WhatsApp Suffers New Year’s Eve Outage

Whatsapp outageOh dear. Of all the days to suffer an outage, if you’re the world’s most popular messaging app WhatsApp, you probably wouldn’t have chosen New Year’s Eve, with millions of people, young and old, around the world, turning to the app to send messages of goodwill to friends and family. Only to find they can’t.

The problems began around 4.30pm UK time today. The service was back up within the hour, but then crashed again, though as we write this, based on a couple of test messages sent to friends, the service appears to be back up. Whether it will stay up as midnight continues to kick in around the globe, however, is a moot point.

The outage completes a slightly miserable end to a stellar year for WhatsApp’s owner, Facebook. Last month, the company posted revenues of $4.5bn (£2.9bn) and profits of £1.5bn for Q3 2015, with most of the money coming from advertising, and most (78 per cent) of that coming from mobile.

In addition to the WhatsApp outage, however, Facebook also learned on Tuesday that two class action lawsuits being brought by shareholders against Facebook in the US can go ahead, following a ruling by a federal judge. The lawsuits date back to Facebook’s IPO in 2012, and allege that it concealed concerns over its future growth ahead of the listing. As a result, the claimants say, the shares were overpriced, meaning that they lost money in the process of buying them.

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2015 – The Year in Review

With 2015 drawing to a close, it’s time for our annual look back over the highlights of the past year. Below you’ll find a comprehensive round-up of the year’s biggest stories, good and bad. Enjoy, and we’ll see you in 2016.

ces-drones-on-show.pngJanuary

As ever, the year kicked off with CES. The show was relatively quiet for big mobile announcements, but came packed with smart home and connected device announcements, typified by Samsung’s announcement that all of its products will be connected by 2020. But perhaps the biggest trend of CES was an increased focus on connected cars, with announcements from BMW, Ford, VW and Mercedes-Benz, ranging from self-driving vehicles to gesture controlled displays.

Signalling something that would become a major trend as the year went on, Google introduced viewability reporting for video campaigns on DoubleClick, enabling advertisers to see for the first time whether digital video ads were actually viewable for users – that is, whether more than half of the unit was on-screen for two seconds or longer.

Tesco launched a version of its shopping app on Google Glass, making it the first major retailer to launch its own piece of ‘Glassware’. Its timing could have been better. Just one day later, Google announced it would stop making Glass available for purchase, as it reconsidered the product’s future. Despite a flurry of rumours, there’s been no definite sign of a Glass descendant since.

At an event showing off Windows 10, Microsoft unexpectedly introduced something much more interesting – the HoloLens, an elaborate AR/VR headset that can project holograms onto the wearer’s view of the real world.

In the first major acquisition news of the year, Hutchison Whampoa, owner of UK operator 3, beat off bids from Sky and TalkTalk to buy O2 from Telefónica for £10.25bn. It wouldn’t be the last operator acquisition of the year.

After reports earlier in the month that it was seeking $750,000 a day for its first foray into advertising, with auto-deleting units, Snapchat launched Discover. The new feature added editorial content to the picture messaging app, from the likes of ESPN, CNN, and The Daily Mail, opening a new avenue of advertising opportunity for the app.

Finally, January saw the year’s first set of quarterly results. In spite of strong mobile growth, Yahoo reported its profits have been cut in half year-on-year; Facebook posted a strong set of results with mobile the undisputed star; while Apple reported record iPhone sales, but a drop in iPad sales. All three of these results set the tone for the rest of the year for their respective companies.

BT1.jpgFebruary

There was more operator acquisition news, as BT confirmed it would be buying EE for £12.5bn, having missed out on the acquisition of O2. And EE made headlines again on 25 February, as the operator brought its ‘Orange Wednesday’ promotion – arguably the most well-known mobile marketing scheme of all time – to a close.

Otherwise, the industry was fairly quiet in February, no doubt as everyone’s eyes turned to Barcelona, as the single biggest date in the mobile marketing calendar got ever closer.

MWC-Gran-Fira.jpgMarch

And sure enough, the month was dominated by news from Mobile World Congress. Samsung unveiled Samsung Pay, offering a mobile payment service compatible with conventional magstripe terminals as well as NFC. HTC unwrapped Vive, the VR headset it developed in partnership with gaming giant Valve. Google’s Sundar Pichai confirmed that the search giant would be launching its own mobile network, later given the name Project Fi.

MWC wasn’t the only big event in March – but rather than launches, these attracted clever mobile campaigns. At SXSW in Texas, users of the dating app Tinder found themselves seduced by a chatbot named ‘Ava’ promoting Ex Machina, a film about artificial intelligence which premiered at the festival. In the UK, the Cheltenham Festival was leveraged by online bookmakers Betfair as it launched ‘#InstaBOOM’, a way of placing bets on the races via Instagram.

The month’s biggest acquisition was mobile ad company MobPartner, which was bought by Chinese app publisher Cheetah Mobile for approximately $58m.

There was bad news for Yahoo, which shut down operations in China and cut as many as 300 jobs, and Angry Birds publisher Rovio, which reported a 73 per cent drop in operating profit during 2014 even after cutting 110 jobs at the end of the year. It wouldn’t be the last bit of bad news for either company in 2015.

March was also tough for Meerkat, the live streaming app briefly tipped to be the next big thing in social media, after Twitter revoked the app’s access to the Twitter social graph API and then launched a rival service, Periscope, which it had acquired a month earlier for a reported $75m.

Amazon-Dash.pngApril

Amazon chose the first day of the month – April Fool’s Day – to launch its Dash button, a small wi-fi-connected plastic tag that can be placed around the home to instantly order common household products from partnered FMCG brands. We initially dismissed the product as another hoax, but the eCommerce giant showed over the course of this year just how seriously it takes it, bolstering the Dash line with a number of launches.

April also saw the annual tradition that is the arrival of the IAB and PwC’s digital ad spend figures. In the UK, mobile ad spend hit £1.62bn, up 63 per cent year-on-year, and making up just under a quarter of all digital ad spending. This was followed later in the month by the US figures, showing a 76 per cent rise in mobile spend to $12.5bn – just over a quarter of the digital total.

Otherwise, though, much of April felt like a countdown to two dates late in the month: the 21st and 24th.

On 21 April, Google introduced major changes to its search algorithms came into effect, penalising any sites that weren’t deemed sufficiently mobile-friendly in the search rankings. The change was dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’, and while it wasn’t the world-ending scenario that name might suggest, an Adobe report from July suggests that companies which didn’t prepare their sites saw a 10 per cent decrease in traffic.

