Mobile Provides Alphabet with Second Quarter Boost

Google Switzerland
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has beaten Wall Street expectations with its Q2 financial results, largely driven by its increasing investment in mobile advertising beginning to pay off.

While Google has always had a strong presence on mobile thanks to its Android operating system, its revenues have traditionally come from desktop search traffic, with advertisers paying lower rates for mobile ads.

However, as mobile browsing overtakes desktop, that trend is beginning to reverse, and Google’s efforts to establish a strong mobile search ecosystem are paying off.

Revenues grew 21.3 per cent year on year, up to $21.5bn (£16.2bn), with earnings for the quarter up 24.2 per cent on last year to $4.88bn. Ad revenues made up 89 per cent of all revenues, with other minor sources including the company’s cloud computing business.

Video was another big driver for the firm’s successful quarter, with CEO Sundar Pichai singling it out during the earnings call as a format where advertisers are willing to pay premium prices for users’ attention. Google is using artificial intelligence to drive video recommendations on YouTube, boosting consumer engagement and time spent on the platform.

Alphabet’s Other Bets business, which includes Nest, Google Fiber, self-driving cars and its ‘moon shoot’ division Google X, saw revenues increase by 150 per cent to $185m, but is still operating at a considerable loss of $859m.

Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet, suggested that the Other Bets business may come under closer financial scrutiny in the future.

“I’ve commented many times that our focus on long-term revenue growth does not give us a pass on managing expenses,” Porat told investors during the earnings call. She has been credited with bringing greater financial discipline to the company overall.

Alphabet’s shares rose 6.5 per cent in after-hours trading in response to the financial results.

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The final deadline for submissions is 5 August. More details here.

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Amazon Beats Earnings Expectations in Q2

jeff bezos amazon
Online retail giant Amazon blew past Wall Street expectations for its Q2 earnings, with significant increases in both sales and profit year-on-year which CEO Jeff Bezos credited towards the growth of its Indian business.

Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.78 (£1.34), compared to Wall Street forecasts of $1.11, while revenues for the quarter were $30.4bn, compared to analysts’ expectations of $29.55bn.

Those figures calculated as a 31 per cent increase in net sales, which led to a net income increase of over 800 per cent, from $92m to $857m year-on-year. Despite the successes, Amazon’s shares jumped by only two per cent in after-hours trading.

Looking forward, the company predicted a slight quarter-on-quarter increase in revenues for Q3, somewhere between $31bn and $33.5bn, but left a wide range for operating income, which they estimate could be anywhere from $50m to $650m.

The company has invested heavily in several ambitious projects over the past year, from Alexa and Amazon Fresh to its Amazon Web Services division, and the firm has historically not made huge profits despite consistently growing revenues due to its constant investment in growth.

One person who is seeing the benefits of Amazon’s successes is Jeff Bezos, however. The strong quarterly results, combined with the growth in Amazon’s shares since February, has made Bezos the third richest person alive, with an estimated fortune of $65.3bn. He is beaten only by Zara founder Amancio Ortega ($73.1bn) and Bill Gates ($78bn).

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The final deadline for submissions is 5 August. More details here.

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One Week Left to Enter Our Awards

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The deadline for submissions to the 2016 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards is now only a week away.

All entries must be in by 5pm BST Friday 5 August to be in with a chance of winning one of our industry-recognised awards, now in their seventh year.

There are no less than 36 categories in which to enter this year – you can find a full list at the bottom of this post. The cost to enter is £175 per entry, per category.

The winners will be announced at our Awards Ceremony in London on 17 November, one of the highlights of the mobile marketing year for all who attend.

You can enter by clicking here and creating an account in our new Awards Portal.

Don’t delay any longer – get your entry in now before time runs out!

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Innovation Lab: Army Hoverboards, Relocating Australia and Dog Poop Apps

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.

US Military May Be in the Market for Hoverboards

When most of us hear ‘hoverboard’, we picture the mini-Segways that caught on fire, first figuratively then literally, last Christmas. But one major defence contractor clearly has more faith in the technology, and is in the process of acquiring the company behind a record-breaking flying machine.

Zapata Racing makes hoverboards that actually hover – jet-powered platforms that recently smashed the world record for furthest distance travelled on such a device when founder Franky Zapata flew over 2km using the company’s Flyboard Air design.

