Marketing & Communications Consultancy focusing on Direct Marketing / CRM / Internet.
Facebook introduced its Partner Categories program yesterday.
With this, advertsers can fine tune their ad spendings on Facebook. The social Network is using 3rd party data to increase the possibility to find real buyers on the Facebook pages – not only people who like the brand. Needless to say that those data will be stored securly with Facebook and will not change hands.
This all comes before the Integration of Atlas Advertising, Facebook’s February acquisition from Microsoft.
Interesting how Facebook is actually fighting Google more and more on their home turf: The ad Business.
Exiting times lie ahead….
This month the mobile channel accounts for nearly 25% of Facebook’s advertising revenues. A channel whose ad revenue contribution was next to nothing a year ago.
Half the users that visit Facebook do so by using a mobile device.
So the direction is clearer than ever: Mobile is the important channel.
Hence the strategy needs to be: Mobile first!
If it works on the small screen changes are high it also works on the bigger screens of the desktop PC.
Are you ready?
Mobile payment is one big trend for sure this year.
This trend comes in two versions.
On the one hand thanks to smartphones we are talking about the mobile phone as a wallet. This trend will certainly pick up once mobile phone makers included NFC chips at a larger scale in their phones. Banks and other financial institutions, like credit card issuing companies, are just waiting for this trend to break through.
On the other hand companies like Square offer for small companies a devices that they can plug into their mobile phones (or tablets) so that they can swipe credit cards through it. This then enables these small companies to accept credit card payment.
Anyway the future looks bright for mobile phones and mobile payment systems as well.
While over here in Europe the manufacturers of consumer packages goods (CPG) and the online retailers still fight over every detail, from price setting and online couponing to brand operated online stores, in the US signs show that both parties work towards co-operation in the field of online sales.
A study cited by eMarketer clearly indicates what one party wants from the other side and vice versa:
While CPG manufacturers want from their e-tailers stronger shopper insights (70%), sharing of best practices (66%) and cross-merchandising recommendations (52%) the e-tailers prefer innovations (exclusive products, new product launches – 100%), exclusive “web-only” product offerings (71%), stronger brand / product representation (better images, descriptions, rich media – 67%), higher marketing investments (67%), and also stronger shopper insights (67%) from the manufacturers.
This clearly shows that e-tailers need to dive deeper into Big Data and hence are in urgent need for Analysts – two trends clearly visible today. CPG manufacturers on their side need to do their marketer homework – besides product innovations – work on the content side and Social Media. Because it is Social Media that helps brands to understand how the consumer ticks.
This past week Google presented at its developer conference Google Now. This service is a clear hint “information is king” is the new mantra.
Google Now is a Google Service for Android phones and tablets that puts the user automatically in a position to get access to near future information. Google Now calculates with the location based information, the note in the calendar about the flight you will take tonight, when you have to leave to catch the plane given the traffic situation. This offer is a logical development taking into account where Google comes from: Structure the world’s information – but this time on a very personal level. By the way the personal level you can also see in other recent Google developments like the changes in the search results. Hence Google wants to stay relevant to the user on a very personal level for past as well as future events.
This is certainly an USP that no other company of the Big 4 – besides Googles, Apple, Amazon and Facebook – can offer. May be this is the first example that these companies, instead of threating each other and getting in each other’s way, finally wake up to concentrate on each other’s strengths and work pro-actively towards a better future. This, of course, would be highly appreciated.
It is faszinating to see how Amazon is evolving over the years, from an online bookstore to much more than just that. And they are doing this quietly if you compare that to Facebook and Apple. Both companies get much more media coverage with their latest moves.
The strategy to install the infrastructure and then drive on the very same road is nothing new to Amazon. Like the Kindle and the E-Books the Amazon owned “Instant Video” channel will be used to distribute the products. Clever to pick sitcoms and not indiviuall films because once you hook people to a certain sitcom they want to get more. Believe me I know what I am talking about.
This strategy is not so new, as one can see with Apple and iTunes or with HP and their printer business. Not new, but very successfull.
Interesting times indeed we have: Online retailers are also doing sitcom productions, hardware computer manufactures are in the music business and search engines are also doing mobile operating systems. It seems to me that having a mission beats benchmarking. So what is your mission?
According to a recent study 50% of all mobile turn-over in 2011 is generated through the iPad. If you then include other tablets, then most of mobile commerce is done through the tablet.
Looking at that phenomenon you have to keep in mind that you need at least 2 approaches for the mobile commerce: One for the cell phone, one for the tablet.
While the cell phone, with the smaller screen calls for a faster, more direct access to the product itself, the tablet lures you in experiencing and browsing at a larger scale.
While the cell is used “on the go” the tablet will more be used at home in a relaxing atmosphere.
The content itself need to be structured in two different ways for mobile and for tablets. That alone is a challenge in itself.
NOTE: It is now very clear that you need different content presentations for different
devices. Constructing one web site and then adapt that site for different environments is a challenge that every site owner should face. It is worthwhile.
