Mobile - Problem or Opportunity?
We spoke on a good Adweek panel organized by Weve this week. Along with other sessions across the event, we were left with the feeling that there is quite a lot of friction holding mobile back. Lack of clarity of measurement , lack of creativity, dissatisfaction with formats etc.
And a couple of smart people in the US make similar points this week. Ian Schafer of Deep Focus suggests the digital ad economy is heading for a correction as the stuff that works on desktop doesn’t translate to mobile.
And Barry Lowenthal of The Media Kitchen points out many mobile focused businesses are rejecting advertising as a business model – which is a problem for those who need to reach consumers when they are on mobile.
Now we probably don’t need reminding just how big the mobile opportunity is (but these 5 charts do a great job) but if the ad industry doesn’t make the most of this others will.
The CMO of Walmart is a big believer in adtech and is bringing in engineers to help solve the problem.;
“There are so many choices on where you can put your precious investment. It’s a software problem.”
And here in the UK a Tesco exec talks about the lack of expertise around mobile;
“Lack of expertise is a big challenge, not just in our company, but a lot of agencies don’t get it. They claim they do, but if you scratch the surface they don’t.”
Whilst tech and mobile have disrupted many sectors – retail, money, publishing, transport etc the changes in marketing are less apparent. Someone from any of these sectors 50 years ago would struggle to recognize their business now.
Yet as MadMen proves, someone from a 1965 agency would feel fairly at home in an Agency today. Which either means we’re immune to disruption. Or it just hasn’t happened. Yet.
Mobile is a huge opportunity. Embracing the possibilities of mobile, social and content can be the way we change the way Agencies add value for clients. Or we can leave it in the too hard box and let the consultancies eat our lunch.
It’s time to experiment.
Apps vs Browsers
A perennial question on mobile is whether brands should focus on apps or moble web. Various studies have shown that most brands apps struggle to get users and even once downloaded often languish on the last screen before being deleted. And the surge in mobile search - along with huge mobile use of email and social – means a mobile optimized site in a must have.
But new research from Flurry suggests that the vast majority of time spent in mobile is spent in app – as much as 86%in the US.
Data from Comscore suggests a similar profile – and shows mobile app usage now accounts for more time than desktop.
We still believe the mobile web is vital; the fact that half of searches are now mobile underlines this, as does anecdotal evidence.
If your brand doesn’t have a mobile optimized site you are at a serious disadvantage. Not having an app is much less critical.
“TV is just an app”
A big week for newTV – the term we use for the fusing of digital video and traditional TV. BT have thrown their weight behind the Chromecast with all their sports available this way to their Broadband customers – potentially reducing their reliance on Sky – their main rival. It also has the potential to reduce their reliance on YouView where other partners include the main free to air broadcaster. The C4 CEO is skeptical about Chromecast calling it;
one of “a plethora of devices that will trickle into homes”.
Dixons are more positive – saying they sold one every 4 seconds on first day of sales – and it’s still the top seller on Amazon.
Amazon now have their own streaming device; the Amazon Fire. At $99 it looks good and they make a point of comparing it to Chromecast and Apple TV where its higher spec may justify the higher price. No word on when it will be available in the UK – but we would expect it to be soon and with some UK partners – like BT and BBC iPlayer.
Another piece in the Vertical Stack and another device to support, if you are a content player.
A US presentation on the future of TV is worth looking at – and this quote is interesting;
“As you unbox the cable box and allow other devices to become the TV experience, you’re going to get much better consumer experiences,” Mr. Greenfield said. “On the flip side of that, TV is just an app.”
The charts from this presentation are available here.
As we said when talking about Disney last week, this game is about creative transformation rather than revolution, as the money involved is huge – old school traditional media companies that sell video are hugely profitable
So they want to protect their business and new media companies want a share.
As a further incentive for brands and agencies to move TV budget to online video YouTube will now guarantee audiences for big spenders – and reserve them space in top shows. Sounds a lot like TV.
Yahoo have ambitions here too. Already a big player in online video Yahoo are rumoured to be planning a YouTube rival and looking to poach some of the YouTube stars. There is some latent dissatisfaction with YouTube but the lack of a viable alternative has meant there has been little churn yet.
Ben Evans has written a really good piece on TV too
Twitter & TV
One area where TV is embracing digital is through social. New research from Twitter shows the symbiotic relationship – evidenced by 4.2 million tweets using the Brits hashtag. And one very interesting snippet is the finding that being retweeted is strong social capital.
Building on this, Twitter are buying 2screen analytics firms in Europe – SecondSync in the UK and Mesagraph in France. Both have strong relationships with broadcasters in their markets.
So we should expect more lame use of #hashtags in the end frames on TV ads, but smart brands will find better ways of unlocking the social element. We think that brands could have a role as curators on Twitter – maybe using Lists an underexploited asset of Twitter.
For example could a Champions League sponsor direct fans to a curated Twitter list for each match – featuring the players and pundits who are likely to add value for that particular game?
This is good thinking around the potential for curation.
One key issue around TV switching from cable to broadband is capacity. In a turkey not voting for Christmas type surprise, EU Mobile network operators have come out against Net Neutrality. The EU believe there is a compromise to be had;
“If we all agree on the need to end blocking and throttling, and we agree on the need to manage specialised services carefully, then the debate that we are having is about how we achieve this, not about being for or against the open Internet,”
But MNOs are not keen on building the fatter pipes that YouTube, Netflix etc need, without some way of profiting
As BT looks to re-enter the mobile market with a quad play – landline , broadband, TV and now mobile – we have a complicated ecology. And it is possible BT will emulate the strategy of French ISP Free where their extensive broadband network – coupled with Femtocells – could give them an advantage in coverage.
The one thing MNOs lack is content, so will we see BT extend their content strategy to mobile? With all that TV money at stake, the idea of your enemies enemy is your friend springs to mind. There are still rumours of a tie up between Vodafone and BSkyB.
Whilst the various mobile wallet initiatives struggle to get traction, mobile banking has really taken off for existing banks. Over 12 million people have downloaded banking apps and usage has doubled to 18.6 million transactions a week.
The downside of this for the banks is that footfall in their branches has dropped dramatically – down 30% at RBS/NatWest over 4 years.
As new services launch – like PayM which enables people to make payments to anyone whose mobile number you know –, this is a one way trend.
PayPals David Marcus has shared their view on how this is going to play out – and with news that MPesa, the African money success story is coming to Europe, disruption is going to continue.
The question is whether new players can drive the change or do existing banks – along with Visa and Mastercard – have enough as incumbents to win?
(Looking even further ahead this futurology piece imagines money in 2040)
The move to omni channel is not just a western phenomenon. Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is investing in Chinese department stores.
IBM is investing in their services division to build what is essentially a global digital agency. IT giant. Cognizant are aggressively growing their consulting business and Accenture have made a really big hire too. Tough competition for agencies.
A good look at the ingredients of a successful social campaign – #Selfie
After Apple potentially reshape the marketing world with low energy Bluetooth and beacons are they about to do the same with Multipeer Connectivity and Mesh networks?
It’s 10 years since Gmail launched
Are we getting over excited about Big Data? This good FT piece makes the case for Big Insight and points out the flaws in some of most discussed examples of Big Data success
Tesco are getting into adtech Can we expect Tesco to use their big data to target ads for the products they stock?
Finally ….As we have mentioned before, no-one has told the Chinese that the QR code is over. Nor, it seems, that local newspapers are dead. So they are combining the two to create portable online shopping catalogues.
We think there is real potential to connect local press with digital via the mobile. This is worth watching.