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Mobile Fix - July 10

Programmatic, Social Advertising, AI & more


The inexorable rise of programmatic continues – with over half the UK ad spend now digital and over half of digital now programmatic it’s already probably a quarter of all UK adspend. Yet the understanding of the rich possibilities seems to have been overshadowed by a focus on transparency and agency structures. And many view it as efficiency rather than effective.

But some brands are investing, testing and learning. At the well received Think with Google event* this week Google shared how they are approaching programmatic and busted some myths; they use it for brand and are having great success – they now spend c60% of their budget programmatically. We were delighted to hear creative is central to their success – their work suggests 70^% of success is driven by the creative. They pretest the creative and measure the campaign success against brand metrics – all the good stuff we advise.

At the Google Firestarters event last night we shared our thoughts on programmatic creative and one example of the magical opportunity is a video Nike emailed to 100k US users of their App. Each recipient got a video that was tailored to their working out over 2014 – from a skyline of the city they live through to how many miles they ran – watch this example to see one persons.

Whilst this was an email (created by AKQA) it is quite feasible to deliver this through a programmatic buy –look at these less specific examples. This type of thing was quite prevalent with Flash a few years back; remember this Obama campaign and this campaign for Dexter?

We are keen to unlock this opportunity and looking for collaborators – brands, creatives and production talent – so get in touch.

One other interesting nugget – the speed at which all this happens is pretty impressive – this nice infographic from Turn suggests the adtech works its magic in .36 of a second.

But the Finance world is a touch faster; this Economist graphic shows a Nasdaq trade happening in .177 seconds, so twice as fast.

But Nasdaq works in milliseconds rather than seconds – so they are actually 200 times faster – and Wall Street firms and emerging markets are investing millions to improve that.

This speed will arrive in AdTech at some point and that acceleration will enable new business models and new intermediaries. We are just at the beginning of this reinvention of advertising and we are planning that to focus on this topic in our first Fix event. We are talking with potential speakers and scouting cool venues and it will probably happen in late September. If you are interested in partnering with us in some way, do get in touch. More details soon.

(*disclosure; I played a small part in programming the Google event)

Social advertising

Lots of changes going on at Facebook. They seem to be responding to user views by allowing people more control over what they see in their news feed. In theory I suppose brands could use this to boost organic reach by persuading people to star their page – but it feels like that game is probably over.

Other Facebook changes make their ad products more ‘conventional’. Right now Facebook charges brands – via Cost per click (CPC) – for any click within an ad unit – including likes, comments and shares. But shortly brands will only be charged for clicks that drive links – to another site, to view a video on another site and to install an app. The engagement demonstrated by shares and likes is still measured and used as a quality score to drive auction prices.

This is a little older but still interesting – Facebook have research from Neilsen showing the value of video for brands and supporting the study we mentioned last week – video is proving really effective for app installs – reducing cost per installs by 16%.

It’s a year since Twitter jumped into the app download market and they have shared some impressive stats and case studies. And as well as some new targeting options they will shortly enable brands to extend Twitter targeting to over a billion people through Twitter partner apps. Some of the most aggressive app downloads spenders are games companies - chasing those rare people who do in app purchases and some are experimenting with TV advertising.


As part of the Google event I heard DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis give a private talk on AI. Really interesting space and DeepMind is clearly a leader in the space. The new Wired interview with him is essential reading. It’s clear that a next generation Google Now powered by DeepMind would be hugely useful. The DeepMind approach is to focus on AGI – AI with a general intelligence rather than a domain specific ability like DeepBlue – good at Chess and nothing else.

A friend is using AI on the domain of health with the YourMD mobile app. A British start up worth watching, especially as it leverages NHS data on symptoms and likely diagnosis etc.

Quick Reads

A good read on the continued power of TV and how it trumps digital. Not sure I agree with all this but as an art form TV does create powerful experiences and is good at monetizing those. To dig deeper read this good look at Netflix and its very smart business model

Interesting that Spotify should encourage users to pay them direct rather than through the Apple app store. We had an interesting chat with payments start up Boku this week, they work with Spotify (and many others) to enable carrier billing ; enter your phone number and one tap later you have paid and its added to your mobile bill.

The Sun seem to have made their paywall more porous. With just 225k susbcribers and little social presence their strategy may be evolving.

Finally – We live in the future.

Building on the chart we shared the other week listing the plethora of home delivery options available in San Francisco this is a good take in how much our world has changed.

And if you need some help understanding how the world is changing and imagining what you need to do to profit from this change – well, that’s what we do. Get in touch.

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