August 10th, 2009

Connectivity Withdrawal – Have a Back-up Plan

I cleaned out my car a month or so ago. Decided I could throw away all my MapQuest and Google Map print outs. I thought, “I have an iPhone, a Blackberry, an N97 – the N97 has especially good maps – why do I still need paper?”

They told us there would be limited to no connectivity on the coast. I thought, “great, I’ll disconnect for the weekend.” While there, the reality set in. I wanted to share photos from the trip on Facebook. I couldn’t. We wanted to check traffic on Route 1 vs. highway 101 on the way back … we couldn’t  (and got stuck in traffic).

I’d lost sight a bit of how much I depend on my phone for non-voice communication. We even left the GPS unit at home … figured we had phones. My phone ended up spending most of the trip in the glove compartment with the radio turned off to conserve battery power. We had no plan “b” so to speak.

California Coast

California Coast

Then I was walking to the coffee shop this morning, and a young woman was screaming at her boyfriend on her iPhone (yeah, distinguishable white ear phones visible from across the street.) I was then wishing that perhaps there wouldn’t be connectivity everywhere. Was so uncomfortable to be in the same public place as this woman.

Then I drove north on Route 101 to Mendocino County for the weekend and south back along Route 1 (the coast).

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August 6th, 2009

Made-up Mobile Ad Network Numbers – Why?

Saw this article today in moco ranking mobile ad networks in the US. They published these numbers, but don’t stand behind them – at least entirely. I’m interested in digging a bit deeper into the UV calculation.

1. Millennial Media: 45.6 million
2. AOL/Platform-A’s Third Screen Media: 28.6 million
3. AdMob: 25.7 million
4. Microsoft’s MSN Ad Network: 25.4 million
5. Jumptap: 23.4 million
6. Quattro Wireless: 23 million

Yahoo! isn’t mentioned. Google is not there – guess this doesn’t include Search, but these online giants are popular at least with the consumers we survey. Oh, and no application networks or SMS. The article does back up Millennial’s claim to reach. They’d have to be reaching just about every person who browses the mobile web in a given month – even those with one page view – to hit this published number.

Aside from the rankings, good to see all of the networks doing so well. These numbers have been growing steadily over the past couple of years. With smartphones selling so well, usage of data services is growing. Forrester’s data shows relatively few daily browsers outside of smartphone owners. Most of these ad networks show similar usage patterns. All of this traffic together

Choosing ad networks isn’t a topic I’ve researched yet. We do advocate though that brands find their customers, understand their mobile behaviors, and build a strategy from there. With the momentum in consumer adoption of mobile data services, it will soon be hard for any consumer or business-oriented brand to avoid the medium as a channel to engage with consumers for much longer.

Why It’s Hard To Say Which Mobile Ad Network Is The Largest

Advertisers want to know how many people they can reach before they commit to a multi-million campaign. But in the mobile industry, determining the size of the audience is still difficult, if not impossible—especially among the dozen-or-so mobile ad networks.

In an effort to resolve this, Nielsen has reluctantly released a list of the six largest mobile ad networks in the U.S. However, in a strange twist, the research firm warns that it cannot standby the report’s accuracy, reports Mobile Marketer, which concludes that obtaining an accurate assessment of each network’s reach remains hard to measure.

With that caveat in mind, Nielsen said the top U.S. mobile ad networks in terms of monthly unique visitors are:

1. Millennial Media: 45.6 million
2. AOL/Platform-A’s Third Screen Media: 28.6 million
3. AdMob: 25.7 million
4. Microsoft’s MSN Ad Network: 25.4 million
5. Jumptap: 23.4 million
6. Quattro Wireless: 23 million

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July 22nd, 2009

More Mobile Web Metrics

Finally had the chance to read through MillenielMedia’s SMART report that they are not publishing monthly. You can download a copy here. (And the color and graphics in the report remind me of a high gloss magazine … so even though there are a lot of numbers, it is easy to see the highlights.)

There is a lot of great data in here that goes beyond traffic per platform or phone. You can see who is spending money in mobile advertising plus a bunch of metrics around campaigns – what percentage have frequency capping, ads per page, etc. Beyond advertising, you can see average monthly pages views per user and average session length.

Bottom line on usage … page views per person is growing as is the session length. I think that speaks to the quality of the experience as well as a shift in consumer behavior – where they are looking to the cell phone as a primary source of news and information – at least in some categories.

Highlights – Entertainmnet vertical is spending the most with Millenial followed by Telecom and Portals. Dating beats out Retail (#5) and CPG (#6) at #4??? The government topped Travel … really?

One of the most telling things I noticed in the data – only 31% of the devices (or is it page views – could be either) are basic feature phones. The other 69% are QWERTY and/or Touch. As you think about your mobile web presence and how you’ll build your site, you can’t help but take this into account.

Also, is Wi-Fi going to be the “true” broadband of wireless for handheld devices? Millenial sees 22% of their traffic on Wi-Fi networks.

I didn’t see Millenial’s “call to action” data that they had last month. Check out the May edition for that data – good stuff if you are an advertiser.

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July 21st, 2009

Do you have a touch-friendly web site?

Met with an interesting company yesterday – Taptu. They offer a mobile search service/technology. They recently launched their iPhone application. They are in the process of indexing “touch-friendly” media. They estimate that there are about 40,000 touch-friendly web sites of which they have indexed more than 3 million pages with a goal much higher than this for the end of the year. They estimate that about 30% of the top 100 web sites as measured by traffic are touch-friendly. It is an interesting idea given the number of touch-screen mobile devices being sold today. Is your web site touch friendly? mobile friendly?

