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Mobile Fix - December 4

Mobile conversion

One of the more Pernicious myths about mobile is that people don’t buy using mobile – they do browse etc – but many / most complete their transactions on a PC.

We have long argued that if you make it easy to buy using mobile people will do just that. And many mobile natives don’t have access to a PC . Whilst the vast majority of Fix readers have a work laptop that they can use for anything, civilians don’t. The PC they have at home is probably an antique Dell and if they do have access to a computer for work its probably blocked form accessing social etc.

It’s a curious irony that if you go anywhere that the digerati hang out – Shoreditch, Brooklyn or San Francisco - the craft coffee shops are full of people on their Macbooks. Yet walk for 5 or 10 minutes to a less artisan location and the Starbucks are full of people on their smartphones.

So real people can and do buy on their mobile as it’s often their most practical option. The Black Friday data for IBM is a great proof of this as it shows mobile sales dramatically increasing over last year – and smartphones outperform tablets.

Now don’t get us wrong – lots of people still have cross device customer journeys and most mobile sites and apps need lots of improvement. But it is now clear that investing in your mobile presence can and will drive sales.

There is still some debate over whether an app is better than a mobile site. We firmly believe that brands need both. For existing customers we believe a world class app experience is now mandatory. But to benefit from search traffic and to serve newer customers a world class mobile web site is essential too.

Walmart reported that over 70% of the traffic to Walmart.com is now mobile and that mobile accounted for over half of their orders since Thanksgiving – double last year.

Shop Direct have been one of the most aggressive retailers in mobile and their focus on mobile web has been very successful – with over half their sessions are on smartphones – add in tablets and mobile is 70%. But since they added an app they have had 500k downloads and improved conversions and dwell time.

One of the most interesting commerce app platforms is POQ and they shared a glimpse of the success their customers had over Black Friday – twice as many app users as mobile site users and higher conversion rates. As they say in the US your mileage may vary, but you almost certainly need both.

The bar is high though –people know what a great mobile experience is and they don’ forgive a crappy experience. They know Uber can add your credit cards by taking a photo of it, and wonder why you make them type in the 16 digit number.

The contribution of mobiles to store traffic is also important and this piece considers Google Store Visits data is helping some retailers.

Apple Watch

At the start of this year we might have predicted that the Apple Watch would be a big Christmas seller – but now we are not so sure. Despite the new version of the OS in September there isn’t much addictive about the Watch. It saves some time with voice to answer texts and we do occasionally answer calls on it, which still feels very Joe 90. But asked about it the other day it was hard to think of a great use case.

This article looks at this issue and we agree with the conclusion – it’s currently little more than an accessory for the iPhone. We have long argued that it’s not really a wearable – it’s a peripheral. And given how good the iPhone is the Watch doesn’t add a lot of value – yet. Pulling the iPhone out of the pocket delivers so much more utility.

There are some Apps that are really good – the BA experience is excellent and they report rapid growth in usage – but no figures.

Content

Back to one of our favourite topics – when will GAFA buy some sports rights? This blogpost suggests Apple could make $billions by buying the NFL rights and points out they have $200bn in cash to fund the deal. But a big chunk of Apple cash sits overseas and would be subject to tax if brought back to the US. Given the Chinese investment in Manchester City is part of a push to make China a big player in Soccer, we think the Champions League rights are a likely buy for GAFA. As we mentioned last week Champions League is growing in popularity in the US

Why would they be willing to spend huge sums on sports rights? Because they are one of the few Content Classes that drive huge audiences – especially as they are live – and have a huge amount of Brand money attached through sponsorships.

We have talked of the drive towards a subscription model for the web and a Google Ventures VC sums up the prize well when he talks of the $150 the average US household,pays for cable TV each month. In the UK the typical Sky package is a little less but with the launch of SkyQ they hope to push it above £100.

For GAFA, taking a significant slice of that is very attractive. Imagine if Apple extended the device upgrade program – where in the US you pay $32 a month and get a new device each year –to include Champions League matches, Apple Music and Apple TV. Who wouldn’t pay £50 a month?

Amazon are betting heavily on having exclusive drama (they already outspend ITV on content) and plan to add other networks content to their Video offer. The rise of Instant Articles and Apple News have seen GAFA act a little like Sky as they distribute and deliver other peoples content and we found this thinking on homeless media intriguing – does a modern media brand now need a homepage or an App? Or can it just exist across GAFA letting them handle distribution and monetization – just taking your share of the ad revenue

VR & AR

This week the FT made a big deal about VR – saying

And we see that now Amazon have patents for AR, with a focus on projectors rather than headsets. Quite close to the RoomAlive concept Microsoft have been promoting. And similar to Magic Leap?

Quick Reads

Just as people start to realise the term Millenials is pretty useless, given the group range from the age 10 to 35 and represents a third of the US population, MTV tell us that the next generation of kids are Founders. A name chosen by kids born since 2000.

As talk of a Private Equity sale of Yahoo grows, we still think Softbank may get involved and this is another profile of their leader Nikesh Arora

In a recent talk at Google one of the key people at UsTwo mentioned they had tried blocking the company staff from accessing Dribble –a site that shares UX and design concepts. The problem is that it all looks very pretty but often doesn’t actually solve problems, which is the real purpose of design. This is a good look at the issues with Dribble

We have covered the amazing capabilities of AI and machine learning before but now we see Google making tools that use this cleverness available to anyone. A new API means any business can build apps that see and understand images. Lots of potential for things like OCR to read text in an image ( we tried to sell energy companies this for meter readings, but needed Mechanical Turk to make it scalable). One interesting option is Facial detection – the ability to spot attributes like joy or sorrow in facial expressions

It’s very easy – too easy – to find examples of people doing digital advertising badly. But it’s more useful to spotlight examples of people dong it well and remind us all that it is possible to do great advertising with digital.

This Post It Notes campaign from Russia is fantastic. Deep platform knowledge of what is possible with tech combined with a great creative idea. But it is hard to find those two skills in the same place, which is why we want to get Route55 going. We have had some fascinating conversations and we are still looking for collaborators – so if you are a Brand, an Agency or a Media Platform and keen to make digital and mobile advertising better lets talk

Finally some predictions for 2025 from the Singularity Hub. It is sobering to realise we have (sort of) only just begun with the changes that tech will make to our lives

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