Mobile Marketing June 2017 edition

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Digital Element’s Andy Ashley busts the myths surrounding IP geotargeting

Creativity in mobile | Blockchain 101 | Trinity Mirror | App marketing explained

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Trinity Mirror’s Mark Challinor on the benefits of mobile payments for publishers

All you need to know to get your app discovered, downloaded and used

What’s the prognosis for mHealth?





Blinds retailer Hillarys discusses its work with Code Computerlove

Facebook’s rules for what is and isn’t allowed on its platform laid bare This issue coincides with the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity – and, naturally, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a quiet moment on the Croisette, or a glass of rosé aboard a yacht. I think it’s fair to say, however, that Cannes and mobile have historically been slightly odd bedfellows. There has only been a mobile category at the Lions awards for five years, and the channel is certainly in the minority at the festival when compared to the likes of TV and outdoor advertising. To find out why this chasm between mobile and creativity exists – or if it’s just perceived – we gathered together half a dozen industry experts for a roundtable discussion. Read the results on p31. Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll find our look at podcasts, and why they might be one of the best secret weapons in the mobile marketing arsenal. There’s also our checkup on mHealth, and an explainer on, for my money, one of the most complex topics in tech right now: blockchain. We hope you enjoy it. Alex Spencer, Editor

SUBSCRIBE If you want to be sure of receiving your copy of the print edition of Mobile Marketing three times a year, you can subscribe today to go on our controlled circulation list. It costs just £30 (UK) or £40 (rest of the world). To take out a subscription, just send an email to subscriptions@ and we’ll tell you what you need to do.



MISSION COMPLETE Esendex’s Liz Wilson shares top tips to improve conversion rates

BEYOND BITCOIN Blockchain – what is it, and does it have a place in marketing?



Is mobile another dot-com bubble, and is it set to burst?

Mobile isn’t just one channel but many, argues Infobip’s Kevin Britt






Hello and welcome to our latest print edition.





Why marketers should pay more attention to the humble podcast

Do digital marketers ask for too much too soon?


How Direct Line turned to an app to improve young drivers’ skills behind the wheel


COVER INTERVIEW: DIGITAL ELEMENT Andy Ashley reveals the truth about IP geolocation



A roundtable discussion on why creativity is lacking in mobile advertising

Editorial director: David Murphy – +44 (0)7976 927062 Managing director: John Owen – +44 (0)7769 674824 Commercial director: James McGowan – Business development manager: Richard Partridge – Online editor: Alex Spencer – News and social editor: Tim Maytom – Reporter: Tyrone Stewart - Marketing Executive: Trish Pencarska - Design: Konstruct Studios Ltd – Contributors: Mark Challinor, Christian Louca, Henry Lawson Print: Henry Stone Printers – Mobile Marketing is published by Dot Media Ltd., 57–61 Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6HA



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BRAND STRATEGY by Mark Challinor, commercial director at Trinity Mirror.


ince joining Trinity Mirror at the beginning of this year, I have been examining opportunities for getting closer to our readers, while making it easier for them to pay for our offerings.

I believe that the answer, at least in part, could be mobile payments. Specifically, the ability to bill readers direct to their phone bill. Whether it’s for subscriptions, offers or events, payment is an interaction that can’t be removed from the buying process, or circumnavigated by the consumer. That means it has to be as simple as possible. According to Google research, just nine per cent of users will stay with a mobile site or app if it doesn’t ‘satisfy their need’, while 66 per cent will take actions that have a ‘minus impact’ on the brand. In our case at Trinity Mirror, that could mean going to another media company’s mobile site or app.

REMOVING THE FRICTION At present, most media brands, including Trinity Mirror, ask readers to complete a long-winded registration document to sign up. Then we ask them to fill in payment details. Finally, once they’ve input their name, address, card number, expiry date and the rest, if they are still hanging in there, the customer reaches a message informing them that their subscription has begun. Direct operator payments turn this process on its head, by simply asking for the mobile number to be input. The reader is asked to click on a link in a confirmation SMS to complete their registration. And that’s it – the payment is actioned immediately. This removes almost all friction from the process. It’s part of the reason that Spotify has seen huge growth in subscribers in recent years, for instance, as it has adopted this payment method. As the UK’s largest publisher, I want a piece of that action for our portfolio of newspapers. As long as the transaction is under £30, the current legal limit for one transaction, I can send subscribers a further SMS each month and remind them of their auto-renewal, which they agreed to at the outset. It’s easy, it’s frictionless and, hopefully, it’s a no-brainer.


Overall, it seems to me there are three ways that smart media brands can leverage mobile payments to generate engagement, create loyalty and influence interactions based on better experiences. Let’s start with engagement. Consumers move effortlessly across channels to make purchasing decisions, quickly shifting devices in the process. Media companies can connect the payment mechanism with their brand to improve the user experience. On the second point, loyalty programmes and mobile payments are constantly converging. Many brands now enable shoppers to use loyalty points to make purchases or incentivise extra spending through gift cards, price-match guarantees or one-off promotions. The main mobile wallets, like Apple, Android and Samsung Pay, enable consumers to store multiple loyalty and reward cards, and keep track of their loyalty balances all in one place. Starbucks, for instance, provides customers with convenient ways to order ahead and pay in store with no hassle, cementing loyalty with the customer experience. I believe that the key to leveraging value in mobile payments is going far beyond just offering a branded payment solution, to create one that actually makes life easier, or adds real value for our customers. Finally, mobile can impact on consumer spending, simply by offering better user experiences. Mobile payments are now influencing consumer choices on where to shop, when to buy and what to buy. Retailers, for example, are already capitalising on consumer desire for convenience by using innovations in mobile payment technology to connect with consumers when and how they require it. There’s no doubt in my mind that both consumers and marketers – and in my case specifically, news media companies – can all become winners when payment processing is channelled through a mobile wallet. It’s still early days, but from what I have seen already, there is an exciting time ahead for all of us, in media or otherwise.



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EVERYTHING IN MODERATION The publication of Facebook’s editorial guidelines has seen the social network draw criticism from all corners. Tim Maytom examines the scale of the problem, and asks whether there’s a solution available.


ast month, Facebook saw a significant number of internal documents leaked and then published for the world to see. The documents detailed the training process used for employees who review material that has been reported by users for being offensive, threatening, disturbing or abusive, and laid bare the byzantine and often counter-intuitive nature of the rules Facebook has in place. With its guidebook to controversial content available for anyone to read, Facebook found itself facing fresh criticism and renewed calls for transparency, with concerns voiced by everyone from free speech advocates to mental health charities. But while critics have suggested solutions that have worked for smaller online communities or traditional broadcasters or publishers, the nature and scale of Facebook’s problem makes it unique.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY The guidelines and rules revealed by the documents span a huge number of topics, from self-harm and animal abuse to holocaust denial and ‘revenge porn’. With 2bn users now communicating using Facebook’s platform (not counting those who may only use its other services like Instagram and WhatsApp), the question of how much responsibility the company has for content shared using its software looms larger than ever. Facebook users now constitute a significant portion of the global population, and humans don’t always act politely.


Even prior to the leak, Facebook was aware that it needed to do more. After several high-profile cases where murders were live-streamed on the social network, the company committed to hiring 3,000 additional staff who would review live video content, bringing its community operations team (which manages reported content) to 7,500. That may sound like a large team dedicated to the problem, but the scale involved here is huge. 400 hours of video are uploaded to Facebook every minute, and in January 2017, nearly 54,000 potential cases of revenge porn alone were reported, which forms just one subset of the content that staff have to review. Add to that the instantaneous nature of the platform. In order for Facebook to function as it does, and remain engaging for users, content and comments are posted instantly, with no pre-moderation, no review process. In fact, for the most part, the comments are the content – if the recent US and British elections have proved nothing else, it’s that people love to argue online, despite the so-called ‘bubble effect’ that Facebook fosters.

FREE TO SPEAK, FREE TO ABUSE? Beyond just the size of the problem, there is the difficulty in separating out abuse and hate speech from what is deemed “permissible” on the platform, which is struggling to balance its legal and ethical obligations with a commitment towards free speech.

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“When millions of people get together to share things that are important to them, sometimes these discussions and posts include controversial topics and content,” said Facebook in one of the leaked guidelines. “We believe this online dialogue mirrors the exchange of ideas and opinions that happens throughout people’s lives offline, in conversations at home, at work, in cafes and in classrooms.” However, Facebook also acknowledges in the guidance documents that “people use violent language to express frustration online” and feel “safe to do so” on its platform – behaviour which means the line between acceptable frustration and legitimate threat inevitably becomes blurred and thus subject to interpretation. Speaking to the Guardian, which published the leaked documents, Carl Miller, research director at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at London-based thinktank Demos, stated that Facebook’s content review rules “might be the most important editorial guide sheet the world has ever created”.

“It’s surprising it’s not even longer,” said Miller. “It’s come out of a mangle of thousands of different conversations, pressures and calls for change that Facebook gets from governments around the world.”

KEEPING AN AI ON THE PROBLEM It’s only natural that with a company like Facebook and a problem of this size, thoughts have turned to a tech-based solution. But even just a cursory glance at the complexity of Facebook’s guidelines, highlights how difficult such a solution may be to deliver. While some areas have hard and fast rules, most of the guidelines rely on moderator judgement and discretion. Facebook’s community operations team must be able to distinguish between sarcasm, hyperbole and genuine threats, a fine line that a computer-controlled system would struggle with. Teaching computers to understand jokes is a problem so complex, it has its own branch of computational linguistics. While advances are being made, such as a machine learning algorithm created in early 2016 that could identify whether pictures were funny or not, it’s slow




PEOPLE USE VIOLENT LANGUAGE TO EXPRESS FRUSTRATION ONLINE. going, and still considered one of the hardest challenges of creating true artificial intelligence. Add in the scale and real-time nature of the problem, and it becomes almost impossible. If that wasn’t enough, Facebook hasn’t been just words and pictures for a long time. More and more content shared on the platform is video, and from extremist political views to sexually explicit footage, a tech-based solution would need to include both natural language analysis and machine vision capabilities to spot content that doesn’t belong on Facebook. Facebook already uses software to attempt to prevent certain kinds of material, such as sexual imagery of children or content advocating terrorism, from appearing on its site, and it is working on AI that will help its community operations team find and remove abuse and disturbing content faster. However, the social network could be facing a problem that only good old-fashioned human judgement can solve, and if left unchecked, it could soon be one that starts to undermine its entire platform and business model.



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BLOCKCHAIN 101 Blockchain is a term you are likely to have heard, but a concept that you may not be quite able to wrap your head around. Never fear, because Tyrone Stewart is here to tell you everything you need to know.


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o understand blockchains it only makes sense to start with the first, and most famous, use of blockchain technology, and the reason they are such a big deal today. Bitcoin, the first decentralised cryptocurrency and electronic payment system, was introduced back in October 2008 to a cryptography mailing list, before being implemented as open source code in January 2009. Created by an unknown person or group under the pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, the Bitcoin system enables peer-to-peer transactions to take place without the need for an intermediary or a middleman. Despite this, it wasn’t the digital currency or the system per se that was identified as being innovative and revolutionary; it was the technology behind it. This technology is what we have now come to call blockchain.

WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY? A blockchain is a distributed database – a ledger, essentially – of all transactions that have taken place within a peer-to-peer network. This database includes ordered records of each transaction, which form a ‘block’. These blocks contain a timestamp and a link to the previous block, creating a continuously growing list. ‘So,’ I hear you cry, ‘if a transaction is carried out digitally between two parties, how do I know the transaction ever actually happened without an intermediary to deal with it?’ The answer is a little complicated – but please bear with me.