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July 20th, 2009

Pizza Hut iPhone Application

I’m fascinated by this application on the iPhone. It is rich and entertaining. It makes ordering pizza fun. Includes a game. Includes coupons to motivate purchase – but they aren’t pushed out via SMS to trigger the idea of pizza for lunch/dinner.

Is it more marketing or commerce?

The connected nature of the application allows for updates – to the menu (for the basic categories) and promotions. Look forward to seeing this evolve to the point where local restaurant managers can do their own local promotions even based on registered zip codes. I see location-based mobile advertising playing out along these lines nearer term than the auto-tagging of a user’s location with an ad to quickly follow.

Would prefer not to have to sign up online. Mobile-only use cases with individuals are limited today, but I think they will grow in number. Cross-channel (Internet to mobile and vice versa) is an interesting idea, but it isn’t clear that it is needed or wanted – especially on platforms as capable as the higher end devices like an iPhone or Blackberry, Symbian, Palm etc. devices.  -

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CATEGORIES: Popular Posts, Wireless
June 17th, 2009

Amazon.com Acquires SnapTell

Saw this news in Fierce today.

Good play by Amazon. There is a lot of buzz around mCommerce right now – what is it? what does it mean? how fast will “it” grow? what role will it play in the multi-channel retail experience?

One of the top reasons consumers give for buying in a physical location after conducting research online is immediacy – can get it/buy it now. On a cell phone in a physical location, comparison pricing has the potential to either finalize the deal (if the store does indeed have  the lowest price) or take the customer out the door – either to another store or online.

SnapTell – already popular with cell phone users – adds to Amazon’s growing portfolio of mobile services (which I find impressive already) – and is a bit of a defensive move. I think they may yet bring a few people back to online (or one of their retail partners) with this service.

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June 10th, 2009

Why bother with mobile if the experience is going to be so bad?

I was just looking at a receipt in an email update from B&H Photo in New York. They encouraged me to get an update of my order’s status on my cell phone. So, I typed in a long order number and sent the message off to the short code 22634.

I received an SMS back with my order number and a tracking number. The order number was “live” so to speak – I clicked on it and it tried to iniative a phone call. Stupid. The order number wasn’t a link to ANYTHING?!?!?!!? Not a quick link to FedEx or UPS. Simply a number. I guess when I can copy/paste on my iPhone in another few weeks, this could prove to be useful information.

In any case, “tracking number” DOES NOT EQUAL “status update.” What a terrible user experience and a missed opportunity. Maybe they’ll say that they are only part way through the integration into their back end systems, but really, this was lame.

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June 3rd, 2009

INQ's Twitter Phone

Just saw this post in moco. INQ did a Facebook phone last year that I think offers one of the best social networking experiences on a cell phone. They truly integrated content from Facebook into the contact list. My two cents is that social networking features on cell phones like these will make cell phones the preferred device for these activities – may even trump the PC longer term. Am hoping to prove with some research later this summer.

INQ Mobile To Release Twitter Phone

By Dianne See Morrison – Tue 02 Jun 2009 08:10 AM PST

image INQ Mobile, the cellphone maker behind the “Facebook Phone,” is hopping to tap into Twitter’s surging popularity by releasing a Twitter phone, in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season, Reuters reports. Like its Facebook phone, the Twitter phone would be a mass-market feature phone, and would cost carriers less than $140. So far, INQ’s phones, which also includes a Skype phone, have only been picked up by carrier Three, whose parent company, Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa, also owns INQ. Since the launch of its Skype phone in 2007, the cellphone maker has sold a total of 700,000 devices.

Still, 3 UK reports that the INQ1 drives three to four times higher traffic than other phones. 3 UK director of sales and marketing Marc Allera told Reuters that 65 percent of INQ1 owners used Facebook on a regular basis, and 50 percent used Windows Live Messenger, which is also pre-loaded on the phone. Allera said the only other phone that could generate that traffic was the iPhone, and that even other smartphones couldn’t deliver those numbers. Allera said, “On usual smartphones the internet experience is in no way close and their price is 3-4 times higher.”

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May 29th, 2009

Is this your mobile strategy?

DSC_0197

Many mobile strategies consist of a stand-alone iPhone application.  The iPhone platform is amazing, but with 35,000 applications it no longer offers the buzz or differentiation strategy many brands think it does. Mobile strategies must run deeper and go broader.

Stand-alone iPhone applications remind me of something sitting in a fishbowl for all to see, but with little connection to anything else. So, I took this photo of my cat peering into the fish bowl.

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May 27th, 2009

Climbing Out of Our Technology Silos – Good Acquires Intercasting

Good Technology acquired Intercasting today. In the press release they state the goal of integrated messaging. I think they picked up great talent, too. Shawn has been one of the real thought leaders in mobile and especially around mobile social networking. Handset manufacturers have been trying – and mostly without success so far – to catch up with his vision of what social networking should be on phones.

Separately, I like the vision around messaging. Saw Palm’s Pre implementation of integrated messaging yesterday – good stuff. Finally, as consumers we don’t need to think about what silo’ed messaging application we want to use. Apple demo’ed similar technology to be released with 3.0 – it doesn’t go as far as the Pre, but finally I can stop explaining SMS and MMS to my parents.

I look forward to seeing what they do with the technology.

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