Archive for August, 2016


The Year 2016 is A Milestone For Mobile Marketing

Several years ago, the saying was if you’re not on the web, you’re nowhere. Today, mobile is the kingmaker and if you’re not implementing a mobile strategy that has the cellular phone as the central marketing element, you’re destined to forever remain a pawn on the corporate chessboard. Most switched on business people that matter know this already, however. What’s changed very recently to really drive home the point is that mobile has finally made that important crossover into the average consumer’s daily, bricks-and-mortar life. Obviously, consumers already use mobile as an integral part of the way they communicate. What I’m getting at, is that something happened on the mobile front this year that really impacted so many of us, in a brand new, non-communication-centred, mobile way. Yes, I’m talking about the way Pokemon Go swooped into our lives a few months ago. From nowhere but in the palm of our hands, suddenly mobile moved into our favourite coffee shops, our picnic spots, our workplaces and our leisure spaces. This unprecedented example of augmented reality mobile technology brings a whole new set of challenges to the marketer. What’s different this time is that gamers have been compelled to move out into the real world, where sales are done. It’s maddening to me – as a marketer – to have heard of retail outlets that have put up signs banning Pokemon players from entering their stores! They should take a leaf from that supreme marketer, MacDonald’s, who has spotted the opportunity and partnered with a Japanese firm to open a series of Pokemon Gyms. Brilliant. According to Forbes, more women than men are playing the game. The 18-29 age group is the largest demographic, but a significant number of players are in all age brackets between 13 and 50 years of age. This is a prime target for retailers. To conclude, mobile’s ability to augment our realities is here, it works and it’s waiting for savvy marketers!

South African Mobile Payment App Boosts Restaurant Tips in London

In a previous blog, I wrote about the importance of mobile marketers not being afraid to cut to the rands and cents chase. There’s nothing wrong with being upfront with consumers, and actually asking for the order. After all, that’s why we’re in the business of mobile marketing. Consumers, for their part, are becoming very favourably disposed to trying out new mobile-based methods of payment. In South Africa, we’ve lately seen the growing adoption of such payment gateways as Zapper and others. Now, research from overseas indicates that nearly a third of consumers are willing to try out mobile wallets within the next six months. This survey conducted by Computer Services, Inc seems to show that financial institutions are on the right track by investing in advanced mobile banking solutions that attract younger generations, in particular. Interestingly, restaurants and mobile payments companies told CNBC they have seen a boost in customers tipping when using apps on their smartphones to pay for meals. According to CNBC, La Patagonia, a rustic Argentinian restaurant in the middle of London reported a 4 percent rise in tips since it first started using Zapper – South African-developed, by the way. Zapper allows people to scan a code on their receipt and adjust the tip on their smartphone. Seeing as though we’re on the topic, let’s take a look at some great hints and tips for mobile marketers interested in creating an effective mobile payment app: 1. Ensure no sensitive information is stored on-device or transferred to the point-of-sale device mobile consumers will be using. 2. Customize the app to reflect your brand, or your client’s brand. This means staying true to the proper corporate identity using all appropriate fonts and colours. This will enhance your customers’ mobile experience and brand equity at the same time. 3. Encouraging your customers to spend more by offering rewards and making it easy for them to participate in a loyalty programme. You will drive usage if you create added value. 4. Finally, get qualified advice on adhering to the requirements of South Africa’s Protection of Private Information (POPI) Act when it comes to accessing and storing consumers’ data.

Back to Mobile Basics for A Bird’s Eye View

With mobile marketing so focused on what we at Imaginatrix like to call ‘mini metrics’, sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. I like to do this because it is so motivating. It speaks volumes of the long-term growth potential of our industry when one considers that way back in 1995, less than one percent of the world’s population had Internet connectivity, for example. In that specific year, mobile was just one year old in South Africa, having been launched commercially in 1994 after a test phase in 1993. Today, 40 percent of the 7 billion of so human beings alive today are connected to the web and by far the majority are using their mobile phone browsers to reach out. Let’s take a look at some other ‘big picture’ facts and stats relating to mobile – sometimes, birds eye views can bring us back down to earth by helping to ground us in the fundamentals of our discipline: The mobile web is exploding Yes, the Internet has grown, but the mobile Internet has grown many, many times faster. In 2016, there will be well over two billion mobile users, IDC estimates. Media consumption is moving to mobile Marketers should note that users are engaging with different channels and average time by user by channel is following the trends you would expect. In other words, digital and mobile usage are increasing and television, radio and print are diminishing. Social is king on mobile Something else you would expect, ComScore’s recent ranking of top US smartphone apps has Facebook (77.7 percent) and Facebook Messenger (61.7 percent) listed as the top two used apps by a wide margin. This reinforces the fact that social is king on mobile. In addition, while the marketing and advertising industry would have us believe there are other social media platforms being accessed by the masses, it’s really Facebook that remains tops by a massive margin. Two mobile operating systems dominate Google’s Android continues to dominate while Apple’s iOS is the other dominant player. This is overseas stats but should equally be the case in African markets. The good news here is that with only two dominant platforms to focus on, there should be fewer concerns when it comes to supporting app testing and user experience. The majority of email opens are on mobile Finally, while in most marketers’ minds, email is its own separate channel, it’s worth noting that more than 50 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device, according to email service provider Litmus. This is critical for mobile marketers, because, in most cases, the way an email renders on a mobile device is radically different from the way it renders on a desktop or laptop.


