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Mobile Fix – April 29

Lots of quarterly earnings this week and something of a mixed bag for GAFA. Apple was the highest profile as – for the first time - iPhone sales dropped, as did iPad sales. And Mac sales.

But service revenues were up 20% - due largely to App Store revenues - and Apple Music has 13m paying customers.

A 17% rise in earnings for Alphabet disappointed Wall Street – as the other Bets they are making seem to perplex the analysts. This commentary on the call with analysts is worth reading, as in the detail there are lots of positives – mobile seems to be thriving and programmatic revenues are growing but at a lower margin. 7 Google products have more than 1 billion monthly active users. And their Cloud service won a big new customer with a $500m spend; Apple.

Twitter also disappointed but their CFO tantalized the industry with a suggestion they will use their huge cash pile for some M&A. Nuzzel would be top of my list – with Foursquare close behind; they announced a UK deal with Yelp to surface more location based content. Their biggest problem is possibly that the intense battle for talent may affect them, as employees see their stock options falling in value.

The company that didn’t disappoint was of course Facebook, beating all forecasts with a 52% rise revenue and almost 200% rise in profits. The key figure for us was Mobile Daily Active Users – tantalizingly close to the 1 billion mark at 989m in March. Up 24% year on year so we expect the billion will be announced any day now.

Just think about that – every day (almost) 1 billion people use Facebook on their mobile. And some still think moble is emerging media?

The other interesting fact is that ARPU for Europe is still around a third of that in the US. As global brands export their US marketing success that should quickly rise. No wonder Tom Goodwin makes the point Facebook own the Future

Amazon reported last and stuck with their recent habit of making profit – and a 29% increase in revenue. Their Cloud business grew by 64% - backing the view that Amazon levies a tax on much of the internet through AWS powering so much of the digital economy

The VC who VCs love to hate

Imagine you are one of the earliest Facebook employees and you help drive their early growth. What would you do next?

YouTube & TV

As video continues to grow - Snapchat now claim 10billion video views a days - the quest to monetise it by migrating money from traditional TV continues. YouTube are in the vanguard here and new research suggests it can be really effective; 56 case studies show better ROI than TV in 80% of cases.

The inevitable retort from the traditional TV world points out that the effect is probably limited to relatively low spend levels – but as YouTube wants just 24% (for now) the evidence is compelling.

This Wall Street journal article is a reasoned look at the opportunity with some interesting viewers from Agencies.

Google have also launched a new video ad format called Bumpers – which is just 6 seconds long – a very smart movie in our opinion. And their desire to get involved in traditional TV continues with new tools for TV broadcasters to dynamically insert personalized TV ads across devices and screens

Quick reads

As our fascination with Voice as an interface continues, this Earbud is interesting – combine this with our accessability hack to have the iPhone read the content of your emails and webpages and you have a whole new way of consuming content.

Our theory about Champions League being streamed on YouTube may happen a little quicker than we anticipated; BT are worried about the poor audiences they get and may partner with YouTube to stream the final. It sounds unlikely to us, but if it does happen that cat isn’t going back in the bag

In the week we learn Apple Music has 13 million customers we see that Pharrell made just $25k from 43 million plays of one of his hits. UnHappy

The GroupM Interaction report is always a good read and the intro from Rob Norman is well worth reading too – we are at the end of the beginning of digital marketing

A16Z VC Chris Dixon on investing in the future – having been early into Buzzfeed and Oculus Rift he has good credentials

Finally this HBR look at social cost of bad online marketing is quite a depressing read. It makes a similar point to our Missing Metric argument – if we could measure how much people are pissed off by our spammy ads we wouldn’t do it anymore.

I was asked by a client the other day to talk through some examples of good mobile ads and I was stuck for an answer. There is some good work out there but it’s much easier to talk about the bad stuff

So we’ve decided to hold a breakfast in a couple of weeks to get smart people together to discuss what we can do to make ads better. If we can get agencies, publishers and adtech people in the same room – and on the same page - maybe we can make a start on improving things.

If you are interested in coming along let me know and we’ll sort an invitation. And if anyone can help us out with a room – and maybe even some coffee – that would be great too.

Remember, all it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.

ext here.

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