Mobile Fix — January 25

Peripherals

Whilst I am pretty happy with my new Google Pixel 3 the one thing that almost lured me back to Apple is the Watch. And maybe the AirPods — which can actually be used with Android. Both get rave reviews from users and are well ahead of competitors.

But we always think of these as peripherals rather than wearables, as without an iPhone in close proximity they are pretty limited.

Google have seen this issue and bought the smartwatch division of watch market Fossil. At $40m it’s a small deal for Google but does protect the future of the Android WearOS and also gives them some imminent new product innovation. This is a bit of a mystery but sounds like a sports fitness product and, given how strong Garmin and Strava remain, could be a smart move.

And more launches around smart Glasses; this time from Bose so they major on audio and Bose are really into audio AR, knowing where you are through the smartphones GPS. So you can imagine that Google maps could talk you through a route via these glasses instead of your headphones on Siri or Google Assistant.

Someone is going to take smart Glasses mainstream. Who will that be? And what’s the killer application?

newTV

The fact the new Freeview app now lets anyone (with an iPhone) stream live TV and on demand content wherever they are, shows how much change is happening in TV. But this US panel shows the industry is still struggling to adapt.

Everyone sees the potential and has a good idea of what they need to do. This long piece on NBC looks at their Pods as they try and reduce adload and how they use AI to better match ads to the shows around them

Another piece on NBC is very positive about their opportunity to launch a streaming service — leveraging Sky now being part of their family. With lots of competition — and DisneyFlix looming — it’s going to be tough but their free ad supported version is a real differentiator. As subscription prices edge up ( and some down) we believe households will welcome ad supported alternatives — if they can get the user experience right.

The Stratechery piece on Netflix and BirdBox is a good reminder how they make the weather for the rest of the industry. And their first Oscar nomination for Roma shows they do quality and quantity.

I will be talking about all of this in my keynote at Vidcon next month — discounted tickets if you use the code Addictive20

GAFA

With a €50m fine for Google the French regulators have served notice on GAFA — and everyone else — that GDPR does actually have teeth. “generic and vague” — as the Google solution is termed — could equally apply to the IAB consent platform so widely used.

So it seems a good time to look at the way ahead for GAFA and this conversation between Fix friend Richard Kramer and Scott Galloway is a must watch.

Galloway is an advocate for breaking up GAFA but Richard talks through the reasons why that is unlikely. One interesting outtake is that Richard shares our view on the inevitability of Apple re-entering the ad market.

So if GAFA is not going away, what to do? As we have argued for years you just need to be very good at making the most of GAFA. Do that and your business will prosper.

For all the hype Gary Vaynerchuk gets this and shares his thoughts on how to approach Facebook in 2019. Now his thoughts on TV and OOH being worthless are a little extreme, but how he does Facebook is right on the money.

And the new Nanigans report (PDF) on what their clients are seeing in Facebook is interesting, with CPMs trending up whilst cost per click is down as better ads drive better clickthrough. Obviously some generalisation here but well worth digging into.

Amazon

As Amazon double down on its ad sales business, success stories are now appearing. This NYT piece features a number of brands talking about their results with Amazon ads — one reporting that 20% of those who clicked ended up buying on Amazon.

These video case studies for High Brew Coffee and Vermont Teddy Bears are both worth watching.

And new metrics will let advertisers see how many of their buyers are new customers and how many are repeat.

Personalisation

I remain convinced that ads treating people as strangers are a huge waste and we are always looking for smart personalisation tech. Our friends at DCO specialists Cablato argue 2019 is the year the market gets personalisation.

And are friends at Spirable nail the possibilities with this wonderful project with PlayStation celebrating the games played and each players achievements. Sent as part of their CRM programme, this drove a huge amount of social sharing.

And on a similar tip Channel 4 find that ads in the right context work much harder.

And don’t forget the Sky CEO saying;

Take AdSmart for example. When viewers are served ads relevant to them through our addressable platform, channel switching during targeted ad breaks reduces by a third — giving viewers a more engaging viewing experience.

Huge opportunities here for brands that experiment. Very happy to help.

Quick Reads

Chinese shopping app Red is gearing up for Chinese New Year with the launch of Influencers. Red is another of the independent apps that have grown incredibly fast in China and whilst Alibaba is an investor they are outside the BAT orbit. This blend of community and commerce doesn’t have a Western equivalent — maybe Pinterest is closest?

The App economy is forecast to be worth $120billion in 2019 and sees monetization through in-app ads growing fastest. Another reason for Apple to facilitate mobile advertising?

Back in the day eBay was one of the major player in digital (and a former client) but now it is thought to be inplay, with Walmart, Google and Private Equity seen as potential buyers.

When shown the ad preferences page on Facebook by Pew research, half of those asked are uncomfortable. But will they do anything?

DTC brand Allbirds open new stores saying “I think what we found is that it’s the best marketing dollars we can spend.”

More Scott Galloway — this time from Munich last week — talking through his predictions for last year and for this. This quote really resonates;

Choice is a bad thing. Consumers want fewer choices they can feel more confident on

The inhousing trend continues but we are seeing more nuanced approaches. Arla say

The agencies will do more high level creative and we’ll do the optimisation.

I think that makes perfect sense — the core product of any Agency is creative thinking and that remains rare and valuable.

P&G are eschewing TV and learning from DTC for some of their skincare brands

A New York retail development due to open soon, will have a whole floor of formerly digital only DTC brands.

You can now sponsor the Discover Weekly podcast on Spotify

FinallyThe Wall Street Journal make the point about how email is back in fashion as a way for brands creators and businesses. It’s no surprise to Fix readers but when we first did Fix 9 years ago this week it was counter intuitive. Looking back at the first Fix it was quite a bit shorter

What’s cooking at The Media Kitchen?.

We’re busy with a pitch with our fam at Crispin Porter Bogusky, prepping for our annual VC conference in New York and getting ready for various talks and keynotes in London Dublin and Stockholm. And our global push continues with a new office in Shanghai.

If you are smart, curious and have good experience of media and digital across EMEA we are hiring. And if you are smart and curious and work for a brand maybe we could help you grow your business?

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