Another Year In Review: Revisiting 2014's Mobile Trends

Thomas Husson

Every year for the past few years, I've revisited our predictions for the previous year's mobile trends. It's now time to look back at what happened in 2014. Let’s have a look at some of the trends we put together a year ago with my colleague Julie Ask:

  • Mobile sat at the epicenter of mind-blowing exit events. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $22 billion is the best illustration of the phenomenon. Acquiring mobile expertise and audiences is increasingly expensive. There have been numerous acquisitions – especially in the mobile analytics and advertising space (e.g Yahoo/Flurry, Millenial/Nexage, etc…). VCs increasingly invested in companies that power disruptive mobile-centric business models. Uber was valuated up to $40 billion, demonstrating the power of matching supply and demand in real-time via a best-in-class customer mobile app.
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The Data Digest: WhatsApp And Facebook Messenger Wish Us A Happy New Year

Reineke Reitsma

As I’m writing this blog post on December 30, I don’t yet know how many messages will be sent on New Year’s Eve this year. But looking at the data from recent years, we can expect a huge number of good wishes to be shared digitally during the final minutes of 2014 and the early hours of 2015: WhatsApp processed 18 billion messages on New Year’s Eve 2012 and 54 billion on December 31, 2013!

However, it’s not just the number of messages I’m interested in this year: I’m also keen to see the influence on these numbers of Facebook Messenger’s rollout earlier this year and its subsequent uptake. Our European Consumer Technographics®Consumer Technology And Telecom Survey, 2014 clearly shows that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp dominate the messaging landscape in Europe, with Skype in third place.

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp show similar levels of uptake at the European level, but we see surprising variations at the country level. For example, WhatsApp clearly dominates the messaging landscape in Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, while Facebook Messenger leads in the UK, France, and Sweden.

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Mobile Measurement Isn’t Keeping Up With Mobile’s Importance To Insurance Business Performance

Ellen Carney

The wild west of mobile in insurance is getting tamed.  Mobile is no longer just a fun experiment—it’s now a crucial element in the customer and agent experience. We first published our mobile insurance metrics report in August of 2013.  At the time, we were struck by how dependent insurers were on a single metric to prove their mobile success:  Application downloads. 

With 15 more months of mobile development chops under their belts, in November, we decided to take a look at how much more sophisticated mobile insurance strategists had become in their mobile performance measurement strategies.  The answer?  Unlike other industries where mobile metrics have grown up, insurers remain stuck in mobile adolescence.  How do we know? Because topping the mobile insurance metrics list in 2014 are web traffic and app downloads.  Fewer insurers are tracking metrics that measure real business outcomes like conversions and mobile revenue transactions.

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What I Expect to See At CES That Is Different

Julie Ask

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens in Las Vegas on January 6th,with global electronics manufacturers from Samsung to Sony to LG looking to outdo one another with whispers and snippets of content that will increase our anticipation of the next "must have" device.

CES is typically dominated by TV's and home entertainment systems with the same manufacturers using Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in early March for smartphones and tablets. But I both hope and expect to see some new things at CES this year. In fact, I even put them on my Christmas list. This year, I expect the new eye-popping devices to:

  1. Push beyond entertainment. Entertainment has dominated the electronics industry for years. But there are only 24 hours in the day that consumers can engage with entertainment, that is - if they don't sleep. So while technologies like the DVR have made consuming content more efficient so we can squeeze more in, ultimately our ability to consume entertainment is capped. Don't get me wrong - I still expect to see mind-blowing advances in cameras, screen resolution, and audio quality, but growth in electronics will come from expanding their use cases. Translation: expect to see more devices offering utility to consumers - helping us lose weight, eat healthier, cut our energy bills, care for a plant, or let UPS leave a package inside the house.
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Ranking Social Apps on the App Engagement Index

Nicole Dvorak

According to App Annie, messenger service Snapchat is among the top 10 most downloaded apps in the US right now. Competitor WhatsApp lags behind in number of downloads, bouncing between the top 20 and top 30. But just because users are downloading an app does not mean that they are using it. In fact, Forrester’s US Consumer Technographics® Behavioral Study shows that each user’s top five most used apps represent 84% of the total time spent using apps*. Just a handful of apps command a large majority of users’ attention.  So number of downloads only tell part of the story.

When it comes to actual user engagement, how does Snapchat compare to WhatsApp? 

