Mobile

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Netflix Tests Extras On Its Mobile App

Finding what to watch on Netflix isn’t always so chill and the company is experimenting with ways to help users find something that interests them quicker.  With so many options, from movies to original programming, many viewers can feel overwhelmed with the amount of content available.

To help guide viewers, the company introduced an “Extras” option on the navigation bar of the mobile app. Users are now offered a variety of helpful programming suggestions including New Arrivals, upcoming releases and additional programming suggestions based on previous viewing history.

Delivered in a story format similar to those found on Instagram and Snapchat, video clips and photos of Netflix programming are displayed as you scroll.  Users can then add shows or movies to playlists for viewing or choose the “reminder” option and be notified when upcoming programming becomes available. While most Netflix viewing is still on television, the mobile app provides a unique opportunity to reach and engage a captive video audience.  

Based on the success from other platforms, moving to shareable videos is yet another way Netflix can not only personalize the experience, but also promote their own programming.  It’s also an effort to better connect fans with shows they love and expand viewing options.

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Netflix noted that the feature is still in testing and there’s no official word on a roll-out to the masses. The capability does allow the company to join a larger social discussion about content provided or what’s desirable, providing untapped audience insight and potentially increased time on the platform.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/05/netflix-tests-an-instagram-stories-like-feed-called-extras-in-its-app/

Snapchat Is Changing Its Story To Include Ecommerce

In the wake of Instagram’s recent release of the checkout feature and branded content ads, other social platforms are feeling the heat to close the gap and help influencers better monetize their content. Snapchat, in particular, added a shopping feature this week to boost its ecommerce efforts, increase the competition, and use influencer partnerships as way to more authentically reach audiences.

By partnering with Shopify, the company updated accounts of select high-profile influencers (Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Shay Mitchell, Spencer Pratt and Bhad Bhabie) to test the capabilities. The native checkout will be enabled with the addition of a shop button that lets users purchase products from the influencer’s respective brands.

The enhanced commerce experience distinguishes Snapchat as one of the leaders in the space and creates focus on their ability to increase available user profile data and add monetization. Snapchat has been an industry sleeper, but the addition could help shift the pendulum in their favor, positioning the company to gain more influencer interest which translates into more ecommerce advertising dollars.  As Snapchat continues to build out its shopping capabilities they can more accurately attribute sales dollars to specific ads, increasing platform value.

The partnership further exemplifies the evolution of shopping from brand websites to social media channels. As Snapchat continues to refine its strategy and gain social momentum, the company’s innovation helps establish their growth in the market.

https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/snapchats-latest-updates-to-its-commerce-experience-hint-at-things-to-come/

Kid-Tech A Largely Untapped Market

With shrinking attention spans, marketers are under pressure to get their message conveyed fast.  This is even more true with kids who have grown up in an age where information and media are accessible at lightning speed around the clock. To reach this influential younger market, advertisers plan to spend more than $1.2 billion in ads globally by 2021, according to new research released by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The focus is primarily on international audiences across devices and platforms such as social media, search, and video formats.  However, the report magnified the need to market to this captive audience early and often.

“Kids-tech”, particularly social platforms, have been largely ignored by big tech due to the amount of red tape. While companies have released limited kid-friendly offerings such as Facebook’s Messenger Kids, Amazon’s Echo Dot Kid’s Edition and YouTube’s Kids app, advertising outside of these platforms has marketers feeling lost. The lack of attention to the space has since paved the way for innovative startups to create safe environments for both user and advertiser.  Programs are being developed to simulate what’s available for adults, but with stringent online privacy policies that prevent data being collected and used for ad delivery. Instead, ads are being served by site or page context without the use of cookies for personalized targeting. Platform moderation is also not left to chance with automation, but done manually by humans.

