” “It’s a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new platforms.”
And Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks saying;
“This is a whole new form of content, content delivery and content consumption,” “It’s the medium of the future and the future has already arrived.”
This NYT video on the video upfronts shows how seriously people like AOL, Yahoo and Hulu etc take this . OK, Sarah Jessica Parker presenting a series on ballet isn’t much of a threat to the Village or Broadchurch but it compares well to the typical programming of those channels not on the first page of the Sky EPG. The key thing with all these new opportunities is can they get the scale advertisers like
…broadcast TV remained “the dominant form of event television” but was stuck with “historical practices” such as creating hundreds of pilots for series which never air. Broadcasters needed to target investments to fewer shows, he added
As Amazon have entered the world of Pilots it is clear that everyone now see the web as a video medium rather than the text one we have grown accustomed to, because of bandwidth restrictions. Looking at the Amazon initiative the LA Times puts it well;
..what makes the Amazon pilots impressive is not that they create something radically new but that they do “real TV” so well. Their true message is that there are new Big Guns in town, and that, just as broadcast TV lost much of its market share to cable, both are going to have to make room for the major players of digital television — not the diffuse, if sometimes brilliant voices of the medium’s shoestring pioneer age, but rather highly professional ones, well-funded and well-positioned to own the Web-based future
The VC community also gets this opportunity. Mark Suster – who just hired the former head of Endemol – summarises the argument well;
The ad industry already gets this to some extent – just look at the YouTube leader board where ads are getting 10s of millions of views – through paid and organic views. And an event we spoke at last week, organised by Brainient, underscored how well developed the ecosystem is for video on both the desktop and mobile – although the creative community have yet to really step up.
Branded Content – back to the future
We have talked about how The Hire from BMW set the bar for branded content some 10 years ago and now see that Jaguar have taken some inspiration for their latest launch – even using the same production company.
Their film for the new F type is interesting but doesn’t seem to have got much traction yet – 67k views on YouTube after 3 weeks doesn’t seem too impressive, but we don’t know how many views there have been through the Jaguar website.
Still it doesn’t quite have the panache of the BMW films. Our favourite Beat the Devil, featured one of our heroes James Brown – who would have been 80 this week – and was directed by Tony Scott. Well worth 10 minutes of your time.
Content is the hot topic amongst brands and the response amongst agencies has been quick. This US blog lists out some of the responses by US agencies. A key quote is
Before a brand hires an agency for content marketing, they should ask to see the work they’re using on their own behalf.
Given you’ve chosen to read our content, we’d like to think we get this space well and we’re looking to do more for our clients. It’s clear that modern digital marketing has to deliver in content, social and mobile to be effective.
Mobile & OOH
After a big consultancy project around this topic recently, we were very interested in the excellent Mediatel event on this subject this week. It is clear there is a real synergy here. We think things like the ClearChannel 10,000 bus shelters across the UK with NFC and QR built in should drive innovation in this space.
But we believe the real opportunity with mobile and DOOH is the ability to create campaigns that match supermarket catchment areas. Few brands are stocked in all supermarkets – and even within, say, Tesco products may be in a limited set of stores. The ability to target people who can actually buy the brand advertised should be a big boost.
But we wonder whether the big retailers could play a part in making this happen. As both Tesco, Amazon and others start to play in content and start to use their customer data to help brands reach consumers the game changes. Tesco want the advertising on their developing media platform to drive sales in Tesco – and they will start to expect brands that want to be stocked to invest in these new opportunities. But given it will take some time to build their own audience, why wouldn’t they buy DOOH around their stores and resell it to brands – with mobile geo fencing as well?
Sound farfetched? Well how about Target building a tool with Facebook to offer deals that can only be redeemed instore.
We will see retailers collaborate with all sorts of media owners to better drive sales. Interesting times for SoLoMo and for retail.
And the MIT view of breakthrough technologies for 2013 has just been published.
Half of brands still don’t have a mobile optimised site. And of those who do, too many still have a rubbish one. In our experience the quickest ROI is building a really good mobile optimised site and unlocking the huge value in mobile search.
Book of the week
Another brand new book – but pretty much everything Brian Solis writes is worth reading.
So our book if the week this week is What’s the Future of Business by Brian Solis
Finally…..More evidence of the annexation of marketing by tech and consulting firms. The very smart service design firm Fjord has been bought by Accenture. The AdAge headline Agencies, Look Out: Accenture’s Invading Your Turf in a Bigger Way Than Ever is slightly hysterical but there is something significant here.