When a digital transaction is carried out, it is grouped in a block with other transactions that have occurred in the last 10 minutes. It is then the role of the most cryptographically advanced members of the network to verify the transactions by solving coded problems – these people are known as ‘miners’. The miner who verifies the transactions is rewarded, and as a result of their work, the block is added to the chain and broadcast to the rest of the network as fact. “The important thing to keep in mind with blockchain is that its combination of immutability, database structure, decentralisation and permissioned access make it an ideal ledger for tracking activity over time,” says Richard Bush, chief product and technology officer at NYIAX (New York Interactive Advertising Exchange). “The major strengths of the technology are a combination of record-keeping, trusted information exchange and confirmation, regardless of organisational structure.” To put it in layman’s terms: I go into a shop in a shopping centre, which doesn’t accept cards, and pick up a £20 product. I tell the shopkeeper that I’ll pay him when I take out cash and sign an IOU, bearing in mind that I only have £20 in my bank account. A copy of this IOU is then sent out to the centre’s most frequent customers, who work to verify its validity. Once the IOU has been verified, all other customers and shopkeepers in the shopping centre are notified. I then visit another shop and attempt to buy something for £20 but I am not allowed to because the

shop, being in the same shopping centre, has been notified that I have already ‘spent’ my £20. This analogy is an attempt to break down blockchains into their most basic financial sense. However, the technology is used for far more than just digital payments.

HOW ELSE CAN BLOCKCHAINS BE USED? It is at this point that we say hello to Ethereum, which like Bitcoin is an open source distributed public blockchain network. However, Ethereum enables anyone to build and deploy decentralised applications. Furthermore, rather than tracking the ownership of digital currency, Ethereum’s decentralised platform runs smart contracts – computer protocols which help to determine whether the exchange of anything of value has met specific conditions. Due to Ethereum’s features, it can be – and has been – used in a variety of applications in a wide range of sectors. Examples of Ethereum’s uses include crowdfunding, digital signatures, identity systems, digital rights management and many more. “Blockchain technology, especially with regard to Ethereum and smart contracts, can disintermediate many existing processes,” says John Frazer, external relations at Ethereum. “For example, rather than using an escrow service for a real estate transaction, a smart contract could automatically transfer the funds to the seller once the land title has been updated with the buyer’s name.”



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The introduction of Ethereum also opened the door to other possibilities for using blockchains – most importantly for our purposes, in the world of advertising. One example of this is the aforementioned NYIAX.

“We’re starting with blockchain as our core ledger because it is fundamental to our business,” says Bush. “We see a number of opportunities moving forward related to leveraging nodes within the industry and using that data to feed back into the advertising market.”

Through use of the adchain, advertisers, DSPs, SSPs, publishers and safety vendors can work together to eliminate ad fraud, guarantee viewability and ensure brand safety – undoubtedly three of the most pressing matters in the digital ad space today.

NYIAX, operating on Nasdaq’s technology, is an ad exchange deployed in the cloud which runs blockchain technology. It enables advertisers to buy, sell and re-trade premium ad inventory as guaranteed contracts – removing unnecessary costs and risks, because all transactions are recorded within the core blockchain ledger.

Ethereum has also led to the creation of adchain, a blockchain ledger, created by ad tech company MetaX, that embeds a tracker into a creative asset. The asset is then followed around the internet to establish whether the ad has been seen and who has seen it, where it appeared, conversion rates and how budget was spent.


So, these are the ways that blockchain technology can be used, but it is still widely debated whether the general public could ever really embrace it. For a start, as you’ve probably realised, it’s not exactly the most straightforward

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concept. Can you really expect the average Joe to understand the complexities of a blockchain, and see them as credible?

banks are already paying close attention to blockchain technology.”

“Yes, in much the same fashion as the internet and the web. Both have become invaluable in our world today. Blockchain tech will be no different,” says Ethereum’s Frazer.

NYIAX’s Bush, however, only partially agrees with this view. He agrees that blockchain technology can lead a powerful change in the way we use the internet, but suspects the impact on the public’s everyday lives will be more oblique.

“Blockchain tech at this point appears much like web tech did back in the late 1990s. Disruptive change is coming, but we don’t have a fully detailed picture yet of what those changes might be. Major corporations and

“Due to its inherent properties, we believe blockchain can be utilised in numerous areas throughout the internet, and we’re exploring a number of potential concepts,” says Bush. “Right now, blockchain is a buzzword among various

industries, and percolating into public perception. As with many buzzwords, there is some validity to its concept, but also a lot of fluff. “Does blockchain have potential to affect a person’s everyday life? Absolutely, but mostly in an indirect manner. For example, we don’t think about the merchant service companies that process credit card transactions on behalf of businesses every day. We recognise major credit card providers, but there are underlying entities that actually facilitate the moving of money from a person’s line of credit, to a store’s bank account.”



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SAVING LIVES – WITH AN APP At our recent App Marketing Summit, Direct Line brand director Kerry Chilvers took to the stage to tell delegates how the company aimed to improve young drivers’ skills and safety behind the wheel, with the help of an app. Tyrone Stewart reports.


ith 12 per cent of all fatal road traffic collisions involving 17- to 19-year-olds, despite the age group only representing 1.5 per cent of all drivers, it’s important to find ways to put an end to reckless driving among young drivers, especially in the first 1,000 miles. Direct Line realised this was an area where it could help and recognised that the best way to do this was through a mobile app – something that many young people’s lives now revolve around. “This is an area where we felt we could focus and make a real difference to road safety,” Kerry Chilvers, brand director at Direct Line, told delegates at our recent App Marketing


Summit. “And it gave us a clear goal for social responsibility work: to reduce road deaths in the first 1,000 miles to zero using the best of our telematics capability and an app for new drivers. We needed to use telematics, and our app, to reframe what good driving meant. And turn good driving from fast driving to controlled driving.”


The app uses telematics data to score people’s driving out of 100 and provides feedback, however good or bad they are. These scores are then added to leader boards, gamifying the experience so that drivers can compete with their friends to see who is the best (i.e. safest) driver. Users are kept engaged through rewards that provide incentives to continue driving safely.

With these aims in mind, the insurance company decided to introduce Shotgun – a nod to people calling ‘shotgun’ to claim the front passenger seat. Chilvers said: “That’s how we saw the Shotgun app, as their wingman. A mobile wingman helping them through their first 1,000 miles of driving.”

The Direct Line board took some convincing that ‘Shotgun’ was the most appropriate name for an app promoting road safety, but when it saw the results of consumer research commissioned by Chilvers and her team, it was convinced.

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“The research was essential,” said Chilvers. “To be able to demonstrate to them that this really mattered to young drivers and this was a term they commonly use. Whilst they [the board] weren’t the target market, it was the type of app young drivers said they would be happy to have on their phone.”

ROCKY ROAD The problems faced in developing the app made the insurer realise the importance of knowing about its target audience, ignoring their own thoughts and taking into account the views of people that are actually going to use it. “Lesson number one: Really know your target audience, especially if it’s the youth market,” Chilvers told delegates at the event. “Most of the people working on the app were not 17- to 19-year-olds, and are quite a long way from that group.



Chilvers said that, if the app continues to show this positive growth, Direct Line may consider linking it to its insurance offerings.

“Also critical was our ability to harness that engagement and convert it into downloads… Using this across all social channels, principally retargeting those who had engaged in viewing the video content or shared it.”

So can an app really help save lives? Only time will tell, but you certanly can’t fault Direct Line’s logic or ambition.

“The world has changed a lot, so we really needed to get to understand this young market much better, and really understand what is going to appeal to them from a branding and visualisation point of view. Because everything really mattered; the details mattered.”


It was for these reasons that Direct Line decided to collaborate with 17- to 19-year-olds on the design of the Shotgun app. “I was blown away by the importance of design in the apps on their phone,” Chilvers continued. “The apps that they had on their phone really mattered. It was all part of their self-identity. They manage their identity through their mobile phones, and their identity is all that matters to them. The little things were really important.”

“Conventional marketing wisdom still applies to app marketing,” she said. “Get people engaged in what you’re trying to achieve, and then absolutely harness that engagement through direct targeted activity – using data analysis to optimise results as you go.”

SEX SELLS Direct Line knew that young male drivers wouldn’t be very easily impressed by the Shotgun app, so the company came to the conclusion that its promotional campaign would have to connect with that audience through something they are interested in. The insurance company decided that it would centre its campaign around something that most young males enjoy: sex. “We created a series of films to be shared on social and mobile channels,” said Chilvers. “We created three episodes specifically targeted at 17- to 19-year-old boys. [The films are] perhaps not to everybody’s taste but are designed to appeal to 17- to 19-year-old boys, and it worked and got us noticed. On Facebook alone, in

Through the journey of developing the Shotgun app, to promoting it via a sexually charged campaign, Chilvers came to the realisation that marketing an app doesn’t differ too much from traditional marketing.

The transferrable marketing skills used by the Direct Line team to promote the Shotgun app have led to 2,000 drivers hitting 1,000 miles in the first three months of the app being live, with half of the app’s users still in their first 500 miles. Furthermore, 99 per cent of those who downloaded the app went on to complete registration, with 86 per cent of these completing their first drive with the app – while redemption rates on rewards stand at around 50 per cent. “We’ve already hit our half-year target seven weeks early. Our users have now covered over 4m miles with Shotgun as their wingman,” said Chilvers. “We’re really surprised by the engagement levels we’ve seen through the app.” Users of the app don’t have to be Direct Line customers, so scores achieved do not have any bearing on insurance premiums. But



IP GEOLOCATION: SEPARATING MYTH FROM FACT Andy Ashley, international marketing director at Digital Element, looks at some of the myths surrounding IP geotargeting.

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worldwide, and in some areas can benefit from hyperlocal targeting down to the city block, neighbourhood or office building. Importantly, this granular level of mobile targeting can be achieved without invading user privacy.



ocation has been rightly touted as one of the most powerful targeting tools available to brands looking to engage with consumers on mobile. The ability to hit someone with a marketing message when they are in the right physical location to act on it opens up all sorts of possibilities. These include the obvious ones, such as driving footfall into retailers’ physical stores, and the less obvious, such as demographic targeting, where an advertiser who knows where someone lives can target ads based on demographic data relating to that area. Yet, despite the rise of the mobile internet and increasing adoption of mobile targeting by businesses, a number of myths still surround IP geotargeting on mobile – myths that I’m going to try and dispel.

MYTH 1: IP INTELLIGENCE IS ALL ABOUT LOCATION Marketers can unearth far more about an IP address than its location. Mobile IP data enables the identification of additional connection characteristics such as connection speed and type, distinguishing between wi-fi and cellular networks, as well as mobile carrier and the identification of home or business connections. Premium IP providers like Digital Element can also enable the identification of users attempting to mask their location – by using proxies, VPNs or accessing via the dark web or through a hosting centre – allowing for the identification of suspicious traffic.

MYTH 2: IP-BASED MOBILE TARGETING IS INACCURATE Our NetAcuity solution delivers 97 per cent accuracy at a city level, and it has 99.99 per cent global coverage of the IP space. Marketers can choose IP targeting at a postcode level

Mobile is transitory in nature; however, usage often forms part of a wider customer journey. For example, an airport connection followed by a hotel login could assist in identifying business travellers. IP data can be used as part of a wider location targeting strategy and can be combined with demographic and lifestyle data – often referred to as geotextual or proximity intelligence – to provide deep insight into audiences.

MYTH 4: TO TARGET MOBILE USERS YOU NEED A GPS OPT-IN Businesses often believe that in order to target mobile users, an opt-in is required. However, it is also possible to locate and target mobile users via IP-based geolocation technology when they connect to wi-fi networks – to save mobile data, battery life and increase browsing speeds – even when their location-based service is off. Given that wi-fi networks currently account for 80 per cent of mobile traffic, IP-based geolocation allows the targeting of mobile users at scale.


