Collaborating to beat Do Not Track
Over the past year, major reports in both Europe and the US have identified the complex nature of the mobile industry. The fragmented landscape makes it difficult to know where’s best to assign responsibility for informing mobile users on privacy. In both of these reports, it was recommended that all parties should be held accountable to some extent.
In the US, the FTC released a report that suggested Operating Systems and Ad Networks should consider working together to create a Do Not Track system. As a result, the independent body W3C began talks with various parties to put this in place. However, after only a matter of months, the spectacularly named Senator Jay Rockefeller issued a bill allowing the FTC to force through legislation on this subject. The impatience of senior figures, signalled by the support Rockefeller received, indicates the calls for a universal Do Not Track solution are growing rapidly.
With this in mind, surely it would be to the benefit of all parties within Mobile to take any measures to avoid further publicity for DNT options. The potential value of user data for advertising extends far beyond the functionality it offers those same users in Apps, with the ultimate aim being to tailor suitable ad experiences for individuals.
While it seems hard to stop the wheels that are already in motion for Do Not Track, an adoption of a more collaborative approach within the industry could help maintain a base of willing consumers to fuel the revenue generated through advertising. If Platforms, Publishers, Developers and Advertisers worked together to take responsibility, then the likelihood that Smartphone users will switch on Do Not Track would no doubt be lower.
Through adoption of standardised procedure (eg. universal symbols where sensitive data is being collected, clear privacy policies which follow the same structure, etc), as well as simplification of the data collection process, the added clarity and general education for users could help cast light on the supposedly shady subject of Mobile tracking.
The two year old, billion dollar company built on Mobile Social eCommerce
In the space of just two years, Fab has gone from a gay-friendly social networking site to an eCommerce platform which has attracted over $100 million in VC funding. One of the things which sets Fab apart from other companies is not only its emphasis on strong design, but its heavy use of social media and mobile devices, to the point that Fab is now a mobile-first company. With over half of Fab’s US revenue coming from their mobile app on Thanksgiving 2012 it’s clear to see that this strategy is well suited to the Fab’s brand and audience. Fab is also unusual in that it has managed to drive real growth and revenue from social media, something which continues to elude many other companies.
The site’s 11 million members across 26 countries generate a sale every seven seconds, and it’s very interesting to see that one third of these sales come from a mobile device. This is done by allowing users to see products which are trending or have been recommend to them by their friends and making it very easy to buy them on the move. In fact, the site’s recent redesign was built mainly around the insight that iPad users had the highest engagement and purchase conversion rate.
Mobile and social are at the core of Fab
In the first five days of the EU app going live 15% of the sales were from the app
30% to 40% of Fab’s daily visits come from mobile apps on iPhone, iPad, and Android
People who use Fab’s mobile apps convert to purchasers more than twice as often as web
50% of Fab’s 5.5 million members joined from social sharing (26th July 2012)
20% of daily traffic comes from social
People who use Fab’s social features go on to purchase more than twice as much vs. Fab purchasers who do not
As with many marketing “innovations”, the real challenge is utilising them in such a way that they continue to build the business’s top line growth and aren’t just a fad used by a small section of the target market. Fab’s aim of combining social networks and mobile devices to allow people to shop seems to be working as the revenues are increasing MoM and they are rumoured to have recently raised another large funding round which values them at a billion dollars.
This could confirm predictions that Fab is trying to build an Ikea competitor based on social mobile commerce. As with many companies which grow at this rate the hardest part is to build an operating and logistics model which can cope with the exponentially increasing orders, while still offering good customer service. As the company moves into selling bespoke furniture it will also be interesting to see if users are as happy to buy a £2,000 dining table on an app as they are to buy a £20 cat print t-shirt.
Cart Before Horse? Agency Perspectives on Mobile Media
Interesting read here highlighting and discussing some recent IAB research into Media staff’s perspective on Mobile Media. It lists some ‘concrete steps’ towards getting the mobile media basics right - simple but valuable:
- Develop concrete strategies and operational processes for mobile display
- Do the same for mobile search, and ensure your share of spend on mobile tracks the proportion of search that consumers are currently doing on mobile devices – currently somewhere north of 25%
- Back these up with analytics, and ROI models to prove the value of the channel
- If there aren’t landing pages or mobile optimised sites, see to it that they’re built – or use rich media alternatives
- Ensure that mobile is optimised to receive incoming traffic triggered by outdoor, print and TV. Get your search upweighted during broadcast, tag posters with mobile search terms and so on
- Ensure that every business has a robust roadmap for mobile based on a holistic approach to its commercial challenges
There’s an excellent point around how many agencies (and clients) get more excited over things like Augmented reality, 4G and NFC, rather than the fact that mobile could be on track to achieve ‘the mass value and reach of traditional media’. Regarding these technologies…”The levels of excitement around technologies appear to be inversely proportional to their consumer uptake and consequent levels of effectiveness.” - all that glitters may not be gold!
Dictionary.com - A lesson in how to embrace mobile
2013 (like 2012 before it) is supposed to be the “Year of Mobile”, where the format is finally cracked and companies begin to leverage the evident power that exists. While it’s interesting to read about new innovative formats and what the future holds, it’s somewhat refreshing to read reports of companies that have fully embraced mobile and have already established it as a key revenue stream.