A couple of weeks ago we quoted Antony Mayfield and his Firestarter deck where he said the challenge for agencies was become McKinsey faster than McKinsey becomes you. It looks like we need to get a move on.
Not convinced? How about this then; BMW have appointed Accenture to manage their global digital presence, all their digital marketing and the agencies. And in the US Amazon have given Accenture the job of managing the review of their media buying account.
Can agencies get past their old business model and be credible partners to brands in the age of GAFA? It requires taking digital much more seriously than most currently do.
So Home from Facebook has arrived and it’s … interesting. Because of the limited range of android handsets that Home will work on, its initial impact may be a little muted. And as a sort of modern equivalent of a Google Toolbar it’s likely to only really appeal to hardcore users. But with a billion users you don’t need big percentages to make a big impact.
Home underlines the laser focus on mobile that Facebook now has and is a clear signal of intention – so the reaction of Google and Apple will be interesting.
Does Google tighten it’s hold on Android to curb the enthusiasm of Facebook and Amazon to hide data from Google? Or do they push forward with Chrome and evolve that into a mobile operating system?
For Apple this is also an issue. There is no way that Apple would allow anything like Home, but on the basis your enemies enemy is your friend, we should expect to see even deeper integration of Facebook on the next version of iOS. For a more in depth look at Home, you should read this Guardian blog.
Advertising will be included and we think Facebook may be about to realize one of the most enduring mobile business models – homescreen advertising. Lots of people have tried to build a business monetizing the fact we look at our phones 150 times a day – but outside Celltick in Asia no-one has made this work. Maybe Facebook can
This good Vanity Fair article on Facebook is worth a read too – a typically thorough look at how their approach to advertising has evolved.
But just out is some really big news from Facebook; Partner Categories - a new targeting option that uses data from 3rd parties such as Acxiom and Datalogix. This allows brands to target people based on actual purchase behaviour – although anonymity is preserved.
This ability to blend the precision of direct marketing with the scale of Facebook is really exciting.
Quantity – now what about Quality?
The recent mobile push from Facebook isn’t reflected in these figures but the new numbers on mobile advertising in the UK are impressive. At £526m it’s up 2000% since 2008 and now accounts for around 10% of total digital spend. The £300m of fresh money accounts for half of the overall digital growth over the last year.
Search is still dominant at 69% of the mobile total (versus 58% of all digital), so Google are the major beneficiary. With both Apple and Amazon hiring salespeople we can expect lots of energy from GAFA helping drive this space forward.
Clearly there is still lots of potential growth but any brand should question why mobile isn’t a substantial part of their digital marketing now.
So the quantity of mobile advertising is doing OK – we would argue that the quality has a way to go. But with that level of spend we’d expect brands to start investing in creative that makes the most of the opportunity. However we see mobile suffering from the issues that plague digital as a whole – a lack of focus on how creative can transform the economics of digital marketing campaigns.
My philosophy has been if you’re not serving the customer with what you put online you’re going to end up in a bad place. Most [banners] aren’t serving value. They’re in the business of interrupting what you’re doing. There’s a limited creativity that’s been applied with what you can do with that space and the space itself is very limiting
The Brazilification of advertising
(This has nothing to do with Agencies being scalped by client procurement teams…. )
With MadMen back, there is quite a lot of looking back at the golden age of advertising. In one piece Keith Reinhard of DDB points out;
A lot of bad ads were created at that time too that we don’t remember and that we shouldn’t remember
But in that golden age the craft and tools needed to make advertising were rare and expensive. Laying out and typesetting the VW Lemon ad was a craft, as was preparing it for printing. Now it can be done by anyone on a laptop really quickly.
So it seems prescient that we come across Blur in the same week. This UK start up acts as an exchange for business services and a large proportion of the jobs are around marketing. In the FT they report 359 briefs in the first quarter, with an average value of $11k.
The live briefs cover all sorts of marketing needs, with a lot having a budget of £2500. That would buy around 3 hours of a designer at some London agencies but the site has lots of big clients listed and glowing endorsements; Butlins were…”thrilled with the results at half the price of other alternatives for our apps” Now some Butlins apps look like they were designed and built by Redcoats, but others aren’t bad, so this service works for some clients.
Brands are waking up to that fact that making stuff has never been cheaper – - we are seeing clients realize that the assets inexpensively created for Facebook and YouTube can be used in traditional media – causing them to question the usual cost structure for traditional media production.
Of course some brands will always be happy to pay top dollar for the top talent and the top tier agencies – especially the ones owned by a tech firm – have a fairly secure future. And there will be a growing market for the people who offer their services through Blur and all the similar services.