In fact, obtaining latitude and longitude information is not of much use if used in isolation. Our new GeoMprint solution takes often ineffectual lat/long data, and automatically reverse-geocodes it to enrich it with more meaningful location data, such as postcode, country, city and region. This enables the provision of more contextually and locally relevant advertising and content for mobile users. While it’s tempting to think of precise, accurate geotargeting on mobile as a fairly recent development, Digital Element has been providing location services to brands and advertising partners since 1999. Our NetAcuity solution is the de facto standard in the ad tech industry, and is used by, MediaMath, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and InMobi, among others, in a variety of ways. The ability to establish not only location but connection characteristics enables advertisers to

serve more contextually relevant messages to the consumer they are trying to reach.

THE TRUTH ABOUT IP GEOTARGETING NetAcuity Pulse Plus adds a whole new dimension to IP geotargeting. It builds on the previous iterations of our IP data solutions by incorporating data from mobile devices, billions of real-time data signals and wi-fi connection points, combined with our internally developed reverse-geocode developed feeds. Programmatic firm Crimtan has used NetAcuity Pulse in conjunction with out-of-home company Primesight to serve retargeting ads to consumers’ phones when they are close to a billboard ad for the same product, significantly increasing engagement and awareness. Away from marketing, the platform is used by several broadcasters, including CNN, Discovery and Channel 5, to manage geographical rights. Our technology and data is also used extensively in eCommerce to localise content and to help detect and prevent online fraud. Across all these applications, what’s most important to our offering is accuracy. We believe NetAcuity Pulse is far more accurate than any other platform out there. Our trace-routing technology maps out the world’s IP space and supplements it with data from partners. Most other platforms tend to repackage registry information data that is publicly available. The problem with this is that when an internet service provider allocates a block of IP addresses, it may or may not register the location of the addresses – and even if does, it often does not have to keep them up to date. A lot of our competitors’ data is therefore inherently inaccurate and has patchy global coverage. Going forward, I believe the power and relevance of IP geotargeting is only going to increase. As local authorities embrace the concept of the smart city, we are going to see even more free wi-fi provision, and when mobile users have access to wi-fi, they will always use it in preference to a cellular connection. It’s faster, more robust, and it lets them save their data allowance for those times when wi-fi isn’t available. We expect to see the amount of mobile traffic running over wi-fi increase, which in turn increases the utility of an IP geotargeting solution like ours.



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Got an app? Want to tell the world about it? David Murphy has been talking to the experts to find out how to go about it.


n the early days of apps, life used to be so simple. You built it, released it into the app store(s), spread the word about it and waited for the downloads to roll in. That was in the days when apps were novelty items and people were still amazed at the utility and functionality that could be coded into something they could keep on their homescreen and use whenever they wanted. Fast forward a few years – nine to be exact – and things look somewhat different. While mobile phone OS fragmentation has eased somewhat, leaving iOS and Android


as virtually the last men standing, the fact remains that there are more than 2m apps in Apple’s App Store, and another 2m+ in the Google Play store. And while clearly there’s a massive amount of duplication, as developers build and release for both platforms, even with 2m other apps competing for attention, it’s hard to stand out. Factor in the thousands of new apps released into the app stores every single day, and it’s clear that getting your app discovered and downloaded is becoming harder with each passing day.

Even if you get that far, the numbers around app churn are truly scary for brands. According to research from Urban Airship, based on a study of 63m app users, only five per cent of people who download an app will still be using it 90 days after they open it for the first time. So all that time, energy and, let’s face it, money spent driving downloads of your app, is wasted. So given the competitive nature of the app landscape, how do you cut through, get your app downloaded by the right sort of people, and then encourage them to open it once and keep going back to it, once installed?

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“People go to Facebook first, and we will push them that way, because the data is strong and it converts very well; there’s no hiding from that fact,” he says. “Then once you start seeing success on Facebook, we can get you to the next level. You’ll get maybe 50 per cent of your coverage on Facebook, but there are people on apps outside of Facebook and we are happy to play in that space.”


PEOPLE SPEND MILLIONS ON TV ADS AND THEN COME TO US WITH A CRAPPY APP WHERE THE USER JOURNEY IS AWFUL. IT IS AMAZING HOW MANY PEOPLE COME TO US WITH DREADFUL APPS. For Simon Spaull, MD, EMEA, at AppLovin, the process starts with the app itself. “People spend millions on TV ads and then come to us with a crappy app where the user journey is awful,” he says. “People like Amazon have nailed this, minimising as many processes as they can, but it is amazing how many people come to us with dreadful apps.” Josh Todd, CMO at Localytics, tells a similar story. He says: “People need to ask themselves, ‘What is the purpose of the app? What unique value does it provide?’ Creating an app for the sake of creating an app is a recipe for failure.”

DOWNLOAD DUTIES Assuming the app is fit for purpose, the next job, of course, is to get it on consumers’ handsets. In recent years, Facebook has taken billions in marketing dollars from brands and app developers looking to do just that. While his company spends no money with the social giant, AppLovin’s Spaull says he understands the platform’s appeal.


When the talk turns to mobile ad spend and Facebook, Google is usually not far behind, and according to Mick Rigby, CEO of Yodel Mobile, search is becoming increasingly important to drive app downloads. “App indexing is becoming essential for app discovery via search through Chrome and Safari,” he says. “App packs are the tiles that come up on mobile search when you type in a request. If you type in a search on your mobile for something like ‘Cheap hotels app’ or ‘Luxury hotels app’, if you scroll down past the usual paid results at the top of the page, you get three tiles, each promoting a different app matching that description. And if you click the ‘More Apps’ arrow below the tiles, you get a full screen of app tiles. If you know what you are doing, you can steal a march on the big brands and spenders. You can get into the top three or six and completely outplay the big names at a fraction of the investment – by being smart. Lots of marketers are missing out on the opportunity of app discovery through search on mobile handsets.” Simon Baptist, director of business development, EMEA, at Tune, puts it even more forcefully. “To win mobile users you have to win in search first,” he says. “To crack the top 150 apps in the Google Play store, app marketers need to use 15–25 different search terms to grab enough users. For the iOS store it’s more like 25+ terms to crack the top 150 apps in a given category. Savvy app marketers and makers use app store optimisation software to do keyword analysis to figure out what people are searching for and then optimise accordingly.” But app discoverability is not all about reaching random consumers online. If you’re an established brand with established lines of communication with your customer, then clearly it makes sense to use them. “Owned media is one of the biggest opportunities for brands that are more established,” says Localytics’ Todd. “We know

more than half of emails are opened on mobile and a lot of companies have an email newsletter, so this is a great place to promote your app to your more engaged users. Companies like Staples and CBS have done a great job in this respect over the past couple of years, but a lot of others are still ignoring the opportunity.”

ENGAGED USERS This notion of the more engaged user is one that has come to the fore in the past year or so as the app marketing business has matured. Previously, the only KPI anyone really worried about was the number of downloads, but given

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those scary app churn figures mentioned earlier, there has been a gradual realisation among the app marketing community that you get what you pay for. “Sure we can drive installs for $1, but that will only get you crappy audiences,” says AppLovin’s Spaull. “If you’re prepared to pay $5 or $10, you’ll be bidding for higher-quality inventory and, ultimately, you’ll attract a better customer and make more money in the long run.” This is the approach taken by Francesco Loschiavo, digital marketing and CRM manager

at NBC Universal’s Hayu reality TV on-demand service. Hayu works closely with Yodel on its app marketing and Loschiavo concedes that in the early days “we started out being concerned about volume but now it is all about quality.” To find higher-quality users, Hayu uses AppsFlyer tech in the app. ‘Events’ are flagged in the app, such as when someone makes it past three months as a paid subscriber, or completes a given number of programme views. The app then sends a signal back to Hayu’s media partners to say that the channel this user came from to the app is delivering better-quality

users, so spend should be optimised for that channel. In addition, on Facebook Hayu will identify, for example, The Kardashians superfans who have watched more than 50 episodes and spent a certain amount, and who have a high number of app logins. It then layers its customer data against Facebook interest data to build a strong lookalike profile to find more potential customers of the same quality.

ONBOARDING So you’ve lovingly crafted your app, you’ve optimised your app store presence, you’ve finetuned your media spend so that your ads



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“You have to show them a little bit of value then earn the right to ask for those permissions in context,” says Localytics’ Todd. “RetailMeNot did a great job with this. When you got inside the app, the first thing the user had to do was to select which brands they wanted to receive discount coupons from, so when the app asked permission to send push notifications, it was in the context of getting deals from the brands they had selected.”

App Tiles offer the canny marketer a cost-effective way to drive downloads are appearing in the right places to attract highquality users and, happy days, the downloads start rolling in. The next thing the savvy app marketer needs to think about is the onboarding process, when the user opens the app for the first time and you, as the app developer or the brand briefing the app developer, have to decide how far to push things on that first engagement. If the app is on an iOS phone, it will ask the user’s permission to send push notifications on first open, though Leanplum, which specialises in post-install engagement, has a piece of tech that can circumvent this.

According to Leanplum, the average opt-in rate for push notifications is 43 per cent, but the retention rate for users opted in to push is 20 per cent higher than for those who are not. “For an app like Pokemon Go, that number means you would have an additional 1.2m players by day 15,” says Joyce Solano, Leanplum’s VP of corporate marketing. “What an arsenal that is in terms of retaining users and being able to monetise them.”

FREQUENCY The other $64,000 question where push is concerned, is frequency. As the app owner, it’s tempting to reach out to your users every week or maybe even every day to get them re-engaging with the app and, hopefully, spending money with you. But common sense dictates that if you turn up the dial too high, users will see you as spammy, tune out, and probably uninstall. So what is the golden number of push notifications an app owner should be looking to send?

There are lots of permissions an app can ask for, in addition to push notifications. The most obvious ones are permission to access your location, the phone’s camera and its address book. “There are two types of onboarding: initial and progressive,” says Yodel’s Rigby. “Initial onboarding is getting the user to understand the app and if there are any essential elements you need them to opt in to, get them straight away. So if it’s a dating app with a ‘People Near Me’ feature, you need to get them to opt in to location from the off. Progressive onboarding is stuff they can come back to at later stages. There’s no one right way to do this because every app is different and requires different data, but as long as you understand this, you can build a strategy.” But of all the permissions an app can seek, push notifications are undoubtedly the most important, offering the app owner the opportunity to re-engage users who have downloaded the app but haven’t opened it up for a while. So what does best practice look like here?



MORE FREQUENT ENGAGEMENT THROUGH MESSAGING WILL DRIVE BETTER RETENTION RATES, SO LONG AS YOU HAVE SOMETHING RELEVANT TO SAY THAT IS ALIGNED TO THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY AND EXPERIENCE. You’ll struggle to find anyone to give you a definitive answer, on the basis that every app is different. News organisations probably can get away with a daily push, or even more, but a retailer might start to look a bit desperate if they adopted the same approach.

Facebook is the obvious first choice for app marketers looking to drive installs

Emily Buckman, global strategic consultant at Urban Airship says: “Frequency is more about relevance than cadence. Our studies clearly show that among hundreds of apps analysed, more frequent engagement through messaging will drive better retention rates, so long as you have something relevant to say that is aligned to the customer journey and experience. But the messaging must be relevant, personalised and contextual. If not, if you’re just sending a message with a flash sale every day, it will have the opposite effect to what you’re trying to achieve.”