I will publish in weeks ahead some trends that I believe are crucial for anyone doing business in one or the other form on the net. The current trends are not limited to the 4 I will highlight, but I believe that these 4 are the crucial ones. (If I find other trends worthwhile integrating, I will do.) These trends will not materialize in 2025 but rather in the next 12 months.
Thinking about mobile commerce you have to think about the devices: in general there are two kind of devices that are used in m-commerce: cells and tablets. Both are different and both have to be taken into account when coining a mobile commerce strategy.
- Adaptive Web-Design:
At the end of the day the sale has to take place in the same infrastructure, regardless of which store one calls. Those integrations in social media, mobile and other environments are just different storefronts for the same store. What are the important facts to take care of?
- Mobile Payments:
Over the course of the past year we have seen a lot of different initiatives for mobile payments. I will try to give an overview where we are and what needs to be taken into consideration.
It is hard to believe but even today, retailers, media, and other web site owners are sitting on a trove of data that they do not analyze although doing so will give them invaluable insight for their business. A new kind of job is about to emerge: The data analyst!
I am looking forward in discussing with you these trends and hope to generate new insights.
As Bloomberg West reported, a very detailed analysis of M-Cam shows that Facebook might be in trouble, as Amazon is holding basic social network patents since their acquisition of PlanetAll back in 1997. Hence Facebook might use intellectual property without any permission.
An interesting side kick here, PlanetAll was founded by a group of Harvard Business School and MIT graduates. Didn’t Mark Zuckerberg attend Harvard? Nevertheless it is very remarkable how Jeff Bezos of Amazon very early on saw the potential of a more social e-commerce.
In addition to that Yahoo stepped forward and also claimed that Facebook uses patents it holds, as the New York Times reported on Monday.
Now the interesting questions are:
1. Why did Amazon and Yahoo step forward now?
2. What is their intention?
Of course this opens a wide field of speculation. At the end it all will boil down to the question is their intention to close down Facebook or (more likely) put pressure on Facebook so that Amazon as well as Yahoo will be more integrated into the Facebook environment: One is an experienced e-com partner who wants to stay relevant and the other is a content site that needs to stay relevant if it wants to survive.
Interesting story to follow…
Bloomberg West got two Facebook investors on camera this past Friday: Sean Parker and Yuri Milner. Both addressed the same issue independently: Facebook has a product issue!
Sean Parker said that there is “remaining work around the product” especially “evolving the product and keeping up with the other competitive products in the market place”. Interesting what other “competitive products in the market place” he meant keeping in mind that Facebook is by far the market leader in Social Networks with around 800 million users worldwide. In the interview Sean Parker made it clear that Facebook is competing for the leisure time of its users. So in this case all media would be the competition? Or did he mean other companies that are using social interaction (and potentially by-passing Facebook)?
Yuri Milner in the light of the Facebook IPO said that every day challenges on “the product side are far more serious than the IPO challenges”. Unfortunately he did not specify what he meant by that.
But even today Facebook is evolving the product to an extend that people might abandon it, as the product itself got more complex, more functionalities are integrated, more ways to generate money are pushed ….
So yes, Facebook has to stay competitive but at the same time reduce the complexity and increase the user experience. A challenge - interesting to watch.
Looking back the past year gave birth to a very interesting idea, coined by Google’s Eric Schmidt at D9 in May in an interview with Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher: The Gang of Four.
Schmidt told Mossberg that Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook are dominating consumer technology today. And true, the majority of people who are online in one way or the other (mobile, from home, from work etc.) have relationships with at least one or more of these 4 companies. These companies are driving today’s consumer technology and how people perceive and use it. For instance Apple’s ultra-thin MacBook Air, although launched some months ago, is still dominating customer’s portable computer perception and forces other companies to launch also ultra-thin notebooks, as seen this month at CES in Las Vegas.
While each of these companies are leading in one or more sectors – Google in search, Facebook in social, Apple in portable music with iTunes, Amazon in e-commerce – this is not set in stone. They can not take this current success for granted AND they need to move on. This is why none of these companies has the strategy to just focus on one area, where the company is the leader in the category, but each of them wants to establish an eco-system to draw people in a walled community so that people stay longer.
The more time you spend in one of these communities the less you can spend somewhere else. More time spend equals more eyeball time equals more time for revenue generation, either through sales or advertising. This need, to attract and keep the audience happy, puts them in direct competition with one another at they enlarge the circle of emerging opportunities in their walled gardens: Google + vs. Facebook, Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. Apple’s iPad, Google TV vs. Apple TV …..
Nevertheless this is risky business for all 4 of these companies, as they need to re-assess their core strategies and change the direction of their business, often to enlarge it to a point where one could question if the core is diluted or not. For instance, the more stuff and functionalities you put on Facebook the more overcrowded the user interface gets and the more people will skip it. This could be one reason for shrinking Facebook usage in the US that we witness today.
In a nutshell: “The Gang of Four” is real, but at the same time all four are in equilibrium so that the consumer will benefit from this behavior. So there is no need to fear that one will dominate the others at the end of the day. It is as ever: Competition is good, as this drives the whole world forward.