Mobile to comprise half of social spending by 2018 in new BIA/Kelsey report

According to this new report, (reported first in fierceCMO) mobile will account for a majority of spending on social advertising in the U.S. by 2017, reaching $7.6 billion, and surpassing spending on desktop a scant year later.

BIA/Kelsey said the spike can be attributed to Facebook and Twitter’s growing mobile business combined with the rise of native advertising.

Which is precisely what my clients have been doing recently on social and doing really well with it in the UK.

Meanwhile according to futurologists at BIA, in the “U.S. native social advertising, spurred primarily by Facebook’s News Feed ads and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, will surge to $9.4 billion in 2018, up from $1.8 billion in 2013. In 2015, BIA/Kelsey said it expects native social advertising to eclipse social display for the first time.

“We were initially skeptical about the social-mobile market’s ability to capture optimal wallet share because of mobile’s limitations, such as smaller screen size, limited ad inventory and static creative,” said Jed Williams, VP of consulting at BIA/Kelsey. “Over the past years, however, Facebook, Twitter and other networks have generated dramatic revenue growth, primarily as a function of mobile ad acceleration and largely through natively integrated mobile ad formats. We expect this growth to continue throughout the forecast period.”

Meanwhile, BIA/Kelsey projected that total U.S. social media advertising revenues will grow from $5.1 billion in 2013 to $15 billion in 2018. This year represents the greatest year-over-year jump in social media ad revenues, growing to $8.4 billion in 2014, largely because of increases in mobile and native advertising, BIA/Kelsey said.

Now I am not one to preach (hmmm actually I am) but about 3 years ago (almost to the day) I blogged about LO SO MO PHO marketing (which was to become SoLoMo) and it looks like to me that the promised advertising revolution is just aruond the corner.
Was I only three years too early 😉

Why is facebook’s move such a BIG deal

Yesterday whilst I was doing a talk about mobile marketing and social media with #fasterclass (sponsored by Justaxi and UKFast) something happened. Mark Zuck from that little company called Facebook did something rather special. 

But apparently not very many people noticed. 

Mark Zuckerberg started off by saying that “this is going to be a different kind of F8,” and by different he meant no major product releases or changes in direction. Instead, he emphasized that they were now focusing on building a stable mobile platform that would allow developers to build, grow, and monetize their apps.

For people in that community – i.e. use app developers and marketing peeps – this news is really rather large. There are three main bits I think for us all at ideas like Justaxi – Manchester’s Taxi Comparison App. 

Launch of Official Mobile Ad Network

Facebook Product Management Director Deb Liu took the stage at F8 to announce the official launch of Audience Network. With over 1 million advertisers using Facebook, mobile making up 59% of the companies revenue, and over 50% of Facebook users only using the Facebook mobile app, many saw this coming.

The tool will allow advertisers to easily place ads into third-party apps and with a streamlined experience.

Zuckerberg said: “We’ve done a lot of work already in the past years to help you build and grow your apps. This is really the first time that we are going to help you monetize on mobile.”

This is one of the reasons I bought Facebook shares with EToro just before the announcement 🙂 I personally think Facebook are about to move into something really very very profitable. 

Cross-platform tool: Applinks

Some new tools were revealed that will make life much easier for developers as well. One I really liked is “Applinks” which allows developers to link to other apps with just a few lines of code.

Essentially this means that apps will no longer have to be treated like stand alone silos with users having to navigate out of them to find other apps. With just a few lines of code, developers can insert links to other apps in their own, allowing for users to switch back an forth at will.

For instance you could be in your Gmail App but flip over to Soundcloud to change a song and flip right back via a convenient “return to” banner at the top of your screen – all without having to open up a browser or new window to complete the action. This seamless lateral movement for users combined with the ease with which developers can now implement it makes it a win/win for everybody.

I think this means that apps will start to become more and more like the web and so hyperlinking will become the norm – between apps and experiences. Which for us at could be a HUGE thing if we start partnering with people like YELP. 

Commitment to Mobile

Facebook also unveiled three new features to help support mobile applications.

Send to Mobile is a feature that allows desk top apps to easily send a reminder to the user’s device and prompt them to install it there. So instead of the user having to first remember the app, then second, go on a quest in the Play store to find an app, they can simply tap it in their reminders to have it installed.