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The other thing that can help where push is concerned is a bit of variety, something beyond plain text. iOS 10 - in addition to enabling app users to leave a rating for the app from within the app, rather than being redirected away to the App Store – also enables app owners to send rich push notifications, including GIFs and videos. It also enables a brand to personalise the app icon on the user’s phone, so that a Starwood hotel user who hits Platinum status in the company’s loyalty program, for example, could see that reflected in their app icon. In the same vein, app marketers are seeing great success with that other unlikely marketing success story of the past 12 months, the emoji. “Our customers see great results when they use multimedia and non-text-based communication to re-engage users,” says Tune’s Baptist. “Emojis and GIFs are two great examples of fun tools that app makers can use to engage with mobile customers. Data suggest that sending mobile users personalised, emoji-based notifications can boost open rates by as much as 80 per cent. Why? Pictures are valuable, lasting and fun. That’s exactly what you want mobile users to think of your app.” At The Economist, audience development director Tom McCave says push notifications have increased in importance in recent years. McCave is responsible for The Economist’s ‘World In [2017]’ series, published annually. He says: “People are engaging with apps in different ways than they did three or four years ago. There are fewer people looking for the apps they want to open by browsing their phone; it is much more prompted. We put out a notification when the new edition is published but that would only be once a year, so we go further. ‘The World In’ predicts how the year ahead will unfold, so when some of these predictions come true, we can re-engage with those users through push. It gives us a way to have a continued conversation throughout the year. This is one thing push is really good for.” At Hayu, Loschiavo says the brand is taking a tiered approach to push. “We do a lot of A/B testing to see what works, and carefully manage that we aren’t overusing the frequency of the channel,” he says. “If it’s a C-level show, not a big premiere, we might just do an email. But if it’s a new series of the Kardashians, we will roll it out across all channels and stagger the messaging through the day, so you might get an email in the morning, an in-app notification


GAMING COMPANIES HAVE DESIGNED THEIR MOBILE PRODUCT SPECIFICALLY TO MOVE PLAYERS EFFICIENTLY THROUGH THE FUNNEL TO A POINT OF PURCHASE. during the day and a push notification in the evening just before the show goes out. We also use push notifications for early engagement, as an educational tool, when someone has installed the app but not subscribed yet.”

ANALYTICS So what next for app marketing? Tune’s Baptist would like to see brands take

for the game. At the end of this journey, or funnel, are micro-transactions like buying coins to level up faster. Gaming companies have designed their mobile product specifically to move players efficiently through this funnel to a point of purchase. “They measure the customer journey with pinpoint accuracy along the way. By focusing on deep-funnel analytics, i.e. what behaviour a player takes just before and just after a point of purchase, gaming companies can constantly configure their game to maximise this action. It’s this level of attention and data that informs both marketing strategy and product strategy, which leads to a constant evolution of rapid updates to make the game better.” Urban Airship’s Buckman believes brands are improving their messaging capabilities. “Businesses, especially larger ones, are finally starting to shift the culture towards being more mobile-first and data-driven, implementing DMPs and data warehouses to send the right communications at the right time, so messages are becoming more contextual and relevant thanks to better data and analytics,” she says.

analytics more seriously. In this respect, he says, they can learn a lot from the gaming companies, who lead the way in mobile user acquisition and engagement because they use deep-funnel behaviour analytics to drive action; they rely on rapid testing and adjustment as a core strategy; and they are quick to jump on new opportunities and cultural trends. “Analytics can make a real difference,” says Baptist. “Mobile games are free to play and are designed to drive players through a carefully scripted series of tutorials and events, with the objective of creating affinity

Meanwhile, Hayu’s Loschiavo says he is already looking towards what comes after apps. “These are interesting times,” he says. “I read recently that people only use seven apps on a daily basis and it’s mostly between two companies, Facebook and Google, with maybe a bit of Snapchat and one or two others in there. This is the evolution of how your brand is going to talk to your customer. It might not be in the app store or in other apps that you do your marketing. It might be natively in Facebook or in chatbots and messenger bots. We are looking at this and we’re seeing how chat is becoming a global leader in terms of where people are spending time on their phone, so it’s going to be really interesting to see how this all plays out.”



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SOMETHING VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED? Christian Louca, director of CMAL Consulting, argues that we need to make a change to the mobile ecosystem, if we want to avoid another dot-com bubble burst.


e have come a long way since 27 October 1994. That was the day that the first ever online banner ad ran, for AT&T, on Over a four-month period, 44 per cent of those who saw it clicked on it. These are quite remarkable statistics in comparison to today, where 0.5–1 per cent of people are likely to click on an ad. Meanwhile, there were 615m devices blocking ads worldwide by the end of the last year, according to PageFair, with 308m of those on mobile. Growth of ad blockers is expected to continue across Asia, North America and Europe this year. At this point, alarm bells should be ringing for anyone investing in mobile. We are currently in a period of rapid technological advancement in many areas, but it is the commercialisation of mobile as a marketing channel that is leading to the greatest expansion of capital growth since the 1990s.


THE BUBBLE There is currently an abundance of venture capital funding for startups in this industry, and a dearth of them actually turning a profit. The situation is really no different to the early dot-com days. We are guilty of building a culture where far too often the focus is on the next billiondollar business and not enough on building real business on solid foundations. There are stories sold to investors to attract funding, but the reality of the market is often distorted in the process. Meanwhile, there is often pressure from investors to generate a return in an unrealistic timeframe. This puts negative pressure on businesses that can ultimately send them down an unwanted path. This is a relatively young industry. The earliest advertising on mobile was in 2000, via SMS, but arguably mobile banner advertising wasn’t

serious until the release of the iPhone in 2007. If we take that as the base, then the industry is only 10 years old. Right now, there is simply not enough understanding of this space among the venture capital community. It’s important to remember that razzle-dazzle acquisitions – like AdMob and Amobee in the early days, and more recently Turn – are the exception rather than the rule. There is certainly money to be made, but more of a reality check on timeframes and potential returns is needed.

MAKING PROGRESS We have an industry that is driven by an almost obsessive need for smartphone connectivity across the globe. However, we still largely have an old-fashioned way of advertising to the connected generation, hence the inevitable actions of those now resorting to ad blocking. We need to wake up. If ads weren’t irritating, and instead were adding value to people’s lives, they wouldn’t block them. People generally understand that they get online services for free because of advertising, but they don’t want those services being interrupted by annoying, irrelevant experiences. This is where we need more innovation and more focus on delivering contextually relevant seamless ad experiences, instead of the ‘me too’ technology which is fuelling the bubble. For this industry to fulfil its potential, and not face another dot-com crash, we must resolve industry problems such as viewability, fraud, brand safety, transparency and privacy. But let’s put the consumer first, and clean up in the process. Everyone in the industry, from the passionate people working on the ground all the way up to the investors, has a responsibility to make sure they are investing and building an exciting digital future – one where everyone benefits.



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A WORD IN YOUR EAR Over a fifth of people in the US listen to a podcast monthly, but the medium remains relatively untapped by advertisers. Tim Maytom explores how brands are looking to get into consumers’ headphones, and how they’re creating compelling stories in the process.


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odcasts, episodic audio programmes that are subscribed to and downloaded by users, have been around for more than 15 years. They predate even the smartphone boom, having risen to prominence with the first wave of iPods – hence the name, a portmanteau of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. But while digital advertising has evolved considerably over this period, with marketers keen to exploit every avenue of communication for brand purposes, the humble podcast remains relatively underdeveloped in terms of its marketing potential. So, what can this channel offer to brands and marketers, and are ad tech providers supplying the necessary tools to monetise it?

THE POWER OF NARROWCASTING There’s no denying that podcasts remain something of a niche channel. Even Steve Jobs, when introducing new software for downloading digital audio shows back in 2005, struggled to sell the format, describing it as “sort of like TiVo, for radio, for your iPod”, and insisting that “it’s not just the Wayne’s World of radio, but real radio is jumping onto this”. Faint praise indeed. Unlike the explosive booms we’ve witnessed in channels like live video, podcasting has seen slow but steady growth. In its 2016 US ad spend report, the IAB broke out audio ads for the first time. $1.1bn was spent on digital audio, with around 80 per cent of that on mobile. While specific numbers weren’t given, the report made it clear that, in this category, podcasts take a back seat to music streaming services. On the content side, there have been plenty of successes, but nothing that has gone viral to the extent that it drives mass adoption of the format. The closest we’ve come to a breakout hit was Serial, an NPR real-crime show that saw its first season downloaded 250m times. The 2015 show prompted many to declare it ‘the year of the podcast’, and indeed monthly podcast listenership in the US grew 23 per cent year-on-year between 2015 and 2016, with 21

per cent of Americans aged 12 and up listening to a podcast within the last month. That is the same percentage of the US that uses Twitter, and equates to 57m Americans. Much of that growth is being driven by mobility. In 2013, with the iPod’s moment having passed, most podcasts were downloaded and listened to on a computer, which restricted consumption windows significantly. However, by 2016 that majority had flipped, with 71 per cent of podcasts being listened to on a smartphone or tablet. Changing data consumption habits have also meant that more podcasts are now streamed rather than downloaded, gving consumers greater flexibility in what they listen to, and when. Podcasts are also capturing the youth audience that marketers are so keen to reach, with 27 per cent of Americans aged 12–24 saying that they have listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 11 per cent in 2013. The typical podcast listener is affluent – 41 per cent earn over $75,000 (£58,000) a year, compared to the US population rate of 33 per cent – and highly educated, with podcast listeners more likely to have completed a four-year college degree or undertaken postgraduate study. On top of that, podcast listening is much more likely to be an active choice compared to live radio. Consumers have to select the shows they are interested in, either download them or subscribe to a feed, and then choose to listen to them, making podcasts the radio equivalent of Netflix or iPlayer. In the age of micro-targeted advertising, this means that podcasts can offer marketers much richer demographic and behavioural data than a live radio broadcast. “Its core strength at the moment is in narrowcasting,” says Matt Hill, co-founder of the British Podcast Awards. “It creates audio content for niche groups of people, but it does so really effectively. Even though the audiences are quite small, those shows do very well with advertisers because those listeners are interested in one specific area – it’s exactly who they want to market to.”



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Dave Van Dyke, president of media analysis firm Bridge Ratings, agrees. “Podcasting’s marketing strength is its targetability and beneficial advertising environment,” he says. “As long as mass reach is not an issue for advertisers, podcasting’s place in the marketing mix is right alongside digital platforms that target passionate lifestyle consumers.”

A QUESTION OF FORMAT Podcasts may be growing steadily and boast an attractive core demographic, but there are a number of issues to be addressed when it comes to using them as a marketing channel. After all, with the growth of video over the past few years, advertising remains a visual game for most marketers. Research tells us that 85 per cent of mobile video is being watched without sound, while video ads with auto-playing audio are generally regarded by consumers as disruptive and annoying. In this environment, why would brands want to pay out for a format with no video, and only audio? On top of that, while the demographic and behavioural data associated with podcasts may give marketers insights into their audience for targeting purposes, audio ad formats are much harder to customise to individuals compared to the flexibility of display and video advertising, where content can be tailored down to an individual level. The final issue is one that has been part of podcasts since their earliest days: the limited number of audio ad formats, especially when compared to the kaleidoscope of options available online and in-app. For the most part, advertising on podcasts falls into two categories: pre-recorded audio ads similar to those found on traditional commercial radio stations, and native ‘liveread’ sponsorships and adverts, where the presenters of the podcast integrate advertising directly into the show, performing the ads themselves. While the former can be bought using programmatic methods to target specific audiences, it’s the latter that is usually held up as the most effective format for podcasts to embrace.


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“It is a huge benefit when you have live-read ads that the hosts of a show you’re a fan of are reading out, especially where they’re trying to make it a fun and entertaining thing,” says Matt Wilson, co-host and producer of War Rocket Ajax and Movie Fighters, two pop culture-focused podcasts hosted by Blog Talk Radio. “It’s a far more memorable ad than what you put an ad blocker on your browser to avoid seeing, or something pre-recorded that you might also hear on the radio.



