Innovation Lab: Invisible Keyboards, Designer Payments, and Body Heat Batteries

At Mobile Marketing we’re proud to help tech companies showcase their cutting-edge solutions, whether it’s on our website, in our magazine or at our Mobile Marketing Summits. Giving a platform to companies that are breaking new ground in their market brings audiences one step closer to the ideas and developments that will shape tomorrow.

In that spirit, our Innovation Lab feature takes a step beyond the world of apps, ads and handsets with slightly bigger screens, in order to share some of the tech world’s innovative ideas. They might be interesting, disruptive or just outright strange, but these are the stories that have caught our eye over the past week.

Gest Aims to Replace the Keyboard with Hand Controls

As mobiles, smartwatches and wearables continue to evolve, the question of control becomes increasingly important. From voice-activated assistants to predictive text, we’ve developed a series of measures aimed at maintaining the same level of control we’ve come to expect from desktop computers on ever smaller screens.

Apotact Labs is hoping that its new creation may be a solution to all of that. The Gest is a fairly straight-forward looking device, a plain black strap that wraps around the palm with four wires attached that lead to adjustable finger bands. However, it houses a variety of accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers that enable it to transmit a huge variety of commands.

The first Gest prototype was created during a hackathon almost two years ago, and has undergone a significant evolution then to create the polished product that is now seeking funding on Kickstarter. It will work with both iOS and Android, and while initial support will focus on Photoshop, each device will come with an API, encouraging developers to create new applications or integrate Gest control into existing ones.

Perhaps the most exciting capability that Gest presents is keyboardless typing, with the kind of interface that could be integrated into newly emerging virtual and augmented reality platforms without breaking the illusion that they create. It’s still an experimental feature at this point, but the days of struggling with a tiny smartphone keyboard could soon be numbered.

adam selman mastercard designsRihanna’s Favourite Designer Bundles Mobile Payments into Clothes
Adam Selman, the designer who rose to fame off the back of his famous see-through dress for Rihanna at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards in 2014, has joined forces with MasterCard and a variety of technology companies to integrate mobile payment technology into designer clothing.

The project is part of a MasterCard program aimed at bringing payments technology into a wide array of consumer products across the automotive, fashion and technology markets. Selman’s designs, alongside tech from Nymi, Ringly and General Motors, were on display at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas this week.

“Technology is vital to the fashion industry, from textiles, printing techniques, and innovations in garments, it keeps fashion changing and evolving,” said Selman. “Usually technology’s role in fashion is behind the scenes.

“What sets the MasterCard program apart is that it features the technology, while still remaining invisible, yet interactive and totally functional with the wearer. It’s exciting to be part of a project that is creating something new and fresh. At the end of the day, that’s what fashion is all about.”

Scalevo Wheelchair Can Climb Stairs With Ease

Wheelchair design is a tricky task, with every added feature threatening to make the device too large or cumbersome for everyday use. There have been stair-climbing wheelchairs in the past, but they tended to be impractical for everything except negotiating stairs. A team of students at ETH Zurich and the Zurich University of the Arts put their minds to creating a wheelchair that could tackle stairs and remain a sleek, slim design.

The Scalevo is what they created, and it more than fits the bill. It sticks close to the size and dimensions of traditional manual wheelchairs, easily fitting through standard door spaces and capable of manoeuvering indoors without hassle. The Segway-style two wheel system gives users complete control over regular travel, turning on the spot and moving at speed without the need for huge upper body function or arm strength.

When it comes to scaling stairs, the parallel rubber tracks at the bottom come into play, activated by a button in the armrest. The tracks adjust the angle of the seat as it climbs, ensuring the user is always upright and comfortable, and the chair can climb steep angles, steps made of any material and even spiral staircases, according to the team.

altwork stationAltwork Station Encourages You to Lie Down on the Job
Over the past couple of years, we’ve heard increasing concerns that sitting down at a desk all day could be terrible for our health, leading to a growth in popularity for standing desks that encourage workers to be upright.

However, both sitting and standing desks can prove uncomfortable, especially for someone with joint pain, so the company behind the Altwork station has aimed to create something that suits every working position.