Capping off the month, on 24 April, was the long-anticipated launch of the Apple Watch, no doubt the biggest hardware release of the year. Apple still hasn’t revealed any official sales figures, but anyone that tried to get hold of a Watch at the time will tell you that supply definitely outstripped demand.

Apple-Watches.pngMay

Following on from the acquisitions earlier in the year, the UK MNO scene saw yet another shake up in May, as O2 declared it would be taking over mobile marketing firm Weve. Originally a joint venture with EE and Vodafone, these two operators bowed out, leaving the company’s operations in the sole care of O2, itself in the process of acquisition.

Millennial Media partnered with Integral Ad Science to introduce a 100 per cent viewability guarantee for in-app mobile ad campaigns, raising more than a few eyebrows with the question of how possible it is to make this guarantee – but a number of companies quickly followed in its footsteps.

Multi-screen ad management platform Sizmek acquired StrikeAd, which claimed to be the world’s first dedicated mobile DSP, for $11.7m. The acquisition was intended to give Sizmek a end-to-end mobile solution that includes building ads, managing and activating data, targeting ads, buying media, and analytics. Meanwhile, Apple snapped up German AR company Metaio, which counted among its clients Macy’s, BMW and Ikea, prompting speculation that the tech giant was planning to make a push into Augmented or even Virtual Reality.

Another annual tradition made an appearance, with Mary Meeker presenting her 2015 Internet Trends report. The report contained its usual flurry of fascinating stats, including that mobile now accounts for 24 per cent of all time spent consuming media but attracts only eight per cent of the spending.

Finally, one of the year’s hottest topics – mobile ad blocking – reared its head for the first time in a Financial Times report, claiming that mobile operators worldwide were plotting to block all mobile ads on their networks. The company allegedly responsible was Israeli tech firm Shine, which made waves throughout the year – but it wasn’t the adblockalypse that it first appeared to be. Thus far, only one operator has adopted Shine’s technology, and the industry soon had other ad block concerns to worry about…

tim-cook-apple-wwdc-2015.jpg
June

In the WWDC keynote, Apple unveiled iOS 9, gave a UK launch date for Apple Pay, and showed off Apple Music for the first timestreaming service, which launched to the public at the end of June. But the biggest news followed the event, as people noticed that the iOS 9 version of Safari enabled ‘content blocking extensions’, made ad blocking not only possible but relatively simple on Apple’s mobile web browser.

As the countdown to iOS 9 began, the industry started to panic – understandably, especially in light of a Pagefair report later that month which claimed ad blockers cost Google some $6.6bn during 2014.

Ad blocking wasn’t the only story in June, though. There was an unexpected team-up between Snapchat, The Daily Mail and WPP, as they launched Truffle Pig, a content marketing agency for testing social content and marketing. The European Parliament announced it would be abolishing data roaming charges within the EU, coming into full effect in June 2017.

The month also saw a flurry of acquisitions. Comverse bought secure mobile messaging and engagement services firm Acision for $135m in cash, plus stock and potential earning pay-outs. Dentsu Aegis Network acquired commerce specialist agency eCommera. Microsoft bought Berlin-based app developer 6Wunderkinder for a sum reportedly between $100-200m. Dimoco acquired mobile messaging and payments firm Mpulse to expand its operations into France. And finally, video ad tech company Ooyala bought Nativ, a startup which provides cloud-based media logistics and workflow software and services for media production, delivery and workflow.

Windows-10.pngJuly

Microsoft made the biggest headlines in July, though this wasn’t necessarily an positive thing for the company. The month saw the release of Windows 10 – allegedly the final version of its cross-platform OS – to desktop and tablet users, though it wouldn’t even begin rolling out to smartphones until December.

The same month, Microsoft announced that it was cutting 7,800 jobs, primarily from the phone hardware business it acquired from Nokia for $7.2bn a year earlier, part of a wider restructure that also saw the tech giant writing down around $7.6bn related to Nokia.

The month was otherwise fairly quiet, though two remarkable figures stood out. According to a Meetrics report, that less than half of online ads – 49 per cent, to be precise – served in the UK during Q2 2015 were actually viewable. Meanwhile, eMarketer forecast that Instagram’s mobile ad revenues in the US will overtake Google and Twitter by 2017, growing at a CAGR of 117.3 per cent to reach $2.8bn.

Alphabet logoAugust

The biggest news of the month was the introduction of Alphabet, the new parent company of Google and its associated businesses. The change hasn’t had much noticeable impact on the company’s operations – beyond the promotion of Sundar Pichai to Google CEO – but the change to one of digital’s biggest names took the industry by surprise.

Elsewhere, Adidas acquired fitness app maker Runtastic for €220m, another sign of a major brand investing in mobile. Rovio announced it would be cutting 260 staff – more than a third of its total workforce – as the company refocused on ‘primary business areas’, following early over-expansion. A PageFair and Adobe report predicted that ad blocking would lead to a $21.8bn loss in advertising revenues this year, rising to $41.4bn in 2016.

Finally, one for fans of big numbers: Facebook announced that on Monday 24 August it passed 1bn daily users for the first time ever. “On Monday, one in seven people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the milestone – and nearly 90 per cent of those users accessed the social network on mobile.

Facebook Zuckerberg F8September

September was another big month for acquisitions: IMImobile acquired South African mobile marketing firm Archer Digital for $5.2m. News Corp bought video advertising firm Unruly Media for an initial sum of $90m, potentially rising to $176m.

But the biggest acquisition news came from Verizon, which bought mobile ad firm Millennial Media for $248m, making Millennial part of the AOL business, which Verizon bought earlier in the year. That price caused some eyebrows to be raised, as it was just over double what Millennial had itself paid to acquire mobile ad exchange Nexage a year earlier, and only narrowly more than its $209m acquisition of Jumptap in 2013.

Meanwhile, in mobile payments news, the month saw two major launches. Google began rolling out Android Pay in the US, and Starbucks brought its Mobile Order & Pay service to the UK. Starbucks had completed its roll-out to all 7,400 US branches earlier that month, pulling in an incredible 9m orders each week – 20 per cent of all in-store transactions – via mobile.

Starbucks mobile orderingOctober

October saw the arrival of digital ad spend figures for the first half of 2015, with mobile spend in the UK hitting £1.08bn during this six-month period, according to the IAB and PwC – 27.1 per cent of the digital total.