The Mobile Like Button is a can’t miss, light weight version of the old Like button we’ve all come to know and love. This optimized Like button makes it easier than ever for the mobile user to engage with mobile content. User familiarity with the Like button along with the growing user base on mobile made this addition a no-brainer.

The Message Dialog allows the mobile user to easily be very selective about who they are sharing content with. In essence, the message dialog takes on the role of a private share button, allowing you to share content privately with whomever you want to message.

Over all a very happy day for developers and Facebook. Hat’s off to you Mark Z. 

As for the new analytics in Parse – as soon as our tech guys at Manchester’s best taxi booking app – have had a look I will report on that too. 

Yesmail Interactive finds out that ‘shock horror’ almost half of B2B emails opened on a mobile device

Almost half of all B2B emails are now being opened with a mobile device, according to a new quarterly report from Yesmail Interactive.

“Interaction with email on a mobile device continues to trend upwards,” the report said. “While many have projected that mobile adoption is reaching the point of saturation, and is thus slowing its growth, the trending data available from the last three quarters of 2013 would suggest otherwise.”

The report, “Email Marketing Compass,” based on 6.4 billion emails sent in the fourth quarter, found that 48.3 percent of all B2B email opens occurred on a mobile device in the fourth quarter, up from 45.9 percent in the previous quarter. Overall, 55.0 percent of email opens happened on a mobile device, representing a 13.0 percent increase in mobile opens between June and December 2013.

Yesmail’s report also found that the increase in B2B mobile opens and clicks is coming at the expense of the desktop. In the fourth quarter, 53.0 percent of B2B emails were viewed on a mobile device only, up from 50.3 percent in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, 46.0 percent of B2B emails were viewed on a desktop only, down from 47.6 percent in the previous quarter.

Additionally, the number of people in the B2B sector who use both mobile and desktops to view email is declining rapidly, according to the report. In the fourth quarter, 1.0 percent of B2B emails were viewed on both mobile and desktops, down from 2.1 percent in the previous quarter.

“While the fact that mobile opens and clicks continue to rise at a consistent pace is not surprising, it is compelling to know that email subscribers are now more likely to view emails exclusively on their mobile devices,” the report said. “In only 6 months, the number of mobile-only email viewers has increased at a rate, almost inversely proportional to the decline of hybrid viewership over the same period.”

So it’s not really a surprise – what surprises me is how many people still send long eshots that haven’t been designed mobile first.

All our customer facing emails at Justaxi – Manchester taxi fare comparison app – have to be mobile first. As we are as a company. But I suppose we are a mobile app after all and B2C….. 🙂  

The rise of the east – and of the hardcore mobile gamer….

Many things can be learnt from looking east.

One thing I truly believe is the future for mobile gaming.


And in this regard the following lady is a bit of a pin up of mine. Just as GungHo is a poster child of mine company wise.  But it looks like now Hoolai could be up there too.

This interview is with Xiang Lin – who wonderfully says – its better good than lucky in mobile gaming. Whilst she chats about the “Rapid Growth on the Cutting Edge”

“With the rapid growth of the mobile internet, mobile gaming is a sector everyone is watching intently,” Lin said. “Even celebrities are signing their names off on branded mobile games these days.”

(Dan adds – this is where I truly see a huge opportunity if we can bring down the costs of developing games – branded mobile games being a little like website were 10 years ago – not quite wordpress and free – but not costing £2000 to produce to a high quality.)

Lin was attracted to the mobile business when she recognized that it was a business model ripe for innovation, especially in China. She had her pick of mobile Internet startup opportunities, but decided to join Hoolai in June 2011.

“If you enjoy riding wave after wave in a fast-paced industry, games are where you want to be,” Lin said.

“Three Kingdoms” Kills It

When she joined Hoolai, it was a company of 80 people. Later that year, the company was propelled from small game studio to a “real” game company, when Hoolai’s Three Kingdoms became the top grossing Chinese iOS app that same year. A year and a half after that, Hoolai now has more than 600 employees.

Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms became the top grossing Chinese iOS app the year Xiang Lin joined the company.

