April 25th & 26th
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Abstract Submission Deadline: January 19th
What does it mean that digital technologies are increasingly a part of...
Everyone is spending more time on proximal (‘mobile’) devices, and the monster companies like Google haven’t been able to catch up. Proximal ads currently pay less than desktop ads, so Google in down a half a billion from expectations.
Simon Bond mentioned a BBDO study on mobile yesterday at Pivot, and after I tweeted one datum from it my intrepid pal Paul Higgins tracked it down:
- Mobile isn’t always on the go. In fact, well over half of all mobile interactions measured in the research occur in the home, challenging conventional wisdom.
- These mobile interactions can be segmented into seven distinct “mobile motivations” that encompass most mobile use. These include:
- Accomplish - managing activities and lifestyle to gain a sense of accomplishment
- Socialize - active interaction with other people
- Prepare - active planning in order to be prepared for upcoming activities
- Me Time - seeking relaxation and entertainment in order to indulge oneself or pass the time
- Discover - seeking news and information
- Shop - focusing on finding a product or service
- Express Myself -participating in passions and interests
- Me Time is by far the biggest “Mobile Motivation.” Me Time accounts for almost half (46%) of all smartphone app and website motivation, averaging 864 minutes per month per user, per Arbitron Mobile. Seventy percent of these moments are lean-back experiences.
- Mobile advertising performs poorly in Me Time on key ad effectiveness metrics. This is because the vast majority of messages are not relevant to the use at that time, are easy to ignore, or get in the way.
The overarching learning here is that ‘mobile’ phones aren’t primarily about mobility, at least in the meaning of wandering the face of the earth. They proximal phones: the ones closest to us. And I mean closest in all its senses. They are out personal, constant, and close-to-hand companions.
And, by extension, a great deal of the discourse about mobility phones is simply not as relevant as generally considered. BBDO suggests it’s more important to think about the motivations behind phone uses, and the kind of user time that is involved. Simon Bond, BBDO’s chief marketing officer, was quoted in the study:
In the end, it’s all about helping agencies and creatives create the most compelling content. And based on our findings, that compelling content should be me-based, home-based, entertainment-based, not solely geo-location based.
David Carr stops short of saying that the American magazine business is headed for a dead cat bounce, but the recent numbers on newsstand sales are grim:
Like newspapers, magazines have been in a steady slide, but now, like newspapers, they seem to have reached the edge of the cliff. Last week, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported that newsstand circulation in the first half of the year was down almost 10 percent. When 10 percent of your retail buyers depart over the course of a year, something fundamental is at work.
I talked to an executive at one of the big Manhattan publishers about the recent collapse at the newsstand and he said, “When the airplane suddenly drops 10,000 feet and it doesn’t crash, you still end up with your heart in your stomach. Those are very, very bad numbers.”
Historically, certain categories of magazine will encounter turbulence, but this time all categories were punished in the pileup. People was down 18.6 percent, and The New Yorker had a similar drop, declining by 17.4 percent. Vogue and Cosmopolitan were down in the midteens, and Time fell 31 percent. When Cat Fancy is down 23 percent at the newsstand, it seems that there’s little place to hide. Newsweek, it should be mentioned, was off only 9.7 percent at the newsstand, but that’s cold comfort.
It’s not just consumers who are playing hard to get: advertising is down 8.8 percent year to date over the same miserable period a year ago, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. With readership in such steep decline and advertising refusing to come back, magazines are in a downward spiral that not even their new digital initiatives can halt.
Carr closes with an anecdote about his recent recent doctor’s office visit, where a pile of magazines went unread, because all the patients were staring at their cell phones.
There will be something like magazines in the post-normal economy, once the internet has gobbled all media into its enormous maw and excretes it out as mobile. But the transformation will be so large scale that it’s hard to imagine the brands like Vogue, GQ, Newsweek or Cosmo with retain much value, if any.
The second screen is being recognized as one of the most innovative and engrossing ideas happening:
The Age of Mobile Creativity: Are We There Yet? - Douglas Quenqua via Co.Create
We asked some creatives who work in mobile to name their favorite executions of the past year or so. The consensus? Don’t look for amazing visuals or stories. When it comes to mobile, the most creative ads are the ones that use the technology to forge connections.
"The connectivity stuff is where I think it’s getting really interesting," says Tom Eslinger, digital creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide and head of the mobile jury at Cannes.
"Mobile that connects you to your community when you’re watching your favorite TV show so you can hang out and watch together, " he says, seemingly describing any number of social TV apps. "There’s this really high-utility stuff—TV and entertainment has a lot of it."
Eli Portnoy, CEO of ThinkNear, thinks the reason that mobile ads haven’t taken off is the lack of usable cookies — or the data that they collect — on mobile devices:
Eli Portnoy via TechCrunch
[…] why isn’t the money flowing to mobile?
