Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 is the year of Glastonbury Mobile

Mobile cycling pianist and singer

Well, at least according to the BBC, and the monster coverage they’re planning of Glastonbury Festival, they believe this will be the first Glastonbury that will be viewed more on mobile than any other device. It will be no mean feat to cover the festival and to deliver the content to the right people at the right time on whatever device they choose. Having delivered on the Olympics last year, this should be more straightforward – well apart from the conditions – there’s no newly-built, state-of-the-art media centre at the festival. Nevertheless, it’s still a big job.

As for the punters, like myself, who make the annual pilgrimage to the Pilton Pop Party, I wonder if there will be much improvement to mobile communications or to the festival experience via mobile? The app has never been much use to me – what we need is a really good map (where’s the Google maps version of the site?) and the mobile version of the marvellous Glasto Clashfinder. But instead, we get features that the sponsors think are a good idea but are of little use to us paying customers. Maybe this year will be different now that we have EE and their proposed investment in improved coverage for 2G, 3G and 4G…? (More on that here.)  Hey, the app sounds like it will be better too (I live in hope).

Any anyway, it’s almost impossible to see your mobile screen in the sun, or in the rain for that matter. You can’t hear your phone ring and even if you could, you can’t hear what anyone is saying. Battery life is still rubbish and mobile signal is flaky and SMS, probably the most useful feature, can be delayed by hours or even days! I will probably be leaving my fancy Android smartphone at home anyway and revert to my trusty N95 and bits of paper. I don’t want to lose a good phone in the mud as

Still, bring it on, I say. Find me dancing in my wellies to Portishead, Kenny Rogers and The Rolling Stones!

Young People’s Consumer Confidence Index

The good people at OnDevice Research have just released their latest report about young people’s consumer confidence index. Whether or not you’re in marketing, this is a good read and a barometer of how it is for young people globally, what’s affecting them and their job prospects and how they’re using social media compared by country. There are some clear contrasts between countries, but it seems that, currently, Facebook is almost ubiquitous.

The methodology behind the research is also interesting as it’s wholly mobile. 6000 demographically balanced mobile users aged 16-34 years old across China, India, Nigeria, Brazil, the US and UK completed a survey via the Internet on their mobile device. Additional questions were asked from a larger sample size of 17,657 (aged 16-34) about social media.

Well worth a read to complement the Mary Meeker trends report.

Another great slide deck from Mary Meeker–2013 Trends

As usual, it’s a ‘must read’ for anyone in business. The trends are laid out very plainly and although there is a US focus, the results and trends shared are global and it’s likely your country, or the countries you do most business in will be in there.

Mobile is showing ‘aggressive momentum’ – not that I’m surprised by that, but sometimes it needs to be restated and the information that Mary shares is compelling and shows just how fast that growth is. There are some surprising stats in there, including that the people of Saudi Arabia share most content on the internet. I must admit, I want to see the background data for that, but it’s curious none the less. The UK and US are way down the chart for that one compared with emerging economies.

Anyway, take a look for yourself and share with your colleagues.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Muscle Memory and Mobile

When I travel abroad and I know roaming charges are going to be high, I revert to using my trusty Nokia N95 to minimise data costs. I’ve been using an Android phone for the last couple of years and it is at least a year since I last used my N95. But when I picked it up again last week, it felt like going home when it came to using the keypad. It was totally pleasurable. And fast. Much faster than on a touchscreen. It made me feel good whilst I was doing it. It felt like home. The combination of flicking up the screen to reveal the keypad and then using the keypad was a delight in a way my touchscreen phone has never been. And I use that *a lot*.

So what’s going on here? It seems that I have ‘muscle memory’ for the keypad but it hasn’t developed for my touchscreen use in the same way. Muscle memory is not a memory actually stored in your muscles, but they are memories stored in your brain and they are a bit like a cache of frequently enacted tasks for your muscles. I touch type, that’s another muscle memory. My ability to communicate is directly linked to my access to a good keyboard and I literally think through my fingers. Riding a bike would be an example of another. Or playing a musical instrument.

I do have some muscle memory with my touchscreen phone, but it’s linked to browsing or playing games not typing and it’s not a positive thing. The swipe up/down/left/right is now a natural instinct, but it doesn’t bring me joy or satisfaction in nearly the same way, and if anything, I think I have negative emotions associated with it. I’ve tried the haptic screen too and that did nothing for me.

I wonder, do people who have only used a touchscreen have muscle memory for that or is it linked to something that needs a bit more physical exertion like pressing a key? Anyone have any insight into this area and care to comment?

Suffice to say, bring back keyboards and keypads for mobile devices. I want my keypad back!

Tidbits on a Thursday

Time to clear down some of my favourites, bookmarks and browser tabs so I can get on with the day job.

