Tag: mobile

Sunday Column (512)

I wrote this post about mobile usage in Asia during my holidays in Singapore. However, I only got a chance to publish it now. Too many other ideas on content and sharing of thoughts, and new ideas. Seems as if my brain is always buzzing. I suppose it is, and I love writing as my creative outlet.

My recent trip to Singapore, 10 years since I have been to Asia properly with the exception of a trip to Turkey, times have changed with the arrival of smart phones. A podcast mentioned 300m middle class mobile phone users in China, and some research suggests a population of 260m in Asia alone (stats from 2016); in comparison the USA has 325m people (2016) and Europe about double that: 741m. Asia as a whole counts 4.5bn and Africa 1.2bn people. Take those numbers in. Just because I have been to India recently, you can count another 1.25bn people in India alone, an emerging and tech savvy market.

Let’s digest that for a minute and look at (observed) behaviour. People are constantly on their phones. In Europe, London, they are, but Asia I found that behaviour even worse. That is of course if it is a bad behaviour, or is being on the phone constantly the new norm? In Singapore people were on their screens 24/7, playing whilst being on the tube, whats app and wechat when queuing, and voice messaging being quite high. Particularly younger people listened to voice messages on chat applications constantly, recording and sending them. A new generation of people with a new usage behaviour. I bet their call charges are non existent. Some stats already show that phones are used less for voice calls than ever before, and that the use of text, data and internet access has long outweigh the use of the phone as a phone (as in calling someone). Weird no? I just renewed my contract and pay less per month but have 20 GB of data. That’s a lot of data!

So the phone as we intended it has disappeared. People don’t talk to each other anymore but use it to send messages. See the picture, who remembers those kind of phones? Anyway, the intensity and the phone being the main internet access point for a younger generation is new. That means the phone is the gateway to shopping and ecommerce, banking, saving and retirement planning; gaming and entertainment, food orders and life style choices. Anything happens on the phone, from watching movies to news, to reading. And of course social media usage. It’s a mobile first generation (Kudos to Mr. Mobile, Mark W).

From a business point of view I could do the easy maths. Let’s assume 50% of the population is 16+ and in the market for smart phones. Probably even more. But even 50% of a population of 1.2bn or 4.5bn people is a lot. That’s 600m or 2.25bn (!) people respectively. If 10% buy an app or a product they like via a phone for 1 US$, your turn over is in the millions with the app purchase alone. Anyone not getting the scale of things here? It justifies the investments companies like Grab are making, WeChat, Facebook, Amazon and others by accessing any of the markets above. The sheer scale of things is crazy. If you are investing in Grab now, an Uber like service for anything from transportation to delivery, then you are getting an ROI that is manifold. Of course that’s why the big boys are doing it, and why I started investing in Asian tech Fonds 🙂

The recent experience sparked a lot of thoughts around mobiles, mobile usage and how the other part of the world accesses both resources and the internet. It showed me the commerce opportunity and the way we are using the mobile phone in the future, as I am certain our European way of trying to avoid screen time will vanish with the new generation. Not a week my 9 year old is asking for his own phone. Laptops seem old school, tablets with keyboards might just be accepted, but boy, if you have a mobile phone and a credit card, you have all you ever going to need. Or do you?

Life is changing, I keep saying that. Having purchased an iPhone XS recently, the main justification was that I use FaceID. I liked the sound of it, and so far it has been better than fingerprint technology. The Apple Watch is nice, and I love the health tech (a market soon worth over 1 trillion US$), but maybe I wait for the 2019 model. I am not sure yet. Normally, I am not a first mover, but early adopter. But as technology moves on, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up. How will our boys live when they are our age?

Hope this sparked some thoughts. Isn’t it a fascinating world we are living in?

AdMonsters Screens London

Last week I chaired my last AdMonsters Conference for now. It was the conference looking at the second screen, the omni screen attribution, and the multi channel aspect of advertising.

Luckily I had a second moderator too, so the day was a little less stressful compared to previous conferences. Below you find my key take aways from the day:

Twitter had a presentation, and I am often wondering how they will make money, particularly that they are now a public limited company. But they started to connect TV and social, the public conversation, through a little hashtag. The conversations around a product, a TV show or a topic can be scaled and brands or advertisers can engage and get communicating. Actually, this is a great way of utilising the 2nd screen to TV, the mobile, from which 82% of all tweets are sent.