It was also the start of financial results season, with Twitter reporting net losses of $132m, Apple posting revenues of $51.5bn, off the back of ‘record fourth quarter sales of iPhone’ – some 48m units, though iPad sales continued to drop, down 20 per cent – and Samsung’s mobile division posting its first rise in profits in two years.

After months of speculation, YouTube launched its subscription service, YouTube Red, in the US. For a monthly charge of $9.99, subscribers get online and offline access to videos and music, without having to watch any ads.

Finally, Samsung Pay quietly made its debut in the US, arriving on the Google Play Store for Galaxy S6 and Note 5 users without much fanfare – and that hasn’t changed much in the intervening months.

King Candy CrushNovember

November was a big month here at Mobile Marketing. The publication marked its 10th birthday – check out editor David Murphy’s run-down of the last decade here – and the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards returned for its sixth year, closing out the month with a fantastic ceremony in London.

It was also a huge month for mobile news, starting with Activision Blizzard’s $5.9bn acquisition of mobile games publisher King, creator of Candy Crush. It’s a startlingly huge amount, especially in light of the recent struggles of mobile gaming giants like Rovio and Zynga. The deal dwarfed what would have otherwise been the month’s most prominent acquisition, as watch brand Fossil paid $260m for Misfit, maker of activity trackers and other wearable and smart home products.

Facebook rounded off the financial results season, posting revenues of $4.5bn – three quarters of which was attributed to mobile devices.

The festive shopping period officially began, as Christmas campaigns started to make their first appearances. The most talked-about was John Lewis’ ‘Man on the Moon’ ad, which was mentioned over 16,000 times on social media after just one hour. Nominally a TV campaign, the ad actually first launched on YouTube and was accompanied by an AR app that could be pointed at shopping bags, posters and even the moon itself, another reminder of mobile’s role in any major campaign these days.

Shopping ramped up further as Black Friday arrived, bringing the usual slew of astounding figures and website crashes. It was given a run for its money, though, by Chinese equivalent Singles Day, which saw Alibaba making 63.6bn Chinese yen (£6.6bn) of sales after just 14 hours, with 70 per cent of sales coming from mobile.

Black Friday shopperDecember

Aside from Christmas, the biggest marketing event in December was the launch of the new Star Wars film. Google partnered with Disney for a promotional lightsaber game that combined desktop and mobile, and according to AppsFlyer the film’s release saw organic downloads of branded apps jump by a factor of 3.5.

Naturally, the industry started to look back over the past year in December, with Facebook, Google and YouTube all revealing the biggest topics and content of 2015. YouTube also revealed that mobile accounted for nearly two thirds of views on its top ads, overtaking desktop for the first time.

In less positive news, an IAB report revealed that ad fraud, ad blocking, pirated content and malvertising are costing the US marketing industry $8.2bn a year, with over half of that lost due to non-human traffic. A Forensiq report supported those findings, revealing that 34 per cent of all mobile traffic is at risk of fraud, with 12 per cent considered a ‘high risk’. It’s a sour note to leave the year on, but one which likely points the way for 2016. As the industry works to combat issues like fraud and the rise of ad blocking, there’s a huge opportunity for companies who can solve them to rise to the top – no doubt the names which will be appearing in next year’s round-up.

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2016 Predictions: Innovate Finance

With the New Year nearly upon us, we’re running daily pieces from industry experts on the trends they expect to see in the coming 12 months. Today Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of fintech industry body Innovate Finance, shares predictions on what 2015 holds for mobile payments, with contributions from across the industry.

Innovate LawrenceMobile payments made the headlines this year with the launch of Apple Pay and Android-based payment technologies. Paypal, Facebook and Square also introduced their own services to much fanfare in the media. Although take up for these innovations were slower than expected they did bring us closer to creating a cashless society. For the first time in history, card and online transactions became the preferred method of payment in the UK. More people also bought their Starbucks coffee using the iPhone app than any other form of payment, making the beverage chain one of the leading mobile payments providers in the world.

More shops enabled contactless payments than ever before in 2015, giving consumers the choice to tap phone on to an in-store device. The trend is expected to continue with shop purchases on mobile devices in the UK forecast to reach £54bn a year within the next decade according to research by Barclays bank.

Another coup for the mobile payments sector was Vocalink’s agreement with The Clearing House to undertake a major effort to build a real-time processing platform for the US market.

The contract is very significant for VocaLink, which already manages Britain’s Faster Payments Service on behalf of the Faster Payments Scheme.  Over 4 billion payments have been securely processed since the service was launched in 2008 and the real-time infrastructure has created opportunities for further innovation in new services.

These aforementioned developments made it a productive year for mobile payments, but what can we expect in the year to come? As the most influential membership association for global fintech, Innovate Finance has access to the great leaders and visionaries shaping the future of finance. We asked a few of our members to give us their view on the mobile landscape in 2016 and how it will transform the way we shop, borrow and lend money.

According to Robert Atkin, CEO of innovations payments provider Xcrodis, the sector will continue to enjoy a steady uptake of new users for mobile payments: “Mobile is clearly set to become the platform of choice for an ever increasing part of our lives especially with the rapidly reducing cost of large screen smart phones. With the advent of mobile solutions we are reaching the point where interaction with our banks will be virtually eliminated save for the automated.”

Mobile phones will also present more opportunities for businesses and banks to reach the two billion people who are financially excluded. “2016 will be the year that the unbanked will finally have access to the same financial capabilities, globally, as everyone else at competitive rates and all through mobile,” said Atkins. “Automated solutions that leverage secure personal data will help make mobile tech ubiquitous everywhere in the world before we know it. The marriage of mobile with the net is here and is very powerful.”

Xcordis is planning the launch of a mobile, self-serve foreign exchange, wallet based solution in 2016. Holding multiple currencies, users will be able to instantly convert to any currency they setup, without making phone calls or sending emails and at competitive rates.  The platform will also support digital currencies, offering instant conversion from digital to fiat and back.

Alain Falys, co-founder and CEO of Yoyo Wallet believes mobile payments will make the biggest inroads within the retail sector next year, as consumers become more accustomed to paying for services with their phones and expect more rewards with purchases: “As we saw with wearables, where Apple Watch won the column inches but brands like FitBit won the market, we expect ApplePay or SamsungPay to be surpassed in 2016 by mobile payment platforms that offer more than just payment.”

Yoyo Wallet is an innovation that makes payments simple and fast to use on a mobile phone, will also giving customers the chance to collect points and earn rewards in real time. The company raised $10m in Series A funding in 2015 and is currently planning an ambitious US expansion. “To date, we’ve seen a tentative toe in the water, but the true innovation in mobile payment will come in 2016,” said Falys. “This will be the year when retailers, following the steps of the food and beverage sector which is leading the way, will realise that the true value of a mobile transaction is about knowing your customer, having a personal engagement with your customer and increasing sales.”