“I tend to remember the ads I hear Paul F. Tompkins read on Spontaneanation far more than, you know, the pre-recorded AutoZone ads on The Steve Austin Show. I think there’s a real benefit and weight to a live-read ad. I think that’s the real strength.” These ads play into what is often held up as one of the key strengths of the podcasting format: the intimate relationship created between the host and the listener. Much like YouTube personalities used by brands in influencerbased campaigns, podcast hosts are often seen as trusted friends by consumers, and that relationship can maintain the value exchange of advertising at a time when much of digital marketing is struggling to. That high level of trust carries through to results, too, with podcast campaigns reporting engagement levels two to three times higher than radio ads. “In general, I don’t think people mind advertising,” says Wilson. “They may not love it, they may not love having to either listen to an ad at the beginning of the show or skip over it. But I think they realise that, if we’re going to remain a going concern, we’ve got to find ways to have it pay us back a little bit. I think most listeners can do that calculus in their head. “It’s not foreign to them or weird to them to think ‘Okay, there are real human beings who make this podcast, and they have to figure out a way to make it worth their while to do it.’ So I think that even if they don’t necessarily like having that extra 30 seconds at the top of a show, they can justify it in their minds.” Some podcast distribution networks have been experimenting with bringing pre-recorded

ads more in line with other mobile advertising. Stitcher, whose app allows users to access over 65,000 podcasts and radio shows, has enabled advertisers to present visual information on mobile screens alongside audio content, with inapp links to create a smooth customer journey. Ad tech company AdsWizz launched PodWave last year, enabling marketers to purchase audio ads on podcasts, including native live-read, in a ‘quasi-programmatic’ way. However, with the intimate relationship between host and listener being the real goal for most marketers, some brands have begun branching out. They’re no longer advertising on podcasts, they’re creating them.

THE MESSAGE IS THE KEY Just as the success of Serial helped introduce podcasts to a wide audience, the new wave of branded podcasts that are emerging can probably be traced back to The Message, a science fiction podcast created by GE and podcast network Panoply. The show, which was compared to Orson Welles’ iconic radio production of War of the Worlds, won gold at the 2016 Cannes Lions in the Entertainment category, and served as a showcase for the potential power of branded podcasts. Since then, podcast publishers and networks have been racing to open branded studios that can work with marketers to create high-quality content for global firms. Gimlet, Midroll and Gannett have all launched new initiatives, while Panoply, the network behind The Message, estimates that it now generates as much as 25 per cent of its income from branded content. Some industry observers are predicting that 2017 will see the number of branded podcasts more than double. “A big part of what makes eBay unique are the tens of millions of sellers around the world that make their living on our platform. Our success is predicated on their success, and we are constantly looking for ways to bring their stories to life,” says Annie Lupardus, director of leadership and seller communication at eBay. “We had experimented with video and written profiles, but hadn’t found a medium that really let us explore the nuances of who they are



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Host John Henry (right) records the Open For Business podcast for eBay

and why they are so central to our brand. With podcasting, we discovered a way to develop a more intimate relationship between the stories and our audience that was perfect to tell our sellers’ stories.” eBay teamed up with Gimlet Media to create Open For Business, a podcast that explores how to build a business from the ground up. Hosted by John Henry, founder of the startup accelerator Cofound Harlem, each episode is centred around an interview with a business owner, but uses a narrative approach common to podcasting to combine practical advice with compelling stories of hard work, ingenuity and success. The show has had two six-episode seasons so far, and follows a ‘curriculum-style’ approach meant to provide listeners with a comprehensive guide to establishing a business.


“We were thrilled with the download numbers and reviews. We more than doubled the number of downloads from our original expectation and debuted as the number one business podcast on iTunes following the season one launch,” says Lupardus. “We also saw a 16 per cent lift in unaided favourability of the eBay brand overall, which was a great vote of confidence for us, and a big reason we opted for a second season.” This success comes at a cost, though. Branded podcasts aren’t cheap to make, and in order to build and maintain an audience, companies can’t simply focus on promoting their products and services – listeners need a compelling reason to come back week after week. Too much direct promotion, and audiences feel like they are listening to a 30-minute advert.

“We didn’t want to shove the brand down people’s throats and make them feel like they were listening to a commercial,” says Lupardus. “We wanted to tap into the universal truths and human realities of starting a business, and build an audience based on being both interesting and helpful. We have plenty of traditional marketing efforts in place to attract and scale sellers – this programme was more about having people think about eBay in the context of entrepreneurship and small business, as well as providing a resource to entrepreneurs.” “Branded podcasts that steer away from the obvious commercial tie and create content that is highly useful for the subject matter are making the most headway here,” says Bridge Ratings’ Van Dyke. “2017 holds great promise as a breakout year for podcasting. However, much

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of the growth we are projecting still rests on the shoulders of the content creators, because ultimately a flood of more audio consumers to the podcasting platform will be short-lived if the presentation, production and focus of the content cannot hold listener interest.” Balancing brand needs with creating content that consumers will engage with means giving over a lot of creative control to the podcast studios who have expertise in these areas. Together with the costs associated, many smaller brands will not be able to generate this sort of high-quality audio content without a significant time investment, and even then they may lack the scale and infrastructure to properly reach consumers with their finished podcast, which often requires marketing efforts of its own.

“We’ve promoted the podcast through many of our seller marketing channels: emails, our seller-facing blog, as well as through interviews and ads on eBay Radio,” says Lupardus. “That said, because the goal of the podcast is really around relevance and consideration for eBay, we’ve gone a bit heavier on marketing Open For Business to other podcast listeners through Gimlet’s network of shows, as well as through social and traditional media. We’ve also experimented with live events, hosting entrepreneur meet-ups and learning sessions in New York and Austin, Texas.” However, much of the appeal of the podcast undoubtedly lies in its do-it-yourself, punk rock spirit. The barrier to entry for creating content is remarkably low; all the aspiring producer needs is a basic laptop and an

internet connection. And for a little more investment, even the smallest brand can create a programme that sounds professional, as long as it has a compelling story to tell. The intimacy and trust that brands are so keen to capitalise on is hard-baked into even the smallest show. “I’ve had numerous people tell me, ‘It is so weird to hear your voice come out of a person, because I hear your voice in my ears all the time’,” says Matt Wilson. “Which is a weird thing to hear. I don’t know how to react to that really, but it’s also flattering, in a way, and it means that my voice carries weight.” In an age of ever-more disposable media and filtered-out advertising, that kind of voice may be worth its weight in gold to brands.




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IS THERE NO CREATIVITY IN MOBILE? Experts from InMobi, Omnicom, the IAB and more joined Alex Spencer to discuss what is holding back mobile advertising when it comes to creative.



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ne of the most common complaints about mobile advertising is that it lacks the kind of creativity that we see in other channels, especially the likes of TV. After all, you’re unlikely to overhear a pub conversation about that hot new mobile banner, or kids on the playground repeating a catchphrase from a mobile video campaign. As an industry, we don’t tend to create the kind of mobile ads that people remember, or even look forward to, the way they might with a John Lewis Christmas campaign. In association with mobile-first ad platform InMobi, we gathered six industry experts to discuss some of the key questions around creativity on mobile. Is there really a lack, or just a perceived one? Is there something about the channel which causes this? Could it be impossible, even, to be truly creative on mobile? Let’s get that final question out of the way first, if only because the answer was unanimous. “There is definitely creativity in mobile,” said James Farndale, creative director at InMobi. “When it comes to storytelling and creating an emotional connection with the user, mobile can be the perfect vehicle and, when executed properly, can allow for great creative experiences.” “I think there is an amazing amount of creativity on mobile – and I’m not just talking about mobile advertising or rich media or video ads,” agreed Jonathan Milne, chief revenue officer at Celtra. “If you look at the app experiences brands are building, how brands are starting to use mobile devices in stores, the innovation and creativity is incredible.” “It isn’t limited to traditional creative or even formats, but how location and all of these different signals are used,” said Sachin Dsouza, head of product for Omnicom Media Group’s programmatic agency, Accuen. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that mobile actually allows for more opportunities to be creative than other channels, especially when compared with desktop. “We’re exploring how out-of-home can sync with mobile,” said Dsouza. “When you can see the same digital creative out-ofhome and on your phone, it helps the ad resonate better, as well as aiding with location targeting. That’s the key benefit I see to mobile: the location element.” Mike Reynolds, senior industry initiatives manager at the IAB UK, pointed to a recent banner he’d been served, advertising the Co-op supermarket, as evidence of how well this can work: “It was clean and simple, and it told me that my nearest store was now open. If I clicked on the banner, I could create a shopping



THERE’S DEFINITELY A PERCEPTION THAT YOU CAN’T BE CREATIVE WITH BANNERS ON MOBILE. list and look at recipes; it had a map to where the store was. It was a lovely experience, but most importantly it used that location layer that other media can’t.” The opportunity is certainly there – but it’s hard to deny that, if you hold up the average mobile ad next to an equivalent commercial on TV, the creative is likely to pale in comparison. “There’s definitely a perception that you can’t be creative with banners on mobile,” said Reynolds.

IN THE SHADOW OF TV? Whether it’s a perception or reality, this issue could lie with the industry itself, and mobile’s place within the wider marketing mix. “Mobile advertising can often be an afterthought for a lot of industry players,” said InMobi’s Farndale.



terrible than it is to find really nice built-for-mobile creative,” said IAB UK’s Reynolds. “The number of examples of banner ads that have just been shrunk from a desktop banner is astounding. It amazes me that it’s still happening, and that brands sign it off and think it’s going to work, because the result is just a terrible-looking ad.”

“TV takes such a big portion of the budget that it demands so much more attention,” said Omnicom’s Dsouza. “Then there’s digital, and within that there’s a mix of direct spend and programmatic, and then some portion of that is mobile. That means the media budgets for mobile are being decided right at the end of the story, and you’re just scrambling to get a campaign live because you’ve reached the end of the timeline.” “There isn’t a lot of time to plan, think and execute,” agreed Carlos Lopez-Plandolit, solutions consultant at Adelphic. “Everything is often left till the last minute, and that’s one of the big issues.” This means that, for all the talk of ‘mobile-first’, the channel is often bolted on to the existing campaign, using whatever assets have already been created. “We’re running a big piece of research at the moment looking at bespoke mobile creative, across mobile display, banners, MPUs and video. And it’s a hell of a lot easier to find examples that are

There are some simple considerations to take into account when making a bespoke mobile ad. Take, for example, mobile video. It was the fastest-growing format in the IAB’s recent UK 2016 digital ad report, with its share of spend growing to £693m, and is “arguably one of the most creative formats,” according to Reynolds. But when it comes to building mobile video, the most common method is recycling a TV ad. “We need to keep the end user in mind at all times” said InMobi’s Farndale. “If repurposing a TV commercial – say, a 30-second ad – we would recommend adapting it. Re-edit the video to a more mobile-friendly length, 5–15 seconds max. If you can do that, it’s a good starting point – but ideally video should be produced specifically for mobile.” The problem is that this kind of adaptation rarely happens. TV ads don’t work well on mobile because they’re too long, but also because they’re shot for a landscape screen, whereas most mobile users are likely to be holding their device vertically, and they use sound, which on a smartphone is rarely heard.



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“If you are creating your ad for an audio-off environment, having a back-up is important, whether that’s subtitles or just an ad that’s designed to work without sound,” said Reynolds.

ROOT CAUSES So, what are the underlying causes of these problems? Is there something inherent about mobile that makes it harder to be creative? Our experts offered up a wide variety of possibilities. “I’m going to say the obvious one: screen size,” said Flora Evans, director of mobile and video EMEA at Rubicon Project. “You can have a high-impact or really creative format on desktop but still let the user access the content at the same time. Within mobile, really, to get a good experience, it has to be full screen, and that overlays everything the user is doing.”

The truth is, of course, that there isn’t a single cause. Many of the symptoms and causes raised by the group are interrelated – and as the conversation evolved, it became clear that some of them may even be the same thing, looked at from different industry perspectives. “I think part of the problem is the obsession with measurement of clicks,” said IAB UK’s Reynolds.

“My frustration is that the ecosystem is so fragmented, with different apps constructed very differently, and different advertisers coming with different CRM systems,” said Omnicom’s Dsouza. “It just becomes very hard to execute, so when you want to scale, you have to sacrifice creativity a little bit.”

“It’s very hard to measure creativity,” Dsouza agreed. “How do you get this whole ecosystem – the whole chain, where you have the media agency, the creative agency, different suppliers – all on the same page, with deliverables that you can measure not just from an ROI point of view, but also a creative one?”

