Tag Archives: mobile marketing magazine

Mobile Marketing Magazine – Issue 19, March 2015 – 2015: The Year Iteration, Not Innovation is Key

Written for the 18th edition of Mobile Marketing Magazine. See the full issue here.

So the New Year hasn’t quite brought the ‘new you’ that the mobile industry might have been looking for, instead we all seem to be focused on delivering, or perfecting, those innovations we’ve all been talking about since that fated ‘year of mobile’.

With sales halted on the current version of Google Glass, plus wearables like Nike FuelBand resigned to the scrap heap, it’s clear that smart device-makers are doing some soul-searching. Despite several new launches at CES, Apple’s Watch, set to launch this Spring, is really the only wearable on everyone’s mind.

But check out the Uno Noteband for something a little bit different. The device, which has just completed a successful crowdfund on Indiegogo, comes pre-loaded with Spritz fast-reading software that promises to help you read a 300-page book in 90 minutes. This might be the key to keeping your New Year’s resolution to read more books, while Bond could be just the app to help you keep those promises of regular contact with family and friends, enabling you to set regular reminders to reach out to certain people, on whichever platform they want to hear from you.

It’s clear the handset market is still hot though, with Chinese upstart Xiaomi sealing its position as the world’s third-best selling handset in 2014, and rousing investment rumours from big players like Facebook. The company, founded in 2010, has just unveiled a couple of handsome handsets that are shorter, thinner, lighter and much cheaper than the iPhone 6 Plus.

Although failing in its bid to get a slice of the Chinese device market, Facebook just made an interesting buyout in the form of Wit.ai, which could accelerate voice-controlled functionality in the social giant’ products. Facebook’s enterprise efforts are also a hot tip for 2015, if businesses are willing to part with their data of course!

Behind the scenes, Qualcomm has been working hard on improving the processing power of our much-loved smartphones, and its Snapdragon 810 is now coming into production in Windows and Android devices like the LG G Flex 2. This means better data speeds, longer battery life and optimised support of 4K, or ultra-high-definition, video.

And this is perfect timing for what’s becoming our all-video culture, with visual feasting set to represent 79% of all consumer internet traffic in 2018, up from 66% in 2013. With everyone from Facebook, Youtube, Amazon, Netflix, Instagram and Vice all vying your attention in this fast-growing media space, prepare for the definition of TV, the ad spend and the metrics to change dramatically.

And where would video be without, next gen video: virtual reality. Gamers are clearly the big winners in the growth of VR, and mobile games are already tipped to outsell consoles this year. But advertisers, too, will start to make virtual reality pay. Although the Tesco store walkaround was pretty awkward, companies like Chrysler are turning a ‘behind the scenes at the factory’ slot into a truly cinematic experience, with the help of Google Maps and Oculus Rift.

And where there’s ‘bells and whistles’ tech, there’s now a real drive to create the products and services that help every day. Covering everything from assistive technologies for people with disabilities, to ‘quantified self’ applications like Health from Apple, 2015 is surely the year that health products, and health data, become awesome. In Berlin, MiMi is using smartphones to help make hearing aid technologies accessible to all. Peak Vision is likewise bringing cheap eye tests to the developing world via its smartphone app.

And where there’s small data, there’s bigger data, the likes of which is helping smart city innovation trickle down to smart towns. MK:Smart is a £16m project currently smartening up Milton Keynes, proving that projects like this can be done on a smaller scale. The company behind this was just bought up by Huawei, while Samsung Ventures has invested in London-based IoT startup Everythng, so it’s certainly a battleground to wtach going into 2015.

Keep an eye on eye-tracking and facial-recognition tech, long-tipped to come into mainstream usage, save the creepiness factor, plus even more mobile-first product customisation, like that just announced at BBC News. Mobile money, yet again led by Apple, is also likely to become ‘just another thing we do’ come New Year’s Day 2016. But don’t think about that now, there’s a whole year of improvement and iteration to do first!

Mobile Marketing Magazine – Issue 19, March 2015 – Y Business Accelerators Attract Big Brands

Written for the 18th edition of Mobile Marketing Magazine. See the full issue here.

Since the launch of Y Combinator back in 2005, the business accelerator space has truly come to life, with 2013 marking a record year for new programmes opening their doors. Y Comb’s first cohort included one of the internet age’s most interesting success stories – online news platform Reddit– as well as mobile location startup Loopt, which was bought for $43.4m in 2012. The world’s first tech accelerator also gave early backing to Airbnb and Dropbox, now both multi-billion dollar companies.