Often I wonder what we have done in the time before Twitter. I suppose it give the shy people an opportunity to engage, the loud people to write rather than to shout, and of course it gives brands a way of communicating with their fan base. It gives me a way of ranting about commuting with Southern Railway. This wasn’t there before, this is incremental reach and engagement. Soon Twitter will allow synced advertising to the TV streamed advertising. Also, vine, it’s video micro chatter programme, gives it another channel too. I believe there will be more exciting things ahead.

TV attention

Nielsen’s presentation was aiming to give us a good understanding of cross device measurement, what has been done so far. It tells us that actually you cannot really measure people but you should measure people, and you shouldn’t trust the 3rd party cookie. So measuring people is becoming more important, e.g. people NOT cookies, collecting data, encoding data, and making use of big data. Yet, we all know that big data only answers the ‘what’ question, not the ‘why’. So we measure the person after all, but we cannot measure unduplicated reach across devices and also the sample sizes Nielsen showed seemed a bit vague. I believe they got the infrastructure, the idea and experience but is there enough scale in Europe. Hopefully we hear more exciting stuff soon!

The whole debate about he preferred screen, or as Jon from ITV put it in a later discussion, “the biggest preferred screen after TV is your 2nd screen”, started with his X Factor case study. He made a good point that from a broadcaster perspective the mobile or tablet would always be a 2nd screen, yet TV learned from those devices to link them up and engage with their audience in real time. His case for Dominos Pizza was clear, close to 750,000 pizzas were thrown into boxes in an online game on the X Factor application whilst people were supposed to be watching the show. Engagement in apps, questions and answers, games and prize wins, are crucial for a good engagement. I enjoyed this session and it made a lot of sense.

Whilst of course those campaigns achieve a high CTR, brand awareness and engagement, the idea as such is not new. However, the challenge to deliver it, make it more engaging and proving the ROI is getting harder. The technology to link the “live advertising on TV” to “in app or mobile/desktop web advertising” will be a future proof thing. Adobe and M6 showed that clearly during their ‘fire side chat’ too.

ad monster

And again, in the ongoing discussions on the 2nd screen panel, the attribution panel, and the transcendent screen panel….the overall view was the same. Mobile is the preferred device for most things. Then if anything important needs to be done, the excel example, we choose a laptop/desktop whilst the tablet is more of an entertainment device. With price points dropping and Tesco and Argos both making tablets available for the masses, it will be the first screen for anyone accessing the web soon. Mobiles and tablets are dominating the online access, being used whilst TV is on in the background. Some would differentiate on the emotional attachment to each device too.

Of course TV is still being watched. Maybe even more intense by connecting the devices, the advertising and engaging through apps rather than the “red button”. But online and offline are merging too: Blippar showed us an amazing case study about AR (Augmented Reality). Quisma nicely pointed out, as stated before, that only a few companies have logged in accounts across all screens: Amazon, Twitter, Yahoo!, Apple, Microsoft and Google. They will be able to track you. Adtruth, Drawbridge and others try to crack attribution and identification without cookies yet still haven’t quite got to where the big guys are. Or have they?

Now my last question to the audience would be: do we actually want to be targeted across all devices or is it uncool to see the same ad on your mobile whilst seeing it on TV. Would complimentary ads be better? How does the re-targeting piece fit in?

There are still a lot of unanswered questions. As I am hoping to continue to contribute to the AdMonsters programmes in the future, I am looking forward to continuing the conversation.

We see you at the next AdMonsters hopefully.


Mobile Marketing #mobs13 @exchangewire


This Monday I attended the Exchangewire Mobile Marketing Event. As always, thanks to Ciaran and Paul for organising this industry get together.

I am still trying to get my head around the question whether mobile is a channel, a device or if people are right that tablets should be desktop devices (allegedly it is Apple’s fault that tablets are counted as mobile devices). Or is mobile just a second screen and we ignore everything else. Will banner ads work or is video the way forward to grab someone’s attention on the small screen? But it is also a private screen. And if you look to Asia, the importance of mobile takes another dimension.