Much of the payments uptake will occur in the UK. British consumers are the biggest online shoppers in Europe and the only European countries to adopt contactless.  However, eCommerce purchases from a wireless device is surprisingly low.

“While 60 per cent of browsing happens on a mobile devices, only 15% of ecommerce sales happen there. The leap to mobile simply hasn’t happened yet when it comes to purchases,” said James Allgrove, head of UK growth at Stripe.  “This is largely because businesses have had to deal with dated payments infrastructure for years, meaning low mobile conversion rates have become the norm.

“But as tools and infrastructure evolve to shift commerce online, 2016 is shaping up to be a turning point for many businesses looking to compete on mobile. More widespread adoption of Apple Pay, which cuts out all the friction when buying on a mobile device, will enable mobile apps to achieve scale faster. Also, we can expect to see more businesses experiment with ‘buy buttons’ on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to bring the point of discovery closer to the point of purchase in a more native buying experience on mobile.

According to Stripe, everything will happen on mobile devices in the near future. But exactly how that plays out — and which apps prove capable of attracting people’s time, attention and cash — remains to be seen. “The companies that future-proof their business models in this fast-moving environment will be those that build on infrastructure that gives them automatic access to whatever new app or channel that becomes relevant,” said Allgrove.

Mobile connectivity will also play a big role in how people send and receive money from loved ones in the New Year. According to leading digital remittance firm Azimo, more work needs to be done before the masses can use their phone to purchase goods or send money abroad.

“Today, people are more likely to carry a mobile phone than cash. So why are we still struggling to make purchases from our phones? It’s because as an industry we are missing the point,” said Marta Krupinska, co-founder of Azimo.  “It’s not about how we’re making payments or transactions easier, it’s about allowing consumers to do the things they want, when they want – whether that’s paying for groceries if they’ve left their wallet at home, or sending money to loved ones overseas.”

Apple Pay and Zapp have started to help make that reality this year, but in 2016, the next phase of mobile payments – mobile 3.0 – will hopefully start to become the norm.

“We’ll see faster checkout lines, a reduction in transaction costs, and a renewed focus on customer service over handling cash,” said Krupinska. “Data is critical for retailers in understanding their customers, building loyalty programmes, and most importantly bridging the customer journey gap from offline to online. So unless something changes, I am hedging my bets that Apple Pay’s data restrictions will stifle its UK growth next year and Zapp will come out on top. “

Another big problem will be mobile security. HP recently conducted a survey that revealed that 90% of all IoT devices do not have encryption, and 70% have no security features at all.  Given the lack of protection on wireless phones, can the wireless industry support millions of new payment users?

Joe Luong, CEO of mobile security specialist Crypta Labs believes that if we have a mobile payments revolution in 2016, we will also have major problems with hacking and data breaches if mobile devices aren’t protected: “Security should be a foundation stone when building mobile solutions, not merely an afterthought. Security begins and ends with better encryption. Making mobile devices more secure- be it it phones, tablets or watches – is the duty of each and every mobile payment operator. Unless the sector invests in security, there will be issues with any large-scale mainstream rollout of wireless payment services.”

Without a doubt, the rise of mobile connectivity and the emergence of payment systems and platforms is unstoppable as more applications come to the market, and make it easier for customers to shop, bank, transfer and donate money.  We look forward to supporting our fintech community in 2016 as it continues to shape a more secure and exciting user experience for mobile users over the next 12 months.

Although it’s too early to predict which innovations will take off, what is certain is that retailers, innovators and banks are working closer than ever to deliver better payment options and we believe that 2016 be an exciting time for the global sector.

Lawrence Wintermeyer is CEO of fintech industry body Innovate Finance.

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2016 Predictions: Forrester Research

With the New Year nearly upon us, we’re running daily pieces from industry experts on the trends they expect to see in the coming 12 months. Today, Forrester Research analyst Erna Alfred Liousas look at how social media marketing will evolve in 2016.

Forrester Erna AlfredLouisasPeople love to use social media, and that won’t change in 2016. Forrester’s research shows that, already, 62 per cent of EU online adults use Facebook monthly. Most consumers use social media to interact with or learn about brands: 76 per cent read peer reviews on products or services, 40 per cent use social media to get help with a product or service, and 20 per cent agree that social media allows them to show their support for their favorite brands.

Despite this, marketers still struggle to get value from the big social networks – for instance, senior marketers are only half as likely as social practitioners to agree that Facebook delivers value – and that won’t change in 2016 either. So brands have to start using social media differently, and in 2016, canny social marketers will:

Prioritise emerging social networks over established ones to get better results
Marketers aren’t going to stop posting on Facebook and Twitter, but the best-known social networks just don’t offer the organic reach and interactions they used to. In 2016, marketers will put more effort into social networks like Instagram and Vine, where they can generate better results. For instance, Instagram ads generate almost twice the click-through rate of Facebook ads. Meanwhile, GE makes great use of Vine for brand awareness, including DIY challenges, and its #GravityDay campaign generated over 1,500 submissions.

Focus on branded communities and blogs to build profitable relationships
People who want to stay in touch with a company are almost three times more likely to visit the brand’s site than to engage with it on Facebook. In 2016, social marketers will put renewed focus on branded communities and blogs. For instance, Autodesk has millions of Facebook fans, but its most important social channel is its own community, where 1.4m registered users visited 27m times last year. Likewise, Virgin Atlantic has 400,000 Facebook fans, but it’s the airline’s blog that’s responsible for increasing customers’ basket sizes by 20 per cent.

Serve customers better by handing more control to customer service professionals
Customers expect consistent service across offline and online touchpoints, including voice, digital, and social channels. In fact, 37 per cent of consumers used Twitter for customer service last year, up from 22 per cent in 2012. As more companies apply measurement discipline to social customer service to ensure that they meet response times and satisfaction metrics, service teams will demand greater direct access to their brands’ social profiles. And as marketing teams focus their efforts elsewhere, they’ll be happy to hand over the keys.

Improve social ad ROI by giving their budgets to the media team
Paid advertising now accounts for 83 per cent of marketers’ social spending, and most companies hand their social ad budgets to social marketers. But media buyers are more comfortable with the ad models that social sites sell, and they consistently generate greater ROI from social ads than their social marketing peers. In 2016, social marketers will reluctantly hand over control of the social ad budget to their peers in the media team, and brands will benefit from improved performance.