The designs have drawn the attention of Implant Sciences, which specialises in developing technology for the US Department of Homeland Security and other military institutions. Impant Sciences has signed a letter of intent to acquire Zapata Racing and believes its products have “commercial, defence and homeland security technology applications”.

Quite what that means is yet to be revealed, and while we may not about to see US troops flying through the air on jet boots, Zapata said in an interview with Digital Trends that Implant Sciences has plans for flying medical stretchers, personal jetbikes and “floating rescue stations, scaffoldings and unmanned heavy payload delivery drones.”

australia on globeAustralia Set to Move to Fix Sat-Nav Gap
It’s not very often that an entire nation jumps almost two metres to the north, but that’s what’s about to happen to Australia, as the country shifts its official longitude and latitude to address a gap between local co-ordinates and those from global navigation satellites.

Australia moves north by around seven centimetres a year due to tectonic activity, which has led to a gradually increasing discrepancy between local co-ordinates, used to make maps and measurements, and its actual global position.

The difference may not be huge, but with the growing reliance on GPS systems for navigation, especially with autonomous cars and farm machinery, the 1.5m difference between local maps and GPS data could lead to errors or even accidents.

The gap will be corrected on 1 January 2017, when the Geocentric Datum of Australia will shift the country’s local co-ordinates 1.8m to the north. The over-correction means that the local co-ordinates and GPS position will line up perfectly in 2020, when a new system that takes changes over time into account will be implemented, eliminating the need for such big jumps.

Picking up Dog Poop? There’s an App for That

Proving that literally everything is monetisable in the brave new world of the sharing economy, Pooper is a new app that enables you to draft in someone else to pick up your dog’s messes for you, sparing you the trouble.

The app is currently beta-testing, with plans to release it in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York later this year. Users simply take a photo of their dog’s poop using the app, which attaches a geo-location tag, and a ‘Scooper’ is sent along to pick up after your pet.

While some have suggested the app is a joke or prank, co-founder Ben Becker has insisted it is real. “I am a real human being and a dog owner,” said Becker in an interview with the Washington Post. “It is our intention to solve a problem in a unique way.”

formula pi racing.‘Formula Pi’ Racing Pits Autonomous Cars Against Each Other
While Google, Tesla and a variety of auto manufacturers invest hundreds of millions of dollars in self-driving cars, a company in Cambridge is letting you build and test your own designs for as little as £35.

PiBorg is hosting the world’s first autonomous car racing international grand prix, with small vehicles powered by the Raspberry Pi Zero microprocessor and Raspberry Pi camera. Contestants receive these two components, along with a customisable ‘lid’, and must create coding that will help their car race around the track as quickly as possible without colliding with other vehicles.

The competition, which is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, hopes to attract a mix of talent, from first-time coders looking to get started to advanced teams using technology like neural networks to shave seconds off their lap time.

Robo-builder Lays 1,000 Bricks an Hour

Australian firm Fastbrick Robotics is looking to take 3D printing to a whole new level with its giant bricklaying machine that can construct a house four times faster than a human builder.

The Hadrian, the company’s flagship robot, is an ‘end-to-end’ bricklaying robot that automates the labour-intensive process of laying bricks, with the latest version boasting a 30 metre long arm that can place bricks at a rate of 1,000 per hour.

The robot uses construction adhesives to stick the bricks together, is able to deal with different brick sizes, and can even cut, grind and mill bricks down to fit the structure before it lays them. A laser-based smart tracking system guides the robot, and allows it to make room for doors, windows, wiring and plumbing as necessary.

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The final deadline for submissions is 5 August. More details here.

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P3 Rolls Out PokeFit Pokémon Go Fitness, Data and Battery Tracker

PokefitWell someone had to do it. Turns out it’s consulting, management and engineering services company P3, which has launched PokeFit for Pokémon Go, an app that turns a monster hunt into a personal workout challenge.

Pokémon Go players can download the free PokeFit app for Android and map their routes while capturing calories, distance, step count and duration for every hunt. It also tracks data usage and battery drain, and can override the device timeout setting to keep your screen on while you play.