According to the industry there are a few things to consider. Paul Wright started off that we need to look, amongst other things, at:

– cross platform tracking (ID across devices/finger printing)
– consider the volume of data available
– accept that we move away from keyboards
– that the society moves towards hybrid interaction like screens in cars
– local, social, mobile is still key and we keep forgetting that (or haven’t really understood it yet)

Looking from an agency perspective there are of course limitations set by the advertiser in terms of where is the ad shown (premium inventory) and they still like to be associated to Facebook or Twitter as they are prestige and trusted publishers. DSP buying is still not considered as much as it probably should be.

The following discussion supported the idea that mobile is about a “situation”, e.g. on the move, in the tube etc. and that the PC is going to die. Some argue it is more of a private storage or “cloud access device” moving forward.

mobilesInmobi (mobile ad network) says it touches each mobile user about 200 times a month and that the time being spent on mobiles is almost as much as watching TV. I might even challenge that in my case because I spend more time on mobile devices than watching TV. Again this supports the 2nd screen debate.

Is mobile the new way of catching consumers whilst watching TV or is TV the extension of mobile? Will only a multi channel attribution be able to figure that out? What about display, e.g. banner ads – are they still in the equation or are they moving onto the tablets as being the new “online”?

InMobi had a few points like:

– value of data
– mCommerce on the raise
– context being key, e.g. if someone is on the move they might want to have a more picture heavy ad than someone being at a static location; someone with small fingers having different context to someone having bigger fingers (female/male identification without prejudice of course 😉 )
– buying ecosystem: RTB only accounts for 0.5% of all mobile spent and eCPM is too high, fill rates are too low
– market maturation: rich media on the move and more money being put into programmatic buying

The following panel discussion was about the usual: “ROI”, “agnostic”, “audience buying”. However, one point really stood out: We have cracked the tracking on mobile. Wow. If that is the case why don’t we spend more on mobile? Is there an integrated strategy moving forward that allows us to ramp up the mobile spend, track the increased attribution (direct response or branding) and make mobile a full accepted channel after all? Is there enough inventory and commit from advertisers to actually spend money on mobile?

I believe it is time to integrate mobile into every media plan but for some reason we haven’t seen the “big spend” coming to mobile yet. The “year of mobile” is getting postponed 🙁

The Pizza Hut case study proved the point. King.com proved the point. Both (ex) SMV agency guys who have a lot of confidence in mobile. The main targeting options were: tim, geo, audience (families & socialites) and that at scale.

Strikead’s CTO Michael Dewhirst summed the difficulties up: tracking is still not 100% sorted as there is a gap between browser and app cookies. The location data is not 100% reliable and the IP targeting might only be for the provider not the phone itself. So restrictions still apply whilst Strikead seems to have figured it out in regards to tracking. With 29bn data requests each months and the first global (!) mobile DMP.

A short presentation from WEVE and that they can reach 80% of UK mobile users, think that SMS are effective and that 40% of their database are happy to share their location data. More to follow they said….

mobile-devicesAdmobious presented their audience management platform. King.com then pointed out that there is no turn key solution for tracking but what exists is good enough. And, quite frankly, Angus made it clear that it is not important whether the media is bought in real time, through a single platform or not, via API integration or any other “intangible benefit” as long as it works. Simple 🙂

The following talks from Rubicon and Twitter were a nice summary of how much is spend on mobile in the UK: it is as much as the total ad spend in Slovakia per annum. Twitter has been real time from the outset….and has always been predominately mobile. So here we go.

In summary my take away:

– mobile is huge, has potential of a massive spend and ultimately will grow
– only a few companies really know what they are talking about in terms of tracking and data usage
– tracking has been cracked but advertisers don’t seem to embrace it yet
– media plans need to take the 2nd screen into consideration and always add some mobile budget
– a combined media plan for mobile/connected TV seems a good option
– mobile is very fragmented and difficult to gauge whether it ever is having “a year of mobile”
– the mobile device stays personal
– the mobile device will replace the wallet

From a marketers point of view: there is NO way to ignore mobile. It is going to be huge. However, we need to move away from the classification of “mobile being a device” but as an industry re-define what we consider “mobile”. If that is “on the move vs. static IP” or “WIFI vs. 3G” to make best use of the possibilities and tracking options available, I don’t know.

Maybe you have some comments and ideas?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and should you have any questions re mobile RTB don’t be afraid to tweet, comment or send me a SMS 🙂

Best wishes,