UK 4G Penetration at Seven Per Cent

Orange graph exposureOrange’s annual Exposure report has revealed some initial findings on 4G usage.

Penetration is now around 7 per cent in the UK, 4 per cent in France and 3 per cent in Spain. Mobile data usage is currently growing most quickly in the UK, standing equal with Spain at 59 per cent, while French mobile data usage is lagging behind at 41 per cent.

The survey of smartphone users in France, Spain and the UK found that 30 per cent of the UK’s 4G users regularly download video games, compared with 17 per cent of those on 3G. 53 per cent of 4G users in the UK have used their mobile to pay for something in the last six months, compared with 34 per cent of 3G mobile media users.

The stats also appear to indicate that 4G users react more favourably to different advertising formats, with 4G users in the UK giving sponsored games a score of 4.9 out of 10, compared with 3.8 for ordinary mobile multimedia users.

Orange said they could not share the full data set and it is worth taking into account that 4G users are more likely to be affluent and tech savvy compared to non-3G users. The calibration phase of research was conducted by TNS and consisted of 2000 face-to-face interviews in each country, with the main body done online with 1000 mobile media users.

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The Geo-location Game

mkodo Mark GibsonUS States, Delaware and New Jersey went live with regulated eGaming on 31 October 2013 and 26 November 2013 respectively. These states followed on from Nevada, which was the first state to go live (with online poker).

These online gaming launches bring to the forefront discussion about the key issue of geo-location; the ability to locate where players are physically placed when they’re interacting with eGaming services.

Get geo-location right on mobile and you give your eGaming product a key market advantage. It will pass through the approvals processes more smoothly in the more stringently regulated jurisdictions, facilitating both speed-to-market and the acquisition of a broader client base.

Customer intelligence
Accurate geo-location tools can also significantly support marketing and product development disciplines through the supply of sophisticated customer behaviour intelligence. Location information can map customer behaviour and trigger marketing communications on that basis.

Geo-location knowledge can also be used to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of promotions – focussing media-buy and ad spend at the best time and in the best places for the product in question. Data drawn from geo-location mapping for your user-base/population can also be invaluable for identifying contextual usage for your product or between product sets.

Getting mobile and location right also avoids the risk to brand reputation that would be incurred if local or jurisdictional requirements were transgressed. Where jurisdictions proscribe, in law, that players must be ‘in jurisdiction’ in order to legally interact with the service, there is significant potential ‘harm’ if gaming services are consumed by users outside of that jurisdiction; non-compliance can affect operators’ current gaming licences and can go as far as criminal conviction for company executives.

Geo-location through IP-checking and validation for the desktop channel is well established. For mobile devices however, this IP method alone is insufficient due to the nature of IP routing within mobile networks – a mobile network can – and does – route its web traffic through just a few (or even a single) data centre and IP-location. So, all users could appear to be in the same area, regardless of their actual location.

There are multiple options of location ascertainment on the mobile channel – from using a location provided by the mobile device itself (e.g. GPS) to the cellular mast location, to wi-fi network ID. The key challenge is configuring these options in an appropriate manner to enable the most accurate results for each mobile device. This is particularly important, given that mobile devices apply various location look-up processes, some in a non-standard manner.

After the location has been determined, there is a further challenge: the validation process. Geo-location checking (on a very high-level view) goes through two steps: the first is to determine the location. The second is to check that the location is in a valid area.

Step 2 can be achieved by sending information off to a third party that performs an IP-location check. This, however, may return just a Yes/No response as to whether the IP-location is an allowed location. Some accreditation bodies and regulators require more transparent, more auditable information, such as latitude and longitude coordinates.

In conclusion, if you are offering online gaming, then a significant number of your players will access your services from a mobile device, whether or not you have promoted a mobile- specific service. It is important to your marketing efforts, your organisation as a whole, and potentially to the executives of your organisation personally, that the mobile channel is given specific consideration when it comes to the geo-location process.

Mark Gibson is business development director at mkodo 

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Awards Night in Pictures

Effective_Mobile_Marketing_Awards (5)The 2013 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards Ceremony took place last night at London’s Southbank Film Museum.

It was a great night, and we’ve got photographic evidence to prove it. Our photographer snapped the whole event, from the first glass of champagne to the final bottle of beer.