SEE-DB, created to profile each new and hopeful innovation hub, lists 227 programmes worldwide in 2015, which have supported 4,274 business, celebrated 245 exits totalling $3.4m, and seen $7.2m raised. And they admit that’s probably not even the half of it. Competition for certain accelerators can be high, Telefónica’s Wayra has received more than 29,000 pitches worldwide and has an admission rate of just 1.6%, but in an increasingly crowded accelerator space, most new programmes are now going down the specialist route. Female Propeller for High Fliers in Dublin only accepts female-led startups, while the EyeFocus Accelerator in Berlin is dedicated simply to innovation in eye care.

Many of the UK’s highstreet brands are now flocking towards this kind of innovation as an alternative to things like in-house R&D or M&A activity. Companies are using the accelerator model to help with technological innovation, or build an ecosystem around a specific product, like the Nike+ Fuel Lab. Some, like Disney, have opted to sponsor existing programmes, in this case, TechStars, while brands like John Lewis, Barclays and Telefónica, have all put their name above the door on their relevant offerings.

In January alone, a new accelerator has been launched in London by delivery firm DPD, in partnership with tech fund L Marks, to help it innovate around logistics and fulfilment. As the cost of doing business in the digital age drops, starting an accelerator and supporting startups looks like an increasingly resource-efficient strategy. And if you’ve attracted and interviewed the right teams, you may have a new supplier, or even a new business unit in your midst.

But, there are risks, and unanswered questions around the model: how do you distinguish the unicorns from the donkeys? How do you make strategic decisions about your direction given the little data there is on offer? Are accelerators too focused on companies that offer the clearest, short-term hope of success, meaning more complex areas are left untouched? And how do you actually turn a profit? Y Combinator took five years to start making money – perhaps that’s why Tesco set up its Rainmaking Loft as a co-working and events space, rather than an accelerator programme.

What differentiates your accelerator is becoming increasingly important, whether that’s by mission – are you for good or for profit? – whether you have a specialism, or how the project is funded. The quality of learning resources or mentors, along with the time and equity commitments, are also key considerations for startups that are looking to get involved. And accelerator owners are still ultimately trying to understand what success looks like for them, and how they measure it.

Unilever Foundry

Founded: May 2014

Specialism: B2B marketing programme working with Unilever marketers through partnership with Collider accelerator in the UK, plus more worldwide

Length of programme: 3 months

Funding structure: No equity taken. Unilever pays 50% of pilot project cost, with the remaining 50% paid on delivery. Following this, the project may be taken on for investment by Unilever Ventures.

Projects: Unilever creates briefs for its existing brands across different geographies, asking relevant companies to apply to solve a specific business problem. As of July 2014, five Collider startups had signed revenue-generating deals with Unilever brands.

John Lewis’s JLAB

Founded: March 2014

Specialism: Retail technology accelerator with dedicated space within the Level39 fintech hub at Canary Wharf.

Length of programme: 15 weeks

Funding structure: £12,500 investment for 4% equity. The winner of the JLAB programme receives up to £100,000 investment and a chance to supply John Lewis.

Projects: Five projects made it into JLAB 2014, giving them access to John Lewis’ retail infrastructure, plus internal and external mentors. Location-based tech provider Localz, which uses iBeacons to send relevant information to smartphone users while shopping, won the first JLAB.

Telefónica’s Wayra

Founded: 2011, March 2012 in the UK, totalling 14 established across Latin America and Europe

Specialism: Looking at areas including cloud services, financial services, M2M, digital security, e-health, mobile applications, social networks and e-learning

Length of programme: 9 months

Funding structure: up to $50,000 for 10% equity, with $23m already invested

Projects: Wayra has accelerated nearly 450 companies across 20 different industries, which have gone on to raise more than $70m from other sources. 80 of the programme’s alumni are now working with Telefónica in selling, pilots or trials.

Samsung Accelerator

Founded: July 2013 in California, September 2013 in New York

Specialism: Looking for products and services that can enrich the lives of consumers. The startups do not have to make their products exclusively for Samsung.Length of programme: There is no fixed duration

Funding structure: There is no fixed amount. “We understand each product has different timelines and resource requirements, and we work closely with our entrepreneurs to determine what they need to succeed,” Samsung says.

