Osper Seeks To Reinvent Banking For Kids and Parents

osper-logo-stacked-orangeOsper, a new mobile-first banking system has launched today, aiming to reinvent the world of money management for under 18s.

The system includes a prepaid debit card and mobile banking app, and aims to not only provide 8-18 year olds with a simple, secure banking service, but also tackle the lack of financial education among young people by encouraging responsibility and good money habits.

The mobile app includes separate log-ins for parents and children, and allows parents to place money on the Mastercard pre-paid debit card so that children can manage their own online purchases and subscriptions for services like Amazon and iTunes, as well as make in-store purchases and withdraw money from ATMs.

“While UK retail banks currently offer debit cards to people aged 11+, data suggests that young people’s needs are not being met by financial services at the moment,” said Alick Varma, founder of Osper. “Despite three quarters of young people having a bank account, less than 30 per cent use online banking and there is a heavy reliance on parents lending cash or their credit cards for purchases with one in five UK children using their parents’ cards in secret.

“There is a need to reinvent banking for young people; they should have the tools to build self-confidence to manage money from a young age.”

Osper includes features like SMS alerts to help monthly budgeting habits and to notify parents of declined transactions due to insufficient funds, and does not include an overdraft facility, so children can only spend the money that has been loaded into the account. The company has raised over $10m (£5.8m) in pre-launch funding, and while the initial launch is for the UK only, hopes to spread to more countries in the future.

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Mobile Retail Summit Innovation Lab: Metail

We speak to Metail business development manager Vikesh Shah about what the company was demoing in the Mobile Retail Summit Innovation Lab earlier this month.

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Majority of UK Under-45s Now Own Tablet Devices

Student on tablet iPad school universityMore than half of UK adults aged between 16 and 44 have at least one tablet in their home, a new study by Kantar Media shows, with the number rising as high as 58 per cent among 35-44 year olds.

Overall, tablet penetration is at 45 per cent for all British adults, up from 32 per cent a year ago. The presence of children is one of the strongest drivers for ownership, with 69 per cent of households with school age children in having a tablet at home.

Apple’s iPad continues to dominate the market, making up 56 per cent of all tablet users, although this is down from 63 per cent only six months ago, during which time Android based tablets grew by 10 per cent up to 37 per cent of users. Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Fire HD devices make up 15 per cent of the market.

As tablets grow more and more ubiquitous, their role in users’ lifestyles begins to distinguish itself from smartphones. While smartphones continue to be the primary device for communication, tablets are more likely to be used for watching video content or gaming, where the larger screen enhances the experience.

In addition, tablets are playing a growing role in mCommerce, with 53 per cent of tablet users researching products and services using their device, up from 44 per cent six months ago.

40 per cent of households with tablets have more than one device, and as such they are slowly shifting from being a shared device to a personal one, which opens up new content and advertising opportunities for targeting specific users more effectively.

Tablets remain tied to the home, however, with only 8 per cent of users taking their tablet out-of-home every day, and 44 per cent never leaving the house with their tablet, which is up from 36 per cent six months ago. Again, this reflects the changing role of tablets and the different usages new tablet owners are adopting.

“Tablets have rapidly become part of our digital lives, with Christmas sales and cheaper, Android powered devices all contributing to make tables a ‘need to have’ rather than just a ‘nice to have’,” said Trevor Vagg, director of Kantar Media Custom. “The arrival of cheaper Android based tablets such as Tesco’s Hudl and the Kindle Fire has turned what was a premium device into something that’s much more ubiquitous but also increasingly as personal as the smartphone we use when we are on the go. These shifts open new doors for advertisers in terms of targeted messaging opportunities.”

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Facebook Draws Controversy Over News Feed Experiment

Facebook Like - CopyFacebook has come under fire on social media for an experiment conducted by its Data Science Team which aimed to manipulate the emotional state of thousands of users.

The research, which was published in the March issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, detailed how Facebook researchers altered the algorithm that determines news feed content for almost 700,000 users for a week in 2012. During the experiment, some users had posts containing positive words hidden from their feeds, while others had posts containing negative words removed.

The researchers found that, as a result, those who saw more negative posts were significantly more likely to also post negative content, while those who saw more positive posts underwent the opposite effect, and were more likely to post positive content.

The phenomenon, known as ’emotional contagion’, is well established within laboratory experiments, but this is the first time it has been observed and measured occurring outside of in-person interactions and on such a large scale.

While Facebook’s Data Use Policy includes a provision that user information may be utilised not only for advertising but also for “internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement,” many have reacted to the news of this study with outrage.

“This is extraordinarily powerful stuff and if there is not already legislation on this, then there should be to protect people,” said Jim Sheridan, member of the Commons media select committee, in a statement to The Guardian. “They are manipulating material from people’s personal lives and I am worried about the ability of Facebook and others to manipulate people’s thoughts in politics or other areas. If people are being though-controlled in this kind of way there needs to be protection and they at least need to know about it.”