For big tech, their responsibility to this audience is great.  They must consider a myriad of factors such as online privacy which includes personal and geo data collection, strict advertising guidelines and ways to enforce policies with minimal for error.  However, with kids making up the fastest growing online audience, they can’t continue to leave this market untapped.

https://www.adweek.com/programmatic/advertisers-will-spend-more-than-1-billion-on-kid-centric-ads-by-2021/

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Verizon Media Amps Up The Need For 5G

Rumblings about 5G mobile internet speed have been ramping up over the past month with Verizon Media at the forefront of the conversation.  During its Newsfronts presentation this week, the mobile provider emphasized the benefits of the faster speed combined with its first party user data to help improve technology.  Areas most benefited would be ad and media products as well as a series of programs they hope to release that revolve around the faster connectivity.

With an array of uses, Verizon plans to utilize the technology to fuel its endeavours such as its newly unveiled video series “Hypezilla” which will include augmented reality technology and “shoppable” content.  In addition, the increased speed will improve viewing for the Yahoo Fantasy Football mobile app (also owned by the company) that includes NFL streaming rights for live game coverage.

There’s no doubt the increased speed will raise the bar both for media capabilities and for user expectations.  However, there are still many unanswered questions about current devices being able to withstand the upgrade and how 5G will impact the overall market.  

https://adage.com/article/special-report-newfronts/verizon-feels-need-5g-speed-rev-ad-business/2168021?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook

Walmart Announces Original Content with Shoppable Ads

Vudu, the streaming service owned by Walmart, is reportedly expanding its programming to become more competitive and amplify available advertising opportunities. With Walmart selling over 50% of all US televisions, growing their streaming service is a natural growth progression. Currently Vudu provides movie, video game, and TV series rentals.   However, Walmart plans to invest in original programming, which will include at least 6 family friendly shows that will be available for free on the app with the intention of attracting new users who will then make additional purchases.

Vudu plans to steer clear of subscription fees in favor of adding “shoppable” content for viewers to drive ad revenue.  Users will be able to purchase products seen in programs, likely similar to Amazon’s x-ray technology, where options will appear on the left hand side of the screen and will change based on what’s presented in each scene.  Viewers can then order items, such as household products, electronics, etc., directly through Walmart for home delivery or in-store pick-up. Advertisers will have the option to sponsor product placement to reach audiences and drive sales.  Walmart sees the approach of “shoppable” content as a lucrative way to avoid additional fees but the theory is still being tested and will be contingent on view reception.

Walmart is taking a gamble using the new programming to grow its users.  However, if it works, it will be a great way to use their own resources to continue to feed their various marketing funnels and drive business on all fronts.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robsalkowitz/2019/04/29/walmart-is-finally-ready-to-dip-into-the-original-streaming-content-market/#7fca121c4942

User Behavior Dictates Social Media Shift to Mobile

It comes as no surprise that eMarketer confirmed the continued shift of social media users accessing their accounts strictly through mobile devices.  Reports indicate 51% of 2019 users will be mobile only with continued growth in the coming years. As smartphones capabilities grow, use of laptops/desktops in American are on the decline, with many homes strictly relying on mobile device(s).  As this trend continues, smartphone users will surpass desktop/laptop internet users for the first time and will expand the gap in the coming years.

What does this mean for marketers?  Social platforms will continue to invest in ad opportunities that are “mobilized.”  Facebook in particular has already started testing a more mobile-friendly swipe interface to meet the demand.  It is also continuing to leverage Stories in Instagram, which are primarily for mobile use based on the content dimensions as well as the recent addition of Checkout on Instagram for easier in-app purchasing.

The shift isn’t slowing and in response, marketers are investing ad dollars in mobile-first social media content.  It will be interesting to see how users continue to drive technological advances and advertising opportunities in the space.

https://www.emarketer.com/content/more-than-half-of-social-network-users-will-be-mobile-only-in-2019?ecid=NL1001

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Snapchat Develops Its Own Mobile Network

Snapchat made a big announcement on Thursday about plans for a Snap Audience Network, its own mobile ad platform with targeting across various apps.  The initial launch will be strictly for iOS devices and will extend to Android at a later date.