“The issue is one of continuity and scale,” said Celtra’s Milne. “In the digital advertising industry, and in mobile particularly, media

“You can do brand studies, which have been historically quite hard for people to do at scale and regularly,” said Milne. “The




has scaled incredibly well. The problem is, the media is just the vehicle to deliver the message; advertising, at the end of the day, is about delivering messages to people – and we haven’t yet figured out how to scale the message in the same way that we’ve scaled the media.”

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THE BEST CREATIVITY COMES FROM LIMITATIONS. According to Dsouza, “standardisation should drive more adoption from creative agencies, because they know exactly what’s available, and how to get scale.” “Creative agencies don’t want standards because they equate them with ‘boring’,” said Adelphic’s Lopez-Plandolit. “But standardisation doesn’t have to fight with creativity.”


tech can help make those things easier, so you can start measuring the brand impact. But ultimately, to see if creativity delivers better business results, you can only do that if you’ve deployed consistent technology to do it in the first place. “If you’re using a different type of creative all over your plans, how are you supposed to get any kind of consistent measurement? How are you supposed to improve incrementally? If you want to measure it, then I think you have to standardise in some way.”

“The best creativity comes from limitations,” said LopezPlandolit. “If you think about TV, advertising hasn’t changed for 50 years. There’s one format, which is a 15- or 30-second video, and creative people still get excited about TV. Sometimes I feel that we are making it worse on mobile, by continuously giving the creatives new tools and new formats, which puts the focus on those rather than the creative itself.” These ever-evolving feature sets – whether it’s 360° video or formats that incorporate a selfie camera – are often put forward as evidence of mobile’s creativity, but the consensus in the room was that they can actually get in the way.

InMobi’s Farndale agreed: “If we don’t standardise in some way, and make sure that everyone follows the same rules, then we will all continuously hit roadblocks with compatibility.”

“There’s a time and a place,” said InMobi’s Farndale. “So often people can just latch on to new features or components. They think, ‘We have to use that,’ because they’ve not seen it before or their biggest rival is using it, even if it doesn’t really fit the brand or the story they’re trying to tell.”

“I think one of the reasons Facebook has done so well is because you log on, you build your creative, you click ‘go’ and it runs across everything – it’s just simple,” said Reynolds. “If I’m going into a shop and they only take cash, it’s an annoying experience, and advertising is the same for a brand. A brand wants to build their creative and have it just run.”

“These components are mostly ad tech-created. I think it should be the other way around,” said Lopez-Plandolit. “Creatives should be saying, ‘I’ve got this brief and I would need, ideally, my ad to turn 3D – can you create a component for that?’”

There is a small point of contention, however, when it comes to how standardisation will be embraced by creative agencies.

These problems speak to a larger structural issue, which may be holding mobile creativity back.






“Media and creative are disconnected,” said Celtra’s Milne. “That’s the underlying problem.” “There’s definitely a big gap between the two,” said InMobi’s Farndale. “My team once got looped into an email chain with a creative agency. They were creating some very standard animated banners for a client but asked to see some examples of things we’d done previously. One of the examples used a ‘shake the device’ functionality that revealed more content. Although this was a simple and effective tool that was widely used, the creative agency contacted us to say, ‘We didn’t know you could do this; it would work perfectly.’ “And you have to ask, why is that? What can we do as an industry to make sure these functionalities are known and understood by every creative party?” “One of the challenges we have is still most of the major creative agencies, the people that really think about the ways to tell the brands’ stories, still don’t really do much work in mobile advertising,” said Milne. “How many people at these bigger agencies are really focused on great mobile storytelling?” “Creative agencies are notoriously the most difficult for the IAB to engage,” said Reynolds. “Part of the problem is they don’t know how to make money from building digital ads. “But ultimately, creative agencies like winning awards – and TV ads seem to do that well. I don’t know if our message to them needs to be: here are the ways that you can win Cannes Lions with mobile and digital creative; here are the steps you need to take.” This isn’t necessarily the fault of the creative agencies themselves. Unlike older media like TV, print and outdoor, which have a history of Mad Men-style creatives at the forefront, mobile – like desktop before it – has put the focus firmly on buying the right inventory and targeting the right user.


“You have a situation where media drives the digital advertising industry in general,” said Milne. “The money’s all in the media; the decisions are all driven by the media, by and large. And if you think about what you have to do to get a media placement up and running versus a creative, which is horrific to scale, creative is really hard. It is just a lot harder than media.”

WHEN CREATIVITY WORKS When discussing these issues, it’s easy to focus on the negatives. For that reason, it’s important to keep an eye on the goal – what can be achieved when all the kinks are worked out – and so we asked our experts for some examples of great mobile creative. “One brand who have cracked it is Knorr,” said IAB’s Reynolds. “It’s running mobile banners which are clean and simple and get the message across, and six-second YouTube ads which get the point across – so Knorr is definitely doing digital-first creative, and it shows.” “We did an interstitial ad for a sports brand, promoting its latest running shoes,” said InMobi’s Farndale. “They wanted to make customers aware of its new store opening in Germany, while driving as many people to the store as possible. We thought about using a standardised map within this interstitial, but we wanted to connect to the user, and really reflect their campaign message. “So, we created an ad that challenged the user to run to the store as fast as they could. The faster they got there, the bigger in-store discount they received. It was a case of using the right components we had available to tell the brand’s story in an advertising way – this shows the kind of creativity that can be achieved.” Lopez-Plandolit pointed to a campaign promoting DisneyPixar’s Inside Out: “The movie was about the richness of its five characters, who each represented a different emotion. It was difficult to showcase them all in one ad, especially on mobile, so what was done was to use the weather in your location to showcase them. Each weather condition was assigned a character – so rain would be sad, sun would be happiness – and, thanks to the UK weather, you could present all five characters in a single morning.”

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“If you’ve got multiple messages to deliver, then doing it in a dynamic way, using first- and third-party data points to change the message, can make it much more relevant to the user,” said Farndale. “We ran a campaign last year for Samsung to promote their Galaxy S7 flagship phone. The device has various features, such as waterproofing and battery quick-charge, so we thought how can we deliver a dynamic message for each of these? If the battery was low on your device, we’d deliver the message about fast charge, or if it was raining in your area we’d deliver the waterproof visual. This is the perfect illustration of how technology can empower mobile creativity, especially if you are trading your media programmatically.” And sometimes creative can be successful even when it breaks some of the rules. “There was a Nike video ad with Ronaldo, which was nine minutes long,” said Omnicom’s Dsouza. “I watched that ad three times on my mobile because it was great storytelling. Great, relevant content trumps all of the formats, and all of the technical issues that we face.” In fact, if you have the right idea, breaking the rules can be what makes a piece of creative great.

So how do we get there? How do we make it so every banner is memorable, a potential award-winner, because it makes the consumer laugh or uses the technology in a smart way? According to Adelphic’s Lopez-Plandolit, that might not actually be the right thing to aim for. turn 3D – can you create a component for that?’”

START SMALL “One thing I would recommend to all advertisers and agencies is, you cannot be creative every time,” he said, thinking about the advice he would give to industry professionals. “Most banner campaigns run at scale; it’s about reaching as many people as possible. My recommendation would be to focus on two or three campaigns a year – start with just one, maybe – that you want to win a prize for. If every agency and every client does that, suddenly we’re going to have 500 candidates to win at Cannes.” Celtra’s Milne believes that the solution lies with the brands themselves. “The advertisers are the only entity that sits across both media and creative,” he said. “They’re the ones who can say, here’s a great way to operate so we can plan ahead and end up with something that works really well.”

“Skippable video within the digital environment, people are now used to being able to do that,” said Rubicon Project’s Evans. “If they can’t skip something, they can get frustrated.”

When asked for one thing he’d like to see change in order to improve mobile creativity, InMobi’s Farndale answered: “Collaboration between all parties – between the media agency, the creative agency, the ad platform, right across the board.

“Going beyond mobile, my favourite ad that I’ve seen of late was part of’s Captain Obvious campaign, which I believe was specifically on 4OD,” said Reynolds. “It had a really nice play on the skip function. You were shown the ‘five seconds to skip’ countdown, and when you pressed the button, instead of taking you to the content, the guy in the ad started skipping. It avoided pissing people off just by being funny.”

“Obviously it can’t happen every single time, so we need to standardise some digital advertising to a certain extent. However, if we want to produce award-winning advertising on mobile, then we should try and get all the experts in the same room. That way, we can all work together to come up with the best solution across all media. Ultimately, though, this should also help produce more mobile-first campaigns.”





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DIAGNOSIS: MOBILE The initial excitement over mHealth focused on fitness trackers and consumer-facing apps that would drive users towards healthier lifestyles; now investment is shifting towards healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and other large-scale organisations. But are the tech disruptors able to get along with their healthcare counterparts? Tim Maytom investigates.


ike QR codes, augmented reality and beacons before them, the popularity of wearables seems to have plateaued in recent years. Devices that were once hailed as the future of mobile are now seen as a niche channel at best, and a luxury boondoggle at worst. However, the movement towards the quantified self that fitness trackers and smartwatches spurred has taken root elsewhere, in the professional healthcare market – and it doesn’t show any signs of going away. In many ways, wearable technology emerged from the work of healthcare technology manufacturers. The sensors that sit in Apple Watches and Fitbits were built on decades of work by medical device designers seeking more accurate and discreet ways of measuring metrics like heart rate, blood pressure and physical activity levels. The ‘quantified self’ movement emerged from these kinds of technologies finally becoming available to consumers. The meeting of medical and mobile has resulted in a new generation of these devices.

The growth of the Internet of Things means that sensors can automate the process of information gathering, and connect to a wider network of machines, providing healthcare professionals with real-time access to huge amounts of data, and informing their practice on both an individual and a grand scale.

A HEALTHY OUTLOOK The latest estimates suggest that the global mHealth market will reach $102.4bn (£79.2bn) by 2022, up from $11.5bn in 2014, with a compound annual growth rate of almost 33 per cent. The mHealth market encompasses everything from connected blood pressure monitors – the largest segment, accounting for over 20 per cent of all revenue generated in 2014 – to sleep monitors, neurological sensors and pulse oximeters. It bridges areas from wellness and prevention through to post-op monitoring and therapeutics, via diagnosis, treatment and more. Cardiovascular, neurological and respitatory monitoring all account for key condition areas where mHealth is employed. Between the need for regular monitoring and a



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global rise in instances of the disease, though, the single leading condition when it comes to mHealth investment and revenues is diabetes. Patient coverage is also rising rapidly. The number of remotely monitored patients grew by 51 per cent in 2015, to 4.9m. Reports suggest that growth will remain steady around that mark for the rest of the decade, reaching around 36m by 2020, as mHealth coverage is expanded to wider audiences and new markets. The global growth of 4G data and the impending introduction of 5G have helped to support this expansion, enabling richer data to be shared over mobile networks. In fact, mobile operators are becoming more involved in mHealth every day, and are some of the major investors in the infrastructure required to make such services available at scale. According to GSMA figures, over 1,000 mobile operators globally are involved in mHealth, with more than 300 mHealth products and services actually led by mobile operators. The mHealth market helps operators to move away from a sole reliance on data and voice, diversifying revenue streams while also leveraging existing capabilities like mobile payments, hosting and cloud services. “Cellular continues to be the only technology that can be used to reliably connect every patient with their healthcare providers,” says Lars Kurkinen, telecom analyst at Berg Insight. “These are very exciting times for everyone involved in the industry. mHealth solutions are approaching mainstream market acceptance and we are now very close to the tipping point. Changes in the payment landscape is without doubt the most important factor. This finally allows the incentives for payers, providers, patients and physicians to be aligned, which is absolutely crucial for the adoption of any new healthcare product.”