In a public Facebook post, lead researcher Adam Kramer apologised for upsetting anyone with the experiment, and said that in hindsight, “the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety.” He also added that since the experiment was run, there have been changes in internal review practices, and “we have come a long way since then.”

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The Search Agency Acquires MoFuse to Improve Marketing Platform

search mo fuse dealMarketing firm The Search Agency has completed the acquisition of mobile web solutions company MoFuse. The deal enables The Search Agency to offer a more comprehensive digital marketing solution with a more robust mobile web management platform and search marketing solution.

The MoFuse platform will be integrated into The Search Agency’s existing AdMax Local platform as part of the acquisition, enabling resellers of paid search to operate on a hyper-local level with their campaigns. The platform will also allow resellers to manage both the landing page and traffic generation of their sites, leading to better optimisation and driving better leads for their products and services.

“Marketers that are creating online local campaigns must focus on presences, leads and activation,” said Ben Gibsom, global managing director of AdMax Local and international agency services at The Search Agency. “Before you can create a digital marketing campaign, you must establish an online and mobile presence to be easily found by new and existing customers.

“With the acquisition of MoFuse, The Search Agency can now manage both the site creation and the generation of traffic to direct to those destinations. This comprehensive experience will drive more calls and greater lead volume while inciting more website visits, allowing them to meet their revenue goals quicker.”


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Fetch Opens Up in Berlin

fetchMobile agency Fetch has officially launched a branch in Berlin’s tech community, its first shop in mainland Europe, in response to demand from its client roster.

The agency already has branches in tech hubs in San Francisco and London, and the new Berlin branch has already secured mobile acquisition work from local food delivery service Foodpanda, in addition to providing a more complete service to existing clients such as eBay and Hotels.com.

The Berlin branch will service pan-European and global clients as well as actively seeking further partners across Germany. Fetch has already seen exponential growth since its launch in 2009, reporting income of £34m in 2013, and predicting its first £100m revenue year for 2014.

“We remain a hugely ambitious company with global ambitions,” said James Connelly, CEO and co-founder. “This is our third operation in our network offering mobile media, strategy, creative and analytics that will complement what we do in London and San Francisco. We’re confident we will attract new clients to our unique network, and this launch will be swiftly followed by a further launch into the APAC market place.”

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Mobile Ad Spend Sees Massive Growth in Asia-Pacific Markets

millennialmedialogo369Millennial Media has released its latest SMART report into global mobile advertising trends, detailing the key changes in mobile marketing patterns during Q1 2014. Among the notable findings is a huge growth in ad spend for multiple industries in the APAC region.

Exploring vertical spending on global mobile campaigns, there was huge year-on-year growth for pharmaceutical advertisers, who spent 491 per cent than in Q1 2013, largely driven by large spends in the US.

Other industries who dramatically increased their spending included ‘portals and directories’, which also covers app stores and browsers, who grew by 290 per cent, and energy and power companies, who increased spending by 270 per cent.

Narrowing the focus to the APAC market, there was extremely vigorous growth, with 12 industries increasing ad spend by triple-digit figures, and six of them growing by over 200 per cent. Among the biggest growers were news, at 529 per cent, education at 395 per cent and real estate at 383 per cent. In the EMEA market, travel showed the largest growth in ad spend, rising by 429 per cent compared to last year, while other large growers included news, with 169 per cent growth, and finance with 167 per cent.

Looking at campaign methods and goals, video has become an increasingly important in more and more campaigns, with 23 per cent of campaigns including a video element, up from 17 per cent in the same period last year. The majority of campaigns aimed to drive site and mobile traffic, with 34 per cent citing it as their primary goal, followed by brand awareness and engagement at 23 per cent.

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Shipping Starts on Blackphone, World’s First Privacy-Optimised Smartphone

blackphoneShipping to pre-order customers has begun on SGP Technologies’ Blackphone, the world’s first privacy-optimised smartphone that includes an array of integrated features designed to protect the user’s identity and data.

The Blackphone was launched at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year, where it first detailed the measures it had put into place to provide privacy for users. Features include private encrypted voice and video calls and text messaging with attachments, the Kismet Smarter Wi-Fi Manager which prevents wi-fi hotspots from capturing information or tracking users’ locations or activities, a comprehensive security permissions centre and remote wipe and protect functionality.

The phone uses PrivatOS, a security-enhanced operating system built on Android KitKat, and also offers private mobile web browsing as default, a VPN which prevents eavesdropping over cellular networks and private cloud storage for files.

Pre-orders for the phone have been extremely successful, with Blackphone’s initial inventory quickly selling out. The company’s store will reopen and begin accepting new orders on 14 July, after pre-orders have all been met.