As social marketers focus more on smaller social networks and branded communities and as they increasingly hand the reins to their colleagues in media buying customer service, they’ll need tools that help facilitate these changes. In 2016:

The listening and relationship categories merge, making brands more efficient.
These vendor categories have seen increasing feature overlap in recent years – as well as several acquisitions – and by the end of 2016, they will irrevocably be one. In the next year, we’ll see more acquisitions, but also more relationship platforms and listening platforms competing head-to-head for deals. This is good news for brands. As customer service takes a larger role on branded social profiles, they’ll need tools that are as proficient at listening as they are at posting.

Better crisis detection tools make social less risky.
Marketing on more new sites and leveraging more employees could increase risk — but it doesn’t have to. While brands can’t prevent most social risks (e.g., rogue accounts, consumer vilification), they can shorten the time it takes to detect and respond to those events. For example, Delta Air Lines could have avoided a major PR issue if it more quickly identified an impersonating Facebook page promising its flyers cash and free tickets. In 2016, marketing and risk professionals alike will take advantage of advanced early-warning monitoring systems and new analytics techniques that more effectively identify social risks and automate actions to resolve those risks.

Erna Alfred Liousas is an analyst at Forrester Research, serving B2C marketing professionals with a primary focus on social relationship marketing.

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2016 Predictions: Teradata

With 2016 nearly upon us, we’re running daily pieces from industry experts on the trends they expect to see in the coming year. Today, it’s the turn of Sean Shoffstall, VP of innovation and strategy at Teradata.

Teradata Sean ShoffstallToday’s consumer can communicate with multiple brands at any given time or place, which presents marketers with an opportunity to craft accurate profiles based on customer location, preferences and appropriate time to interact. In addition, the explosion of connected devices continues to create numerous opportunities and touchpoints for marketers to reach end users.

In attempts to increase customer loyalty, brand awareness and revenue, marketers are focusing on meeting consumers’ needs and delivering a full, immersive and individualised experience, utilising analytics to grab user data from applications and mobile devices. Geo-location and tracking efforts, for example, allow marketers to offer customised options and features but also push the line on users’ security.

In BDO’s latest Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, mobile is identified as a goldmine for tapping the full potential of the omnichannel marketing approach. The influx of user data from multiple touchpoints and devices offers valuable insights to boost individualized marketing efforts in 2016, and will open the door to opportunities (and challenges) to reaching consumers anytime, anywhere. Here are some of the major changes likely to impact on mobile marketing in the coming year.

The revival of experiential marketing
As we see Virtual Reality becoming more prevalent, expect to see a resurgence of experimental marketing. Last year, Volvo came out with a Google Cardboard app that gives users a full VR test drive on mobile devices. The app allows users to virtually immerse themselves in a drive through the mountains and get a feel for the real deal.

Expect this trend to experience a major uptick this year, from the expected players, like theme parks and automobiles, to the unexpected.

The app ecosystem will continue to dominate
New functionality additions to the app ecosystem will continue to lead change in the mobile marketing industry and directly affect the consumption and usage of apps.

Push locations, for example, have transitioned from simple text messages and limited functionality to action buttons to link or trigger specific locations. Although personalisation is at users’ fingertips, sharing locations, mobile payments and connecting to public wi-fi brings fear of mobile breaches. External sources peering into users’ attributes and usage patterns increases the risk of fraud, putting into question how much personal information is actually needed to complete a transaction.

Marketers will lead the charge on consumer privacy
In 2016, expect to see an increased focus on consumer privacy. The new spin on this truth? Much of it will be led by marketers. Vendors have begun pushing the boundaries – if not over-stepping – of ‘second party’ data. This data expands the tools marketers have available to deliver a more coherent and complete user experience, but it comes with its own consequences as data leakage shifts industry focus onto consumer privacy and related issues.

Content providers and marketers will need to closely monitor trends related to mobile device evolution and play a direct role in proactively combating the issue. Fortunately, marketers are becoming more and more aware of the need to be transparent and to responsibly collect and use customer data.

Sean Shoffstall is VP of innovation and strategy at Teradata

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2016 Predictions: Axonix

With 2016 nearly upon us, we’re running daily pieces from industry experts on the trends they expect to see in the coming year. Today, Axonix global head of revenue Will Proops argues that in the next 12 months, mobile marketing needs to go back to basics.

Axonix Will ProopsOver the past few years, you’ll probably have heard the same message a lot: ‘next year is the year programmatic becomes mainstream’, but we’re firmly past that stage now. Programmatic is here, and it’s here to stay. In fact, eMarketer estimates automated ads will account for nearly 60 per cent of the UK’s digital display market in 2015.

Yet despite its ever-expanding popularity, programmatic is still seen by many as a nebulous, imprecise technology, with some still unclear on how the technology actually works, particularly in the mobile space. With that in mind, 2016 will be the year to turn back to basics by consolidating the integral role of programmatic in mobile, improving end user engagement and making purchases easier.

Clearly, programmatic is by no means there yet. The lack of a comprehensive mobile approach has been highlighted by the emergence of ad blocking as a major force – as of October 2015, 18 per cent of web users in the UK admit to using ad blockers due to the continued presence of ill-targeted, disruptive advertising on the mobile platform. What, then, should advertisers and publishers be looking at to ensure cut through for their mobile campaigns? How can they engage better with their prospects once and for all using programmatic?

When to engage
Next year we anticipate that brands will concentrate on the most important question within mobile advertising: when to engage. Mobile’s influence has grown to the extent that in 2016, it will account for 56 per cent of the £2bn spent on UK programmatic display ads in the UK. But that hasn’t meant the end of disruptive and ill-considered advertising, which irritates consumers. Brands still need to concentrate on providing targeted advertising which is relevant to the consumer, in line with their interests and presented at a time when they are likely to receive most attention.

At a time when cut-through for advertising is integral to overall brand strategy, many brands continue to antagonise their audience by serving them adverts during work hours, or when reading specific content when most users don’t want to be distracted. To achieve cut-through, it’s best to target users when they are going to be receptive: usually between 7 and 8pm, when they settle down for the evening and are most likely to look to make informed purchasing decisions.

It’s also worth knowing the kind of connection users are operating from. It’s been proven that consumers browsing over the mobile network are less likely to be intending to purchase – after all, most people tend to do this over an established wi-fi connection.