Projects: Samsung does not have an application process or deadline, instead offering experienced entrepreneurs the opportunity to approach them with their idea. The programme has kicked off in the US, where all of its current projects are in stealth mode, with a goal of getting them to market within one to three years.

Microsoft Ventures UK

Founded: California in June 2013, now operating across 7 countries including China, India and Israel

Specialism: From coding to gaming, advertising to online dating, Microsoft is simply looking for great ideas and skilled teams.

Length of programme: 3 months

Funding structure: London applicants receive up to £75,000 prior to entering the programme. Microsoft takes no equity and offers free workspace, mentoring and access to its business ecosystem.

Projects: Globally, 80% of the 240 graduates across 7 accelerators have raised an average of $1.9m in funding within 1 year of finishing the programme. London-based alumni Caribu got a mention during Apple’s recent keynote event.

Nike+ Fuel Lab

Founded: April 2014

Specialism: Builds on the work done through the 2013 Nike+ Accelerator program, developing digital services for the 28m-plus people that use FuelBand, plus expanding its audience by partnering with companies like MyFitnessPal.

Length of programme: 12 weeks

Funding structure: $50,000 per team

Projects: Although the company announced after 18 months it would stop selling its FuelBand fitness harware, it continues to work on the software ecosystem. It’s not clear where the project has got to.

What the brands say

“As part of our 150th anniversary celebrations last year, we launched our first ever technology incubator, JLAB,” says John Vary, IT Innovation Manager at John Lewis. “We have been ahead of the game in omnichannel retailing and our JLAB incubator was designed to help nurture the next generation of technology startups, while helping ensure we remain on the cutting-edge of retail change.

“We had five finalists but the overall winner was Localz, a startup business specialising in micro-location technology. Their technology gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of some enhanced services using their smartphone based on their precise location. For example, it could automatically offer to trigger a customer’s Click & Collect order to be picked as they enter the shop. We’re going to start trialing this solution very soon before rolling it out more widely if it’s successful.”

What the participants say

“We chose Wayra because they are a global accelerator with offices around the world with an excellent reputation,” says Daniel Reina, CEO and co-founder of app discovery startup Tappx. “They offer investment support, offices, metrics, mentors, legal and financial support, and internships. You also benefit from a close working partnership with Telefónica, and a wide network of advisors. It was a strategic decision for us, mobile app discovery is a global market and we needed a global partner.

“You have to be able to juggle multiple things at the same time, pitch at a moment’s notice and do a lot of networking. Being part of an accelerator means you have more work and responsibilities to meet the expectations of those supporting you. In return, you have a wider network, which is an invaluable resource to a company that needs to grow rapidly, but you are always busy and need to work hard. We also learn from the other companies participating in the programme, it’s its own intensive MBA.”

What are the other options?

So perhaps the corporate accelerator isn’t right for every brand – but what are the other options?

The Pop Up Agency

“We solve briefs in 48 hours,” says Zlatko Corluka, co-founder of The Pop Up Agency, which came out of work done by the team at career accelerator Hyper Island. “The client is not expecting a fully functioning app or a website after this time, but something that you can start implementing or producing the next day.

“Innovation is almost always the factor and they often come to us to try new ways of working. We could be called in to accelerate a project, to think of new markets for an existing product, to create or launch a new product, and much more. Before settling down in London, we did a world tour where we worked with everyone from Facebook, to Coca-Cola, and some startups in Berlin. From this we got great knowledge of how different markets and industries around the world work, something that clients really appreciate.

“Often our clients already have one or more agencies working on their communications, but they’re not always happy with what they get. From what we have seen and heard, the value of the end product isn’t matching with the time and money spent on it.”

EY Startup Challenge

Some large companies, like Ernst and Young, have opted to create short competitions in order for them to engage with startups around a specific business problem, in this case, the ‘right to be forgotten’.

Sedicii has developed and patented a technology that eliminates the transmission, storage and exposure of private user data during identity verification. They won the six-week EY Startup Challenge from a shortlist of seven tech startups.

“We wanted to work with EY because they are focused on delivering real commercial outcomes for their customers that use new innovations that startups can provide,” says Sedicii’s global commercial director Richard Coady. “From this programme and working with the EY team, Sedicii benefited from having access to and engaging with EY clients in verifying our solutions and introducing them to our innovative technologies.”

The Trillion Euro Question: Whose Data is it Anyway?