The workstation offers four different working modes – sit, stand, collaborate (where the screen swings out to facilitate co-working) and focus, where the entire unit tilts backwards, allowing you to lie down with your laptop, monitor, keyboard and mouse suspended above you, kept in place with sturdy clamps and magnetic attachments.

Battery-less Torch Generates Light from Body Heat

The Lumen is a keychain-sized torch that solves the problem of running out of batteries by generating power from the user’s own body heat, thanks to a small thermoelectric generator that needs a difference of only around 16 degrees Fahrenheit to light up its Super Bright LED.

When the temperature is even hotter, for particularly warm-handed users, the excess power is stored in a capacitor for future use. While thermoelectric generators have been around for a while, they are still used relatively rarely, and the Lumen’s inventor Zhuravskiy is one of the first to apply the technology to a torch.

In addition to being convenient, the device is environmentally-friendly, eliminating the need for batteries and making use of a power source that is largely ignored by most people. The Lumen has been a huge success on Kickstarter, powering past its initial $5,000 (£3,200) goal and currently sitting at over $105,000 worth of funding, with 13 days left to go.

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£2.3bn of UK Shopping on Mobile This Christmas

A graph showing the peak shopping days over the festive season

A graph showing the peak shopping days over the festive season – click to see full-siz

Mobile devices are set to account for 23 per cent all online Christmas shopping in the UK this year, equivalent to £2.3bn.

That’s according to a study from Adobe, which forecasts overall sales to rise seven per cent year-on-year to a total £17.7bn, with eCommerce making up 57 per cent of that figure.

The country will also see the largest peak online shopping day in Europe, with a predicted spend of £474m online on 27 November, ‘Black Friday’, with the average person spending £8.06 on that one day alone.

“This year’s report once again underscores the importance of the Christmas shopping season as a driver for eCommerce across Europe, giving consumers the ability to take advantage of low prices, retailer offers and product variety without battling crowds on the High Street,” said Adobe EMEA president Mark Zablan. “But consumers aren’t just looking for the best deal, the report this year indicates that they are increasingly looking at product reviews and social media to guide their Christmas purchases. This is an important insight for European retailers. They need to find ways of going beyond deals to create meaningful opportunities to engage with consumers throughout the customer journey that will drive them to the point of purchase. Social media is a key channel to achieve that.”

Adobe’s Online Shopping Prediction study is based on analysis of anonymous data of more than 1trn visits to 4,500 retail websites over the last seven years.

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Less Than a Week Left to Vote in our People’s Choice Awards

Effective_Mobile_Marketing_Awards-120.jpgAs part of the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards, the People’s Choice is open to the marketing community as a whole, so that it can have its own say on who triumphs in the following categories:

 – Mobile Marketing Campaign of the Year
 – Most Effective Brand
 – Most Innovative Use of Mobile
 – Start-up of the Year

We’re asking you to be the judge and put your expertise to work picking the best nominee in these four crucial categories. This award recognises brands and individuals that are having an impact on the mobile industry as a whole and pioneering the way forward, and there’s no higher honour than knowing you’ve been selected as the best by your peers.

The deadline for your votes is November 5 at 5pm UK time. You can access the voting system here, and details on all the individual entries can be found below.

We can’t wait to see what you will pick, and hope to see you at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday 26 November.

Mobile Marketing Campaign of the Year

Activision: Call of Duty Snapchat – Viral marketing campaign for new Call of Duty game saw Snapchat QR-style ‘Snaptags’ placed on in-game posters in 2012’s Black Ops 2 game, which were subsequently discovered by gamers. Tags led to an official Snapchat account, which sent out video and picture content to fans, generating excitement and curiosity.

Adult Swim: Rick & Morty ‘Rickstaverse’ Instagram campaign – Campaign for cartoon’s second season turned a series of Instagram pages into an in-depth game. A set of custom-created Instagram accounts each showed 4×3 grid of locations from the show, with users able to check images for captions and tags that led to games, videos, comics and more.

The ALS Association: The Ice Bucket Challenge – Viral user-generated video series spreading awareness of, and raising money for, neurodegenerative disease ALS. 17m films created by 440m people attracted 10bn views. The second largest conversation in Facebook’s history, and largest medical fundraiser ever, generating a total $220m for ALS research.