What’s more, many buyers are purchasing inventory at a time when their target audiences aren’t actually online. In the UK on weekdays for instance, a large audience might appear on the market between 3-5pm. Advertisers snap this up readily, but actually most of the traffic is children generating inventory after they get out of school. In most cases these children aren’t in a position to be making purchases, so won’t be the target audience for many advertisers. This has become a big issue that causes a brand’s valuable budget to go to waste.

Making purchasing easier
Ultimately, to promote purchases on the back of their advertising, it is essential that brands make it easier for users to complete a purchase when they are enthused by a product. It’s therefore worth considering the ever-expanding popularity of dual-screening, and its impact on purchases, when planning a campaign. Currently, many users who are enthused by a product they see on TV will not be converted into a purchase because they lack the desire to then search for the advertised product or service on their device.

However in 2016, we expect to see increased efforts to reduce such behaviour by making cross-device attribution a reality. By closely coordinating their mobile and television campaigns, advertisers will be able to support TV adverts with ads on consumers’ mobiles while they are dual-screening. This will encourage them to pursue their initial interest in a product, significantly increasing the chance of an eventual purchase as a result.

In any campaign, it’s also vital to ensure the actual process of purchasing an item is as easy as possible. Many retailers have already moved to do this by introducing one-click ordering, which reduces the hassle involved with entering payment details every time a consumer wishes to make a purchase. By allowing the use of centralised payment technologies such as Apple Pay and PayPal and featuring them within mobile ads, brands can make it easier to make a purchase if an item piques their initial interest.

Target emerging markets, and be aware of the Android/iOS divide
One trend that will undoubtedly continue is the rapid growth of programmatic in Asia, based on the huge uptake of mobile there in recent years. Moreover, increased competition between operators has helped to reduce the costs of bandwidth, making browsing cheaper for consumers and increasing the amount of time spent online. The last few months have seen a huge surge in inventory in the Asian market, with China in particular the focus of buyers’ attentions. It’s therefore a good time to invest in the Asian markets and be the first to offer programmatic, given that a large number of consumers there will be using smartphones for the first time.

In these emerging markets, it’s also important to ensure adverts are tailored to the operating system of consumers. Whereas in the West the predominant operating system is iOS, in the East it is Android, due to the devices being cheaper. It’s important to bear this in mind for campaigns in the region – those tailored to Android likely to be more suited to the user experience.

However, it’s also worth considering that, in relative terms, iOS inventory has a far greater value due to the more robust accreditation procedure used for its apps. When combined with iOS’ advantage over Android in centralised payments thanks to Apple Pay, it’s essential that advertisers consider carefully who they plan to target with their campaigns.

Ultimately, 2016 is going to continue to be all about mobile – but it’s also going to be geared towards impressive, yet simple consumer experiences, and making sure they aren’t irritated in any way on their journey to make a purchase. That will start with tailored, correctly-timed advertising which needs to lead through to a great browsing and payment experience.

Will Proops is global head of revenue at mobile ad exchange Axonix

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2016 Predictions: Media Futures

With 2016 nearly upon us, we’re running daily pieces from industry experts on the trends they expect to see in the coming year. Today, it’s the turn of Mark Challinor, CEO of Media Futures and president of the INMA.

Mark ChallinorMore devices
The GSMA mobile device tracker says that numbers of mobile handsets are expanding seven times faster than the human race itself, and there are already more phones than humans (7.5bn versus 7.2bn at end 2014).

With 36 per cent of Apple’s revenue in 2016 expected to be attributed to the Apple Watch, according to Evercore, wearables – and all manner of devices that might be classed as ‘mobile – will only become more prevalent.

I think people will start to find that wearables can make life easier by placing mobile technologies on directly your person, making everything hands-free with no need to reach into your handbag or pocket. As result, we will start to expect ‘connected everything’ – all more creative, more personalised, more of an experience, and all in real time.

Ad blocking
The magicians Penn & Teller launched their careers on the back of exposing illusions that the magic fraternity had been doing for years. Naturally, uproar ensued. However, their argument was that all they were doing is raising the bar and replacing old magic with newer, better illusions. And, as such, they were partly responsible for giving a degree of cool back to a dying art.

It’s the same in publishing. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting acceptance, especially in a new digital age where the environment changes constantly. Millennials are growing up with a much higher bar than their parents in terms of what they can expect from the world around us, including advertisers, agencies and publishers. So, how do we tackle the exponential times we’re living in?

Speaking for the newspaper industry – as well as looking inwardly at what we create ourselves – I think advertisers also need to produce more engaging, quality creative that is interesting for the consumer. If they don’t, they may find it will be publishers blocking ads too, as the relationship with their readers is too important to throw away.

If we all want consumers to see and value our ads, we need to show some respect for what they require from us and give them better ads, that are relevant, creative, interesting, not intrusive – in essence, a better experience all round.

The holy grail of cross-device tracking and targeting
This is still an area that needs a lot of focus. We’ve not got it right yet, and the cross-device tracking market still seeks a leader.

Advertisers need to use first- and third-party data together to optimise their approach to cross-device tracking and targeting. Having partnerships with DMP ad tech companies helps shortcut the system between using multi-data sources and targeting ads to newer audiences.

Ad units driving engagement levels
With an increasing focus on user experience, publishers and advertisers alike will push for more native ad placements that are less disruptive and more engaging to brand consumers.

Advertisers will start moving client budgets into ad environments that better fit the purpose or medium, instead of a one size-fits-all approach. In turn, this gives better engaged users, while minimising distraction.

On the publisher side, companies will start leveraging publisher platforms to test and scale new native or video ad units that have already been proven to drive higher engagement levels and yield to boost their revenue. Native ads offer much more engaging levels of immersion for consumers – expect rapid expansion.

In short: mobile in 2016 will become bigger than ever.

Mark Challinor is CEO of consulting firm Media Futures and president of the INMA.

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2016 Predictions: Juniper Research

With 2016 nearly upon us, we’re running daily pieces from industry experts on the trends they expect to see in the coming year. Today, Juniper Research‘s Steffen Sorrell looks at how mobile and adjacent technology is likely to develop over the next 12 months and beyond.

Juniper low-resWatershed year for VR
Virtual Reality can be described as the technology that aims to totally immerse the user inside a virtual world, typically requiring the user to don a headset that covers the eyes. (Think Nintendo’s Virtual Boy or the movie Lawnmower Man, but actually believable.)

Unfortunately VR is incredibly complex, precisely because it replaces the physical world. The brain expects the rules of physics to be the same. For example, if the user turns his or her head, any delay in the on-screen display alterting its orientation to match the movement can lead to a feeling of nausea. Furthermore, software ideally must track eye movement as well as various other inputs.