There are still questions surrounding how this will operate as compared to similar networks.  However it’s projected to compete with Facebook, LinkedIn and Google with the added unique ability for app developers to utilize Snapchat’s same full-screen, vertical video ad format.

The announcement didn’t come with much detail, but it appears to be an effort by the company to help boost it’s own advertising agenda to partner with more agencies and businesses. While there are still a number of unknowns with this new platform, it will be interesting to see Snapchat competes with other social networks and what differentiates them in the space.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/snap-announces-plans-to-build-its-own-mobile-ad-network-to-connect-with-its-audience/

Facebook Exposed for Storing User Data on Public Amazon Cloud Servers

Cybersecurity firm, Upguard, uncovered more than 540 million Facebook user files stored on a public Amazon cloud server this week. Information included user actions on the site, comments and Facebook IDs, all of which were accessible on the server for public download despite profile settings.  Once alerted, Facebook immediately worked with Amazon to take down the database, but cannot verify how this may impact users.

While Facebook policies prohibit user data being stored on unsecure servers, this news adds to the growing data privacy concerns with the platform. After last year’s news that millions of user’s data had been misused by Cambridge Analytica, Facebook audited thousands of third-party data apps and suspended those who were mishandling. Despite continued efforts to protect user data, it appears the extent of the problem may not be fully known at this point.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-03/millions-of-facebook-records-found-on-amazon-cloud-servers

Amazon Alexa Advances Healthcare Services

Amazon Alexa users can now utilize the smart speaker for healthcare information with its recently released HIPAA compliant skills.  Users can leverage the technology to manage healthcare needs such as booking appointments, checking a prescription status or accessing stored medical information such as ongoing glucose readings.  The skills are currently only accessible through select partnerships but will expand based on user adoption.

With the launch, some entities are unveiling HIPAA-compliant skills specific to their own recently discharged patients.  Boston Children’s released a skill known as “ERAS” which allows patients and caregivers to ask questions specific to recent patient care records and allows doctors the ability to follow up with patients remotely.

While data privacy remains a huge concern for patients, Amazon confirms data is encrypted and securely stored in addition to the strict guidelines HIPAA puts in place for patient protection.  This announcement is a major advancement in the evolution of remote patient care.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/04/amazon-alexa-launches-its-first-hipaa-compliant-medical-skills/

Study: Super Bowl Streaming Viewership To Increase 160% from Last Year

Plus: 61% of Americans Would Give up Cable Television and Never Look Back

—Adtaxi Unveils New Data on Super Bowl Viewership and Streaming Trends—

DENVER (January 16, 2019)Adtaxi—one of the nation’s fastest-growing digital marketing agencies—today announced the 2019 results of its annual Super Bowl Viewership and Consumer Streaming Trends Survey. According to the new data, substantially more viewers will tune in to Super Bowl LIII via streaming services this year (21%) compared to last year (8.1%), marking a staggering 160% leap.

“As new streaming services and content options emerge left and right, consumers are increasingly finding that their television needs can be met entirely through digital platforms—including watching live sports,” said Chris Loretto, EVP of Adtaxi. “Based on the exponential shift in our data, we may well see a day when Super Bowl streaming overtakes traditional TV viewership completely.”

Among Adtaxi’s additional Super Bowl findings:

·         Secondary Media: 68% of viewers will simultaneously use another media platform to engage with Super Bowl-related content while watching. Most of them (78%) will use social media, while 30% will use group chats, 28% will visit sports websites and 15% will turn to online forums.

·         Anticipated Elements: 53% of viewers are most looking forward to the game itself, while 27% are looking forward to the commercials; 20% are most eager to watch the halftime show.