But for the agencies in the middle, Brazilification is real.
Brazilification – the widening gulf between the rich and the poor and the accompanying disappearance of the middle classes.
– Douglas Coupland – GenerationX
The rebirth of branded content
Content marketing is getting a lot of attention right now and Buzzfeed are the most obvious example of how successful it can be. With link baiting headlines and lists of the cutest cat photos the new UK version is similar to the US one – but tailored for a British sense of humour.
It’s easy to dismiss this, but they are getting client traction – this in depth look at the US business suggests they could make $40m in revenue from brands like Pepsi and Virgin Mobile. One thing that is really interesting is their thinking around how and why things get spread – they believe there is a Bored at Work group who drive sharing and they make viral hits. This deck from the founder gets into more detail on their approach.
We’re very interested in this space, especially as we see native advertising as being a driver for mobile advertising. Of course the space is not new – we launched Big Picture as a content agency in 1995, but got distracted by social (My Space) and mobile apps for Java phones. Back then the hot term was Branded Content and whilst much of the work focused on brand funded TV there was one example that demonstrated that done correctly, this stuff can work incredibly well. BMWs series of short films The Hire was viewed over 100 million times – in the days before YouTube so each episode was watched on the BMW site in a special player that had to be downloaded. And before Facebook, so all the sharing was done via email.
One of the factors that makes content marketing so promising is the constant evolvement of new TV. We looked at how Hollywood is embracing YouTube last month and there is now a good look at the UK scene. As well as this article there is a good series of YouTube shows exploring the whole sector . Not its unlikey any of these people will turn out to be the next David Frost or david Attenburgh. But there is a good chance that the next Piers Morgan or Ant and Dec will emerge through these channels, but we don’t think the transition to traditional TV is as likely as it once was.
There is so much money in TV its hugely attractive to new players who want to disrupt it. From Google investing in content through YouTube channels to Tesco investing in content and launching Clubcard TV there is lots of change. The games consoles and tablets are preparing the way for connected TVs and people are looking to learn now. This interview with the head of Tesco Digital Entertainment is worth reading;
We believe we are well placed to ride the entertainment on demand swell at this critical time as entertainment migrates from physical to digital.
And technology could play a part too – in the US a start up called Aereo is shaking the market up by allowing people to watch the key channels on their smartphones, tablets and PCs by exploiting a loophole in the US legislation. Backed by Barry Diller this could have a huge effect on the US market.
TVCatchUp is Europe has a similar approach, but its unclear following a new European court ruling what will happen next.
Neither of these players affect the advertising within the channels they carry but Michael Woolf has written a good piece on how advertising is so easy to avoid these days. He argues that – over the 6 year life of the MadMen series – the way people consume content has changed, whilst industry hasn’t.
In a very interesting talk, Susan Wojcicki of Google makes the case that – in the future – ad views will be voluntary. With TrueView ads on YouTube Google only get paid if people choose not to skip the ad – and around 70% of all YouTube ads are now TrueView. There has been a 40% drop off in ad viewing but one 4 minute ad for Pepsi has been seen 33 million times.
Is this the future? If so the Brazilification continues – only those that can create content people want to watch are going to get paid.
Google have upated their excellent Think Insights with new content around mobile Gen C – their take on the YouTube audience.
Saul Klein shared his thinking around the fact that the internet economy accounts for over 8% of the UKs GDP. This world leading position makes the UK a great place to be involved with digital. The presentation is a must watch.
Book of the week – Paul Adams is the man who architected Google + before moving to Facebook . This book is a really good look at how people are connected and how sharing works. Whilst it draws on lots of academic thinking Grouped is very readable and highly recommended.
A good specialist mobile agency will help to reduce the complexity of mobile and retain the simplicity that needs to govern a brand’s advertising outlook. Brands need to be free to focus on the age-old truths of advertising which is getting clear and impactful messages to the right customer. Mobile even extends this to delivering it in the right place and at the right time.
We’ll be talking about this sort of thing at the Facebook mobile event later today – if you are there do come and say hello.
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.
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.
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 Boo.com 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.
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.
This week Amazon kicked off its new advertising play, with the launch of their mobile ad network for Android devices,
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.
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.”
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.
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.
We're hiring! We have some very cool projects on the go and need to recruit some brilliant people. The key talent we’re looking for is in UX and Interaction Design, and in Project Management. If you know anyone really good, who wants to get involved in the most exciting space in marketing, have them get in touch at email@example.com (No agencies please).
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