Presently, you could look at VR in terms of two approaches. The first is a more ‘serious’ approach such as that taken by Oculus, Sony and HTC/Valve: dedicated headsets using powerful chips to present as immersive an experience as possible. The second is that taken by Google and Samsung: low-cost solutions, where a simple headset is designed to be used with the smartphone.

At this stage, the latter option is important for the market as they offer the consumer a low-cost, low-risk taster of VR, but also encourage developers to get in on the act. For many applications – a corporate VR ‘meeting’ for example – these simple solutions might even suffice in the long run.

Once Oculus et al finally release their devices, we expect the gaming and entertainment community to be the first to jump on board. To gather serious traction however, we expect vendors to gradually implement things like 4K displays to match expectations of pin-sharp resolution, while GPU vendors will undoubtedly be working on more powerful chips to meet resolution and framerate demands.

Wearables go to work
While the success of consumers wearables is arguable, in the workplace these devices are really able to shine. That’s particularly true of head-worn smart glasses. Suffice to say that Google Glass was a failure, in part because of the small display overlay, battery life and the fact that it targeted neither consumers nor businesses specifically.

Devices designed for the latter are now gaining business interest, not only because of the technological improvements that have taken place, but also because of the potential ROI that these devices offer. Imagine, for example, a field worker dispatched to repair a gas turbine. The cost of downtime for such an asset is considerable. If the repair worker carries a set of smart glasses, the on-board display, camera and connectivity can bring useful information to the worker – for example, a remote colleague can use the video feed to help in the repair process. In the long term, the money saved due to the reduction in downtime will undoubtedly outweigh the costs for the hardware and support.

There’s usually an ‘inertia effect’ within businesses when new technologies are developed. This is now being overcome with smart glasses, and we expect shipments to ramp up over the coming years.

The race to 5G begins
5G is the next stage in mobile cellular communications. It’s especially interesting because, while all previous generations were focused on facilitating communications between humans, 5G will but also be targeting communications between machines. What does this mean? Essentially this is about bringing a lot more devices onto the network without bringing it down: try using your phone reliably at a crowded music festival for example.

The network will be capable of extremely high data rates, reduce latency and improve energy efficiency over 4G. This should allow for better delivery of rich content like video, while simultaneously allow low power, battery-operated machines to join the network.

The release cycle for each generation occurs approximately every 10 years, so 2020 is likely the year where mass deployments will begin to roll out. However, development is already feverish: Ericsson, SoftBank, ZTE and Verizon are all conducting tests while Verizon has even claimed it will launch 5G services in 2017.

Many devices, one platform
Over the past decade or so, technology has been undergoing a trend towards convergence, which has really been accelerated by smartphones on the one hand, and the availability of cloud computing services on the other. Handoff, Office 365, the entire Google ecosystem: these are all enabled by the cloud, and demands for seamless integration between platforms has been fuelled by smartphone and tablet ownership.

Microsoft has taken the trend further with its Universal App API, allowing developers to target multiple device types using the same code, while Google looks to be shaping up to better integration between Chrome OS and Android. While Apple has stated that it won’t converge iOS and OSX, it previously stated that it didn’t see a market for phablets, or styluses for tablets.

Times change, and the overall trend is undeniable: it will be a question of when, and not if. Certainly for Microsoft, this strategy is absolutely fundamental because it is losing out in the mobile space, and losing momentum in the desktop PC space. It needs to have those developers on board.

Steffen Sorrell is a senior analyst with Juniper Research

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Clocking Off

Merry Xmas textAnd that’s almost it from us until the New Year, but if you’re worried you’re going to miss your mobile marketing fix, don’t be. Every day during the holiday season we’ll be posting a Guest Column with expert predictions from Forrester, Google and many more about what we can expect to see in 2016, and on New Year’s Day, our Mobile Leaders Network members will give you their thoughts on what lies ahead.

Plus, on New Year’s Eve of course, we’ll have our regular round up of the last 12 months in mobile, brought to you by the MMM team.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage of the mobile marketing business in 2015. We’ve certainly enjoyed bringing it to you, and we look forward to more of the same next year. Wherever you are in the world, we wish you a peaceful and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year

The Mobile Marketing Team

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2015: The Year’s Biggest Trends

As we say goodbye to this year, and begin to look ahead to the next, it’s a good time to revisit the stories and trends that have defined mobile marketing in 2015. Our editorial team have picked out their single biggest trend of the past 12 months. Plus, we reached out to members of the MLN, our board of experts from across the industry, to contribute their picks too.

Apple Watch

Murph MLN headDavid Murphy, editor, Mobile Marketing:
Of all the bits of wearable tech that saw the light of day in 2015, few attracted the same sort of pre-launch hype as the Apple Watch. It wasn’t the first of its kind, following on two years after Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and the Pebble; three years after Sony’s first smartwatch; and fully 12 years after Microsoft’s first attempt, the SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) device.

But as with the tablet market before it, it was only when Apple got involved that the world seemed to sit up and take notice. So eight months on, what’s the verdict on the Apple Watch?

Well, given how much Apple likes to shout about the initial sales success of its new hardware releases, it has been suspiciously reluctant to divulge hard figures on the Apple Watch, citing competitive reasons. That said, back in July, it did reveal that it had outsold the iPad through its first nine weeks, which means sales in those first nine weeks were over 2m (the iPad sold 2m in its eighth week on sale). Given that a total of 4.2m smartwatches were sold in the whole of 2014, that makes the Apple watch’s sales performance look pretty good.

As for the Watch itself? It’s a subjective thing obviously, but I think it’s a great-looking piece of kit. But it is one more device to recharge in the evenings, and what will keep people using it isn’t the device itself but the apps loaded on it. So far to my mind, these have been a bit hit and miss. A good watch app is one that integrates seamlessly with the app on the phone, serving the right amount of content on the watch, and leaving the rest – and most of the heavy lifting – to the mobile.

The Lufthansa Travel Companion app that took the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards in the Smartwatch App category this year is a great example of this, but others seem a little thin on the ground. Let’s hope this changes as developers get to grips with the device going forward and learn how much – and in some cases how little – people will want to do on it.

Apple Pay, mobile payments and mobile loyalty

Sienne-VeitSienne Veit, online product director, John Lewis:
Thanks to Apple Pay and the rise of contactless, 2015 was the year that mobile payments really took off. Enabled by NFC contactless payment technology in stores and TfL’s transport network, British consumers are increasingly choosing to tap to pay. But payments weren’t the biggest mobile story of 2015.