It may feel like an age since Ed Snowden made his revelations about US and UK Government spying last year, but the issue of balancing security and privacy continues largely unresolved. Now, a film documenting the NSA contractor’s first interviews with journalists, CITIZENFOUR, has hit UK cinemas, and GCHQ has a new head who says tech companies are facilitating terrorism. A perfect time to take another look at data security in the industry…. (first published in the June issue of Mobile Marketing, republished here)

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has called indiscriminate smartphone tracking “the biggest debate of the 21st century”, while Chi Onwurah MP, former head of telecoms technology at Ofcom and now leader of Labour’s digital government review, told Mobile Marketing that “mobile is the next big security scandal waiting to happen”.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is currently suing the US government for its role in mass surveillance, as well as advocating a Fair Data equivalent to the Fair Trade mark for companies. Speaking at an event staged by The Economist earlier in the year, Christopher Soghoian from the ACLU levelled blame at the ad execs who built the big data marketing systems now proven to be a key tool for US and UK spies. “I’m not here to tell you what you’ve done is evil,” he told the audience. “But it is.” And with the EU and US currently reconsidering data protection legislation, the landscape is set to change quite significantly.

“People’s understanding of what can be gathered from mobiles has improved quite a lot over the last few years,” says Forrester analyst Anthony Mullen. “Data security is now the number two concern for smartphone owners according to TRUSTe – second, of course, to battery life.” It’s the range of data generated by smartphones compared to desktop, he says, that has had companies rubbing their hands but consumers wringing theirs.

Even young people, often perceived as indifferent, are becoming increasingly worried. Research from youth marketing specialists Voxburner found that 67 per cent of 16-to-24 year olds consider security their number one concern when buying an internet-connected device. But Luke Mitchell, head of insight at Voxburner, says: “Yes, young people are aware of data privacy issues and are concerned about the misuse of their data, but there is also a sense of acceptance and powerlessness among them.”

“When WhatsApp was bought by Facebook it was making no serious revenue, so the purchase price indicated that the social network was buying the OTT messaging service based on the value of each user,” says McAfee’s Raj Samani. “That works out at about $40 each, compared to around $30 when it bought Instagram and $20 when Google purchased YouTube.” The value of personal data is increasing, Samani says, but the perceived value among ordinary people is actually decreasing. “We’ve actually seen people give away their personal data for chocolate.”

Put simply, Forrester’s Mullen believes that: “Privacy policies have to be written so a grandmother could understand them. Brands should not be scared of asking for lots of data, but obviously if they don’t get data handling right, that will hinder growth. Third parties basically don’t care. From the conversations I have, it’s clear they’re just not getting it. So brands have to put pressure on them. Future mobile services need to move to prediction but brands have to be clear and transparent about who they’re sharing with.”

Privacy is the new green

Aurelie Pols has been working in data analytics for a decade and sold her first startup to what is now Digitas LBi. She now works out of Spain, which has handed out 80 per cent of the EU’s total data protection fines to date, where she leads an analytics company and specialist law firm Mind Your Privacy. If data is the new oil, Pols declared during a recent webinar with CoolaData, then privacy is the new green.

“Certain industries, like advertising, have this weird sensation that giving customers choices will make them lose money,” she told Mobile Marketing. “That’s not really the case. And the industry doesn’t seem to know how to ask for consent: ‘No let’s not ask them, let’s just take the data and say nothing’.”

More so than simply not knowing how to ask for permission, Forrester’s Mullen says that those in the industry, particularly ad networks, “have their fingers in their ears”. “Ad networks are invested in capturing a lot of local data, often employing obtuse ways of finding out what consumer identities are. Marketers and vendors will just capture as much as they possibly can and work out what to do with it later. There needs to be better planning on data need and for who capturing and measuring data is going to benefit. App developers are likewise being greedy and capturing as much as they can.”

“There is an issue with third-parties in the supply chain and the obvious one is advertising where there’s a mesh of different data flows going on,” echoes Simon Rice, group manager for technology at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). “When you click on a URL, so many things are going on in the background to make the decision on which ad to serve – and you can’t predict at present where that data will go.”

The ACLU’s Christopher Soghoian flagged data brokers as a potential loose cog in the big data machine, naming the likes of Acxiom, which works with everyone from Google to Microsoft to tie up in-store and digital purchasing data. “You quickly run into organisations that don’t have a brand that can be damaged. If a third-party misuses or loses data – who will be held accountable?”

