Mobile truly Mainstream?
This week we saw research suggesting that mobile ad revenue in the UK will surpass newspaper ad revenue. This year.
And over the next couple of years it will pass TV and be the biggest single medium. With 90% growth forecast this year and a total spend of £2.26billion, mobile is clearly mainstream. And given that a high proportion of this spend is with Google and a big chunk of the rest is response driven, mobile is a machine for making money.
But there is still a long way to go. With media brands seeing a huge switch in traffic from desktop to mobile, their ad revenue evaporates as mobile is sold too cheaply. Ecommerce brands see their customers migrate from desktop to mobile, but conversion falls away. Charities tell us their mobile traffic is surging, but donations drop.
IAB research shows that a quarter of the top financial service brands still don’t have a mobile presence. And over half hadn’t optimised their data capture. In many other sectors it’s even worse. And even when brands do have a mobile site its so often functional, rather than a fulfilling brand appropriate experience
We think the next step for mobile is to embrace creativity and use that to improve the user experience;
Make mobile sites more intuitive and rethink shopping carts, data capture and ways of paying.
Better ideas in better advertising formats. This is a video of the rich media responsive banners we mentioned last week – we’re keen to bring them to Europe ASAP.
Smarter thinking about tracking and research that enables brand metrics and response to be looked at across all screens – so we see the real value of mobile.
Brands must think about the digital experience first – and agencies need to get their best creative minds focused on digital. Or be prepared to cede their role as brand guardians to those that are Digital First.
Big Brands at SXSW
Austin Texas is the latest place to be adopted by the marketing community. Along with CES, MWC and Cannes, SXSW is now on the circuit for forward thinking brands and their ever protective agencies.
The days when new services like Twitter and Foursquare blew up at SXSW and started their stellar growth with great buzz are over. It was big brands that hogged the limelight. But the reason for being there is to get closer to tech
“Some people say it’s gotten too big — but people have been saying that for ten years. Many of the most influential people and interesting people in the world of tech marketing can be found at parties and panels throughout the week.”
Whilst lots went on, for us – observing from Clerkenwell – Mondelez were the most adept brand there. It’s hard to imagine anything more on trend for SXSW than 3D printing of Oreo cookies. And this interview with their main Digital guy Bonin Bough gets into how and why some big brands are trying to use the start up world to reshape their business.
Big Brands struggle with digital
But whilst these SXSW events are high profile, it seems many brands don’t believe they can walk the walk, even if they get the talk right. A new Forrester survey says;
Leaving aside the fact that 26% of execs don’t seem to think their company has a digital strategy, this lack of confidence is a big issue. Execs from General Mills, Kraft and Walgreens share their concerns here and Nestle have announced they are opening an office in Silicon Valley, to get closer to Tech.
And last week the excellent Albion Society ran an event about Intrepreneurs and the challenges of changing big business from the inside.
Further insight into how hard it is to change came at the excellent Firestarter talk from Russell Davies on how the Government is now dealing with digital. As he said It’s not complicated, its just hard. Neil Perkin who organises Firestarters has a good right up, as does our favourite Belgian blogger.
Lots of people in big brands are trying lots of ways to turn digital from a threat to an opportunity and there is a clear role for the right partners to help. But taking a trip to Austin probably isn’t enough.
The Telegraph have a good round up of Wallet news, with another headline about how your phone is about to replace your wallet. We’re not so sure – the huge range of wallets available confuses consumers and until some clear winners emerge we think the sector will be dogged by the chicken and egg scenario.
And as some traditional cards embrace the contactless technology that mobile wallets use we find new issues. Travelling on the tube now means you hear constant announcements about Card Clash. Touching in with your Oyster whilst it’s in your wallet, risks having the transaction done by contactless card instead. Or, as well.
Mobile money is a big opportunity and we’ll keep seeing players iterate to try and get cut through and customer acceptance. But these tech gremlins slow progress down.
New features of Google Wallet show where things might be heading; the latest version now keeps track of your online purchases and delivery though looking at what comes to your Gmail account. Now its unclear whether that’s just things you bought with Google wallet or whether its anything from Amazon etc. Clearly Google can mine your Gmail for all online purchases and that data – neatly collected in your wallet – is gold dust. The Wallet now also allows you to save loyalty programs and offers in one place – getting more and more like Apple Passbook.
We spoke at a retail round table on loyalty this week with key people from Tesco, Sainsbury, Whitbread and others. It was clear from the discussion that, so far, digital hasn’t really moved this sector on much. The plethora of offers and coupons is felt to have driven customer promiscuity rather than customer loyalty.
But with Beacons etc there is understanding that mobile could change things – if used smartly. We are more and more convinced that consumers probably want one place to manage their loyalty cards, coupons etc and Passbook and Google Wallet are well positioned. But Apple and Google probably need to do more to get these big brands on board.
Hollywood gets YouTube
Disney are about to spend $500m buying Maker Studios – one of the key players in video, with 9 of the top YouTube channels including the top rated one PewDiePie. This channel alone has 23 million subscribers and 267 million views in January alone. Following Dreamworks buying Awsomeness TV in a cheaper deal last year this move shows that Hollywood recognize the TV world is changing and don’t want to miss out.
Casting this as a bet on the future one video site said;
Maker – and other big MCNs – underscore 3 of the biggest emerging rules: (1) that talent can now break big without the backing of the traditional media, (2) that YouTube is a bona fide new distribution platform and (3) that traditional media’s grip on millennials may be slipping.
And underlining just how powerful TV ( whether delivered by a network, Netflix, YouTube or in a Box set) this piece looks at the excess of excellence in TV these days
Facebook have announced their first Developer conference since 2011. Should we expect big news for apps inside the Facebook ecology?
The clever Monday Note people think people are underestimating Apple – pointing out they spending huge amounts on R&D. Are there new products in the pipeline? The author of a new book is less confident and thinks the magic has gone. But long time Apple watcher John Gruber takes issue with the book and ends by saying;
The simple truth, regarding Apple’s continuing ability to deliver breakthrough new products, is that we have to wait.
My sense is, we may not have to wait much longer.
One more thing on Apple – How Steve Jobs got the iPhone into Japan.
Some smart thinking from John Willshire on planning - Fracking the Social web
Finally.. it’s 25 years since the web was invented and but we probably need to wait until September for the 20th anniversary of most people first web experiences – the first Netscape browser.
But the best piece of nostalgia is this clipping shared by VC Saul Klein