Money & M-Commerce
Apple Pay has arrived in the UK and Twitter is split between success stories where people have bought their coffee with their Watch and failures where tech glitches have thwarted attempts. Trying to pay on the tube seems to have particularly upset some people; it works but takes a while so the queue behind builds up.
Another proof point that we live in the future. But given we have all managed paying with cards - and even cash - for so long, will mobile payments take off IRL? We suspect the big usage for Apple Pay will be on mobile commerce where we know the friction of adding a card to a checkout page leads to high abandonment rates. Incorporating Apple Pay will quickly become essential for mobile sites and apps that require payment.
In its latest set of shopping products for mobile – which were partly previewed in the Think with Google event we helped programme last week – Google are baking in payment with details held in the users Google account. Purchases on Google is a big deal as essentially Google have added a buy button to their Mobile ads as well as hosting the actual pages. Some of the other new products are also really interesting for retailers too – online and offline.
Facebook are also encouraging businesses to build shops within their Facebook pages. This initiative feels at an earlier stage than the Google product, but it’s clear that all the big ad player recognise that being involved in the actual transaction can be much more lucrative. Shortening the distance between and an ad and a sale has to be good for all parties – as Amazon clearly think with their push into ads showing some success.
Video & newTV
The fight between YouTube and Facebook for video audience and the resultant ad revenue is heating up. They now have similar business models sharing ad revenue with the creators and YouTube has three priorities; Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. Over half of all their views are now on Mobile.
But it seems some people are freebooting YouTube and uploading other peoples videos to Facebook, garnering all the social kudos of the viral spread that Facebook can deliver. Facebook will soon have the same sort of tools that YouTube used to clean up their platform, but until then some creators are unhappy.
In the wider Video world Netflix announced they have 65m subscribers and their share price has doubled this year. And the guy behind the Amazon push into commissioning content has talked about their approach in this fascinating article. Which reminded us that at a recent conference we heard Ben Keen of the IHS tell that Amazon now spend more on content than ITV
A conversation about the Internet of Things can soon sink to jokes about connected Fridges but brands are recognizing the potential – even if it’s still a challenge to think of smart use cases. Fjord – now part of Accenture have a better view of this space than most and talked about Living Services – how they think about IoT – at the Google event last week. This blog post is a good summary.
This good blog post makes the case that banner ads can be used effectively – we tend to agree - and, more controversially, that fraud doesn’t matter as it is effectively priced in. That we don’t agree with – fraud scares many brands away and gives the luddites a convenient stick to beat digital with.
Given the virtually infinite supply of inventory why can’t we set much higher standards and exclude anything that could be fraudulent and isn’t a true view by a real person? Brands are pushing back on the IAB definition of viewability – which to be fair was always a minimum.
Setting a much higher standard would likely improve effectiveness – be that brand metrics or engagement - and could help start to fight back against ad blocking by encouraging better creative.
We still think that the impact on data is going to drive a rethink about ads on mobile and Monday Note have a typically forensic look at how fat and slow news sites are on both desktop and mobile. Something for everyone to think about.
Beacons & Location
The ability of mobile to know exactly where you are and give you the salient information is a key strength and a huge opportunity. Beacons offer a smart way to leverage this but the need for the user to have an app that can connect to the specific beacon has precluded any really good use cases at scale. GAFA seem to want to resolve this and the push from Apple with iBeacon has prompted a response from Google who have announced Eddystone – an open format for low energy Bluetooth beacons.
As well as enabling apps, Eddystone can also transmit URLs so apps aren’t always necessary (at least one of the examples in the IoT video mentioned above would appear to use this tech). Both Estimote and Kontakt - the big players in Beacons - support this new standard and are promoting it. Given the moves Google have made into DooH with the acquisition of Titan and its network of phone boxes across Manhattan we should expect them to deploy their own network of beacons.
The location information Google and Facebook make available is also driving lots of ad buys – this Reuters piece shows a number of brands are investing heavily because of the location data and the ability to drive traffic into stores. Some of the new Google shopping products leverage location well.
The really exciting thing around location is that it has the potential to open up completely new ad budgets. Many products have limited distribution – either regionally or just in certain stores – and traditional ads haven’t been suitable. But now a brand can choose to support a product that is only stocked in certain Tesco stores for example – and with a coupon the ROI can be measured easily.
Adobe data suggests brands are paying Google more for mobile clicks but that their sites tend not be performing well. We always ask Boards how they would feel showing people their company site on a mobile; proud or a little embarrassed? Still lots to be done to improve mobile sites.
Finally – we spend a lot of time talking programmatic with brands, agencies and ad tech businesses. Whilst the space is confusing and overly complicated most people agree on two things;
Programmatic is a must for virtually every brand
The ecology is ripe for a dramatic consolidation
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