Acxiom now runs a service that enables users to find out what data it holds on them (aboutthedata.com). You just have to enter a whole load of personal details to get started… Needless to say Acxiom CEO Scott Howe favours self-regulation and brands the US Rockefeller data bill currently going through Congress as worse than the worst parts of Obamacare.


The high-profile ‘Heartbleed’ security flaw found in April could have allowed hackers to access passwords and other supposedly encrypted data. The ICO’s Simon Rice says those targeting it would have had to be very lucky to get anything other than “a big blob of data”, but nevertheless, this was a serious hole in the open source code Open SSL used by everyone from Google, Amazon and Rackspace to secure their vast infrastructure.

As a not-for-profit project with only one full-time employee, the Open SSL team has successfully lobbied the big companies that use its software to contribute to its future success. Rice doesn’t advocate closed networks, with everyone from the FT to the BBC advocating open source, he simply asks: “Should companies have done a bit more code review from an organisational perspective?”

The industry’s attention has now turned to encryption as the ‘sure-fire’ way to protect data. Forrester’s Anthony Mullen says that they’re expecting to see more encryption tools – possibly even something from smartphone OS owners who were annoyed at how their data was being commandeered by security services. “It’s quite a lid that’s been lifted and it’s good for the health of the web,” he adds.

“The maths for encryption works,” Rice agrees. “The problem is it’s got to be implemented properly. If the data is secure in transit but then stored in plain text at the other end, the encryption was bullet proof – but the implementation wasn’t. My concern on the app side of things is that any app developer could just grab a code library from somewhere online, with no idea where the code came from and no due diligence process that they can explain to the user.”

McAfee says it now finds 39,000 new malware threats every single day, housing more than 40m of them in its purpose-built ‘zoo’. The data revolution in many ways, Raj Samani says, has been led by those offering ‘Hacking as a Service’, and the opportunity to rent malware or find it open source and learn how to use it by watching videos on YouTube. If robbing banks was high risk with potentially no reward, the gravitation towards cyber criminality is, arguably, just good business sense.

Data first

So what if your company is built solely on the use of data? The recently launched Cloze app has been developed specifically to help professionals manage the “novel a day” of social information they now receive as part of modern working life. Users sacrifice their personal information in order for Cloze’s algorithm to prioritise all the messages coming into their various inboxes and streams, with a premium service that adds extra features.

The company’s co-founder Alex Cote says accessing customer data is the “nature of the beast”, but as companies have been criticised for storing personally identifiable information in plain text, he explains how Cloze has been built with security and privacy baked in. “The team has built Cloze so that data is encrypted in our database so even employees can’t access it. Cloze doesn’t share any details across different users’ accounts and our security pledge, found easily on the company website, explains that data will not be sold or shared with advertisers.”

It’s not just startups that are making huge efforts to collect and analyse customer data in order to engage users, upsell services and attract advertisers. “Data is at the heart of the FT‘s strategy,” says Kristina Eriksson, head of media relations at the FT. “It gives us a deeper understanding of our audience and facilitates smarter product development and marketing.”

The FT famously shunned a presence in Apple’s App Store in order to have full visibility and control over customer data. “Because our mobile app is web-based, we are able to apply the same analytics as on desktop to campaigns on this platform, on- and offline, unlike pure ‘native’ offerings,” Eriksson says. This strategy doesn’t seem to have hurt, with mobile accounting for nearly a quarter of all new subscriptions and overall digital subscriptions to FT.com growing 31 per cent during 2013 to represent almost two-thirds of the publisher’s total paying audience.

“Our focus is on using engagement data intelligently to correlate the amount of time a brand message is exposed to our audience with the outcomes of the campaign. By matching a client’s content to FT articles through FT Smart Match we can improve campaign performance significantly.” Eriksson says that the FT works hard to ensure data protection is built into its products from the start and the company collaborates closely with technology and network providers to address any potential risks. No individual data is available internally, she adds, with analysis only made around general demographic cohorts.

Inrix, a big data analytics company working on building a huge ‘population analytics’ platform, is currently partnering with Havas on a smart city project in Oxford – a brief that seems somewhat out of the usual territory for a media agency. The project has been devised by Havas’ new chief data officer Mike Potts, who became the company’s first ever CDO back in February. He says he was appointed “to send a message to the market that we’re really serious about this”.

