I suppose we have to start with Apple. Well covered by just about everyone we don’t need to get into the products, but as with all these events it’s the details that emerge over the subsequent few days and weeks that are really interesting.
The biggest thing is probably that 3d touch migrates from watches to phone. With lots of possibilities for new UX developers will be poring over this. The slightly odd UX of Apple Music now seems to make sense and the ability to Peek and Pop changes how apps work and enhances deep linking.
It probably makes the strong apps stronger and makes it even harder for a new app to get traction. No matter how smart an idea, an established app could add that functionality and with Peep and Pop get it in front of more people than may ever find it in the appstore.
The launch of Apple TV is interesting but does it really do much more than Amazon Fire Stick does? Apps like Gilt for TV shopping were really uninspiring – and highlight the issue that all this content and services can be accessed on any of the devices shown at the event – so why is the TV so special? Gaming could become interesting for Apple but being the new Wii doesn’t inspire much either. Now developers have access to tvOS we should see some more interesting use cases and a periscope app for Apple TV sounds really intriguing
But the overall event emphasizes just how strong Apple is – with killer products across all the key sectors and a range of price points. And Gilt mentioned that 80% of their mobile sales come from iOS devices. Your business has to get Apple right to have a chance of success.
The one part of the mobile ecology where Apple doesn’t really play – at the moment – is ads. iAds will become more important as the Apple news app matures – many publishers are choosing to both sell their own inventory and let Apple do so too. Even so advertising will still be a very small slice of the Apple pie.
Business models based around ads have their problems as we are seeing with ad blockers etc and the fact highly successful businesses like Twitter still don’t have enough audience for some advertisers.
If you look at Facebook results you see the problem – their advertising ARPU in the US is $8.63 but is half that in Europe and in Asia its just $1.25. That’s not because they aren’t highly successful in those markets – it’s just that there isn’t that much ad revenue to be had.
So start ups in Asia have been more inventive than their western counterparts and found other business models. Whilst China and India get all the attention, there is a lot going on in other Asian markets too – with mcommerce proving very lucrative in markets like Thailand. Lots to learn from these markets.
Back home we are seeing a push towards sales with social buy buttons proliferating. UK start up Depop is a great example of a start up that has commerce baked in. AndInstagram is proving very successful for those brands that know how to make the most of it.
As affiliate marketers know, the divide between ads and sales isn’t that big and if data driven targeting can get the right messages in front of the right people you may as well take a commission on a sale than a few pence per thousand eyeballs.
Net a Porter is probably the prime example – they produce great content and monetise that with sales of the products featured – and in fashion the margins are as much as 70% of the retail price. Their Publishing Director spoke at the excellent Dots conference last week and shared some stats on their success. This is a good look at how their efforts in social are paying off.
Next Wednesday is a big day in our business. It’s the day iOS9 starts propagating around the mobile world and on past experience we can expect most Apple users will have it installed by the end of the year – with many well before.. So we’ll soon see the real effect of Content Blocking.
Still lots of discussion around the topic and the Israeli start up Shine that helped ignite the debate is now running ads in the FT imploring the GSMA to ZeroRate ads. It is hard to work out the current effects but seems likely that Content Blocking will affect apps as well as the mobile web.
With Apple very vocal about its opposition to tracking in ads, will we start to see ad blocking notifications similar to the way iOS8 helpfully reminds you on a regular basis that an app is using your location?
And given the probable latent demand for ad blocking we are now seeing start ups developing new ways to Ad Block. This is a slippery slope and we have seen few ideas on how to combat this. Putting some love and attention into the creative work would be a good start.
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