mHEALTH SANS FRONTIÈRES This investment is especially impactful in rural areas and developing economies, where access to healthcare providers has traditionally been irregular and difficult to achieve. mHealth data collection enables healthcare stakeholders to monitor patients remotely and even provide diagnoses, treatment and advice remotely via devices that patients carry with them at all times. In fact, awareness of mHealth is greater in emerging markets, with 61 per cent of


patients familiar with the terms ‘mobile health’ or ‘mHealth’, compared to 39 per cent in developed markets. Patients in these markets also have higher expectations. They are more likely to predict that within the next three years, mHealth will change how they seek and receive information, how they manage their overall health, and how they deal with monitoring medication and chronic conditions. Perhaps most crucially, patients there are already adopting the technology at scale, with 59 per cent using at least one mHealth application or service, compared to 35 per cent in developed nations. This trend was noted in a PwC report by Eric Dishman, then director of health innovation at Intel. “We see it on the ground in countries we work with,” he said. “While the US thinks about dealing with fundamental issues like secure electronic health records, in places like India, China and Singapore, mHealth is taking place.” Doctors and those paying for healthcare (insurers, employers or government organisations) in emerging markets are more likely to recommend mHealth services to patients, particularly in China and India. More importantly, they're willing to pay – compared to developed nations, they're 14 per cent more likely to include mobile services like text-based consultations, patient access to medical records, and mobile gathering and analysis of health data as standard. Much of this is due to fundamental differences in the healthcare infrastructure in emerging markets, as well as differing patient needs. Reduced access to healthcare facilities and fewer doctors per head mean that mHealth provides essential access where none was previously available, whereas in developed nations it’s often a case of convenience or luxury. Cost is also a crucial factor. 53 per cent of patients in emerging markets cite the expense of healthcare as a driver of greater use of mHealth, compared to 34 per cent in developed countries. Finally, less well-established healthcare systems mean stakeholders are more willing to adopt new methods and practices than in the complex and often slowmoving organisations of developed nations. “In the developed world, the problem is this enormous medical infrastructure that is very conservative and resistant to change,” says Ian



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Leslie, professor of computer science at the University of Cambridge and expert in Chinese mHealth. “In emerging markets, you have a lot of the drivers of innovation without the barriers. In some ways, you can’t think of better conditions. Why waste time in the West?”

THE DISRUPTORS This reluctance to deal with the entrenched systems of large healthcare organisations reflects a fundamental difference in thinking between new tech firms entering the mHealth market and the stakeholders who have operated there for decades. Bringing with them a Silicon Valley ethos of agility and disruption, hardware and software startups are often frustrated by the slow pace of change in the deliberate, measured world of health, where issues like data confidentiality are more important than ever. The healthcare field largely changes based on widespread consensus, often because untested innovation has real risks to human health and wellbeing. While this is a sensible precaution, it also means that even advances as simple as electronic record-keeping are, in many countries, still in the process of being

made, and 27 per cent of doctors cite an inherently conservative culture as a leading barrier to mHealth. An excellent example of this is the NHS’s recently unveiled library of certified mHealth apps. Four years in the making and designed with the aim of showcasing the best in third-party mHealth applications, the library launched with just one app. The size and complexity of health organisations also poses a challenge. The UK’s NHS is the biggest employee in Europe and the seventh largest worldwide, and most national healthcare systems around the globe include at least some element of government or state control. This results in diffuse decision-making powers, substantial regulatory hurdles for new entrants and deeply entrenched existing providers – all of which poses a challenge for innovative new firms looking to bring in radical solutions. The same size and complexity issues are reflected in the scattershot approach to existing technology used by healthcare providers. Systems between local doctors,

healthcare organisations, insurers, technology providers and other stakeholders have built up over time, often in a piecemeal fashion, resulting in a deeply fractured technology ecosystem. Only 53 per cent of doctors say that the mHealth applications and services they use are well integrated with their workplace’s own IT systems. And just 27 per cent say the services work well with existing national healthcare systems.

mHEALTH ON TRIAL With all these barriers to large-scale adoption by frontline healthcare providers, it’s no surprise that mHealth innovators have sought out and flourished in the areas of the industry with a similar pioneering spirit. mHealth has seen enthusiastic adoption by pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and other stakeholders involved in clinical trials, where new treatments and methodologies are put through their paces. A survey by Applied Clinical Trials and SCORR Marketing found that almost 50 per cent of professionals involved in clinical trials and protocols were incorporating mHealth components into their studies. While 80 per cent

Apple’s CareKit provides developers with an open-source framework for creating consumer-facing healthcare apps



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THE STATE OF CONSUMER HEALTH APPS While healthcare stakeholders across the globe are embracing the power of mHealth, the same can’t be said for consumer-targeted health apps. Still largely produced by tech companies rather than insurers or healthcare organisations, supply of these apps has skyrocketed. The number in the market grew by around 60 per cent in 2016, but demand from consumers has slowed considerably since its height in 2013. According to the mHealth App Developer Economics 2016 report by Research2Guidance, “there is no end in sight for the current hype surrounding mHealth apps, but only a fraction of mHealth publishers have found a way to monetise it”. This has not stopped them trying, however. The number of app publishers who cite helping people improve their health conditions as a goal has dropped by four per cent year-on-year, while the number whose main goal is generating revenue has risen by five per cent. Despite those slightly depressing figures, the case for consumer mHealth apps has become clearer as the market has matured. 56 per cent of publishers are targeting chronically ill people as one of their main user groups, and 33 per cent are aiming products at people with an interest in health and fitness. Remote monitoring, diagnostic and condition management apps are identified as having the best market potential over the medium-to-long term, and conditions like diabetes, obesity and hypertension are seen as the therapy fields which hold the best potential for revenues. However, a clear business model for health apps has yet to emerge, with revenue sources split across licensing, sponsorship,


app download fees, in-app purchases, advertising and even device sales. “The search for the good business model is really omnipresent in this market,“ says RalfGordon Jahns, director and co-founder of Research2Guidance. “Everybody tries to do something different and make money in a different way, so there’s no real number-one revenue source for the companies in this market. If you compare that with the games industry, for example, it’s a totally different picture: you have 90 per cent making their money with in-app purchases and in-app advertisements. But here, everyone’s looking for if they can do a licensing deal with health insurance companies; we also find a lot of companies doing development work to sustain their business.”

felt the technology was still in its infancy, 60 per cent felt that it was already an important part of monitoring clinical trials, helping to improve data quality, patient engagement and patient trial adherence. “mHealth holds a lot of promise when it comes to optimising clinical trials,” says Sarah Iqbal, head of digital life sciences at Biotaware. “The capabilities constitute a new paradigm for evidence generation in health research, promising perhaps more than any previous wave of innovations in health technologies.”


MHEALTH HOLDS A LOT OF PROMISE WHEN IT COMES TO OPTIMISING CLINICAL TRIALS. THE CAPABILITIES CONSTITUTE A NEW PARADIGM FOR EVIDENCE GENERATION IN HEALTH RESEARCH. Despite the enthusiasm and clear use cases for mHealth in clinical trials, some hesitancy remains. Concerns over privacy and security are at the fore, with 22 per cent of respondents citing it as a barrier to mHealth adoption that must be overcome before mHealth is integrated fully into standard procedures. As with frontline healthcare organisations, interoperability and network issues are also a concern. Many blame the entrenched business interests of vendors for the wealth of closed end-toend solutions being offered, which can’t be integrated with existing systems. And while features like the gamification of data collection were held up as ways of improving positive patient behaviour, the need for a clear and intuitive user experience for patients and doctors in all mHealth apps was highlighted. “Given the number of challenges that still remain, mHealth in its present state works

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better for short-term studies where the patient only needs the device for a brief, defined period of time,” says Jeff Daurity, associate director of medical device and diagnostics, cardiovascular therapies at Novella Clinical. “For larger, longerterm studies, mHealth technologies may not prove to be as beneficial.”

A PRESCRIPTION FOR THE FUTURE No one who has introduced mHealth into their healthcare practice seems to deny that the rise of connected devices is facilitating more personalised care, greater oportunities for data gathering, and the potential for improved health and fitness among the general population. The major challenge in encouraging wider adoption lies in bridging

the substantial gap that exists between the health and technology industries, and how they approach business. The huge investment that mHealth has generated is unlikely to slow anytime soon, particularly as issues like the ageing population in many developed nations mean that increasing pressure is being placed on health services and organisations. Drives for efficiency and higher quality of care mean that mHealth is advocated more and more as a potential solution to problems. A recent report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers claimed that a widespread rollout of mHealth technology could have saved the NHS £1bn in the last five years simply by easing bed-blocking.

But in order for that sort of widespread adoption to happen, the health and technology industries will have to learn from each other. Health stakeholders, from frontline staff to huge organisations, need to embrace innovative new practices that could save money and, more importantly, lives. On the other side, tech firms looking to disrupt and shake up established ways of doing things need to learn patience and diplomacy. Still, the advances being made in clinical trial monitoring seem to point the way for health and technology working together with a unified purpose, and indicate a bright and successful future where both industries can learn from, and elevate, each other.




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RESPONSIVE DELIVERS FOR HILLARYS David Murphy talks to Emma Gillings, web manager at Hillarys, about the great results the blinds retailer has seen by optimising for mobile.


he move to mobile is a trend that has been well documented in recent years. Most retailers have seen big increases in the proportion of users visiting their websites from a mobile device, and made-to-measure blinds, curtains and carpets retailer Hillarys is no different. So, 18 months ago, working with its digital agency Code Computerlove, Hillarys set about making its website more conducive to viewing and navigating on a mobile device. “If you look back to two years ago, the Hillarys website was actually four separate instances,” explains Hillarys web manager Emma Gillings. “We had a desktop/tablet version for the UK and another for Ireland, then dedicated mobile sites for each country. We could see that mobile traffic was growing very quickly, up 58 per cent year-on-year. Working with Code, we decided we needed a responsive site that would deliver a better experience for our mobile visitors, and also bring additional SEO benefits, as this is the way Google advises you to go.”


An additional benefit would be that with only one site to maintain, as opposed to four, the administrative burden on the Hillarys digital team would be much reduced.

A PHASED APPROACH The two companies took a phased approach to rolling out the new site. “Rather than waiting for the entire platform to be developed before rolling it out, we started on the back end and on some of the higher-trafficked product pages,” says Gillings. “That way, we could start seeing the benefits of the new site earlier, in terms of increased conversions, and also learn from users’ reaction to the new sections of the site.” This was assessed in two ways. Users were invited to try out the new site in Code’s User Testing Lab, where they could be observed through a one-way screen. Additionally, the new site was designed to allow for A/B testing. Two groups of visitors to the site clicking on the same category page, such as blinds or carpets, could each be shown a

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separate design, with the performance of each page assessed relative to the other.

conversions went up, averaging a 39 per cent year-on-year rise.

“We learned a lot from user feedback,” says Gillings. “Our initial thought was that all users should be able to see all the same content, whether on a PC, tablet or mobile, but in fact we quickly learned that mobile users wanted a quicker route to the product pages and were less interested in watching videos, for example. Not only is the way the content is presented different for mobile users, some of the content itself is also filtered out.”

“We are still seeing significant monthly increases in mobile traffic, so it’s great that we are providing these users with a digital experience that is clearly encouraging them to convert,” says Gillings.

MOBILE OPTIMISATION The mobile optimisation has reaped rewards for the company. The site is not transactional. Instead, it encourages customers to request an appointment with one of its sales advisers to measure up, view samples and request a quote – so in Hillarys’ website terms, a conversion is when a customer requests an appointment. Almost immediately after the launch of the first phase of the responsive site, mobile

Mobile aside, more generic work on site optimisation has also delivered impressive results. In the past few months alone, Code deployed a programme of 26 tests, A/B testing different calls to action and new sections of the site to increase engagement with the brand. Together these have delivered a staggering £2.6m in additional revenues, off the back of almost 14,000 additional appointments. The final piece of the jigsaw was a new SEO/PPC strategy that increased volume, while at the same time improving cost efficiency. The strategy focused on Hillarys’ core blinds business, while simultaneously

growing other product categories. It was tested on Hillarys’ primary keyword, ‘blinds’, before being rolled out across other campaigns. On the SEO front, a combination of a 360-degree SEO strategy, and the migration to a more SEOfriendly, responsive site, saw SEO traffic grow by 322,000 year-on-year. A specific focus on mobile saw mobile organic traffic increase by 203 per cent year-on-year, with a 151 per cent increase in appointments from mobiles. Not surprisingly, Gillings is delighted with the results, and with Code’s contribution to them, but acknowledges that in the digital space, resting on your laurels is not an option. “The work is never done – or as Code says, brilliant never stops,” she says. “There are always new things we want to try, so we are on a programme of continuous improvement, user testing, A/B testing and analysing the data to get a better picture of what our users want. It’s good for us, but more importantly, it’s good for them.”