Matt Simmons, director of marketing for EMEA at Inrix, believes that data analysis is crucial to 21st century business. “Big data and the analysis of that data is also a catalyst for creating new and innovative services that can provide real value across a number of sectors,” he says. “Companies that use data to deliver better insights to customers and decision-makers stand a greater chance of differentiating themselves from competitors and driving their business forward in this technology-driven age.”

No Data?

Far from the smart use of data helping good companies distinguish themselves from the rest, some in the industry now believe that a full-blown ‘no data’ policy could start to be the true differentiator, identified as a trend to watch for 2014 by TrendWatching.com. “Brands will have to walk a fine line between offering consumers a valuable (and ideally seamless) service, and freaking them out with aggressive if not downright scary ‘services’. Yes, consumers want to feel served, but they don’t like to be watched.”

“Online services are actually starting to use privacy to promote their brand,” the ICO’s Rice flags. “Microsoft has just announced that they won’t do any targeted advertising for education products – now Google says they will do the same thing.” Pols welcomes this, adding: “I hope this means that in the future it’s going to be a more egalitarian battle than what it is now. I’d actually like services to allow me to pay but they say ‘this is not our business model’. This ‘free economy’ gives people no choice. You should be able to pay for stuff to keep your data private.”

Data legislation

In a landmark decision, the EU has now ruled that Google users have the ‘right to be forgotten’, with the search engine now facing an administrative task of truly unknown complexity and scale to adhere to this. Short of having a full Digital Magna Carta, something father of the internet Tim Berners-Lee demanded on the 25th anniversary of his invention, Europe has already begun the long process of revising its entire 1995 Data Protection Directive.

This is already tabled to include a more wide-ranging ‘right to be forgotten’ and while most of our commentators believe the new believe the new rules are going to be a positive thing, McAfee’s Samani says that any legislation brought in to protect citizens, and brands, from the threat of data loss, has to be realistic. “The ‘right to be forgotten’ is technically impossible. You have a digital tattoo once your data goes out there and once your data’s gone it’s gone.”

Pols believes that given that data is transferred from one continent to another at the click of a mouse, the only way to move forwards is to have global data legislation.“The US and UK get stuck with the word ‘privacy’ and as long as we find it difficult to define privacy, we can’t legislate for it. Data protection, favoured in the rest of the EU, is something totally different. Internationally, in the last six months alone, it feels like the Americans are starting to align with this. It’s certainly better than two years ago where in the US the attitude was ‘privacy is dead, just get over it’.”

“Europe’s going to lead this – spurred by legislation and informed by the continent’s recent history of fascism – and completely redrawing engagement lines between brands and consumers,” Anthony Mullen from Forrester adds. “And the press will have a field day when the flood gates open – way more than the EU cookie law. There will be a lot of pressure from journalists to get brands to change their behaviour.”

My Data?

The Boston Consulting Group (BSG) has estimated that the personal data economy could be worth €1trn (£820bn) in Europe by 2020, roughly 8 per cent of the combined GDP of the EU-27 countries. “For European businesses and governments, the use of personal data will deliver an annual benefit of €330bn by 2020, bringing growth to an otherwise stagnant economy,” a BSG report says. In its survey of 10,000 people worldwide, 78 per cent said they would use tools to control personal data if available. “Companies that excel at creating trust should be able to increase the amount of consumer data they can access by at least five to 10 times.”

Given the value now placed on data, some are now working towards offering citizens a way to actively sell this ‘new asset type’ and reap the revenue rewards themselves. Companies like Handshakes and Datacoup have begun to offer this on their own data marketplaces, but personal data on its own, as opposed to within a group of people ‘like’ you, appears to offer little value. The FT’interactive tool ‘how much is your data personal data worth?’ explains that data brokers already know your age, gender, postcode, ethnicity and education level, all worth a sum total $0.007. If you casually throw in that you’re a millionaire, that figure only goes up to $0.123.

Some individuals are now testing the power that the internet has over your data. Internet activist Shawn Buckles sold all of his personal records for €288 in a bid to highlight data security issues. He states on his website: “Privacy is gone. We gave it up, for no other reason but the thought that it’s useless. Why don’t we protect our rights?” Buckles was quickly followed on this mission by mum-to-be Janet Vertesi, who went to extreme lengths to hide her pregnancy from big data and was flagged as a criminal along the way.