Childhood Eye Cancer Trust: The Next Photo – A campaign that leveraged mobile in a very different way. Out-of-home posters depicting the eye of a Retinoblastoma survivor, along with a call-to-action to snap a picture with a smartphone camera. When the flash went off, reflective ink in the child’s pupil would show up as white in the photo – just as it can in real life – in order to educate people about this warning sign.

Clarks: Desert Boots – Multiple WhatsApp identities used to convey the story of Clarks’ iconic desert boot. Messages, images, playlists and video content were combined to tell story of four different points in time, and build brand identity for the product and the retailer.

EA Sports: Madden Giferator – Creates GIFs of crucial NFL game moments in real time, which were then served in mobile ads and shared by consumers around the world. User-generated content was also a possibility, with consumers able to create and share their own GIFs.

Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence: The Unforgotten – Statues of gun violence victims used mobile app to identify name tags and link to videos of victims and family. Connected website contained additional stories, as well as encouraging public to share their own experiences, sign a petition called for action, and volunteer time. 100m earned impressions and massive local coverage.

L’Oreal: Makeup Genius – AR technology that enables users to try out make-up, either individual elements or entire looks, in real time. They can then share the results on social media and purchase through app. 10m+ downloads, 25m looks trialled, with 65m products scanned to activate an instant trial.

Les Paul: The Les Paul Skill Check – Promoted new signature guitar launch with print ads featuring guitar solo in music notation. Guitarists could Shazam their attempts at playing and, if sufficiently skilled, were taken to website where they could win or pre-order the guitar. First wave of production was sold out following campaign.

Topshop: Pinterest Palettes – Part of Topshop’s Fashion Week campaign. A digital tool that can scan ‘boards’ of images on Pinterest to identify the dominant colours, then present buyable clothes in matching and complimentary colours from the retailer’s online catalogue. The retailer’s flagship Oxford Store supported the campaign with iPads enabling shoppers to print out their own palettes.

Most Effective Brand

Bud Light – A large number of innovative campaigns ran as part of the brand’s ‘Whatever, USA’ initiative, including native video ads on Tinder, 360-degree video ads on YouTube and age-gated Snapchat Stories ads. In addition, a pilot app in Washington DC area enabled users to order beer direct to their homes within an hour.

Adidas – With its MiCoach wearables and even a smart ball already on shelves, Adidas this year reinforced its commitment to mobile with the acquisition of activity tracker app Runtastic. It also collaborated with Spotify to launch Go, a music app for runners, and revealed that it is working on integrating NFC tags across its clothing line.

Amazon – 44 per cent of online shoppers in the US start their purchase journey directly on its site or app, according to a BloomReach study, and this year Amazon has bolstered that with the likes of Prime Day, which actually performed better for the retailer than Black Friday. Beyond its firm position as the dominant mCommerce player, though, Amazon has continued to experiment with hardware. Made its first steps into the smart home market with Echo and the Dash line of products – both of which push more sales for the retailer.

Asda – UK supermarket launched its own programmatic ad exchange for unused ad space on its mobile and desktop site, and ran first rich ad messaging campaign with scrolling ad messages served in mobile browsers. Partnered with Eagle Eye for digital coupon solution that was integrated into existing POS solution. Recently redesigned website, dropping bounce rate by 37 per cent.

Audi – From debuting vertical video format as part of campaign for Le Mans, to opening a pop-up store in Westfield that embraced AR and VR technology, Audi innovated across the board. A partnership with DHL and Amazon made use of connected car tech to enable deliveries, while the brand also joined with Daimler and BMW to acquire Nokia’s Here mapping unit for improved location based services and, potentially, automated driving.

Domino’s Pizza – Strong focus on omnichannel commerce, with mobile accounting for over 40 per cent of online sales and over £200m in sales in past year. Innovative mobile-focused campaigns included a ‘tweet-to-order’ service in the US and ‘Tummy Translator’ app in the UK.

GameStop – Embraced omnichannel retailing with pilot stores in Texas using everything from AR to beacons to store associates equipped with tablets, with successful elements rolled out nationally and globally. With a loyalty program integrated directly, the retailer’s app now accounts for more than half of orders.

