Mobile Fix: Apps, ad tech and mobile money

Mobile Fix: Apps, ad tech and mobile money

This week Addictive! founder Simon Andrews talks apps, Facebook’s ad tech developments and how mobile money is heating up.

As a warm up for client workshops we often do a WhatsApp exercise. We get everyone to unlock their phone and pass it to someone else and then get people to talk about what apps are on the home screen of the phone they have.

It gets three important points over really well: 1) People feel deeply uncomfortable seeing someone else holding their phone, demonstrating just what a very personal device it is, so marketing risks being very intrusive if not done really well.

2) Most people have a few of the same apps; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google search etc, plus their bank app and a news app perhaps.

3) Everyone has a few niche apps that are very important to them – dads have games for their kids, sports fans have apps about their team or sport, others have things like YPlan and apps for nights out or travel.

And we are also starting to see that people are organising their apps with the home screen for the most-used apps, while unused apps are migrating to later screens and being forgotten about.

Knowing what apps someone has is hugely valuable for advertising and everyone is trying to get this insight. Apple and Google clearly have the best view but some others have good data too. Facebook has some knowledge through those apps that use Facebook connect in some way – and where someone has downloaded as a result of a Facebook ad.

With the Flurry acquisition Yahoo now has a pretty good view too and, along with the Aviate launcher app it acquired a while back, is building an interesting data set on the apps people have.

Whilst the number of new apps downloaded is declining, we believe there is still a huge opportunity to help people discover apps they will find useful/entertaining – especially given how poorly the app stores perform if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.

People have done very well with apps designed to help find new apps but just as Apple kicked out AppGratis last year it has just kicked out an iOS launcher app. Launcher was different to AppGratis and seemed a good way to improve how you use the apps you have – but Apple clearly doesn’t want anyone but them to have knowledge of what apps you have.

Of course the other people who have some idea of what apps you have – at least theoretically – are operators and we think they are missing a trick by not providing a really elegant service that helps their customers discover new apps. There have been some attempts but no one has nailed this; the upside of happier customers and a chance to get some of the burgeoning app download spend should make it a priority.

Facebook and ad tech

When Facebook bought the Atlas adtech business from Microsoft last year the price was rumoured to be around $50 million – a very low price when Microsoft had paid $6 billion+ for the whole aQuantive business. Nothing much was heard about Atlas until recent rumours that it had been completely rebuilt to give Facebook a robust platform for serving and tracking ads.

It has now officially launched and is a big part of the new Facebook ad network where they use their profile data to target Facebook users across sites and apps outside the Facebook empire. It’s more evidence of the antipathy across GAFA and means Facebook starts to get a better view of what’s happening across the open web, which should let it improve ad performance within Facebook.

Mobile and money

Building on our thoughts on Starbucks last week, mobile money is heating up. We see that Apple has hired two very senior Visa execs in Europe; and Capital One has launched a pretty good wallet app in the US whilst Barclaycard is rolling out its bPay bracelet, which is interesting but could do with some love from a designer.

But the big news is that eBay and PayPal are going to split into two companies. Many people believe PayPal will be more valuable on its own, but it will also probably be more attractive to a potential suitor who doesn’t want the distraction of eBay. Who could be interested? Well Google needs a response to Apple Pay and folding PayPal in would be a great way to revive Google Wallet.


If you talk to any enlightened media planner they will tell you they now see TV and online video as essentially the same thing; if you want to reach Downton viewers you are equally happy to buy them on broadcast TV or online catch up.

And they also know that smart use of pre-rolls or any of the online video formats will probably add reach to a traditional TV campaign, as the elusive light viewers are added.

Regulatory things are still more compartmentalised, but now that is starting to change. In the US it looks like regulators will treat online video services as the same as cable and satellite providers. This means they can get cheaper access to programming and some of the old divisions will start to melt away.

Some brands get this already and Mondelez has done a global deal with Google for video to accelerate its ambition to put 10% of its spend into online video.

Adding to the momentum are the new Twitter TV ratings, where Kantar will report on levels of Tweeting related to TV programming with data around how twitter affects audience.

Many years ago we tried to prove that data on recording a programme correlated with better engagement during live viewing. If you like a show so much you record it when you are out, you are probably more attentive when actually watching it live. So ads in those programmes are probably more effective and more valuable.

Those enlightened media planners will be looking at whether tweeting is a similar engagement metric.

This is an edited and abridged version of Mobile Fix – click here to read the full article on Addictive!’s website

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