“Now that gamers are up and moving, they want to take their training and competition to the next level,” said Ralf Klüber, CEO of P3 insight. “Our analysis shows that power Pokémon Go players are walking nearly 5km each day. PokeFit combines the features of a fitness tracker, a battery widget and a data usage monitor into one easy-to-use app that plays when you do.”

When logged into Pokémon Go, PokeFit displays personal fitness statistics as a small semi-transparent overlay on the phone’s augmented reality display. Alternatively, the user can open the PokeFit app to view their stats. Once installed, the app works automatically, so there’s no need to start or stop recording manually. PokeFit settings can be customized to record by session, day, month or from day one of the user’s Pokémon Go play.

P3’s analytics division, P3 insight, has extensive experience in collecting, storing and analysing huge amounts of data. When Pokémon Go became available in the US, amid rising fears that players would max out their data plans, P3 drew upon its global panel of smartphone users to analyse real usage patterns.

“We found that Pokémon Go burns calories but it will not burn through your data plan,” said Klüber. “The average player only consumes between 5 to 10 megabytes of data per hour and that rate has remained consistent over the past two weeks. That’s tiny compared to watching an hour of HD video, which consumes hundreds of megabytes. On average, a Pokémon Go player spends three minutes per session for a total of 13 minutes per day.”
Klüber acknowledged that battery drain is the real issue. “When compared with some of the most popular mobile apps, Pokémon Go clearly has the highest battery drain rate. It drains nearly a third (29.7 per cent) of an Android phone’s battery in one hour, compared to 20.8 per cent for Google Maps, 18.2 per cent for Facebook and 17.6 per cent for YouTube,” he said.

Current plans for PokeFit updates include new game features that will allow players to compete with friends and family to advance their fitness levels and earn rewards.

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Vizury Launches Engage Commerce Platform

VizuryMartech firm Vizury has launched its Engage Commerce platform, that aims to help eCommerce brands drive user retention and incremental conversions. The platform blends in-app behavioural attributes with machine learning to deliver personalized recommendations through multi-product push notifications across channels for synchronized campaigns.

Vizury co-founder and CEO Chetan Kulkarni explained how the platform works in a briefing with Mobile Marketing: “Let’s say you are an online retailer. A customer comes to your site and maybe looks at a pair of jeans but then drops off. That leaves a signal for the retailer in terms of their intent. Our platform offers the ability to interpret this intent and then action it across multiple channels. So 24 hours later, the retailer can send them a personalised push notification with rich media images of the jeans. If there’s no reply to that, they can retarget the customer on Facebook. If that doesn’t solicit a response, then the next time they come back into app we can personalise the experience by taking the customer back to that same pair of jeans they were looking at previously.”

According to Kulkarni, the platform also enables brands to predict uninstalls with an accuracy rate of 83 per cent, and use targeted retention campaigns to pre-empt the uninstall.

“For each user, we have an activity map that tells us how many times they have opened the app in the last 30 days and what sections that have visited,” Kulkarni explained. “Since we have the device ID we can track them on Google and Facebook and combine that with first- and third-party data to arrive at an activity score. When it drops below a certain threshold they are flagged as being at a high risk of churning and the brand can then look at their lifetime value and if they are a loyal, high-spending customer, make them offer to re-engage them.”

 

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Study Reveals Mobile Advertising Disconnect

Mobile ad Telegraph May 2015Ad and content-funded mobile platform Unlockd has released the results of a study that shows a disconnect in attitudes towards mobile advertising between consumers on one hand and advertisers and mobile operators on the other.

Unlockd commissioned a survey, which was carried out by Morar Consulting in April, among 100 mobile operators, 100 advertisers and 1,000 consumers in the UK. The study found that while 84 per cent of advertisers and 82 per cent of mobile operators believe they are delivering a positive experience, only 47 per cent of consumers consider their mobile advertising experience to be positive.

The report found that 39 per cent of consumers think mobile ads are irrelevant to them, highlighting the lack of understanding by the industry of the consumer experience they’re providing. Key contributing factors leading to the negative experience were volume (40 per cent) and irritating format (39 per cent) of ads.

Despite these findings, the report also found that half of 16-44 year olds would accept ads on their mobile phones in exchange for incentives or rewards from a mobile operator. In fact, 64 per cent of 16-29 year olds said they would be happy if they could pay a lower monthly price plan or receive reward points to upgrade their phone in exchange for receiving ads.