“You can never get bored with an industry when innovations in gaming are announced on a near daily basis,” Lin said. “And, of course, Hoolai’s continued growth helps.”

Avoiding the One-Hit Wonder

Lin firmly believes that the mark of a successful studio is avoiding becoming the dreaded one-hit wonder. Hoolai may have seemed to be this when it became the #1 social game on Tencent’s Open Platform, and then Hoolai followed up Three Kingdoms on Tencent’s Open Platform with its iOS app. It became the top grossing iOS app in China, and Hoolai soon proved its staying power. The next hit for the company, War of Immortals, reached the top of Tencent’s Open Platform; it remains one of the top three on the charts. This success has now been followed by the launch of an Android version.

War of Immortals

War of Immortals reached the top of Tencent’s Open Platform.

The Secret…

“The way to work through challenges,” Lin tells us, “is to listen to your fans.” Though it may seem obvious, it is important to reach out to the fans that are willing to contribute to the vision of the game. Gamers regularly discover strengths and weaknesses in a game that the developers had never thought of. They will let you know what type of content they would like to see in the next iteration, or they will tell you why they like one game over another.

Lin believes we are already seeing hints of the future with smartphones giving consoles serious competition; PC may not be far behind. With the portability of mobile devices and the advances in new hardware technology, the mobile platform is the developer’s opportunity for experimentation. It provides breathing room for developers to exercise their creativity.

Hoolai Wall Art

Creativity blossoms at Hoolai.

Anticiptating the Mobile Hardcore Gamer

“The latest advances in auxiliary device inputs — such as Apple’s support for game controller technology in iOS 7 — and touch screen interactions are allowing mobile hardware and software to catch up to the developer’s fantasies of PC quality graphics and immersive mobile game experience,” Lin said. “Expect to see more hard core gamers picking up a smartphone, which may contribute to mobile gaming revenue rivaling console gaming revenue in the future.”

Amen to that – the rise of the hardcore mobile gamer – I can see it already.

Google releases code to open iOS app links in Chrome, not Safari – HURRAH

For ages I have been secretly fuming that my apps keep opening safari automatically.

Looks like clever old Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has worked out away to get round this big bugbear of mine as it is rolling out a new API enabling consumers to access Web content in iOS applications via its Chrome browser instead of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) own default browser Safari.


“As an iOS app developer, when your users want to access Web content, you currently have two options: Create your own in-app Web browser frame, or send users away from your app to a browser,” explains Google Software Engineer and Callback Captain Michele Aiello. “With Chrome’s OpenInChromeController class with x-callback, users can open a Web page in Chrome and then return to your app with just one tap.”

After a developer has downloaded the OpenInChromeController class and integrated the API into his software, his apps can detect if Chrome is installed on the user’s iOS device, and if so, send links to Chrome with or without x-callback enabled. “Additionally, you can specify whether or not to open a new tab when sending a link to Chrome,” Aiello notes.

Apple bans default browsers other than Safari, but in mid-2012, Google released an updated version of its Google+ social networking application for iOS circumventing the rule, allowing users to choose to open external Web links in Safari or Chrome by clicking a pop-up dialog within the app. Google+ leverages URL schemes, an official Apple tool that supports external communications with iOS apps.

Google first extended Chrome to iOS close to a year ago. Users can sign in to sync their mobile Web experience with Chrome tabs and bookmarks on the desktop, flip through multiple tabs much the same way they would fan a deck of cards and search and navigate from the same box. Subsequent updates have enabled iPhone and iPad users to share webpages from social networks Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter, in addition to email.

Clever stuff Google – but will Apple let you do it for long? As they tend to like to own everything dont they! And will it make a big difference to mobile marketing?

Well I did say it would be around 30%.Facebook smashes it with mobile.

Am loving the fact I was right…. but heck you don’t make money from being right.

You make money from taking action.

And action in the mobile space is what Facebook has taken…. and it looks like their mobile plans are coming to fruition as the company’s first-quarter earnings exceeded expectations—mainly because of strong mobile advertising performance. Read on…

Continue reading

Facebook is losing it’s social power, especially amoungst teens…. be afraid.

So what are the next generation thinking – or even the one before them 😉

Now working with a mobile game company like dojit – who make games for this demographic – I have been charged to look into this from a marketing POV.