Marriott Hotels – With mobile acounting for the majority of web traffic and a fifth of its online revenue last year, Marriott expanded mobile’s presence in its hotels, quadrupling the number of venues supporting mobile check-in. In 2015, it added the Mobile Request ability to order room service through its app, introduced Apple Pay support to selected hotels, and launched an Apple Watch app on launch day in April.

Starbucks – Processing 9m mobile payments a week and accounting for 20 per cent of in-store transactions, Starbucks’ mobile order & pay pilot scheme finished expansion across the entire US and launched in the UK. The coffee chain also rolled out wireless phone charging in 10 London locations, with plans for full UK deployment, and partnered with Spotify to enable customers and staff to influence in-store music.

Under Armour – US sportswear brand launched branded fitness app at the start of the year, and acquired Endomondo and MyFitnessPal in February, creating world’s largest digital health and fitness community with well over 100m users. Its Digital Headquarters also opened this year with over 100 engineers, data scientists and designers working to improve digital health and fitness platforms.

Most Innovative Use of Mobile

Bagz.it – Audio cues hidden beyond human range link up with API tech in apps to trigger content. Cuts through background noise, enabling use in concerts, sports events and in heavy traffic, as well as transmission over TV, radio or online content.

‘Ex Machina’ Tinder Campaign – Tinder users at the SXSW festival were matched with a chatbot based on the film’s AI character, who asked them questions about love and consciousness before linking to an Instagram account promoting the film.

Google Cardboard – Aimed at making the tech accessible to a wider audience, the Cardboard turns existing Android phones into a rudimentary VR headset. Celebrated as “biggest thing” at Google I/O this year, 600 Cardboard-compatible apps have been developed. There are 28,000 Cardboard-related videos on YouTube and Volvo, Lionsgate, Converse and more have all run Cardboard-based campaigns.

Liseberg Helix Fun Queue – This set of mini-games, based on the new Helix rollercoaster, could be played anywhere – but when played while in queue for attraction, players competed against others in queue, with a winner selected every 15 minutes to skip to the front of the queue. 250,000 downloads without any media support and 1.8m games played, with 75 per cent playing multiple times.

Nymi Biometric Payments – Wearable band employs ECG technology to biometrically authenticate user via their heartbeat when making payments. A pilot scheme is running in conjunction with MasterCard and several Canadian banks.

Pizza Hut Blockbuster Box – Special-edition pizza box available in Hong Kong has integrated lens and phone stand that enabled it to be transformed into a projector. Scannable QR codes allowed customers to download films, then project them onto a wall from their phone’s screen.

SOS SMS – Essential medical info such as blood type, allergies and existed conditions is uploaded by users via phone or online to a Red Cross database. Paramedics can then get data sent back to phone, even when screen is locked, in case user cannot communicate information after an accident or when ill.

TVTY – TVTY specialises in enabling ‘moment marketing’, allowing brands to take advantage of live events like changes in weather, TV ads airing or even goals being scored in live sporting events. By monitoring live TV feeds from 400 channels across 25 countries, ads can be triggered in less than a second for optimised second-screen deployment based on specific events, as well as altering ad spend based on weather, pollen levels or even stock market conditions.

‘Unfriended’ Facebook Messenger Chatbot – AI chatbot connected to Facebook enabled fans to message one of the characters and engage in conversations that supported the film’s narrative, which is based around social media. Conversations ran for an average 33 hours, with 23 per cent of users sharing the experience with friends.

WeFarm – With three-quarters of the world’s population still without internet access, WeFarm is bringing smart farming to emerging markets using the humble SMS. Users can share advice and ask questions of other farmers, with peer-to-peer translation provided by volunteers – and for farmers who do have an internet connection, it can also be used on desktop and tablet.

Start-up of the Year

Blendle – Commonly referred to as the ‘iTunes of news’, Blendle aggregates newspaper and magazine articles with content sold on a pay-per-article basis. Partnerships with 56 publishers across Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, with every major national German newspaper recently signed up, and pilot schemes in the US.

