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Mobile Fix – June 24

Disciples

In the past few weeks we have seen the developer events that GAFA hold, where they woo their Disciples – the people who really believe in the platform and focus their efforts on creating vale for the platform and themselves. This reciprocal devotion has help build the scale and influence of GAFA – and contributed (at least in part) to the demise of Windows Phones, Blackberry and Nokia. If no one will develop apps etc for your platform, consumers are likely to choose someone else devices. And this is why Amazon are so keen to recruit developers for Alexa.

Arguably the original Facebook Marketing Developers and early SEO firms acted as Disciples for channeling Brand marketing spend onto the platforms too.

We believe this idea of Disciples is emerging around content too. From Googles AMP, Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News the ties between GAFA and news brands are deepening. And as Influencers exert more  - well – influence the platforms are looking for ways to make them Disciples too.

Facebook is doing deals to incentivize celebrities and media brands for Live Video and are writing cheques ahead of working out how ad revenue might get shared. And Twitter has a new app for their disciples helping them more easily manage their tweets, follows and mentions. And remember that Twitter bought Niche so they can better manage the relationship between their Disciples and brands – thus maximising the value for both the platform and the Disciples. (Niche are pretty active in the UK too)

But this newish area of marketing is starting to become subject to the regulations that govern more conventional tactics and in the US the FTC are cracking down on fashion brands that don’t make it clear influencers are doing product placement.

But a new report from Pew says only a relatively small proportion of  users get news from the site so this would appear to be the reason for the recent UX changes that make Discover more prominent.

Video

The push for more celebs to make videos is more evidence of the Faceboook focus on video and their new set of mobile tools to enable ad creation is another. Geared around Cannes, Facebook want to make it easy to create mobile ads on a mobile phone.

Lots more happening in video elsewhere too. Vine have stretched their 6 second limit and you can now make Vines up to 140 seconds (remember they are owned by Twitter) and they can be used as trailers for longer films, with a watch more button. With anecdotal evidence suggesting Vine creators are migrating to Snapchat, this a smart move to try and retain their Disciples – as are the imminent new monetization options. Similar changes are happening to video on Twitter too.

We are longtime believers in the role of mobile video as trailers for longer form video and think this is a big opportunity for brands  - a part 2 of the ad. Top marketer Shiv Singh – now at Visa but formerly at Pepsi - said 5 years ago;

Back then he was talking about TV ads but we see this as a natural role for mobile video ads.

Curiously as Twitter and Vine add the ability to link out from video, Facebook seem to be removing this – at least when it is linking to another site.

More traditional news businesses are all keen to get into video – look at how many use Touchcast – and News UK have big plans saying they will see thousands of videos a year created for the Sun and Times websites. exploiting their smart acquisition of Unruly last year.

One final thought on mobile video – as well as ideally being bespoke for each platform, shot vertically, captioned and designed to grab attention in a couple of seconds, maybe it needs to work at a faster speed too. We watch YouTube videos and Ted Talks etc at 150% speed and it works well – this piece argues that it works for entertainment too. Maybe that’s the way to get through all those box sets.

Quick Reads

Good thinking on Amazon Alexa. And we tried out Amazon Fresh; a good service and really cheap – around 20% cheaper than the same shop at Sainsbury.

We are spending more time working on Luxury brands and many struggle to get their Chinese strategy right – here we see some botching Wechat

Whilst thinking about China it’s interesting that Walmart have sold their Chinese subsidiary to Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com in return for a 5% stake. As they battle Amazon there could be some good learning for Walmart here.

Long in the shadow of Alibaba, JD.com is looking outside China and is a very impressive business. This interview with their CEO is interesting reading.

Stickers are more mature on China and other Asian markets than in the West and this good analysis from VC a16z  is a must read

Last week we mentioned the new Facebook store traffic measurement and now we see XAd are working with Comscore to measure the same for their online ads

It turns out that one of the winning campaigns in Cannes is an app that doesn’t  do what it says it does.  

Finally as many question the ad agency business model, an outsider has made a pretty good job of building a new one. Gary Vaynerchuck is an entrepreneur who has focused on social and measurable results. This talk at Wieden  & Kennedy is a good take on the key issues facing agencies and makes lots of sense. It is long, but worth watching – maybe speed it up 150%?

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