Return to site

Mobile Fix – Jan 27

Modern Marketing

This video from the people behind the Trump campaign is a must watch. Taking their earlier work for Ted Cruz, this UK firm explain how they used data analytics, behavioural science and addressable ads to take Cruz from an outsider on 5% to 35% and second place. All these tools and techniques are now available to brands and highly relevant.

The question is who do you get to do this for you? Can your holding company put together a bunch of agencies to give you a new model agency? Our friends at Grey and Mindshare are having a try for Volvo. A big media agency told us this week they are trying for the full service model and they have 70 people building ad campaigns.

But we spend a lot of time working with start ups focused on data and how to action data insights, and they sometimes struggle with big agencies, as new solutions may not fit with the usual way of doing things.

The landscape is changing fast. Media owners now operate ad networks and some like Time are using M&A to build their own adtech stack. Brands like Asda are now sharing their data with partners.  New entrants continue to evolve the agency space with Salesforce buying digital agency Sequence. IBM now buy their own media using Watson AI and Channel5 can now be bought in a targeted way through Sky Adsmart. The usual way of doing things doesn’t look that clever anymore.

The trust between brands and agencies seems diminished with rumours that some US agencies are reimbursing clients for overcharging or withholding rebates. And some of the push to programmatic is foundering as brands question the logic – the VaynerMedia CEO summed it up well when he argued for more common sense in AdTech.

The usual way of doing things isn’t sensible any more. As the Trump campaign shows, political marketing has changed profoundly and we think the rest of marketing needs to change too. It’s 2017 – Facebook report that over the holidays they saw more mobile conversions than desktop ones. It’s not about Mobile Marketing. It’s about Modern Marketing.

Does your marketing look modern?

Snap vs Facebook

It’s no surprise that Snap have kicked off the New Year looking for big commitments from the big media agencies.  It is a little more surprising that they are pushing for money from TV spenders – and they are one of the first firms to adopt the new Nielsen Mobile ratings product – allowing them to trade mobile video is a way comparable to how TV is traded. The data for the second half of 2016 shows Snapchat grew very quickly – and we expect that to continue.

They don’t – yet – have the sophisticated models that allow Facebook and Google to show sales effects but their focus on reach will resonate with media agencies. And as it becomes clear Facebook prices are trending upwards – as they get towards the maximum ad load – Snap may start to take some brand spend from Facebook. Those companies with clear attribution – app downloads and ecommerce companies - will probably continue to spend with Facebook at the higher rates as it demonstrably works. But those brands where the sales effect is less clear may move over to Snap to get the same reach as they get now.

And as some brands threaten to audit their Facebook spend, that may make Snap more attractive  - but quite why 40% of the brands surveyed hadn’t already done the math to see whether their spend was justified is a mystery.

Whilst Snap are quite well positioned to take some ad revenue from Facebook, ambitions to steal users may be thwarted, as their key user experience inspires similar features in Facebook and Instagram.

Instagram has been on a tear recently launching a number of product innovations – some of which look quite familiar. Founder Kevin Systrom has built out his team buts its still relatively small and can deliver new idea fast.

And the new 24 hour stories on Facebook is very familiar. Now none of these changes will lure Snap users away, but they will probably slow the adoption of Snap by older users as the differences in experience narrow. The thing is that the grammar of social is still developing and as Facebook puts it;


The idea that the big Telecoms firms could become the third force in digital advertising makes sense to us and the latest news from Verizon supports this.

They are pushing ahead with the deal to buy Yahoo, slowed down slightly by the debris of their data breaches. But in their core business they missed the targets for customer acquisition highlighting the need to diversify.  Could their future ability to mediate what ads their customer sees help with customer growth? Telefonica have excellent case studies where a bank and an ecommerce retailer zero rated their apps and sites in Brazil so customers could spend more time browsing without incurring data costs – and drove great results. This type of mobile first thinking should accelerate now the Trump administration has installed a critic of net neutrality.

And the move by Sprint to buy Tidal looks smart in this new environment. We have argued that Tidal belonged with GAFA as its ability to deliver exclusive content gives them an Anchor, keeping people within the service. The same logic applies to Sprint and with an owner who has promised Trump to invest $50bn into the US, this demonstrate their ambition. Sprint will use it to acquire customers – just like EE does offering Apple Music for free.

Offering exclusive (or windowed) content and (possibly) being able to speed up access changes the game for the operators.

Cookies Crumbling

We see things are changing very quickly. One of the arguments the operators make is that much of what happens on mobile right now has a desktop legacy. Nowhere is that truer than in the weeds of digital advertising where cookies remain crucial.  There are various issues with cookies anyway but the key issue the industry has to face is that they don’t work on mobile. Well not in Apps anyway. And their use in mobile web is problematic.

YouTube are introducing new ways of measuring and enabling brands to use data from search on YouTube for example. It sounds quite a lot like people based marketing that Facebook talk about and one thing it has in common is that the use of cookies and pixels will be limited. Such a big change has inevitably provoked reaction and the common view is that these changes strengthen the walled gardens.

New EU regulations also herald the beginning of the end for cookies. Building on the stunning success of their last cookie brainwave – where every site now has a floating banner saying by using this site you consent to cookiess blah blah  - the new regulations go a stage further. Now the user must explicitly consent to cookie and if they do not they must not suffer disadvantages. No-one is quite sure what that means but inevitably this is going to cause a huge amount of work.

Along with the imminent GDPR legislation – coming to a site near you next May – we will see big changes to how tracking and data works. Smart people are trying to get ahead of these changes and minimise the downside. Could there be an upside? The EU want people to have control over their data and we think that this will accelerate the growing interest in Vendor Relationship Management. Could I give a company the right to manage my data for me and ensure I only see ads that are relevant to my interests?


There has been lots of quiet noise around VR – with people noting things like Apple headphones have motion sensors and rumours of collaborations with glasses makers. The smart money is on a big reveal in June  - the 10th anniversary of the iPhone

Lots of VR and AR projects were shared at the Sundance Film Festival and this Google film has been nominated for an Oscar

But as the death of 3d TV is confirmed could this be another fad? We think not.

Quick Reads

Google took down 1.7 billion bad ads – those that violated their advertising policies

Teenagers are Supreme fashion traders – with two teenage boys I am very familiar with this

Android Instant Apps was announced last year and is now out in a limited test.  Looking at this alongside AMP it is clear Google want to reshape the App experience and the work required by developers to make an app ready for this initiative sounds very web like – url navigation for example.

In a similar spirit to instant apps removing friction Button enables apps to link up and it’s received some more funding

Finally we mentioned the Chump and it’s good to balance that car crash with the way the previous administration approached things. Great advice to follow.

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!