Feeding Forward – A start-up enabling businesses to donate excess food to homeless shelters and food banks on demand, signalling for pick-up via an app. While only operating in San Francisco Bay Area, Feeding Forward has recovered over 690,000 pounds of food, provided over 570,000 meals to the needy and diverted 3.5m pounds of carbon emissions from landfills.

GiveVision – Develops software for wearable smart headsets that can help blind and visually impaired people, making it easier for them to read, use mobile devices and even navigate the real world.

Grabyo – Grabyo’s tech enables broadcasters to distribute and live video clips of their content across social media channels and monetise them through sponsorship. The company, whose investors include footballers Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie, has struck agreements with around 60 broadcasters and sports rights holders, including Sky Sports, Fox Sports, Eurosport and Wimbledon. Over the course of Wimbledon 2015, clips shared using Grabyo’s platform generated 48m video views.

Number26 – A banking service built specifically for smartphones, with smart personal finance management in real-time, and geo-location based fraud detection that can block fraudulent transactions before they happen. Raised €10m earlier this year, with Peter Thiel among its investors.

PageFair – With ad blocking increasingly proving itself a big issue for the industry, PageFair offers affected publishers a way of tracking the impact on their business and serving up alternative whitelist-friendly ads to any blocker users.

Ride – Sharing an investor and founding member, Ride is hoping to become the Uber for carpooling. Pitched directly to businesses, Ride can connect interested employees with others who live nearby or en route, with passengers paying petrol money to the driver and Ride taking a 10 per cent cut.

Spritz – Speedreading solution delivers content faster with less effort on any screen size. Apps include eBook reader Bookshout!, E-Pub reader ReadMe!, PDF reader RushReader and news reader Boba. Partners include Samsung, Siemans, HP, Universal, FT, Intel and Harvard University.

UsherU – Backed by Telefonica’s Wayra incubator, UsherU offers film distributors a way to market the 75 per cent of cinema tickets which go unsold. Through its cinema listings and offers app, local users are targeted based on their personal interests.

What3words – Mapping app has divided the world into 57 trillion 3mx3m squares, each with a unique three word identifier. More accurate than postal address and easy to remember, with iOS and Android apps that don’t require data connection and use voice recognition.

Don’t forget to cast your vote in the People’s Choice Awards before 5pm UK time on Thursday 5 November, and stay tuned to Mobile Marketing Magazine to see who wins.

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Instagram Opens Up Carousel Ads to Everyone

Instagram Carousel Las Vegas

An example of a carousel ad, for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

Instagram has opened its carousel ads to any business, available on a self-service basis.

Carousel ads, which feature multiple images that the viewer can swipe through, first launched in June. While they were initially limited to Facebook and Instagram’s advertising partners, the format will now be available to buy and manage through the Ads API, Power Editor and Facebook Ads Manager.

Carousel ads are set to roll out across these platforms ‘over the next few weeks’.

Instagram reports that carousel ads see an average 2.5 point lift in ad recall compared to single photo ads. It also points to L’Occitane’s recent carousel ad campaign, which drove a 58 per cent higher lift in conversion rate than single photos.

 

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Awards Preview – Most Effective App Install Campaign

With the shortlist announced, the countdown to our 2015 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards has begun. There’s less than a month until the ceremony on 26 November in London, and between now and then, we’ll be taking a closer look at each of the nominees in our 32 categories. Today, we’ll be focusing on the finalists for Most Effective App Install Campaign.

Effective_Mobile_Marketing_Awards-45.jpg
Addison Lee and Unique Digital – Driving Hyperlocal Bookings
As the UK’s leading cab firm, Addison Lee has had great success in the b2b market, but was facing fierce competition from the likes of Uber in the consumer-facing space. In order to appeal to and capture more of this market, the firm launched a rebrand campaign and a significant app refresh.

Using rich customer journey data to segment and define its target audience, an omnichannel fully-integrated campaign was planned that delivered across display, search, social, press and digital out-of-home, resulting in a 48 per cent increase in app downloads.

Fiksu – Scotts My Lawn App
Scotts’ My Lawn app provides users with an individualised lawn care plan along with guidance and advice, so Fiksu focused on a seasonal campaign, aiming to drive high volumes of installs in the short spring time-frame when the app would be most relevant to users and could drive product sales the highest.

