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Mobile Fix - February 24

Snap IPO

With the Snap IPO next week the hype is building to a crescendo. Their roadshows seem to have gone well, but there is lots of noise around the challenges they face

WhatsApp now offer a Stories like product with their new Status, now available in France and Holland and rolling out quickly. Given the dominance of WhatsApp in many developing markets this could be a brake on Snapchat growth.

But the timing seems significant. All the launches from Facebook could help deflate the enthusiasm for Snap and hence its valuation at the IPO. Just as there are a finite number of potential users for social apps and a finite amount of ad dollars for these platforms, so too is there probably a finite amount of investment dollars for social platforms.

This FT piece points out that the constant copying means Snap have to keep innovating – which they have done really well to date. This good Harvard Business Review article says building new products won’t be enough – they have to build on their core platform interaction too.

We keep talking about the Desktop Thinking that still defines much of mobile. Google and Facebook have been incredibly smart at taking desktop formats and making them work on Mobile. But it is others that have created mobile first ad opportunities and if Snap can keep innovating, they have a good chance to keep growing and capture the early adopters; people and brands

But when you have new product it can be hard to sell  – seemingly some agencies find Snapchat hard to buy - and that is an issue. But the constant recruitment should resolve that. Agencies need to step up too.

Brands remain keen to test Snapchat and as Instagram gets harder to use for (organic) promotion the revenue growth should be healthy. Goldman Sachs are predicting $2bn next year

The gamble remains one of predicting peoples behaviour. New apps like Houseparty and Fam are growing fast, so could they be a threat? Or will GAFA and Facebook simply copy the product features? There are those who predict Snap will lose out but we are pretty bullish. Time will tell but if you haven’t tested ads on Snap yet, you should.


Programmatic is extending its reach. Automation has come to outdoor with a new trading platform from Kinetic. They have actually been trying this type of thing in the US for a couple of years but the issue is whether the contractors will make useful amounts of inventory available.

Automation is also impacting audio with lots going on in that sector too. Our friends at A Million Ads have struck a deal with Pandora to bring dynamic creative to audio.

The logic of programmatic is compelling and will be adopted across all media – the challenge is getting interests aligned.

Criteo have been one of the most successful at profiting from programmatic and call out Header Bidding as one of the key trends. Their CEO also sees smart use of CRM as one of the best ways to measure the contribution of digital on sales. App Nexus have a good guide to Header Bidding – worth a read if you want to dig deeper.


One of the big issues in all things advertising is building confidence in measurement. Having GAFA stop checking their own homework has been a clarion call and now we are seeing some concessions. Google and Facebook have been working closely with the key measurement layers like Moat and Integral, but the plumbing of these integrations has caused some comment. Now Google have announced that the Media Ratings Council will audit these integrations –so getting everyone on a level playing field.  Facebook made a similar commitment last week.

GroupM have always been in the vanguard of ad measurement and they are pushing for new cross platform solutions – citing work with Comscore and Nielsen. WPP own a stake in Comscore and their research arm Kantar has a new tool for audio watermarking of ads, which sounds promising.

Old media have been fanning the flames of dissent over digital measurement, but they know they live in a glass house. The next generation of measurement will cover both old and new media and will dramatically effect the landscape. Tens of millions of people are watching TV with their smartphones by their side and once there is a robust way of seeing where the attention is, we believe the economics will change.

The other side of the measurement coin is tracking and two interesting pieces popped up. Here someone analysed everything Facebook had on them – and this video of a Chrome extension that tracks the tracking is good too. How to unlock the value of this granular detail is a big part of the measurement challenge.


The TV industry is full of smart people and while some have enjoyed pointing out digital problems to help their case, there is also lots of innovation going on. Sky have lots of interesting projects and (their future siblings?) Fox have invested in some good TV ad technology with TrueX. The blend of a 60 second ad with 2 second blips is really interesting.

But so much of the action in TV is coming from OTT players and a conference this week got into how Apple, Netflix etc were doing. The outcome was a feeling that things are changing but not that fast


Does GAFA change this with their moves into content? The FT took a good look at how Amazon and Netflix are reshaping the movie industry  - Amazon has 7 Oscar nominations and there is a good chance they will get Best Movie with Manchester By the Sea. 

Another interesting viewpoint on this topic is that Apple don’t need to buy Netflix. But there is no doubt GAFA are taking content seriously and the FT quote one exec, bruised through dealing with Amazon and Netflix, as saying;

“What happens when Apple and Google enter the fray?”

It seems the problem with fans streaming football on Facebook Live isn’t limited to the UK – it’s huge in Spain too.

And the games played by video producers is highlighted in this story of how a viral video of a Cyclists revenge was staged , probably by Jungle Creations – who are the 6th most viewed Media company in the world according to our friends at Tubular

Quick Reads

More on Net Neutrality – it’s worrying that the big firms being slated by Trump for Fake News are going to be affected by the Government policy on NeT Neutrality and takeovers.

Just as Warren Buffet sold his Walmart shares their online sales get a boost – growing by 29%

How much is your slow Mobile site costing you? Google can tell you – and give you some advice on how to improve

The beginning of the end for the pre roll? Google are to drop their unskippable 30 second ads. But you can still buy 20 seconds and 6 seconds.

Finally… as thousands of people join the annual exodus to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, Rob Norman shares some good thinking on the state of mobile advertising, We don’t have time for MWC this year, but agree with Rob that

You don’t have to ask what the state of mobile is when mobile is the state.

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