Mobile Fix – May 29
A slightly quick Fix this week as it being written on the West Coast. (St Ives rather than SF)
When we talk about the rise and rise of Messaging in client workshops we see a real divide.  Some people (often the younger ones but not always) are firm fans of one or more messaging apps, whilst others just don’t get it. As the Vodafone data we shared last week shows, Messaging is huge and growing, so it’s vital that anyone in marketing - or business generally - experiences these new platforms.
The Intercom team are some of the smartest thinkers about how digital is evolving andtheir thoughts on messaging make interesting reading. Like us, they see the atomization of content into cards as inevitable, but argue that messaging could be a key way of distributing this content – as these players tend to be more nimble than GAFA. And the idea that services could be disintermediated is fascinating – rather than book a car through the Uber app you could just message Uber. Really thought provoking stuff.
One of the factors that enables Messaging apps to grow so quickly is the access to peoples contacts through their phones – but this can limit geographic growth, as people tend to know people who live near them. Line is suffering from this, as their rapid growth in Asia just isn’t happening in the west. As they think about an IPO they have conceded that the US and Europe are proving a challenge.
Line are a major player in Asia, and they are a major cultural influence in Japan and other markets, having driven many innovations including Stickers. This longish piece is a good look at how they work and how they keep evolving stickers. Given Facebook are claiming big successes with Stickers there is lots to learn from Line. This press release goes into some detail on how many stickers they sell and how much they pay out to the creators who design them. A huge opportunity for brands.
The other big story in messaging is Snapchat. Following months of being very low profile their 24 year old CEO Evan Spiegal has been out and about interviewing.  This Bloomberg interview gets to the Snapchat culture – offices on Venice Beach in LA - and his refreshing view on advertising;
Another piece suggests their new ad offer isn’t get great reaction from agencies – mainly because they don’t have a lot of data to share. But the sheer reach they have of young people makes them attractive to many brands.
Data & Insight
The new Mary Meeker Trends deck was released this week to the customary hype. With more people publishing data these days the Meeker deck doesn’t seem quite as precious as it used to, but on first glance there is some really good stuff here. A deeper dig is needed to get all the value
Marin are one the big players in Martech and this gives them good insight – so their Mobile Advertising report is worth a read.
Quick Reads
As brands recognize the value of good quality content to build engagement with customers, media brands are attracting more suitors. French fashion powerhouse LVMH is looking to buy the Le Parisian newspaper.
Whilst the sales growth of tablets may be slowing, consumers still love them. New OFCOM data shows that - 5 years after the launch of the iPad -  half of UK households now have one. Without the regular operator upgrades that still drive smartphone sales – and the fact they tend to stay in the home – there aren’t too many sales drivers but the category has been a huge success.
With the ramifications of the AOL Verizon deal still being debated this is a good look at how the MNOs are – finally - taking adtech seriously.
The myth that brands can get cheap exposure through Vlogger partnerships is starting to dissipate – P&G are the latest to be censured for not making clear the fact their content is brand funded.
The way the Government have handled their digital transformation through the GDS is an amazing story. And the way they share how they do it is to be applauded. Lots to be learnt from their approach – including this new Social Media Playbook.
Researchers  have found that the filters used on photos has a significant effect on engagement with big differences in views and comments. Can this sort of science help improve ad performance? At @Route55 we think so – still looking for brands to partner and learn with us.
Still rumours around whether Google will buy Twitter. They are getting closer and Google could do with a social play.
We have seen the effect of TV ads on search volume many times, but now Google allow you to pull info on your TV activity into Google analytics making smart analysis much easier. A significant step towards true cross device attribution.
As we know through Fix, email newsletters can be a really effective tool. We started Fix long before they were fashionable but is good to see many media companies now treating email as a platform
This is a good look at how clever Google has become at managing photos. We see Photos and Music as key anchors that keep someone with a platform. Would you drop Google and move over to Apple if they have curated your 24k photos into valuable galleries and Gifs?
Chirp has been one of those fascinating UK tech stories where a great idea has struggled to find a business model. Now Google have their own version called Tone and are using it to share info across devices.
There are still one or two tickets available for our talk at Balderton next Wednesday evening. If you do come along, do come and say hello.
The Google I/O is happening as we write Fix and there seems to be lots of interesting stuff going on - but we need to dig deeper before sharing our thoughts. You can get a good summary here – and Now on Tap looks like a big deal – a step towards that atomization of content as Google lets you get info from one app whilst you use another.  More on this next week.
Finally... One thing we always emphasise in our client work is the Hollywood quote from screenwriter William Goldman – No-one knows anything. The pace of change in digital and tech mean everything is always changing.
But one lesson is that we are always following the consumer.
It wasn’t MNOs or Nokia that drove the take up of SMS – it was people who found it useful and starting using it. People increasingly hold the phone in front of their mouth (as on the Apprentice) and use the speakerphone.
It’s been pretty much the same with mobile ever since; 
Developers launch interesting things and hope people adopt them.
Users take features and adapt them.
The iPhone has a way to control and input called Assistive Touch. No, me neither. Buried away under accessibility in the settings it gives you a button that floats across the screen acting as a menu. And it is being used by huge numbers of people in China. Could this lead to some new user interface? Does it help us better understand user needs? Might it take off in the west?
Who knows?
No-one knows anything.
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