The UK Government’s own Midata project is also working on ways for citizens to access their data for use for civic services. “The Midata programme is a voluntary programme working with companies in key sectors of the economy: energy, personal current accounts, debit cards and credit cards,” says Gemma Lobb from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, which is backing the work. “The Government is focusing on areas where the data held will have the most value for consumers, either in terms of giving them access to the type of information that will help them make an effective switching choice, or where there is the potential for the data to drive services to empower them.”

People will eventually be able to download a transcript of their data and use it as part of the personal data economy, which is great if you trust the Government to help you manage your personal details. According to BCG, government is less trusted than brands on data management. The Midata programme itself does not have access to any data, Lobb explained, it’s working with brands so that they are encouraged to give back certain data that they hold on their customers. The team recently set up a consumer protection and trust work stream that is soon to report on its findings. “I worry about how we educate individuals of what are the additional risks are around giving people a full transcript in readable format of their personal data,” admits the ICO’s Rice. “Scammers and spammers will be onto this as well.”

The Government has wholeheartedly joined the open data revolution, even giving £10m grant funding  to London’s Open Data Institute, but questions remain around what political involvement does to the neutrality of data collection and dissemination. Plans to sell off NHS data have been “mishandled”, according to the chair of the panel set up to advise the NHS and ministers on the governance of patient information, while HMRC’s plan to sell of its data has been branded “borderline insane” by Conservative MP David Davis.


Although a complex area, it appears that words like transparency and consent are now coming into everyday vocabulary for marketers, policymakers and citizens, with seductive opportunities to collect data becoming increasingly heavily weighed against the potential to leave people feeling betrayed.

“Phase one was all about snooping – which was a great advantage for advertisers,” Forrester’s Mullen concludes. “In phase two we’re seeing more awareness and more controls. But we need to go through this to realign. Phase three will see much more automation, around wearables and contextual services, when people trust brands to do this for them. The nirvana of deeper, richer services will not come until we go through this pain.

“Privacy really is just a subset of this bigger topic – trust,” he adds. Trust is a much more positive thing to hang this change in the way that we use data on and I want to see this reframed as the trust debate.”

So it looks like we are in a transition. But we – people, government and business – are yet to really start talking to each other about, and truly understanding the consequences of, smartphone tracking, as Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger urges, less still the complexities of a full-blown debate about trust. And without this, yet more scandals, either through intention or oversight, are no doubt on their way.

Watching CITIZENFOUR on Friday was certainly one uncomfortable way to spend Halloween. Find a screening of the film here.

Mobile Traffic Doubles at Evening Standard and Indy


ESI Media – which comprises the Independent, the i paper and the Evening Standard, all owned by Russian oligarch Evgeny Lebedev – has had an exciting few years.

From taking the Standard free and launching a concise sister paper to the Independent, the i, back in 2010, to hiring the youngest ever editor of a national newspaper earlier this year, the group has consistently evolved with the changing face of news.

“It’s a challenge for all print newspapers to maintain circulation and readership, and is even harder for paid-for titles,” says digital MD Zach Leonard. “But we’ve actually got more people reading Independent journalism today than ever before because of the absolutely radical growth of the website.”  Worldwide, the company now sees 30m unique users every month and only 55 per cent of those are now in the UK, he said.

As part of its most recent reinvention, which includes a facelift for the Indy, a new iOS app has also launched this week for the Evening Standard. An Android app and a dedicated Kindle Fire app are on the way in the coming weeks – the Fire delivers the second-largest audience share after iOS – with the same updates promised for the Independent before Christmas. The apps are all powered by Page Suite, chosen as something that would work for both the free London paper as well as the paid-for national title.

40 per cent of traffic is mobile

“A year ago, 20 to 25 per cent of our web reads were coming from mobile,” Leonard said. “Including our apps, we’re solidly north of 40 per cent every single month.” The new Evening Standard app combines digital elements with a PDF replica of the day’s paper, seeking to satisfy both those who enjoy the traditional linear view, as well as serving up dynamic elements no doubt with a younger readership in mind.

People will be able to see a rolling week of content, as well as gaining access to a 30-day archive. Yes! magazine, which comes out in print each Friday, will also stay in the app for an entire week. “We’re hoping the new app gives people a reason to check in with the Evening Standard on their way to work,” he said.

The app uses push notifications to alert opted-in users to the availability of the latest edition, as well as automatically downloading each edition in the background for the reader to view offline. Within four days of the app’s release, Leonard says the Standard is running around 50 per cent more additional page impressions.

Video and virtual-only editions?