Check out our Flickr gallery for photos of the night’s winners, comedian Holly Walsh, and a whole bunch of the industry’s best and brightest making a spectacle of themselves.

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The Week in Mobile Marketing

Effective_Mobile_Marketing_Awards (57)As the first full week of the new look Mobile Marketing site draws to a close,

This week, we’ve put a particular focus on location, with guest columns about how geo-location is being used in the gambling industry and Apple’s Bluetooth-powered iBeacon, as well as a review of location-based social media app Tapastreet, and an interview with Paul Thompson from Blis Media, who believes his company has found the ‘holy grail’ of location-based advertising.

David Murphy also kicked off his new column, Murphy’s Law, with a piece on whether location alone is enough, and what other contextual data can be drawn in by apps and services to offer a more personalised mobile experience.

We also headed down to a Harris + Hoole coffee shop in London to find out more about what the Tesco-backed chain is doing with mobile, from its loyalty and ordering app to a recent hackathon. You can watch our video interview with director of digital experience Danielle Anderson here.

Last night saw the 2013 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. Our coverage of the event was hard to miss in, but just in case, check out the full list of winners, as well as our gallery of photos from the night.

And of course, it would be remiss of me not to mention that today is Black Friday, marking the beginning of the pre-Christmas online shopping frenzy. Expect to hear a lot more about the role mobile played this weekend – whether today, Cyber Monday or ‘Super Tablet Sunday’ – next week.

Thanks for reading,

Alex Spencer

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The Holy Grail of Location-based Advertising

PaulWe spoke to Paul Thompson, MD of Blis Media, who believes the company has found the ‘holy grail’ of location-based advertising.

Blis is about to open an office in Australia and is getting huge amounts of attention from Out-of-Home media owners.

Thompson told us about targeting mobile users at home, on the forecourt of your competitor and even on the beach. He also spoke about data privacy, scaling location inventory and the bright future of location re-targeting in 2014.

You can listen to the full interview below, or download it as podcast.

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MagicSolver Advent App Promises King.com and Supercell Launches

Advent appMagicSolver’s 2013 Advent App promises new releases from King.com, makers of Candy Crush, and Supercell, who created Clash of the Clans, behind some of its doors.

The family-friendly alternative Advent calendar, with 25 free top-rated and new apps behind each of its doors, will also include the Animal Voyage, CSR classics and Ruzzle.

The company’s Advent App, available from 12am tonight on Android and iOS, has been the top Advent app in the App Store for the last three years.

MagicSolver’s app won’t contain ads, but some of the apps for download will.

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Contactless Card Payments on the Tube Set for 2014

Oyster cardOyster cards could become a thing of the past if a pilot for contactless card payments on London’s transport system is successful.

The two-month test begins in December, with 5,000 travelers on the Tube, DLR and Overground able to tap in and out using a contactless bank card. The system has been in place on London’s buses since December last year so is likely to be fully implemented in 2014. The change will also save £80m per year, according to an interview with TfL in the Evening Standard.

Passengers will be charged pay-as-you-go rates and it is not clear whether regular users will be able to buy Travelcards when the system goes live. Tfl was unable to confirm whether contactless card payments would be followed by contactless mobile payments.

TfL has committed to a host of mobile-first initiatives, including promising wifi for all underground stations as well as equipping ticket staff with iPads. The changes to ticket halls, with all offices closing by 2015, would cost 950 jobs.

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V.me by Visa Rolls Out in UK, France, Spain and Poland

V.meV.me by Visa, the first pan-European digital wallet service to be offered by banks and financial institutions, has launched in the UK, France, Spain and Poland. The UK’s Nationwide Building Society has been joined by BPCE and LCL in France, with ING Bank Slaski in pilot in Poland and multiple pilots also underway in Spain. Visa said that other major issuers will launch soon in all four markets, and that a pilot will launch in Ireland in early 2014. The full commercial launch and consumer marketing campaign is slated for late 2014. In the UK, any cardholder can sign up for the service. In other markets the service is currently being offered to a select group of consumers, with wider availability to follow in the coming months. Consumers in each country will be able to use their wallet at any European retailer that accepts V.me by Visa. More than 1,400 merchants currently accept V.me by Visa, with others due to join the program soon including Universal Music in the UK and Aquarelle, Brandalley, Made.com and Pecheur.com in France. By January 2014, up to 4,000 merchants will accept V.me by Visa, as a result of strategic partnerships with a number of payment industry services suppliers, including WorldPay in the UK, plus Be2Bill (Rentabiliweb), Lyra Networks, Monext, Paybox (Point), System Pay and Worldline in France. Nationwide’s Chief Executive Graham Beale said that V.me by Visa builds on the Building Society’s heritage of implementing practical technological solutions which improve the experience for our members. “This will make online shopping easier, faster and more secure for our over seven million credit and debit card customers,” he said.