“We are excited to achieve this key milestone on schedule and ship a remarkable device to suctomers that is the result of an unprecedented combination of privacy and mobile innovations and visionaries,” said Toby Weir-Jones, CEO of SGP Technologies. “Blackphone’s arrival puts mobile privacy directly in the hands of professionals and consumers everywhere.

“In a world where devices and apps increasingly offer features only in return for users’ personal or sensitive information, the pent-up demand for Blackphone shows there is strong, international demand for our brand’s devices and services that stand apart by placing privacy before all else.”

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MoPub Expands Native Advertising Capabilities

Native_Ads-Mediation-launch-2Twitter-owned mobile ad exchange MoPub has expanded on the native advertising capabilities it launched earlier this year, enabling publishers to manage multiple native ad networks.

The new mediation functionality makes it possible for multiple native ad sources to be managed with a single SDK, aiding publishers in their efforts to optimise sales and performance of their mobile ad inventory. The updated platform will also automatically select the native ad source that offers the best CPM from all of of those available, streamlining the process for publishers.

MoPub has seen increasing adoption of the native ad format ever since enabling publishers to purchase this ad format on its platform programmatically. With the announcement that such ads will be increasingly flexible and easier to manage, it expects further growth in this area.

MoPub was acquired by Twitter last year for a reported $350m (£205m), with the aim of introducing Real Time Bidding (RTB) to its ad platform and expanding its native advertising offering on mobile, so it is likely this development has been planned from the early days of its acquisition.

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Six Weeks Left to Enter Our Awards

2011 trophies_0We are only six weeks from 8 August, which marks the entry deadline for the 2014 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards, sponsored by Celtra and Theorem.

There are 40 categories to compete in for this year’s Awards, with new categories including the Most Effective Native Advertising Campaign, Most Effective Mobile-first Service and Most Effective Event Tie-in Campaign. We have also introduced four People’s Choice Awards for the Mobile Marketer of the Year, Most Effective Agency, Most Effective Brand and Most Effective Technology Provider. The shortlist for these Awards will be drawn up by the Awards judging team, with the winner chosen by the industry by way of a public vote. A full list of categories can be found at the end of this article.

The Awards Ceremony takes place on 27 November at The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel. Tickets will be available for the Ceremony after the shortlist has been announced in September.

Winners last year included Mothercare, Orange, Warburtons, Intel and Pepsi, with the winners coming from four continents. Multiple entries from the same company or brand are welcome, and if you feel a campaign or piece of work belongs in more than one category, all you have to do is make that clear on the entry form.

As always, we have put together a judging panel from some of the best and brightest experts in the business, including the IAB’s Jon Mew; Russell Buckley, UK government advisor on startups; mobile marketing specialist Helen Keegan; James Cameron, founder of mobile-first events company Camerjam; mobiThinking editor Andy Favell. Paul Skeldon. Mobile Marketing editor David Murphy will chair the judging panel.

We are still inviting sponsors to support the Awards. As a sponsor, you’ll benefit from extensive publicity in the run up to the event though our own eBlasts and articles on the web and in our print and iPad editions, plus those written by our media partners, including the IAB. You will also receive premium branding during the Awards Ceremony. If you’re interested in sponsorship of the awards, get in touch on +44 (0) 20 7183 2920 or contact John Owen via email.

The full list of categories is as follows:

  • People’s Choice Award – Mobile Marketer of the Year
  • People’s Choice Award – Most Effective Agency
  • People’s Choice Award – Most Effective Brand
  • People’s Choice Award – Most Effective Technology Provider
  • Most Effective Advertising Platform
  • Most Effective Advertising Network
  • Most Effective Mobile-first Service
  • Most Effective App or Site Building Platform
  • Most Effective Responsive Site
  • Most Effective Mobile Site
  • Most Effective Consumer App
  • Most Effective Enterprise App
  • Most Effective Consumer Tablet App
  • Most Effective Enterprise Tablet App
  • Most Effective Use of Payment Technologies
  • Most Accessible App
  • Most Effective Mobile Advertising Campaign
  • Most Effective Programmatic Buying Campaign
  • Most Effective Native Advertising Campaign
  • Most Effective Rich Media Campaign
  • Most Effective Guerrilla Campaign
  • Most Effective Social Campaign
  • Most Effective Affiliate Campaign
  • Most Effective Messaging Campaign
  • Most Effective Search Campaign
  • Most Effective Use of Video
  • Most Effective CRM Campaign
  • Most Effective Sales Promotion Campaign
  • Most Effective Brand Campaign
  • Most Effective Tablet Advertising Campaign
  • Most Effective Integrated Campaign
  • Most Effective In-store Initiative
  • Most Effective Publishing Campaign or Solution
  • Most Effective Travel & Tourism Campaign or Solution
  • Most Effective Gambling Campaign or Solution
  • Most Effective Financial Campaign or Solution
  • Most Effective Retail Campaign or Solution
  • Most Effective Charity Campaign or Solution
  • Most Effective Entertainment Campaign or Solution


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