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Mobile Fix - September 9

Apple

Is it just me? For all the glitz of the Apple event will you be rushing to order the new iPhone 7? Or might you wait a while?

The press have seized on the missing headphone jack, ignoring the fact that an adapter is in every box – along with new Earpods. Now there are some potential DRM issues that could arise with accessing music through a proprietary technology like lightening, but that isn’t a big deal. At the moment.

A key benefit of ditching the current jack is free space which Apple can use for more battery etc – this a great explanation of the changes and the rationale.

And the camera is going to be amazing. But do people want or need a camera this good? As Annie Leibovitz said, the best camera is the one you have with you. For the first time in history most people now have a really good camera with them – if you had a camera with you just a few years ago you were either a tourist or a journalist. The current Apple ads featuring great photos taken on an iPhone 6 reinforce the fact the current camera is actually pretty good.

The possibilities of the two cameras are promising though and we are fascinated to see how people like Snapchat will use the new tech. Remember the selfie is a totally new consumer behavior driven by the availability of front and back cameras. What new behavior comes from the depth mapping that 2 cameras enables?

Some think the Apple design chops are slipping and it seems like the next hardware changes will come next year. Given that the launch of iOS10 next week will give 6 users lots of new capabilities – read some of the Siri changes here – people will be excited without spending ££££s

Our take is that the launch will go quite well but as Operators are less keen to subsidise handsets there won’t be as much buzz behind this launch. Add that to the noise about the headphones and we think many people with choose to wait and see. Upgrading will probably depend on whether there is good word of mouth – particularly on battery life.

More on Agencies

More clarity on what the agency of the future might look like, from the McDonalds winning team. People from Google and Facebook as well as from the New York Times Studio supplement the Agency staff. But it’s unclear who they will be paid by. As with all the New Model Agencies, data is a big part and the Omnicom programmatic team Annalect will be key. As is the fact media and creative - and everyone else – sit together.

But the big news is that the deal is predicated on success – unless brand objectives are achieved the Agency can only cover their costs. At the time the pitch was announced you may recall WPP apparently pulled out amid claims of unusual financial demands.

Another clue about the future of the agency comes from the new Media buying agency that has launched in the UK. Blackwood Seven is run by an ex WPP guy and uses AI to suggest the best plan based on the expected results. Lots of early search and social specialists did well out of this sort of approach in the early days, but this model sounds less like arbitrage and more like Software as a Service.

Clients like results and boards don’t tend to like the vagueness of much marketing spend.  A think piece from McKinsey back in 2005 is still hugely relevant – Boosting Returns on Marketing Investment calls for a blend of investing in Bankers – things you know will work  - and well structured tests of newer opportunities. It’s still a good blueprint for a CMO, but organizing the agencies to make it work is still a challenge.

A model that rewards success has to be a good thing – Agencies should be paid for being clever - but the recent ISBA report suggested few of these arrangements work.

The Wall Street Journal heralds the end of summer with 10 questions the media and ad industry need to tackle – no surprises and US focused, but a good summary of the issues.

It’s clear this industry is in flux and two longer term views shared this week are interesting. An insider  - the Dentsu Aegis CEO – thinks the way the industry is organized is going to change radically and believes everything will be programmatic. And an outsider – the very smart ex McKinsey Digital Guru, John Hagel – thinks the very business model of advertising may be unsustainable

Lots to think about.

Faster web

As we learned that half of all digital media time in the US is now spent within Apps it’s possibly slightly counter intuitive to focus on the mobile web. At just 7% of digital time – really? - mobile web is the Cinderella of digital. Ignored and undervalued by many. But not by all.

Mobile search is huge and the end result is the mobile web. Mobile advertising is huge and the end result is mobile web. And how much of that app time is spent reading mobile web content delivered within the App?

Facebook are recognising the importance of Mobile Web by potentially penalizing advertisers whose destination web page loads slowly

Google have pushed into this space with their Accelerated Mobile Pages and Progressive Web Apps technologies. The Washington Post have relaunched their mobile site using Google tech and it is now Lightening Fast – loading in less than second – and, interestingly, they see mobile web as much bigger than App

The importance of speed has been emphasized by the Post owner; Jeff Bezos who knows a bit about a great customer experience.

It would be great if one of our many Google readers could point to anything on how these two technologies are differentiated and how brands can best take advantage.

Luxury & Retail

As we do more around luxury we see a more considered adoption of digital. With the higher margins, higher cost of acquisition is feasible. The best brands embrace Total Retail – blending offline brand cathedrals with smart use of online. There are lots of good examples of branded content – we really like the Louis Vuitton City Guide app - and some brands are starting to use programmatic too. We saw a good campaign using dynamic creative for Timberland using Cablato

But Vogue point out that these brands want to achieve stand out and that is hard to deliver with programmatic – at least until it’s easier to use data smartly in a Private Marketplace. (We are seeing some good progress here with one of the companies we advise, so if interested get in touch)

Getting better looking ads is a challenge for all retail and a new partnership between Google and Curulate is making a difference with better visuals

Making the offline element of the retail experience more digital (without being gimmicky) has been the holy grail for some time and a new concept store from Westfield looks interesting. Ironically Microsoft has a retail store in the same Mall and last time we were there it looked sad and empty.

The one brand everyone in retail and, increasingly, luxury watches is Amazon and this long piece on their ambitions in Fashion - from the excellent Business of Fashion - is a good read. Thinking about how the Amazon expertise in, say, price elasticity can be applied to luxury is fascinating.

Quick reads

Whilst we wait for our prediction of GAFA getting involved in football – probably through the Champions League or something similar - to come true, another football club has made it big on YouTube. Hashtag United have already played at Wembley and their games get nearly a million views on YouTube

Good piece of how the VR ecology is developing and how Jaunt is playing a big part. We have covered jaunt before – a fascinating mix of Tech and Talent with investors like Disney and News Group.

Snapchat ad revenues are predicted (guessed )to be $1 billion next year. Too easy to make these sort of projections but the potential is there;

Today, Snapchat has a 31.6% share of social networking users in the U.S., but only 2.3% of the social network ad dollars …..

Finally….Lots of new subscribers in the last week, so thanks to everyone who shared Fix and to those who connected on LinkedIn and Twitter. I am out and about next week speaking at an event our friends at Seven are running for Social Media Week. If you are there come and say hello.  And worth mentioning I am available for speaking gigs, trend sessions, moderating etc (and barmitzvahs too if the fee is right)

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