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KBH Launches On-train Direct Response Mobile Ad Channel

KBH Engage Capital_SpreadsTraincard media firm, KBH On-Train Media, has announced the full roll-out of the UK’s first mobile-enabled advertising medium connecting directly with on-board rail passengers. Named KBH Engage, it will provide a premium add-on service for advertisers buying traincard campaigns on KBH’s Out Of Home train poster network. Commuters in to London who use Southwest Trains may well have seen some of the mobile-enabled ads over the past few months, during the trial phase. The on-train ads will enable travellers to find out more about products and services advertised on KBH’s network of traincard panels via a touch-point providing interaction by NFC, QR code or SMS. When fully installed, Engage will open a direct dialogue between advertisers and the 6m passengers travelling into London’s highest-profile mainline rail terminals every four weeks, using the 12 train operating companies with whom KBH has exclusive on-train ad contracts. KBH Engage’s roll-out partner is spread-betting company Capital Spreads. Using the Engage touch-point takes the consumer to a mobile-optimised version of the Capital Spreads site specially built to enable immediate interaction. The site contains comprehensive information for potential new traders, and offers them straightforward ways to apply for an account or sign up for a demo version. The campaign was booked by Brand Links though Open Outdoor. Initial trials on 350 carriages on the Southwest Trains network at the start of 2013 saw 17,800 people connecting with one of the networks in eight weeks, with over 5,500 choosing to take further action. When scaled-up across the full KBH Engage network, this would equate to 4,000 interactions per day. Installation of Engage-enabled touch-points is currently in progress across six trainlines – SouthWest Trains, Greater Anglia, Southern, Stansted Express, First Capital Connect and Great Northern. By January, the network will be at full strength with 4,000 Engage-enabled panels across KBH’s routes. Each panel will be uniquely identified with a built-in NFC chip, QR code and unique SMS number for tracking purposes. “Engage is an added-value service for both advertisers and in-touch train travellers,” said KBH managing director, Ian Reynolds. “The on-train audience is truly connected, with 92 per cent using a smartphone while on the train. They’re also willing to interact there and then. 45 per cen of those who’ve interacted with a traincard ad have done so while on the train. “Engage will open up tremendous opportunities for advertisers to start a direct conversation with consumers and so gain far greater engagement. The average journey time on our trains is 50 minutes, so this is clearly a great window of opportunity for brands.”

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There’s More to Location than Location

MurphyslawbikesIf you were paying attention at the start of the week, you will know that we have been focusing on location on the site this week. We thought that as we were launching a new version of the site, we should try out the idea of having a theme for the week. Not to the exclusion of everything else, of course. News dictates its own agenda, and there will always be a heap of interesting stuff to write about. But the theme for the week, on the weeks we have them, will enable us to focus our energies in a given area. So maybe one or two of the Guest Columns that week will have location as the subject. And location is also likely to feature in other non-news content, such as interviews, reviews and analysis pieces.

So as we were thinking about location, it took me to thinking about, er, location. So I did a little bit of analysis about the apps and services I use most on my own phones, wondering how big a part location was of the whole experience. Turns out, it’s a fair bit. In no particular order, the apps I seem to find myself using on my phone (not including calling and texting) are the browser, Maps, Sky News, email, Music, Hailo, Addison Lee, Memo Pad, the camera, Thetrainline, Barclays Bikes, National Rail Enquiries, Tube Map and, increasingly, though often just to see what’s behind the QR code in question, QR Pal. So that’s 13, of which more than half have a strong location focus to them.

Context is key
So I started thinking about what makes for a good location-based app, and I came to the conclusion that the key is context. The idea that there’s more to it than just telling you where you are in relation to something else, but that there is an added dimension to it, whether it’s to solve a problem beyond the one of finding the thing you’re looking for, or adding an additional layer of intelligence to it.

