Given we’re in the post MWC pre SXSW lull, we decided to go back to the future – and look at some of the things that have gone out of fashion but are still major parts of the digital ecology.
Banners are dead?
It’s almost 20 years since the first banner was run and they have never got much love. Despite clearly working for ecommerce and other response focused brands they have always been derided. And as a tool for branding they have never gained any credit – despite lots of evidence that they can and do drive traditional brand metrics and clear proof they can drive sales – particularly for CPG (FMCG) brands.
This prejudice has carried over and been amplified on mobile. Obviously the smaller screen size means they tend to be both smaller and more visible – but again, they work.
Goldman Sachs report that MCommerce will grow from $133bn in 2013 to $204 in 2014 – and mobile advertising is a key element in that growth.
Things like native are going to be important and more and more media owners are adopting them. But are they really scalable to the extent they can drive the market? We saw that the Daily Mail is now running what might be termed Native, but older readers may recognize it as what used to be called sponsorship or advertorial
Banners can and will get better and we are seeing the early signs of a new creativity. Some friends in the US are pioneering truly responsive banner ads that adapt to whatever screen they are on – and incorporate rich media. These ads for Mastercard are running for SXSW and feature live Twitter feeds, video and map driven navigation.
The tools for measuring the effect of mobile banners are also evolving. Our favourite analytics guru Avinash Kaushik describes the numerous options for brand metrics here. But the holy grail is being able to get an idea of brand effect in (nearly) real time – so that creative can be optimized just as media is optimized. This too is imminent and some friends will shortly launch this service.
(If you would like to know more about either of these innovations give us a shout)
We don’t believe banners are going away and we think smart brands will look at how they can get the most from this format.
QR codes are dead?
As we pointed out the other week, no-one has told the Chinese that QR codes are pointless – and they are using them in lots of interesting ways
No-one has told serial entrepreneur Dan Wagner either and he has launched a new business with QR codes as a central element. PowaTag promises to start a ‘retail revolution’ by making mobile shopping easy. QR codes are read on print and point of sale, and an audio watermark works in TV and YouTube. Coupled with a mobile wallet and one click buying, Wagner thinks this is Britains first potential Google or Facebook
Getting past the hype, he seems to have lots of retailers signed up and he might just get past the chicken and the egg dilemma of mobile – can you get enough people to download the app to keep the retailers pushing it?
Back in 2009 TMobile had a huge success with an ad that featured a Flash Dance. Everyone in Shoreditch knew that Flashdances were over, but TMobile recognised that no one had told the rest of the UK.
No-one has told the average mobile user that banners and QR codes are dead – so maybe smart use of them can be successful.
Pre Loaded Phones are dead?
In the early days of mobile the holy grail for a game developer or content producer was persuading a network to preload their content on the mobiles they were selling. In the era before app stores this was really the only way to get significant reach.
Once the Appstores came along this approach when out of fashion, but it is now coming back.
The Samsung S5 isn’t particularly exciting as hardware – as we said last week its getting harder and harder to get standout as hardware. But you can make some noise with content. Their JayZ partnership got lots of attention and the new S5 has $500 worth of content including free access to the Wall Street Journal, premium member ship of Evernote and Runkeeper and free cloud storage. Users can also gets discounts when they use the Paypal to buy from certain retailers.
This type of deal will become a key BizDev tool for apps and a common marketing feature for devices.
And it could be a game changer in the battle for TV services. The new Roku Streaming Stick is a Chromecast like device that plugs into the back of your TV and gives you just about any of the online video services through its 1200 apps. And it’s available in the UK soon.
But it gives you essentially the same as the Google Chromecast and the Apple TV. We think that we will see differentiation through content; a 3 month subscription to Netflix or HBO would be a good way to drive sales and that’s likely to appeal to the content channels too.
But Charmath Palihapitiya – VC and owner of NBA team Golden State Warriors – has a reallyinteresting view on how sports rights could reshape this market. Asked whether it’s likely that Apple or Google or Amazon will buy the rights for a major sports league in the next couple of years he says its 100% likely. Why – because the only way people will pay a premium for an Apple TV will be bundled sports. A must watch video.
Subsidised Data is dead?
As the Net Neutrality debate rolls on, Netflix have struck a deal with Comcast so their quality is better for users. No one is saying how much Netflix have paid but the idea of better service for paying customers is contentious – but good business for both sides
On mobile it used to be the case that some advertisers would pay for the data costs of their messages so users didn’t have to. Again this went out of fashion and in the era of all you can eat data the operators had to pick up the tab.
But it now seems to be back. AT&T have announced a sponsored data service ;
Data charges resulting from eligible uses will be billed directly to the sponsoring company, with AT&T picking out the healthcare, retail, media and entertainment and financial services industries as prime targets.
Telefonica are experimenting with this type of approach too. Our friend Simon Birkenhead said;
“Telefónica Germany is already running an advertising-financed mobile phone tariff called Netzclub. This allows users of the service to surf the internet with their mobile for free and make phone calls or send text messages for a low fee. In return customers receive special offers from various brands and products directly to their mobile phones, which allows them to benefit from special offers for things such as games, music or lifestyle products.”
The world of content, mobile and social is evolving quickly and just like in Hollywood; Nobody knows anything
Google tell us Mobile First is dead – brands now need to develop messaging that works on multiple devices simultaneously. (Like the responsive banners mentioned above)
Recognising the value of the signed in user Yahoo is turning off Facebook and Google logins and encouraging people to sign in, so they have better data on their users – which should translate to better revenues.
Mondelez continue to lead the pack on Corporate venturing with their latest start up programme – partnering with PreHype to develop two new startups (Pranksta and Betabox) that their brands can leverage. Unilever should soon be announcing the results of their similar GoGlobal initiative.
US Retailers are seeing huge number of mobile only shoppers – 50% of Target online shoppers online accessed via mobile.
Flipboard has acquired a rival Zite
Good look at Facebook Paper and its implications for building apps
Apple announced their push into automotive with CarPlay. Not sure what you do if you are an Android user?
Planning for Networks is a great piece of thinking on how to think about the digital space. If you like it you can vote for it in Neil Perkins Post of the Month. Lots of good stuff this month.
A really good deck on the Internet of Everything
The Man Who Invented Bitcoin has been revealed
Is the Back to the Future Hoverboard coming true?
Finally…One of the tropes we use when talking about the tech disruption is that in many sectors affected by digital – music, publishing, retail, transport etc – someone from that industry 50 years ago would now find the world unrecognizable.
Yet a character from Madmen transported here from 1964 would find the agency world quite familiar – the tailoring is not quite as good and the drinks cabinet is less visible but otherwise …
So to us this suggests one of two possibilities; Either the world of advertising is immune to the changes digital has wrought. Or, the disruption hasn’t happened. Yet.
The annexation of marketing by tech firms like Adobe and Salesforce and consultancies such as Accenture and Deloitte is one factor. And the fact
Marketers are doing more in house is another.
Is your agency facing the future – or is it still focused on the way things used to be?