Using leading programmatic channels, Fiksu and Scotts aimed to accumulate a larger mobile customer base, but the main focus was driving consumers to complete lawn care plans, as this would ultimately lead to higher sales for the brand. Thanks to precise interest targeting, the campaign beat all its targets, with over 60 per cent of users completing a lawn care plan.

John Lewis, M&C Saatchi Mobile and Google – John Lewis App Install Campaign 2015
The John Lewis App is a key sales channel for the business, and in December 2014 the firm launched a six month app promotion initiative across a variety of mobile media sources using display and video formats, aimed at obtaining customers matching the profile of their existing app user base.

Working with M&C Saatchi Mobile and Google, the campaign used audience and placement insights to continually improve campaign install efficiency in an automated, scalable way, enabling the team to focus on developing strategy rather than refining performance. By the end of the campaign, it was delivering the lowest CPA and highest ROI compared to all other media suppliers.

John Lewis and Manning Gottlieb OMD – Monty: Christmas 2014 App Star
John Lewis has become synonymous with Christmas thanks to their festive ad campaigns. For 2014, the company wanted to not only create a great TV ad, but put consumers at the heart of the campaign via engaging experiences.

Knowing that consumers would be using Shazam during the TV ad, app installs ads for an eBook were delivered via the platform. In addition, the campaign targeted conversations on mobile-first social platforms with video units, and created a virtual reality version of the app which could be accessed using Google Cardboard units at John Lewis stores.

Vungle Creative Labs – Trivia Crack US Campaign
Turning a viral hit into a sustained success can be difficult, and it was the challenge that the maker of Trivia Crack had to face when its game became the most downloaded app in the world, with 100m users. To continue that momentum, the key was creating an ad format that conveyed the interactive and engaging personality of the game.

Vungle Creative Labs designed high-impact video ad experiences with interactive end cards that mimicked the apps gameplay, giving consumers a taste of what they could expect. It then used complex A/B testing to identify the strongest format, which ended up doubling Trivia Crack‘s conversion rate and driving an influx of new, high-quality users.

You can see the full list of finalists in all categories here. To book your place at the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards Ceremony, click here.

To get involved with the Awards as a Partner, contact john.owen@wearedotmedia.com

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Chrome OS to Merge with Android from Next Year

Google ChromebooksAlphabet is reportedly working to fold Chrome OS, the operating system for its Chromebook PCs, into Android.

According to The Wall Street Journal, this unification has been in the works for two years. A public release of the combined OS, which will run on PCs, isn’t expected in 2017 – but an advance version may appear as soon as next year.

This doesn’t appear to be the end for Chrome OS and the devices that run on it, however. In response to the report, Google SVP of Android and Chrome OS Hiroshi Lockheimer tweeted “There’s a ton of momentum for Chromebooks and we are very committed to Chrome OS”. Chromebooks will reportedly be rebranded, although the new name hasn’t yet been picked.

This approach isn’t dissimilar to what Microsoft has done with Windows 10, which since its unveiling has promised to be a single cross-platform OS, and would help Google to further extend the availability of its Play store.

 

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Asda Launches VR Halloween Campaign

Asda 360 Halloween videoUK supermarket Asda has launched its first VR campaign, in time for Halloween.

The campaign, devised by Carat UK, centres around a 360° YouTube video created by Happy Finish.  The video follows a group of children around a haunted house filled with Asda’s Halloween products – and features YouTube’s click-to-buy TrueView cards.

The video, which currently has over 1m views, is supported with a free Google Cardboard giveaway in five Asda stores, as well as paid media.

“Working with Google, YouTube and Carat on trialling a new, fun way to immerse shoppers in our Halloween range has proven to be a real success for us,” said Chris Chalmers, Senior Director, Digital and Direct Communications, Asda. “Our customers are ahead of the curve when it comes to social media and we’ve had a positive reaction from them – we’ve been really impressed with the amount of people that have viewed and interacted with the video so far.”

