Mobile Fix - The back to school issue

07 Sep 2012  |  Simon Andrews 

Simon Andrews, founder of the full service mobile agency addictive!, on why Christmas is important: Brands that do well over the rest of this year have a chance of doing ok next year. Those that struggle may well not make it to 2013...

As the wonderful Paralympics draws to a close and the sun comes with a slight chill, it's clear the summer like no other is coming to a close. And it looks like all the bad news that used to dominate the front pages before we had gold medals to celebrate will be back.

In a double dip recession and times of austerity across Europe, marketers need to find ways to protect and maybe even grow their market share.

"Poverty is returning to Europe... If a consumer in Spain only spends €17 when they go shopping, then I'm not going to be able to sell them washing powder for half of their budget." Jan Zijderveld - Unilever

So will we see smart brands embrace innovation, or a reliance on more of the same? Or do brands reduce their marketing?

In a client event this week we looked at the likely changes in mobile that are imminent. It's a little over 100 shopping days until Christmas and we can expect;

  • The new iPhone, plus new devices from Nokia and Motorola
  • A Kindle Fire and a mini iPad (or, we suspect, a maxi iPod) 7 inch tablet from Apple
  • The introduction of 4G - perhaps as early as next week, plus free wi-fi is becoming ubiquitous
  • New services like Passbook from Apple and Google Now will redefine mobile services for millions of people.

And as well as the clear evidence that millions of consumers are developing new behaviours around mobile, there is increasing proof that brands can get great ROI.

For example, new data from Adobe shows that mobile search is cheaper than desktop and the ROI is better - particularly on tablets. The research shows that in the US, smartphone clicks are little more half the price of desktop ones and get an ROI 3% better than desktop. If smartphone conversions could be improved - largely through better mobile site design - ROI could match that for tablets; which is 68% better than desktop.

Data from the Internet Retail Group underlines the speed of change around mobile - with m-commerce up by over 300% each month. The head of the IMRG said: "The rapid growth in m-retail sales is clearly being driven by a change in consumers' shopping behaviour and how and when they engage with brands. Retailers that focus on optimising their websites for this new breed of shopper will, no doubt reap the benefits of their investment." And this data doesn't cover the use of mobile showrooming, where people check prices and read reviews etc.

Christmas is a key factor in this debate - we suspect that people will make sure they have a good Christmas before buckling down for a tough 2013. Brands that do well over the rest of this year have a chance of doing ok next year. Those that struggle may well not make it to 2013.

In e-commerce clear winners and losers emerged, but these changes played out over a decade. We're convinced that mobile will create winners and losers much more quickly. It's time to choose which side you want to be on.


For a talk this week we did a deep dive into the vertical stacks that each of the GAFA are building. Combining hardware, software, content storage and purchase and social is a priority for Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon - albeit with differing priorities.

One question that came up is just how much cash these four firms hold and how that limits the opportunity for new companies to threaten their position; they can just buy anyone who looks like a threat.

But strategically we see how they may use their wealth to extend that stack. Google is testing a service offering fiber in Kansas - giving people internet connections that are 100 times faster than typical broadband. Why would Google want to get into that business? We have argued for years that providing connectivity would be a good business for Google. The data allows for smarter targeting of advertising - and as this piece argues it could drive huge revenues from connectivity. And it would help build out the vertical stack too.

In other GAFA news, an analyst has forecast healthy revenues from mobile for Facebook - as much as $1 billion next year and $2.8 billion by 2015 - and suggests the stock price could climb to $30 - around 66% up on today's price.

And Apple are starting to develop its own content for its own channels - the iTunes festival this year will be broadcast via iTunes. Interesting.

Agencies getting it right

Following on from our look at reinventing advertising last week, we found an interview on how Crispin Porter view digital very interesting - particularly the bit about experience designers.

Experience designers are still a secret weapon at some agencies. At CP+B, they partner with planners to create strategy, they partner with creative directors to vet ideas, they partner with designers to solve visual problems, and they partner with developers to make things pixel perfect. Not many roles have a wider span and potential for impact.

Until advertisers start to value the focused, memorable, impactful opportunity they have in buying the right ads in the right place for the right audience, web users are going to be stuck seeing irrelevant ads on sites that don't respect their time and attention as much as they should.


Amazon has announced its new Kindles and Kindle Fire - two of which will be on sale in the UK. Very good spec and price point - and a good response to Apple and Google tablets. Game On.

Click here for your full Mobile Fix (complete with links to background articles).

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