Perhaps the best explanation is by way of example. Take the Barclays/Boris Bikes app, which I discovered after around a year or so of using the scheme without it. As regular Boris Bike users will confirm, there are two problems with the docking stations from where you hire the bikes in the first place and then return them when you’re done.

The first is that, almost by definition, they tend to be off the main roads, down smaller side streets, particularly in central London. This would not be too much of an issue if they were well signposted, so that as you were coming within a few hundred yards of one, there was a chance of seeing a sign telling you which way to turn to find it. But they aren’t, so the irony is that even though you are probably never more than 250 yards from a docking station in central London, without the app, you can spend half an hour trying to find one.

Given this problem, the Barclays Bikes app, which tells you where the nearest docking stations are, is already on to a winner. It’s not so much a case of finding where to pick up a bike from, though this may occasionally come into play; it’s more about checking your destination before you jump on your bike so you know where you can dump it at the other end.

But knowing where the docking stations are, it turns out, is only half the battle. From personal experience, things have improved a little in recent months, but certainly before that, finding a free dock to park your bike in was a major problem, so knowing there’s a docking station round the corner turns out to be not quite as useful as it could have been, when you get there and find all the docks are full so you can’t park the bike after all.

This is where the Barclays Bikes app goes the extra mile (or 250 yards perhaps), with a live feed for each docking station, telling you how many bikes there are for hire, and how many spaces in which to park a bike, at each one. It’s one/two additional bits of information, but it prevents a wasted journey in one direction to hire a bike that isn’t there, if you can see that there are plenty for hire if you head in the opposite direction. And it’s especially useful in giving you the confidence to jump on a bike and head across town, knowing that the docking station you are headed for has plenty of empty spaces to dock the bike.

Hailo
Hailo also impressed me the first time I used it for similar reasons. The additional dimension in this case was that it solved a problem I had no idea I was going to encounter, and it did so in a matter of minutes. It was earlier this year, when I found myself at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon for a press preview, ahead of the annual tennis tournament there. It was a fascinating afternoon, but as I exited the complex, I realised I was a good few miles from the train station, with no obvious sign of how I was going to get back there, other than on foot. (I’m all for exercise, by the way, but on this particular day, I was in a hurry to get to the next thing.)

It was at this point that I put Hailo to the test. I downloaded it from Google Play, registered my details, called a cab via the app, and five minutes later, was sitting in a black cab on my way back to the train station. This is the power of mobile and location, at its best, and having experienced it for myself, the success Hailo has enjoyed, both in terms of taxi signups and investment, came as no surprise.

Convenience+
With National Rail Enquiries, I guess the added dimension is convenience, or maybe, since convenience is arguably the raison d’etre of any location-based app or service, convenience+. If you commute out of London in the evenings, National Rail’s Live Departure Boards service is a must-have, giving you a vague idea whether the train to take you home will arrive, and if so, when. I have the mobile-optimised site bookmarked, though have not got round to downloading the app.

Using it a few weeks ago, I noticed a feature I hadn’t seen before, called ‘Get Me Home’. Tell it where ‘Home’ is and then wherever you find yourself, just hit the ‘Get Me Home’ button and it will bring up a list of the closest stations to where you are, and the distance to them. Click on the one you want and it brings up details of the train journey between there and home, including changes, the journey time and price. In truth, it’s probably only a couple of clicks less than a service that brings up the stations you frequently enter – your home station is inevitably on of them – but it feels a lot more convenient than that.

I’m starting to see this sort of context come into other apps too. Check out Spindle, which gathers live updates from social streams to alert its users to events and offers being pushed by businesses and organisations in their area, and which was bought by Twitter over the summer; and Ruffl, best described as a spontaneous dining app that uses location and real-time reservation information to help Londoners book a last-minute table.

They both have this additional dimension of context, though it’s a different take on it in each case. I guess for a retailer, you could take the Storefinder feature that most offer on their apps and mobile sites and add a stock-checker facility to see if the item you need now is in stock at the store closest to you. It may be a logistical back-end nightmare for the retailer, but if it serves the customer’s needs better, it’s a job worth doing.

Location on its own, then is a nice-to-have. Location and context though, is a killer combination.

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