2015 was the year that loyalty finally went mobile in mainstream retail. Many retailers chose to make their loyalty cards central to their apps. Here at John Lewis we made the My John Lewis card a part of our app, giving our customers easier access to all their loyalty rewards including Kitchen Drawer, enabling members to to electronically store all receipts and guarantees for up to six years whenever they swipe their card.

My prediction is that loyalty and payment will become more closely intertwined and even more useful when baked in to mobile first applications. Together with location awareness and push, loyalty will now offer customers even greater value and ease. As well as giving retailers end to end visibility of customer shopping behaviours across online and shops to help them offer truly seamless shopping experiences.

Ad blocking comes to mobile

Alex Spencer MLN headAlex Spencer, online editor, Mobile Marketing
At the outset of 2015, I think it’s fair to say that most of the mobile marketing industry was unconcerned about ad blocking. It was seen as a desktop problem.

There was a good reason for that, and to some extent there still is. According to a PageFair report from August, mobile accounted for 38 per cent of traffic which passed through its network in Q2 – but just 1.6 per cent of ad blocker traffic.

But over the course of the year, that has started to change. It all started in May, when an Israeli startup named Shine started to make a name for itself by declaring it was helping MNOs to block all mobile ad traffic on their networks. That hasn’t really manifested yet, with Jamaican telco Digicel the only company to introduce its technology, but it was a sign of things to come.

Because the very next month, Apple revealed a new version of its Safari web browser, launching with iOS 9, that would make ad blocking simple and accessible to iPhone and iPad users. As with mobile payments and smartwatches, the involvement of Apple took mobile ad blocking into the mainstream almost overnight. When iOS 9 launched in September, ad block apps like Crystal and Freedom were making headlines not just in the trade press but in the national papers.

Which is where we are today. 2015 has put mobile ad blocking well and truly on the map. By November, it had become the topic of an entire episode of South Park – and if that isn’t a sign that something has entered the public consciousness, I don’t know what is.

Nevertheless, there hasn’t been the kind of adblockalypse we might have feared. The real impact will only become apparent as figures begin to emerge in the New Year, but for now ad blocking is most important as a warning shot: users aren’t happy with ads, and they’re willing to take action to avoid them. As an industry, we need to get better, and fast.

A year of failure for wearable tech

Adam-Croxen-2015Adam Croxen, managing director, Future Platforms:
By late 2014, there was a new fitness tracker arriving every week, Android Wear devices were witnessing a steady uptake, and Apple had finally announced its much-awaited Watch. A year on, we’re no closer to knowing what value wearables really deliver. Jawbone announced layoffs, Google Glass died a death, and while Cardboard is a great proof of concept it’s not yet more than something fun to play with.

Apple have never shied away from hubris, but still aren’t divulging official sales of their Watch. While analysts predict a numerically respectable 5-7m units, better than any of Apple’s competitors, it’s a paltry figure compared to the 48m iPhones sold in Q4 2015 alone. The vast majority of iPhone owners, Apple’s target audience, just aren’t interested in the Watch and many of those who were (myself included) are losing that interest very quickly. Put simply, consumers just don’t have the time for technology that is ultimately providing more distractions.

Building a bridge with China

Tim MLN head1Tim Maytom, reporter, Mobile Marketing
China has been a significant mobile market for years now, whether you’re talking in terms of consumers, enterprise customers or mobile industries, but this year seemed to mark a recognition that what has previously been a fairly isolated (if large) market was now part of the global mobile ecosystem.

When smartphone sales dropped in China during Q1 (the first dip in six years) it was seen as a sign that China, long considered an emerging market, had reached maturity. Along with homegrown successes like Xiaomi and Huawei, Apple has seen massive gains in China in recent years, and with Chinese consumers expected to drive app downloads past 235bn in 2015, it’s easy to see why it’s such an attractive place to do business.

Google certainly agrees – this year saw the company restart operations in mainland China for the first time in five years, with a focus on mobile and its Google Play store. Recognising the power of the Chinese audience, the search giant is attempting to re-establish itself as an internet service provider in Asia and boost its revenues in a market it has so far left relatively untapped.

The tail end of the year has seen companies like Apple, Samsung and Powa Technologies enter partnerships with China’s state-run bank and sole credit card provider to bring a new wave of contactless, mobile payments to the nation, with the aim of transforming retail in the country.

It’s not just Western companies reaching out to China, though. Xiaomi, which continues to see rapid growth in the Asian market, has begun to reach out to Western consumers, establishing a wearables eCommerce presence in Europe and the US, and strengthening its presence in West Asian markets like India.

With figures suggesting that nearly half of all mobile ad spending will come from China and East Asia by 2019, and marketers holding up Alibaba’s Singles Day promotions as an example of mCommerce done right, it has become clearer than ever how much we have to learn from China, and how we can benefit by forging stronger ties with the mobile market that exists there.

Targeting audiences across platforms

Spencer ScottSpencer Scott, chief revenue officer, Fiksu:
The single biggest trend in mobile in 2015 was the growth of audience targeting. For brands trying to transition to a mobile-first world, figuring out how to reach the right audiences the way they’re used to on digital and offline is crucial.

As part of this story, advertisers are on the hunt for good mobile audience data. The third-party data marketplace, so well established in digital, is just beginning to scale up in mobile – and much of what’s there is of questionable quality. Vendors are making strides, with desktop players working on scale and breadth of their mobile data while mobile-first providers also try to scale up and establish their reliability, but the reality isn’t where major brands want it to be right now. The emergence of high-quality mobile data providers for both branding and performance targeting, based on mobile device IDs, will be a major development in 2016.

Mobile purchases on the up

Criteo-Jon-BussJon Buss, managing director, Northern Europe, Criteo:
During 2015, the global eCommerce market has experienced a seismic shift, as consumers around the world have taken to their mobiles to browse and, more importantly, purchase online. This time last year, Criteo data found that mobile accounted for 30 per cent of all global online transactions. Fast forward a year, and here in the UK, nearly half of all ecommerce transactions now come from mobile, with a global average of 40 per cent expected by the end of 2015.

Looking forward to next year, with smartphones continuing to displace slower-growing tablets due to devices with larger screens, mobile commerce is only set to further increase. In response, retailers and service providers will have to put a greater focus on improving mobile and app platforms in order to take advantage of this fundamental behavioural trend. This will make dealing with cross device behaviour a must. With 40 per cent of transactions already cross-device, marketers in 2016 will have to talk to people instead of devices.

 

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