Adtaxi also examined consumer streaming habits more broadly, revealing the following:

·         Cutting the Cord: 61% of Americans would not miss cable television if forced to give it up forever. In addition, 64% of cable subscribers have plans, at some point, to cancel their subscription in favor of streaming content digitally; 41% say they will do so within the next year

·         Reasons to Stream: 60% of those moving away from traditional cable in favor of streaming say their reason is to save money. Meanwhile, 43% want to watch on their own schedule, 43% like the option of binge watching, 36% want to avoid traditional TV commercials, and 27% prefer the content options on streaming platforms

·         Platform Popularity: Netflix is the most popular streaming platform (76%), followed by Amazon Prime Video (58%), Hulu (41%), YouTube TV (25%) and HBO Now (16%)

·         Device Popularity: Smartphones/mobile devices are the most popular way to stream (68%), followed by streaming devices connected to the TV, such as the Roku (60%), laptops (48%) and tablets/iPads (36%)

“With Connected TV on the rise, offering unparalleled audience visibility and targeting options across devices, now is the time for advertisers to adapt their strategy for the digital age—or risk falling behind,” Loretto said.

Methodology
The study was conducted online using Survey Monkey. One thousand participants were polled, spanning across the United States. The demographics of those polled represented a broad range of household income, geographic location, age, and gender.

Google's Mobile Indexing and What It Means for Your Business 

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Is your company's mobile website being easily found by potential customers on their devices? If not, it's time to make some big changes because Google is now ranking business websites based on the mobile version rather than the desktop site.

Google announced this "mobile-first" change in late March. Mobile-first means its Googlebot will crawl your company's mobile site first for search engine optimization (SEO) indexing and ranking. Historically, Google has used the desktop version of your website's content for its crawling, indexing, and ranking practices.

Why the change? Not every company is using responsive web design for its mobile site, and, according to Google, that was causing issues for mobile searchers. So Google is switching to mobile-first content gathering, and recommending to site owners to make their content mobile-friendly as fast as they can.

Remember, this is mobile-first, not mobile-only. Google will still index your desktop site content, but keep in mind you're likely to lose out against more mobile-savvy competitors. Google's change is a reflection of the immense growth of the mobile web. It's estimated there are now some 10 billion mobile-connected devices in use around the world, which is leading to big growth in the ecommerce industry. 

Let's take a look at what Google's mobile-first indexing means for your content, and what steps you need to take to stay on top of SEO development.

Understanding Mobile-First

Having mobile-friendly and fast-loading content can help your mobile search results perform better. Typically, search rankings are affected by your site's load times, mobile-friendliness factors, relevant content, low-quality visuals, and proper meta tags, among other factors. If you gain site visitors from ads you've placed, do you want those mobile visitors to visit a site that loads slowly, enables pop-ups, and isn't overly optimized for mobile? Of course not! That's why your site needs to speed up its mobile capabilities.

One way to check how well your site is performing in mobile is through Google's Search Console service. If your site is already optimized for mobile, you likely have been notified via Search Console that mobile-first indexing is enabled for your site.

How Your Site May Be Affected by Mobile-First Indexing

Your site might be affected by this indexing move to mobile-first if you haven't made the necessary changes to your site's design. Here are some of the possible ways:

●      You maintain a separate mobile site (or sites) for your company. Does your company still use highly optimized, separate mobile sites? If so, you'll need to revamp this into a unified responsive design because the content, structured data, and meta data needs will all change.

●      You do not have a mobile site yet. If this is the case, why not? It's time to hire a website designer to get your site mobile-friendly, because that's where you'll find more potential sales. If you're unsure of what to do, use this free Google tool to check your site's mobile-friendliness factor. 

What It Means for Advertisers

Advertisers should pay close attention to becoming mobile-first. If you're offering a poor mobile user experience, you'll lose conversions and your bounce rates will soar. That could lead to a much lower pay-per-click (PPC) ad quality score, and higher cost per click (CPC). Ad budgets will shrink. Over time, all of these costs will accumulate, leading to higher costs per acquisition. That has a serious impact on leads and sales, and can put your business out of business.

So it's time to make changes. Try testing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for your site. This will help your site's indexing. Also, try using AMP ads. They load faster, and can lead to a better user experience and higher click-through rates for advertisers. Getting a more responsive design for your site will help you join the mobile revolution.