AA / Warc’s forecasts for the next eight quarters show UK ad spend continuing to grow, reaching a 5% growth rate in 2014 which is well ahead of inflation. You’ll see from the table that a lot of this is digital but it’s still not following the speed of change in eyeballs. I hope this doesn’t mean media owners become complacent and think this digital thing isn’t happening as fast as it is. More here:

The Association of Online Publishers Announces Premium Mobile Advertising Initiative. In short, they’re going to do some research in conjunction with Mindshare, mobile ad provider Celtra, the IAB, MMA and ComScore to prove mobile advertising’s worth. The research is limited to specifically demonstrate the value of the 320x50 expandable rich media ad-format. Hmm. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and see what comes out of the research. I fear that the impact will be limited simply because I don’t believe the future of mobile advertising can hinge on a single format, no matter how rich it is. Good on them for doing the research though. We need more initiatives like these. More info here

I’ve been telling people that Tesco is the elephant in the room when it comes to mobile and media. They have a mobile network proposition, they have oodles of data about us via Tesco Clubcard and our actual transactions, they sell online, on mobile, in apps and have been investing heavily in digital media propositions like Blinkbox (video), We7 (music), Mobcast (books) as well as having their own media channels via their in-store magazine, in-store media and direct mail. Definitely one to watch closely. More about them, their investments and what’s coming next, including ClubCard TV

And finally, some thoughts on what’s wrong with B2B publishing and a plea for innovation.

Current State of Play in Publishing

I was lucky enough to be invited to New York last week by one of my clients, BrandPerfect, to help with the launch event for their latest research report ‘Adventures in Publishing: The New Dynamics of Advertising’. [It’s a free download, registration on BrandPerfect required].
The report takes a look at the current state of online consumer publishing and the opportunities that are or could be available for brand advertisers. 100 leading consumer titles from the US, UK and Germany were audited to see what their current digital offerings were for readers and advertisers. And it’s an interesting read.

It probably comes as no surprise that almost all magazines lacked a full cross-platform experience. The few titles audited who were doing a good job here include Vogue UK, Maxim UK and US, CountryLiving and a good selection of Hearst’s US titles.The picture gets a little more complicated when it comes to ad formats as there was little consistency in what publishers offered advertisers, despite standards already existing for desktop and mobile. And of course, we don’t know the ROI here – the report is just looking at what’s on offer. Insight into the audience, how they spend their money as well as knowing the types of advertisers, their spend and what’s working may change the picture and explain the rationale behind the strategic decisions made by the publishers. Still, it’s plain to see from the tables in the report that it’s not easy for an advertiser to plan, buy or measure their advertising across channels and across a range of titles.

We know that eyeballs have already migrated en masse to mobile channels and we can see that the advertising dollar will follow that – albeit at a slower pace than consumers to change but publishers don’t appear to be keeping up as well as they might.

The report suggests that HTML5 may be the answer which brings us back to the old web vs apps debate. I don’t think that one size necessarily fits all and much as I’m a strong supporter of web on mobile devices rather than apps, it doesn’t always suit the business or its customers to do that. Consumer insight is key to making those decisions as well as balancing resources and finance to do that.

We still have a long way to go when it comes to working out the future of digital advertising. It’s an emotive subject. At the Heroes of Mobile Session a couple of weeks ago (read about it and listen to the podcast here), Amanda Singleton from Qustodian was passionate about her hatred for Facebook advertising yet I find the sponsored pages interesting in many cases and seem to fit my profile pretty well. These have led me to discover things I would never have found out about otherwise. And this stuff has to be paid for somehow.

I also lament the fact that I can’t save an ad. In a magazine, I will often flick back to see an advert or something I may have missed once I’ve finished the article I’m on. I cannot do that in a digital environment. And if I’ve clicked forwards to read something and then go back, the ad that was there is long gone with no way of retrieving it.I think we’re missing a trick here by not fully understanding what worked in print advertising to work out how that behaviour might be translated to the digital environment. Instead, we’ve become reliant on the quick hit – the banner ad, the immediate call to action, the buy now, call now, direct response scenario. But as any brand marketer will tell you, that’s only one type of advertising with the primary goal of sales. not all brands are looking for that all of the time. Of course ROI is important, but I know from my own clicking habits, that it takes more than one click for me to take action and that it’s just part of the journey to finding out about new brands or services and eventually buying from them.

Interestingly, Hearst reports just now that they've appointed a President of Digital.

Have a read of the report and see what you think. It’s one of a series of useful quarterly reports available free to BrandPerfect members.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Hanging on the Telephone–round-up

This podcast is from the recent Hanging on the Telephone panel session in London I ran a coup[le of weeks ago. If you were there, then remind yourselves of what was discussed and if you weren’t there, this is your chance to catch up. And since most of my readers are interested in mobile marketing, I thought it was worth cross-posting from the Heroes of Mobile site.

Mobile Marketing Magazine did a bit of coverage of the event. Evens in Berlin next week and then London at the end of May and early June. Subscribe to the Heroes of Mobile newsletter to keep up to date.

You can download or stream the podcast at your leisure. Feel free to share with friends and colleagues.


Session Moderator: Helen Keegan, Heroes of Mobile
Panellists: Rube Huljev, Infobip; Stephen Jenkins, Millennial Media; James Cooper, Soko Media; Amanda Singleton, Qustodian;…n-the-telephone/

A Heroes of Mobile Production.
Audio production by Mark Bridge from

This session was sponsored by Infobip and Qustodian