One such company is Dictionary.com, which recently announced it has achieved over 70million installs of its app across all platforms. In addition, its iPad app is the 22nd most downloaded iPad app of all-time.
The strategy for driving such a large install base was well devised, and the knowledge gained was channelled into the recent release of Thesaurus Rex, a mobile-only app that includes features not present on Dictionary.com’s main website.
The cherry on this rather-impressive cake, however, is that by implementing innovative and fun location-based features, 65% of users share their location within the app.
With location-based ads driving twice the engagement rate of regular ads, this is no small feat.
By : Howard Lloyd
Mobile design: 4 common user-experience fails
Interesting read on some of the more common UX fails across mobile. Although - in my opinion - they’re mostly valid points, listing Clear as a featured fail is difficult to swallow. Cue rant:
By pushing gestural boundaries and content interaction Clear have removed the requirement for any component controls. Granted, it takes a little getting used to but - thanks to enchanting colours, pleasing effects and excellent use of sound - I was more than happy to stick around. Now I actually use this in my day-to-day life, because I find it easier to use than standard lists. Maybe not one for my mum, and there are clear areas for improvement in the coach note screens, but I would say it’s more ‘groundbreaking and engaging’ than ‘fail’. But then I’m not all users, which is perhaps the point.
An interesting read all the same, raising some interesting points around restricting access via mandatory sign up and long forms.
Understanding App Store pricing
This article takes a look at app store pricing, specifically at the phenomenon of falling prices. Taking the Mac Software market as a base, Jury.Me looks to answering the first of two questions ‘does anyone make money in the App Store’. If you don’t want to know the score, look away now… If so well, It’s a yes, if you’re ranking in the Top Grossing listing is high enough.
What’s really interesting here is the average difference between the average price of ‘top paid’ apps and ‘top grossing’ - is a staggering 294%.
We decided to see how this theory translated across to the iPhone App Store - and see if it correlated. It didn’t, at least not directly. This was because ALL of the Top Grossing iPhone apps were free, choosing to leverage their revenue from in app purchases, rather than an up front buy. Which is telling just in itself - could this mean that if you’re launching an iPhone app the freemium model is how to make money?
Further posts on this subject here look at app store economics and how demand could (or should) affect pricing. Food for thought!
BB10 unveiled: what the experts say
This article from the BBC offers four expert opinions on the new Blackberry OS.
Early indications show that it has some great new features, such as ‘Flow’, which allows users to navigate easily between apps and messages.
The experts discuss who’s likely to be interested - who’s vital to be interested if BB10 is to revitalise a dwindling brand - as well as what the system is like to use.
Naturally, it’s not all positive, but the success of the platform will ultimately be decided by the audience. Will it be enough to encroach on the rest of the market?
Time will tell, but if RIM can maintain its loyal user base, and grow into its rivals market share then maybe this is the point at which their fortunes turn around again.
Groupon acquires Glassmap to help deal finding
Groupon have announced the acquisition of Glassmap, a location-aware service that helps people find things that are of interest and relevant around them.
Extending the ability to more easily find specific offers of interest to you and your friends sounds like something that should make Groupon even more fans.
It’ll be interesting to see exactly how they do it, but if they can simplify the process of providing targeted deals to users’ ever-changing contexts (depending on who you might be with, where you are, and what you might like doing at those points) then it could be a massive step for the company, as I imagine they hope it will be!
Pontiflex and ‘Mobile Signup’ ads
Pontiflex, a mobile ad company has a signup model where advertisers only pay after someone viewing an ad actually completes a sign-up platform.
They’ve recently raised $7.7 million in new funding to grow their platform, AdLeads.
It provides an opportunity for smaller businesses to feel safer about their ad spend across mobile apps, making sure they pay for the signups they seek, rather than wasted clicks or impressions that may not lead to any business benefit.
In addition to the extra security it provides, platforms like this could really open the eyes of businesses that have shied away from digital before, with positive results highlighting the power of digital (and mobile) communication with an actively engaged, targeted audience.
Mobile optimisation: the target for 2013
This article on Econsultancy shows some really interesting stats for the coming year, such as mobile optimisation being the most sought after digital business opportunity.
Of the top 5 subjects, I’d argue 3 can be closely linked to mobile. Mobile optimisation for businesses is a given, but targeting & personalisation, as well and content optimisation both have very close ties to a more mobile approach, too.
As users keep their mobile on them wherever they go, and they store a wealth of information about themselves on their mobile, the power of mobile should not be ignored when approaching such topics.
Additionally content optimisation is an important focus of the Mobile First approach, where the most relevant points should be prioritised, and the overall content should be more succinct to provide easier digestion on smaller screens.
Other standout stats from Moth’s article are how mobile now represents over 20% of Facebook’s ad spend (the bulk of which is on Android), iPads dominate 97% of tablet ad spend, but Android phones account for 71% of smartphone ad spend.
Mobile internet access over Christmas has never been higher, and the most popular gifts bought online over Christmas were e-readers, smartphones and tablets, which will only fuel the power of mobile from here on.