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Mobile Fix – March 25

Search

Mobile search is a hot topic – still hugely important but some are starting to question the supremacy of search.

This is a good look at the battle between Apple and Google that we constantly refer to (and why we advise people to take a look at their Bing search). It makes the point of collateral damage – when GAFA release a product that kills someones business – and suggests Google will probably be out of the iPhone by ios10. I still think it comes down to a biz dev conversation – will Google keep paying enough for Apple to preserve the status quo? And do Microsoft care enough about Bing to invest in stealing the Safari search?

Microsoft seem more focused on productivity with their money going on acquisitions like SwiftKey. Interestingly Google are now developing a mobile keyboard, as they see that as a good place to introduce search.

Apple

With a relatively low key event this week Apple introduced a small phone but signaled a big change to their business. With a new entry level phone they have finally come through on the iPhone Nano concept many people have predicted for a while. The SE looks like a good phone and whilst still dear in comparison to the average Android, we think it will do well. Someone on Twitter described it as introducing a 3 series for those who were having to make do with a  2 year old 5 series. As ever Benedict Evans has good insight into the details.

At the same event the iPad range got some attention with the Pro being extended to the 9 inch screen. It is clear Apple are after the productivity space and it will be interesting to see what they do next with the Macbook.

The other news was that the Watch prices have dropped, probably signaling a new Watch is on it’s way. Will it be a lot different? One design expert is scathing about the current one, seeing it a as a missed opportunity. Maybe Marc Newsom can have more influence next time.

Advertising

We caught up with the smart people at Pagefair last week as part of our quest to work out how we improve mobile advertising. We missed their London roundtable but as this report shows the debate is heating up. One of the conundrums is that, whilst it is clearly broken and hurting lots of people, the current situation also makes a lot of money for many people, so any change is going to be resisted.

A bad ad is hard to define but we all know one when we see one. So we should all ask ourselves whether the things we do at work, would be acceptable when we were relaxing at home on our smartphone.

I don’t know whether the people at Coral read the football pages online, but I can’t imagine they like a pop up that has replaced the x to close from the top right hand corner, with a faint line of text saying click here to go to our site. The x to close fades in at the left hand top corner after a few seconds. Now I guess some media genius is reporting a huge click through and ignoring the bounce rate on the landing page. Or maybe the people that have been tricked into visiting the Coral site think Now that I am here I will put that bet on Leeds to fire their manager.

Rob Norman weighs in with some smart thinking and rightly points to native ads as part of the solution. Yahoo have had success with Native for a while and at their recent Developer Conference shared some good insight. Despite their constant presence on the headlines for the wrong reasons Yahoo are a big player in ads – only two companies make more from mobile advertising – and they have the thing buyers crave – scale. Buzzfeed can also offer pretty decent scale  - albeit predominately off their site - and  their new ad format Swarm looks interesting. A Facebook Exec shared their thinking on thumb stopping content – that works in the first few seconds even with sound off.

If we are to solve the problems with ads it won’t be easy and it is going to need lots of smart thinking and hard work. Which leads us to….

Agencies

Carolyn Everson from Facebook talks about newer agencies getting the Mobile world whilst older ones tend to have the wrong processes - she wants agencies to flatten their structure. Gary Vaynerchuk runs one of these newer agencies and is coming to the UK. In this interview he makes the point that his agency is good at selling stuff and that gets the attention of clients at the top level.

Vice know agencies well – with WPP a major investor – but their CEO describes dealing with them as a war because people don’t want to get out of their standard operating procedure.

In the past Agencies solved clients problems – JWT invented Mr Kipling Cakes, Wells Rich Green painted Braniffs plans bright colours, Don Draper invented the Kodak Carousel. And consequently sold stuff for their clients

Now agencies tend to sell whatever their factory was designed to make. And the business results are often seen as someone elses issue. For example we have seen clients keen to partner with Amazon but their Agencies don’t help - because they don’t have a trading agreement with Amazon.

If advertising is to prosper and perform its dual duties of connecting brands with the right consumers and rewarding the publishers who facilitate that connection, Agencies need to change.

Music

Streaming is now the largest driver of revenue in music. It is just over a third of all revenue – very slightly ahead of downloads, at 34% with CDs at 28%. The figures are a bit of a muddle as ad supported revenues from Your Tube and Spotify are included in the Streaming total. Along with Spotify hitting 30m paying customers this supports the industry view that streaming will – eventually – increase the size of the pie. But the booming – although still tiny - Vinyl sales still made more money than the ad revenue from the hundreds of billions of streams on YouTube etc

With Kanye evolving music into software with his constant reimaging on tracks on his Pablo album – still only available legally through Tidal streaming – the future of the music business is still hard to predict.

Programmatic

Jon Steinberg has worked at Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail but his new venture won’t have any advertising. And on Programmatic he find it ‘needlessly complex’

We need to make the case for Programmatic and all it’s many benefits more simply. And stop hiding behind all the jargon and TLAs

Long Reads for the holidays

Finally…. a new study from TV measurement firm BARB shows Netflix is in over 5 million UK homes and Amazon Video is on 1.6m. You can read the full report here. This infographic shows the video sites US Millennials can't live without – all the usual suspects are there.

But all the data tells us that the explosion in new ways to watch video hasn’t really impacted traditional TV viewing. But add in all that time we spend on our phones and something has to give, surely?

So here is something to think about after the roast lamb and chocolate.

How has your experience of media changed? Where is your attention and that of your family?

If your marketing plans still look quiet a lot like they might have done 10 years ago ( and we include banners) how does that make you feel?

We think old media is losing the war for attention – and that brands should be investing where the attention is now.

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