A later release will bring video into the dynamic content section and Leonard said the company’s TV channel London Live, which is launching online and on mobile in the new year, could provide a tie-in.

The company is using both print and digital resources to support the production of this new range of apps and has committed to a rather gruelling-sounding digital production schedule, actively curating a digital edition of the Standard up to five times a day. Leonard says he hopes the paper will be able to deliver an entirely virtual evening edition in the near future.

ESI is actively working with the Audit Bureau of Circulations – the organisation that counts newspaper readership – to create a standard for measuring digital publications. “We’re seeing a move towards metrics that are a lot more robust,” Leonard said.

Native, RTB and transactional ads?

The company is now looking to ensure it can sell truly cross-platform advertising packages, in some instances encouraging its historic print advertisers to go digital. Within the Evening Standard app, as well as the upcoming updated Independent app, there will be IAB-standard ads, as well as overlaid and full-page interstitials between news content.

The group sells a lot of its premium inventory directly to brands, but they do have network and RTB partners. “ESI is currently more dependent on external sales partners for mobile inventory. We’ve been selling mobile ads for the last three years within our apps and the last 18 months on the mobile web and there is growth in terms of networks and RTB.”

“But developing really interesting embedded advertising is where the market is going – the highest premium spots, particularly, are about that,” he said. “We have sponsorship conversations but it’s much more intersting to build something into a content area. I’m really keen to explore transactions and shopping opportunities on our apps in the future.”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and first published here: http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/mobile-traffic-doubles-year-evening-standard-and-indy#7g9mw54TOFCGgo6y.99

Shazam Hints at 2014 IPO

Andrew_Fisher_High Res

Speaking to Shazam executive director Andrew Fisher, it’s easy to believe that the British-based company has the silver bullet for linking TV, radio, outdoor and in store, and is therefore well-placed to reap the rewards from this trillion-dollar market.

So far, the company has focused on using audio recognition for TV ads, bringing users additional branded content within the Shazam app, which ‘turns 30-second TV slots into three minutes of engagement’.

“If someone is engaged immediately, to go straight through to a call centre for example, the conversion rate and ROI is going to be far greater,” Fisher said. “So Shazam is helping traditional media budgets perform better.”

Fisher said the company is actively engaging with brands and agency partners around whether image recognition will become part of the Shazam experience, but he said to date, demand hasn’t been high enough. Through its audio campaigns alone, the platform has driven more than 500,000 users a year to buy $300m of goods and services.

Further growth

But Fisher points out that even with a user base of 350m – and growing by 2m every week – Shazam has only captured around five per cent of the potential global audience. “95 per cent of the opportunity is still in front of us,” he said.

Shazam went to market knowing the facts about smartphone penetration – growing, but not the majority of the world, yet – so has always offered support for feature phones in the 200 countries it is present in. The company’s relationship with Latin American telco América Móvil, from which it received $40m of investment back in July, was a key strategic play to help the company reach its next milestones of 500m and then 1bn users.

“What we now have the ability to do, in partnership with brands, is to give value-add offers to users who have already Shazammed a product, delivered when they are actually in a retail store. There is $1 trillion in total spend between global TV, radio and in store promotions – no other companies today are positioned to build and deliver on that experience for brands and advertisers.”

Partnerships and offerings

As well as creating more than 300 campaigns for 150 top-tier advertisers like Pepsi and Barclays, Shazam has a partnership with Nielsen to use its general viewing data, along with Shazam numbers, to work out campaign engagement figures. The likes of Twitter and Facebook are going further than this, securing deals direct with TV channels to create new ad revenue streams around second-screen social chatter.

Asked if any more data deals were on the way for Shazam, Fisher said: “Lots of people want to access our data because we have both the user’s preferences and their location. Although there will be scope to build more of these kinds of relationships, ultimately we have to protect our relationships with users.

“An IPO is a stated ambition for Shazam and it is my role to work with investors and prepare for that event as and when it would be appropriate to do that. We’re very focused on monetisation and revenue growth – being able to capture part of digital spend and traditional media spend enables us to grow revenue much faster. We will not be at a point to do our IPO this year, or at least in the first half of 2014.”

When asked how this IPO will compare to the likes of Facebook or Twitter, Fisher dismissed the comparison. “We believe we have created a new digital advertising category around media engagement. It gives brands the opportunity to extend engagement with target audiences.”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and first published here: http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/shazam-hints-2014-ipo#Dsr48OfkcIqYj17T.99