These findings are no doubt music to Unlockd’s ears, since this is exactly the service it provides to the mobile operator community. It recently launched in the UK with Tesco Mobile, offering its customers the chance to earn £3 a month off their bill by agreeing to receive ads on their Android handsets from its partners. Launch advertisers included British Airways, McDonalds and Doritos. Those who opt in are paid a flat fee for being part of the program, whether they engage with the ads or not; there are no additional incentives for people to click on the ads, which take the form of a full-screen takeover which the user can choose to engage with, dismiss, or save for later.

There are no frequency caps on the number of ads a user will see in a day but when we wrote about the launch, the company’s CEO Matt Berriman told us that users would see an ad roughly every third time they unlock their phone, equating typically to around 30-35 ads per day, or 900 in an average month.

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EE Launches Free BT Sport Offer

BT sportUK mobile operator EE is offering its contract customers six months’ free access to BT Sport on their phones and tablets. The offer is open to EE customers on consumer and small business pay monthly handset, tablet or SIM-only phone price plans. To sign up for the offer and register for a unique BT ID, customers need to text ‘SPORT’ to 150 from any EE handset, or call customer services, then download the BT Sport App.

BT Sport coverage includes every match in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League; 42 Premier League matches; the Emirates FA Cup; the Scottish Professional Football League; and Aviva Premiership Rugby.

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Virgin America Teams with Spotify for Destination Playlists

virgin america spotify appVirgin America has just launched its app, and along with the usual flight booking, online check-in and digital boarding pass features, the smartphone app links to curated playlists on Spotify, themed around your destination.

The playlists span a wide range of genres, with most cities boasting multiple choices, so for New York you can either enjoy An Afternoon in Central Park (indie and rock), A Night On Broadway (show tunes) or the Origins of Hip-Hop (rap and hip-hop), while travelling to Austin, Texas lets you listen to the country stylings of Cold Beer on a Friday Night, or a festival mix meant to evoke Your Ticket to Austin Music Fests.

The app also provides real-time flight alerts and links to Virgin America’s loyalty scheme, enabling users to check their points balance or purchase discounted tickets in a manner of seconds.

Virgin America’s flights offer ViaSat in-flight internet access, enabling app users to enjoy the tunes even as they cruise at 35,000 feet on their way to the destination.

The app will initially be rolled out to loyalty program members and other frequent fliers for beta testing before launching for the public later in the summer.

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The final deadline for submissions is 5 August. More details here.

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Amazon Dash Scanner Launches in the UK

amazon dash scannerLess than two months after the launch of its grocery delivery service in the UK, Amazon has brought one of its shopping devices to the British market, the Dash Scanner.

The small handheld device enables consumers to add products to their digital shopping basket by scanning their barcode or through voice commands.

Once the Dash scanner has been used to add items, owners can then open the Amazon app or website to complete their orders, pay and arrange delivery for them. The Dash will normally cost £35, but will be available for free between now and August 28th following the completion of two Amazon Fresh orders.

“We’re all used to trying to remember the contents of the fridge and kitchen cupboard and scribbling down reminders on pieces of paper,” said Ajay Kavan, vice president of Amazon Fresh. “With Dash, at any given time, customers can keep track of products when they come to mind and scan to reorder groceries and household essentials as soon as they run out.”

With the launch of the Dash scanner, we can likely expect an upcoming release for Amazon’s Dash buttons in the UK. The company has invested considerably in the buttons in the US, with partnerships established with over 100 brands from Starbucks and Red Bull to Huggies and Doritos.

“The UK launch of Amazon Dash signals Amazon’s continued commitment to take a share of the online grocery category,” said Scott Abbott, head of global PPC at digital marketing agency iProspect. “According to Mintel, in 2015 online represented six per cent of UK grocery sales, with more recent research showing that as consumers continue to embrace online shopping online grocery sales are continuing to rise.

“Amazon have long been a disruptive force in retail and with a proven track record for both quality and competitive pricing, Dash will further solidify their credentials in convenience and continue to transform the shopping list. It marks a new era for omnichannel retail in the UK and will be a key differentiator for Amazon against the big six UK grocers.”

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The final deadline for submissions is 5 August. More details here.

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