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Mobile Fix – April 8

 

So we took a week off for Easter, but the relentless pace of change around mobile, social and tech continues – particularly when viewed through a marketing lens.

Facebook is doubling down on Video. With an increasing proportion of their ad revenue coming from Video and their push of 360 video to promote Oculus Rift it’s been a key focus for a while.

Now they see Live video as a way to increase engagement and are making it available to all their users – following a successful period where it was limited to public figures. With lots of ways to use Live Video, share it and react to it, it has become a mainstream feature straight away. The blog post is worth reading to understand the scale and range.

With a few filters at launch and more features like doodles coming soon, it sounds a little similar to Snapchat. Just how long these Live videos stay available could be a differentiator; Snapchat is ephemeral but for Facebook the longer these videos stay available the longer they can use them as locations to push video ads.

Media companies like Huffington Post are already involved and the lure both the size of the Facebook audience and the inherent sharing will attract many more. The big question is whether Live Video can get close to the impact Ice Bucket Challenge had a couple of years ago. Essentially that one phenomenon taught millions of people how easy it was to make and share video on Facebook. Is there going to be a new summer meme? Could a brand or a celebrity start one?

Live Video seems like a good move both in revenue potential and as a way to challenge Snapchat, although the consensus that Snapchat were stealing the youth audience away from Facebook is challenged by new research from Comscore. This shows that Facebook has a huge lead in young people – both in reach and time spent - but the data only looks at 18- 35s. Our take is that a lot of the Snapchat audience is younger than that.

This new type of video content calls out for a new type of ad content and GroupMs’ Rob Norman makes a typically eloquent argument for 3 second ads.

Snapchat

New research into how people use Snapchat is interesting. Looking at 13-24 years old - which feels closer to their centre of gravity – it shows that around a quarter are using Discover and Live Stories , whilst the key areas are unsurprisingly around snaps from friends. Celebs are big too and we liked this argument that Snapchat is the new reality TV, with the Kardashians sharing content in real time

All those people enjoying all that content is intoxicating for brands and the ad focus of Snapchat continues to grow – agencies seem to be impressed by them.

Messaging & Bots

One of the best takes on messaging comes from Benedict Evans and his piece encapsulates many of the key issues. Given all the hype around Bots etc it’s easy to dismiss it as hype, but it does get into many of the themes we cover in Fix and in our consulting work. What’s the best way for our pocket supercomputers to give us the services (and content) we want and expect?

Brands are staring to get involved. Clarks created three characters in WhatsApp to share music and messages promoting their Desert Boots. Kik have done 80 branded chats – and now have a Bot builder and a Bot Store.

Our theory is that brands need to get involved sooner rather than later. Now KLM are using Messenger shouldn’t its’ competitors look to emulate it? It’s likely that the best approach – other than a service dialogue - is some sort of Branded Utility.  So if I was running Persil for example,  I would create the best laundry guide bot  – what’s the best way to wash cashmere? - and get that onto the key messaging apps -  and Amazons Echo. Get it right, promote it right and you have solved a problem for lots of people, whilst leaving little room for the competition.

On this topic it’s interesting to read the Facebook philosophy for building ad solutions. Outlining their approach on new platforms – like Messenger – it talks of helping business connect with people organically and then looking at how ads might work.

And this look at how Amazon built the Echo – essentially a voice messaging bot – is interesting for a glimpse of the ambition at Amazon. Which in turn leads to this fascinating suggestion (by a Fix friend) of what a new Amazon smartphone might do.

Quick Reads

In other Video news Twitter emerged as the surprise winner in the bid for the NFL global streaming deal, beating Amazon and Verizon. With Periscope as their own dog in the live video fight, Twitter could do a good job with this  - their NBA partnership has been hugely effective.

Google have been busy too.  They are reimagining Adwords - their core money making machine –for mobile. The way they support and help app developers continues to evolve – with better ways of managing reviews in the Play Store. With other innovations such as AB testing proving really useful, one has to hope that the Apple AppStore team might take some inspiration from here.

And Google Accelerated Mobile Pages are apparently doing well – certainly very visible in mobile search results. This is a useful round up of AMP.

Former Twitter CEO has weighed in on the (controversial?) Instagram algorithm Because non-strictly-time-ordered feeds (done well) are better at giving people good stuff. Do his former colleagues think the same way?

As the last Fix was delivered first thing on Good Friday you may (sensibly) have missed it – you can catch up here

Finally – I was privileged to keynote a great Google event this week for Mobile Commerce developers. Through the day smart people from top US and European brands shared their experience of what’s working for them – and what’s not  - in their Android Apps. It was a great reminder that some people are really taking mobile seriously  - and consequently driving significant business.

We keep pointing out that those who take this new world seriously can gain huge competitive advantage - because there is a good chance their competition just don’t get mobile.

There is still time to invest in this area and reap the benefits. But it feels like it might soon be too late.

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