I was a little shocked at the results from most of my research which tells me – Facebook’s days as the teen channel of choice are numbered.

In fact, my own research into just people in my close family told me that they instagram, tweet and snapchat more than Facebook – but anyhoo….

Thanks to – I discovered this Piper Jaffray report , ‘Taking stock with teens’. The report uncovers where teens spend their money, which brands are winning and which are falling out of favour.  

They surveyed over 5,000 students with an average age of 16 years from average to high household incomes.

Here are a few snapshots I found interesting:

Do you shop online?

So almost 80% of teens shop online but they prefer not to…

The top 5 ‘Write on’ social media sites called out by teens are:

  1. Wanelo – Shopping 
  2. Vine – Twitter 6 second video app
  3. Snapchat – instant messenger
  4. Kik – instant messenger
  5. 4Chan

But when we talk about social networking sites…

So Facebook is loosing traction and is now on par with YouTube. Twitter is just ahead of Instagram and both Google+ and Tumblr are less important to teens since 12 months ago.

In fact Facebook is 9% down on a year ago. This could elude to teens trying to find their own platform and the dominance of mobile as the predominant social device.

Mobile Devices

  • 48% of teens own an iPhone compared to 40% last year
  • 62% of teens plan on making iPhone their next mobile device (flat vs. Fall 2012)
  • 51% of teens surveyed owned a tablet computer from 44% Fall 2012

Teen habits are changing super fast. Brands face the challenge to be relevant and maintain relevance season to season. 

Brand managers have a huge task just keeping up with where teens are talking and what they’re talking about.

I am just happy that they are not using some new form of communication outside of mobile just yet!

25% of YouTube’s One Billion Users are Mobile!

Clients ask me what is the future of marketing (I kid you not, they really ask that kind of question) – my answer is always MOBILE, video and gaming.

Looks like I am not that off the mark as Youtube gets 25% of it’s traffic from mobile and tablet sources – which is probably why they have just gone all responsive with the design.

But according to some this is not enough, as while YouTube has done a good job so far of addressing its growing mobile user base, the revelation that the total number of active users recently reached one billion for the first time points to the need for the company to quickly scale up its mobile efforts or risk getting left behind in this fast moving segment.

According to Mobile Marketer, while desktop users are still the biggest users of digital video on YouTube, mobile accounts 25 percent of YouTube’s user base and continues to grow. In fact, YouTube said this week that the amount time spent watching YouTube via smartphone by Gen C users – those who have grown up accessing content across multiple channels – increased 74 percent in the past year.

“Mobile users make up approximately 25 percent of YouTube’s one billion users, mobile has played an enormous role in YouTube’s growth to date,” said Jason Stein, president of social media agency Laundry Service, New York.

So it looks like my answer to the question what’s the future of marketing is not so far off the mark 🙂

So Groupon becomes more mobile…. can it do anything else?

A few months ago – in not years – I looked at Groupon Now and their mobile move and predicted that mobile would be the ONLY way they could make this all work.

Looks like I was right as Groupon pins hopes on mcommerce as founder/CEO is ousted.

Continue reading

A few reasons your app wasn’t allowed on the Apple App Store – and 1 really surprising one too…

Apple’s App Store review process is designed to keep the app ecosystem healthy and to protect users from low-quality or hostile apps. And the system mostly works. But sometimes an app is rejected for reasons you might not expect, and it can force developers to scramble to either push back launch dates or even have to redevelop key features.

Before you head down that road, here are nine surprising reasons apps get rejected by the App Store that you should consider before you submit your next app: 

1.     Use of the word “beta” or otherwise indicating that your app is unfinished

Google has made it a standard industry practice to launch services into indefinite “beta,” but Apple can be quite strict about any indication that an app is unfinished or not yet ready for prime time. We have seen apps get rejected for being labeled “Beta,” “Preview,” and even “Version 0.9.”

2.     Long load time

All mobile operating systems – iOS, Android, and even Windows – enforce a maximum app startup time. For iOS, the limit is about 15 seconds, and if your app isn’t running by then the operating system will kill it.