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Facebook Launches Lightweight ‘Video’ Ads for Emerging Markets

Facebook Coke videoFacebook has launched Slideshow, a lightweight video ad format for use in emerging markets where smartphones and high-speed data connections aren’t necessarily the norm.

Facebook describes the ad as ‘video’, but it’s actually a series of still images. This creates a much smaller file size – according to Facebook, a 15-second slideshow is typically one fifth the size of a video the same length.

The ads were trialled by Coca-Cola in Kenya and Nigeria to promote their Coke Studio Africa show. The ads usedhigh-res screenshots from the video in tandem with some basic text. The ads reached 2m people and raised ad awareness by 10 points in Kenya.

“We recognise that our consumers may have constraints when accessing video content, hence the slideshow option by Facebook is spot-on in enabling us to still deliver impactful and quality content,” said Ahmed Rady, Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa marketing director. “As such, we are excited to use the slideshow feature to deliver high quality content from Coke Studio Africa to our consumers on the continent.”

Slideshow is rolling out to Facebook’s Power Editor and Ads Manager platform in ‘the coming weeks’.

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Microsoft Takes Aim at Android Market with Arrow Launcher

arrow combo
Microsoft has released a new launcher app for Android phones called Arrow as part of its continuing strategy to embrace cross-platform development and encourage consumers to make use of Microsoft software outside of its own ecosystem.

The Arrow launcher, which went live on the Google Play store yesterday, boasts a similar feel to iOS 9, taking inspiration from Apple’s recent Spotlight search update by offering a ‘Recent’ screen to enable users to access apps, files, photos and contacts that are needed quickly.

In addition, Arrow organises your applications based on usage, so those that are launched most frequently appear at the top of the list, and enables you to customise a dock that can be swiped up from the bottom of the screen, similar to the iOS ‘Control Center’, with favourite apps and commonly accessed settings like wi-fi and airplane mode.

The only notable integration of Microsoft software is the ability to use wallpapers from Bing, although it’s possible Microsoft have elected to hold off more cross-promotion of their own products to encourage people to adopt Arrow in the first place.

The app was designed by the Microsoft Garage project, which is an internal R&D team aimed at creating experiments to see which are worthy of further development, so Arrow may well sail past most Android users and be consigned to the heap of previous Microsoft Android projects including lock screen Next and Android Wear search assistant Torque.

However, if the launcher hits the target with enough people, it could be a signal to Microsoft that the time is right to push further into software development for external platforms, and provide the company with a way to promote its apps to a core group of Android users.

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Mobile Video Ad Spend has Almost Tripled in 2015

Applovin_AppsFlyer_NonVideovsVideoAds_InfographicMobile video is more popular than ever, with a study from AppLovin and AppsFlyer showing that use of the format has grown 190 per cent in the first three quarters of 2015, and shows up to 40 per cent higher user retention than non-video formats.

The figures back up a Business Insider Intelligence report from last year that estimates mobile video ad revenue in the US alone will be worth $4.4bn (£2.9bn) in 2018, growing five times faster than desktop video advertising.

The research by AppLovin and AppsFlyer looked at data from over 1bn devices from around the world, analysing the growth of mobile video ads and how effective it was at ensuring app install retention across a variety of platforms.

Across all ad spending between January and August 2015, mobile ad spend grew from 23 per cent to 66 per cent. Among gaming apps, the growth was even higher, with 71 per cent of ad spend going on mobile video by Q3, up from 20 per cent at the beginning of the year.

Focusing on retention in gaming apps, the study found that players who downloaded following seeing a mobile video ad were 34 per cent more likely to become regular players, compared to those who followed non-video ads. This rate rose to 40 per cent on iOS.

“It’s clear that video is both growing and effective, but why?” said John Krystynak, founder of AppLovin. “It’s because consumers like it much better than other formats. Specifically in regards to retention, mobile video ads let consumers know what to expect from an app or game, so they know what they are getting into before they download.

“It makes sense then that this self-selecting sample (those who watched the video then chose to download it) would stick around longer. In the early days of mobile advertising, video ads were impractical. Most phones couldn’t handle displaying them, and cellular networks certainly couldn’t either. But as this report suggests, the conditions right now are perfect for the success of mobile video ads.”

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