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WHY RESPONSIVE DESIGN DOESN’T MEAN YOUR MOBILE CONVERSIONS WILL INCREASE Liz Wilson, head of marketing at Esendex, explains why mobile still isn’t up to scratch for conversion – and how to maximise it for your business.


s a reader of this magazine, you probably remember Google’s mobilefriendly update to search rankings in April 2015. Dubbed ‘mobilegeddon’ at the time, the update was intended to provide users with a better experience when accessing websites from a mobile.

The surprising (lack of) impact of responsive design on form completion

Google’s first pass at defining the criteria for mobile-friendly websites wasn’t complicated: text needs to be readable without zooming; the content needs to be sized to the screen; links need to be placed far enough apart that the correct one can be easily tapped; and site owners should avoid utilising software that’s not common on mobile devices. While Google continues to refine these criteria, with initiatives such as AMP, adoption of the basics continues to trundle forward. Small business owners might have thought that by taking these steps, they’d see an improvement in conversions. But, as you can see from the graph below, mobile continues to languish well behind desktop. The team who conducted the research concluded that, while the purpose of responsive websites is to reduce friction (perceived effort) and anxiety (perceived concern), this doesn’t happen simply by applying Google’s criteria to your website.







Traditional Smartphone Tablet

Q1 2016



UNRESPONSIVE Source: Formstack |

This doesn’t just apply to eCommerce. We looked at the statistics for form completion (see the results above). An example from the recruitment industry illustrates the issue: eight per cent of candidates accessing a job application form on a desktop will complete it, but that figure drops to 1.5 per cent when accessed on mobile.

Q2 2016




3.69 1.38



Q4 2016

Q3 2016





4.14 1.55


3.18 Source: Monetate




Conversion rates of online shoppers by device and platform Q4 2016 Q4 2015


So what can you do to improve mobile conversion rates? Esendex’s customers are particularly invested in this question, as they’re seeking ways to reduce the load on their agents by encouraging greater levels of self-serve. The infographic opposite outlines the key drivers that have helped Esendex achieve an average click-to-completion rate of 46.5 per cent for customers applying these tactics. The simplest expression of these findings is that, if you are invested in mobile form completion, it’s not enough to simply make the fields larger and the buttons more clickable. You have to address the much broader challenges that are presented by customers interacting with your business on the move.

6 ways to improve form completion rates Pre-fill forms wherever possible





29 Acacia Road

29 Acacia Road


36.5% By reducing input complexity, this can increase completion by 36.5%

Use adaptive error messages that explain what the problem is


Provide clear instructions


94% of forms don’t consistently indicate both required and optional fields. 65% don’t explain why info such as a phone number is required, and how it will be used.


Avoid using drop down menus

Eric Error!

92% 92% of forms use the same generic error messages and don’t explain how to correct the error.

Include progress bars

5 1




Drop down menus reduce completion rates by up to 11%

6 5

Remove distractions Eric 29 Acacia Road

75% Preferred by 75% of respondents, progress bars are proven to increase survey satisfaction and engagement. Sources: Formstack Monetate Appcast Leadpages

Baymard Unbounce Kissmetrics Statistic Brain

The human attention span is just 8 seconds and 1/5 of us spend less than 4 seconds on a page.


JUNE 2017

THE OMNICHANNEL CHALLENGE: CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT FOR THE SMARTPHONE ERA Kevin Britt, Infobip country manager, UK and Ireland, explains the difficulties of trying to reach customers across mobile’s many channels. In a way, this shift all started with SMS. It has been a popular communication tool basically since its introduction, and as a result has been widely adopted by businesses of all types for alerting, marketing and customer support purposes. As a channel, SMS still boasts remarkable reach and efficiency. According to analyst firm Mobilesquared, over 99 per cent of all text messages are read by the recipient, and 90 per cent are read within three minutes of delivery.


t’s a relatively new concept, but ‘omnichannel’ has already come to mean many things to many people. For retailers, it’s the multitude of sales channels available to shoppers. In the financial industry, it refers to the methods you have at your disposal for handling your money, from ATMs and bank branches to banking apps. We’re saying nothing new when we say that the world has gone mobile, with smartphones now the focal point of our daily lives. This mobile explosion has created many conveniences for users, but also many challenges for businesses.


The mantle of SMS has since been assumed by feature-rich messaging apps, which have become the dominant mobile communications channel for millions of users worldwide. Many types of services are now available within messaging apps, dramatically changing not only the ways that people communicate and do business, but how they perceive customer engagement and relationships with brands and businesses. This has created many challenges for enterprises, app makers and developers. All of them now have to keep in mind the wide array of communications services, apps and channels used by their customers, to be able to send individually tailored, relevant and efficient engagement messages in massive volumes.

MULTIPLE CHANNELS, SINGLE SOLUTION? This is exactly what is giving rise to the concept of omnichannel for enterprise communications, and the idea of different channels and approaches working seamlessly through a single platform to drive customer engagement. A2P (application-to-person) SMS and email have long been the staples of enterprise communications, each with its own set of uses and customer perceptions. Now it’s becoming indispensable to craft communication strategies that include multiple channels, devices, failover scenarios and intelligent workflows. This is where the challenge starts. SMS, voice, email, push notifications and chat apps are all separate channels and different technologies. And more likely than not, each is provided by a different vendor. This siloed approach to service provision is an extension of the current legacy approach to customer communication. Forced to stitch together different vendors, technologies and platforms for a complete communication strategy, businesses simply cannot reap all the benefits of an omnichannel approach to customer engagement.

JUNE 2017

A single solution would be the answer. When you need features like CRM and business intelligence system sync, or centralised reporting and analytics, a single solution allows businesses to minimise the resources needed, and maximise the quality, frequency and success of customer engagement. Take, for example, chat apps. The likes of Viber, Facebook Messenger, Line, Telegram and many more are exposing their APIs to businesses and third-party providers. This creates the need to engage with consumers across all these channels, depending on their communication preferences. Add to this the need to include channels such as SMS and email, and the complexity just keeps growing. The CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) model aims to remove the technical as well as financial issues associated with deploying an omnichannel customer

engagement solution. A single provider and platform reduces the resources needed to integrate, deploy and operate an omnichannel engagement strategy. Another benefit is the ability to monitor, analyse, and report on customer engagement thanks to tools built directly into the omnichannel solution. With the proper data available to them, brands can build communications that are more centred on the consumer, using the data on each individual’s communication habits and preferences for interacting with a business, in order to craft a better strategy.

THE CHATBOT FUTURE Chatbots were one of the hottest topics of 2016. The trend of chatbots and AI in customer communications continues in 2017, and no doubt beyond. Automating certain functions in customer service or support can further drive

down costs for enterprises, limiting the need for dedicated contact centre staff and software. One key direction in development will be towards emotion-savvy AI, able to perceive and express emotions when communicating with a customer. As anyone who’s ever angrily called a customer service centre can attest, sensing that you have the attention and empathy of the person on the other end of the line is crucial for a good user experience. In the form of chatbots or otherwise, AI which can do that will greatly increase the level of personalisation, one of the key issues in customer engagement. This feature is incoming, although it’s hard to tell exactly when. Even before that point, though, we can expect omnichannel to gain more traction. It’s inevitable, as the need for immediate, crossplatform, personalised customer engagement becomes more pressing – and increasingly one of the key requirements of consumers today.




JUNE 2017

GDPR COMPLIANCE IS NOT A ONE-NIGHT STAND autoGraph CEO Henry Lawson cautions marketers not to ask for too much information, too soon.


s the clock counts down to less than a year until General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in force, marketers across the world (EU regulations are becoming the de facto global standard) are focusing on how to ensure their businesses are compliant. With marketing KPIs to deliver against and escalating pressure from the compliance team, many regard this as a bump in the road – the need to tick a legally approved box and resume normal service. But that misses the core intent of the regulations: giving consumers control and transparency. It’s not about a quick box-tick; it’s about developing a deeper and more beneficial relationship for both sides – a fulfilling marriage rather than a quick fling and back to Tinder…

LASTING RELATIONSHIPS So how on earth do marketers change their approach? Well, a great starting point is to consider how lasting relationships begin. Whether in the online or physical world, we start by sharing non-threatening information – our passions and interests, past experiences, places travelled to or lived in – and trade these details back and forth as trust develops. As the onion unpeels, we start talking about our nearest and dearest, and around this stage we also start to share some re-contact information, our phone number, email address or Facebook permissions. This evolution of trust is subtle and nuanced, one both parties approach with caution, guided by a well-honed sixth sense. By contrast, most marketers approach the process from the end backwards, asking for


re-contact information before even instigating a two-way relationship. Websites immediately ask for permission to activate cookies, launch pop-up invitations requesting email addresses, and send emails that deliver these re-contact cookies back to the marketer. Only then is the interaction customised to provide what the consumer really wants: a relevant experience. Even the word we use here – ‘personalised’ – is deeply flawed, implying that the marketer has personal knowledge of the consumer – which they do!

results. It is in many ways counterintuitive for marketers – but it works, and works very effectively. When Acxiom launched its US website, which opened up Acxiom’s vast data records to public editing and deletion, many in the company feared a tsumani of opt-outs. The CEO, Scott Howe, knew better, having written his PhD thesis on how to engage consumers. The venture has paid off, with considerably more data being added than deleted by consumers.

So how should we change all this? Well, application of the rules of dating can help.


SMALL TALK First, small talk. In the bygone world of the village shopkeeper, this could take the form of a chat about the weather (in the UK) or baseball scores (in the US), free samples of a new biscuit or cheese, or a gentle enquiry about a customer’s preferences. This is all done without any guarantee that the customer will ever walk back into the shop and monetise the prior conversation. Do it well, and the consumer is almost guaranteed to return. Do it badly, and they will never come back. In the last 20 years, supermarket loyalty schemes have attempted to capture that same level of intimacy, and they have worked – to a point. But without proper communication and explanation, these schemes have increasingly felt to many consumers like data-trawling. And in no way have they given the customer control over what they are served, beyond the broadbrush STOP that is provided by the law. What many have discovered is that providing consumers with a level of control actually builds the holy trinity of kudos, data and

On this side of the Atlantic, Vodafone already has the highest of data privacy standards. Previously this put it at a disadvantage as a member of the alliance of carriers in mobile advertising. Its solution was very different. It used autoGraph’s user-generated profile technology to create an individualised mCommerce experience based on profiles created by consumers themselves. The consumer-led approach enabled the use of an unprecedentedly short and readable set of terms and conditions, and data four times broader than that collected by traditional means. That and over 90 per cent opt-in to using the profiles generated led to Vodafone more than doubling its revenue per user – leap-frogging its competitors and receiving more than its fair share of advertising revenue. So, just as in the nightclub or bar, marketers are discovering that taking it gently and engaging in small talk is much more effective than the one-off chat-up line and laser-guided mission of a one-night stand. With that in mind, GDPR becomes an opportunity to build deep and meaningful relationships, rather than short term opt-ins that consumers don’t fully understand.

Adopting a mobile mindset to connect brand stories to people across all their screens. A brand safe environment, with complete transparency, on fraud, on placement, on results, and on cost. The Voluum platform provides a people-based approach to media buying.


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