Advertisers know that the golden ticket to performance is relevance, and by that I mean the ability to target and reach your potential customer base as accurately as possible. I live in Los Angeles, and you are going to have a tough time trying to sell me snow boots in the summer. The more you can target the ads, the more likely you can generate the desired action and the more successful the campaign. The current mobile eco-system allows almost no targeting criteria and demands that advertisers take a spray and pray approach to their campaigns. This leads to poorly performing campaigns and unhappy advertisers that are unwilling to keep pushing more money down the rabbit hole that is mobile.
Why are mobile campaigns so lacking?
The answer most people give is that cookies, which are the mechanism used in the online ad world, don’t work on mobile. Without getting into the technical reasons as to why this is the case, I challenge the argument because even if cookies did work I still don’t think you would see an advertising windfall. Fundamentally, cookie targeting lets advertisers build a profile about your browsing history and retarget you based on that data. However, in mobile the use case is different and this advertising paradigm starts to break. Using myself as a datapoint of one, when I am on a computer I tend to research specific items and create a browsing history that is rich with information and clearly paints a picture of my intents. However, on mobile my browsing and app history is sporadic and incoherent. I pick up my phone when I have time to kill, when I want to look something specific up, or as part of my everyday. Trying to create a profile from this activity would lead to few actionable insights.
So we use our mobile devices differently than desktops — at least at present — and as a result, mobile ads can’t be targeted as well.
But from my perspective the real problem is that advertisers don’t know that it’s me, on my phone, the same person browsing on my desktop ten minutes ago. What’s missing is a unified picture of the person, which could direct an ad to me based on a richer profile.
Platform enables diners to view the menu and order on their smartphone
QR codes have proved themselves to be a useful tool across a wide range of industries, and the catering sector is no different. In February, we covered the LA-based Paperlinks service, which enables take out restaurants to direct customers to mobile ordering via a code on their menus. Now offering a system for sit-down restaurants and other hospitality services, Your Smart Butler allows diners to view the menu and place their order solely using their smartphones through QR code technology. READ MORE…
More evidence that a feeling of engagement with work has large consequences:
Sense Of Engagement
“Place making is back in the corporate vocabulary,” says Tom Vecchione [a workplace leader at Gensler New York]. Perhaps the most tangible sign of the workplace revolution’s next phase is a renewed belief that work’s settings should be inspiring, above all else.
“When people are engaged by their work, there’s a confidence and camaraderie that let them feel they can do anything,” he says. “Companies that acknowledge this and design for it can accelerate that engagement.”
The upside of that greater commitment is huge. A recent Corporate Leadership Council survey of 50,000 office workers found that when people are engaged by what they do, they make, on average, a 57% gain in discretionary effort (they’re willing to do more on their own initiative), a 20% gain in personal performance (the effort pays off) and an 80% drop in their desire to change jobs (they’re happier).
“Work patterns have changed, but the office is still a critical component,” says Christine Barber [Gensler’s director of research]. “It’s the cultural glue that holds the organization together.”
Getting the workplace right is still key, so that people can create and share culture, and build social connections, even in an increasingly mobile world.
Michael DeGusta via Technology Review
[…] smart phones, after a relatively fast start, have also outpaced nearly any comparable technology in the leap to mainstream use. It took landline telephones about 45 years to get from 5 percent to 50 percent penetration among U.S. households, and mobile phones took around seven years to reach a similar proportion of consumers. Smart phones have gone from 5 percent to 40 percent in about four years, despite a recession. In the comparison shown, the only technology that moved as quickly to the U.S. mainstream was television between 1950 and 1953.
Almost as fast as TV, which was artificially delayed by WWII.
Web traffic from tablet computers is growing 10 times faster than smartphone traffic (via Adobe: Web Traffic From Tablets Growing Faster Than Smartphones)
Nobody Seems to Understand What Jeff Bezos is Doing. Does He? - Farhad Manjoo via PandoDaily
Jeff Bezos once famously declared that, in the service of innovation and its long-term success, Amazon is “willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.” He was being a bit modest there; Amazon is not merely “willing” to be misunderstood, it often tries to actively sow widespread misunderstanding. This works it its advantage; if competitors don’t know what Amazon is up to, if they can’t even figure out where and how it aims to make money, they’ll have a harder time beating it.
But all this misunderstanding can’t be an unalloyed good. Amazon is so opaque, with so many mysterious businesses and revenue streams, that you’ve got to wonder whether the people who work there even understand what it’s up to. In business, simplicity often wins. Selling me a device to get me to buy a membership in order to get a book for free. Is Bezos crazy like a fox? Or is he just plain crazy? We have no idea.
But Bezos is involved in a land grab: he wants people to use Kindle and buy books from Amazon long enough to become a default standard. If he has to extract value from the publishers and authors of books to do so, he will.
Bezos is looking over his should at Apple (and more distantly at Google) who are developing the most dominant mobile devices on the planet, and he knows it is all converging. People — given their druthers — would rather have a single mobile device to do everything: read books, surf the web, write email, blog, social network (yes, I am using that as a verb).
So the only question is, why doesn’t he put a phone on the Kindle? It’s already a (bad) browsing device with an embedded whispernet data connection, so perhaps he is planning to give away phone service to Amazon Prime subscribers, too.