But even if your app loads within the limits during your local testing, slower network connections, slower hardware, and other differences in the environment may cause your app to start too slowly during the review process. So don’t rely on the iOS simulator alone – be sure to test on actual hardware, and keep a few older phones around to ensure all users have a snappy startup.

Remember, your app’s load time is your first chance to impress your users.

3.     Linking to outside payment schemes

Apple requires that all digital content be sold through the built-in iTunes-based in-app purchasing mechanism. This applies to one-time purchases as well as digital subscriptions. If your app accepts other payment mechanisms for digital content, you can be sure it will be rejected. This is the reason the Kindle app does not allow users to purchase new books.

One important subtlety is that this rule applies even to Web pages linked to from your app. The Dropbox app was famously rejected by Apple because the Web-based login screen contained a link to purchase additional space. This not only affected the Dropbox app, but all apps that used the Dropbox SDK as well!

So double check your workflow to ensure that all purchasing goes through the user’s iTunes account, or is removed altogether. This rule does not apply to non-digital services or merchandise, which is why Apply doesn’t get a cut of your Uber rides or hotel rooms booked through an app.

4.     Do not mention other supported platforms

This rule is not unique to Apple – none of the curated app marketplaces like it when apps mention rival platforms by name. So if your app is also available on Windows or Android, advertise that on your Web site, not in the app or the app store description.

5.     Localization glitches

The users of your mobile app will be everywhere, not just in the city or country the development was done.

Even if you haven’t localized your app for multiple languages, it will look amateur if 300 YEN comes out looking like $300.00 for in-app purchases. Use add-ons such asNSNumberFormatter or Invariant Culture and a simulator to test the user experience in different locales to make sure dates and other data conform to the user’s location.

For instance, we’ve seen European apps fail to handle negative values for latitude and longitude, and therefore not pass review in Cupertino, which is at Longitude -122.03. Make sure your app works at all points on the map, and especially check that your lat/long math for groups of points span the positive/negative boundaries of the prime meridian and the equator.

6.     Improper use of storage and filesystems

Soon after iOS 5.1 was released, Apple rejected an app update because developers had unpacked the 2MB database from the app bundle into the filesystem, violating the iCloud ideal of backing up only user-generated content.

Any data that can be re-generated because it is static, shipped with the application or is easily re-downloaded from a remote server, should not be able to be backed up. For non-user data, choose a cache storage location or mark with a “do not backup” attribute.

7.     Crashes from users denying permissions

In iOS 6 users must give permission for apps to access the address book, photo gallery, location, calendar, reminders, Bluetooth, Twitter and Facebook accounts. If the user chooses to deny an app access to any of these services, Apple requires that the app continue to function anyway.

This will certainly be tested during validation and will be an automatic rejection if it fails to work properly. You should test all combinations of “allow” and “deny” for all the data your app uses, including if the user allows access but later denies it in Settings.

8.     Improper use of icons and buttons

Many an iOS app have been rejected because of small UI issues that had nothing to do with performance or functionality. Make sure the built-in Apple icons and buttons are uniform in appearance and functionality by using a standard UIButtonBarSystemItem and familiarize yourself with Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines.

For instance, you don’t want to use the “compose” icon for anything other than referring to content creation. Apple engineers want apps to behave in predictable ways and are therefore understandably strict about this.

9.     Misuse of trademarks and logos

Don’t use trademarked material or Apple icons or logos anywhere in your app or product images. This includes using icons that feature a drawing of an iPhone! We’ve also seen apps get denied for having trademarks in the keywords of the app.

The flipside of this is that you should be sure your app does not obscure the attribution information in any embedded maps – this is also an automatic rejection.

. . .

. . .

If your app does get rejected, don’t panic — address the issue and resubmit. In an emergency, Apple provides an expedited review process which can be used for critical bug fixes or to address security issues. But be careful. Developers who overuse the expedited review will be barred from using it in the future.

The best approach is to avoid rejection in the first place. So, study the submission guidelines and focus on building a high-quality app. Your users will thank you for it.

Nat Friedman is CEO and co-founder of Xamarin, a cross-platform mobile development framework for building native mobile apps in C#, while sharing code across iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows apps. Nat’s guidance is based on the experiences of more than 220,000 Xamarin developers.