No Ads, No Commerce & Thats’s the Bottom Line

Facebook reported ad revenues of over $6.2 billion in Q2 2016 and eMarketer estimates that in 2016 ads account for 96% of Facebook’s total worldwide revenues. So, it’s little surprise then that Facebook, Ad Blocker Plus and the former’s attempts to nullify the latter’s best attempts, are again in the news. This is starting to sound like the Cola Wars. Blocking ads could be a dangerous game for Facebook as eMarketer predicts strong growth in ad blocking users over the next year—and even stronger growth among smartphone ad blockers. This year, for example, usage of desktop-based ad blocking software will grow 30.1%. On smartphones, growth in ad blocking will be more than twice that fast. This all means that Facebook is risking the annoyance of the millions of its users who have downloaded ad blocking software. A potential gap in the social media market just might be starting to emerge. It won’t last long: advertising remains the only viable, long-term way to subsidise – for want of a better phrase – free stuff. As expected, there are two opposing views on the topic of ad blockers.   The first is expressed by this headline from MIT Technology Review: – “Facebook can’t win against ad blockers and here’s the proof”   And the second, completely different headline is from the folks at Fortune magazine: – “Here’s the proof that Facebook is always going to win the ad blocking war”   So it’s essentially a jocks versus nerds, 1980s teen movie standoff. All of this emotion is a bit overheated and unnecessary for one simple reason. The vast majority of Facebook access takes place via mobile handsets, not via PCs and laptops that are more prone to ad blocking. However, for the purposes of this blog, let’s keep the conversation going, so to speak, and pick a side. Imaginatrix is going to side with the men in suits here. That’s probably no surprise, but let’s take a closer look why we believe Facebook will win the day against the ad blocker spoilsports: Firstly, consumers have always been happy to deal with a fair amount of advertising in exchange for receiving something awesome that they don’t have to pay for. This is the case from the simple free calculator app on your iPad that serves a few innocuous casino ads now and again, to Vodacom’s fantastic Please Call Me service. Secondly, ads present useful commercial information that most consumers find enhances their lives. The key here is that ever-present mobile marketing caveat: IF that information is personalised. Facebook has the diagnostic tools to be able to personalise advertising messages very effectively, so no problem there. Finally, ad blocking software simply doesn’t work and installing it most often leads to a whole new set of unexpected problems. Until the ad blocking companies can actually get their product to perform as promised, then we’ll delay the conversation. In conclusion: ads are not the problem, it’s the lack of personalization that’s getting backs up. Personalise, personalise and personalise and the mobile marketing industry will kill any perceived threats from the ad blockers overnight.

Political Parties can do Text Better – Here’s How…

So South Africa’s 2016 Local Government Elections have (almost) come and gone. For citizens, the results themselves will make for interesting reading. For mobile marketers, the way the results were achieved will be of most interest. The polling Itself has been judged to be free and fair. Unfortunately, when it comes to political parties’ marketing activities on, or using, the medium of the mobile phone, the jury has returned a verdict of ‘lousy’. All the usual mobile marketing mistakes were made and it’s ridiculous that we’ve had both democratic elections and cellular since 1994 and sending poorly-composed, one-size fits all SMS messages, at the wrong times, is the limit of our politicians’ mobile tactics. How they have wasted the power of mobile at this critical juncture. Don’t get us wrong – Imaginatrix is working hard to boost the adoption of mobile marketing practices throughout the public and private sectors and we’re thrilled that first-level mobile marketing campaigns are working their way through the South African political landscape. It’s just that so much more could have been done. South Africans are getting used to some pretty innovative mobile campaigns by corporates using the full repertoire of mobile tools available to us. From text ads tagged to the end of ‘Please Call Me’ messages, to Bluetooth promo ads transmitted to mobile users at special events, the country’s biggest firms are trying it all to get ahead. If political parties are insistent on playing it safe by sticking with the SMS, let’s encourage them to do text better with these tips:
  1. Mobile should enhance brand equity – so don’t transmit text messages by the tens of thousands littered with spelling mistakes and bizarre references that make sense to no-one but the out-of-their-depth composer.
  1. SMS messages need to be sent at the right time to have maximum effect – it’s just not good enough sending your messages at 2pm on the day of voting. Come on.
  1. Mobile marketing efforts must be coordinated and should ideally be complementary – so what efforts backed up your text messages? We saw one predictable banner ad on a news platform known to be sympathetic to a certain party. Was that the limit of their complementary mobile marketing activity?
  1. One size doesn’t fit all – so, in future, please try segment your databases and come up with a few unique SMS angles for each segment. That really is the least you could do for our votes.