The two are, in fact, neck and neck when evaluated using Forrester’s App Engagement Index, a framework that measures engagement success for apps across four user metrics: popularity, commitment, frequency, and time spend. Interestingly, their overall scores are comparable, but their performance on each of the metrics is different: While Snapchat attracts a larger audience, WhatsApp users actually spend more time using the app.

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Chinese Banks Benefit From Customer Analytics

Gene Cao

China has experienced a fast expansion of credit card usage in the past 10 years, accumulating more than 390 million credit cards by the end of 2013, around 16 times more than 2003. But Chinese banks suffered from low activation rates of credit cards. In my recent report, I found China CITIC Bank (CNCB) faced a similar challenge; their 21 million credit cards had less than 20% activation before 2012.

In 2012, to increase the number of active credit card users, CNCB decided to revamp its customer analytics capabilities to better understand customer profiles and manage customer relationships. As a first step, the bank used SAS Enterprise Miner to deeply analyze both active and inactive cardholders and their usage scenarios and to measure the effectiveness of its credit card campaigns and programs through cardholder analysis for customer segmentation and marketing program effectiveness analysis including:

  • Cardholder analysis for customer segmentation.CNCB first collected and classified basic information about its cardholders from past marketing campaigns and transactional data. It defined four basic types of cardholders: inactive users, moderate users, convenience users, and heavy users. The bank spent two months to build data marts from the summarized data. It decided to focus on two groups of inactive cardholders: those who could be swayed by marketing campaigns and those who were heavy users of other banks’ cards but not CNCB’s through the analytics engine.
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Oracle Gifts Itself Another Data Platform

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Industry analysts know that major M&A deals, product announcement, and organizational changes can come at any time. But it still surprises us a little when a major player like Oracle announces a significant acquisition just days before Christmas. At any rate, Santa has come early for both Mr. Ellison and the Datalogix team this year.

We've just published a Quick Take on our perceptions of the deal, which holds a lot of promise. Our biggest concern? Realizing that promise requires some serious integration work, and so far, Oracle hasn't proven that it's especially capable of integrating the stack it's acquired for the Marketing Cloud offering. We also worry that Oracle's Data Cloud -- where Datalogix will sit -- is heading directly for a major privacy warzone. Whether Oracle is ready for that battle remains to be seen.

But the bigger picture is this: the Datalogix and Bluekai acquisitions, along with many others of the past year -- including Conversant by Epsilon, LiveRamp by Acxiom, and Adometry by Google -- are evidence of a fast-consolidating marketing and advertising technology landscape. 2015 will doubtless bring more M&A activity in this space, with a likely run on smaller technology and data vendors that have mostly been flying under the radar. What this race for the ultimate "marketing cloud" will mean to CI pros remains to be seen, but you should certainly anticipate plenty of shakeups in your vendor relationships over the next 18 months. 

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How To Navigate The Chaotic Mobile Ad Tech Landscape

Jennifer Wise

Smartphone adoption is surging. Your customers’ eyes are glued to their mobile screens. You want to get your brand in front of them. It’s time for mobile advertising.

Sadly, executing on a mobile ad campaign isn’t as easy as deciding you need one. Not only do you have to fight for budget and craft a mobile-first — not mini-desktop — campaign but you also need to pick the right partner to deliver on your mobile advertising needs. And while there is surely no shortage on vendors to select from, there is a lack of clarity into who actually does what.

To navigate this chaotic landscape, we surveyed mobile ad tech vendors and asked nitty-gritty questions about their heritage, creative, targeting, and add-on capabilities. What did we find? Marketers are right to be confused.

Why is this?

  • Each vendor’s value proposition isn’t clear. Fewer than one-third of the 35 vendors we surveyed are purebreds in any one ad tech category, and they offer anything from in-house creative services to contextual targeting to strong attribution chops. The result? Many jacks-of-all-trades that muddle the mobile ad tech landscape.
  • Each marketer’s expectations aren’t clear, either. We’re not just blaming the mobile ad tech vendors for this. Vendors are creating combinations of capabilities that they think marketers want — but aren’t getting much guidance.
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A Year In Review And Lessons Learned

Anjali Lai

Around this time of year, one can’t help but become reflective. I know I’m not alone when I say that, on the one hand, this year somehow shot past faster than the last one, but on the other hand, it was jam-packed with new discoveries, fresh ideas, and memorable experiences. In particular, this has been a milestone year for the data insights innovation team here at Forrester, as we officially launched our Technographics 360 research approach, which synthesizes mobile behavioral, social listening, online qualitative, and survey data. As I think back on my experiences with the Technographics 360 initiative inside Forrester, paired with my industry learnings outside Forrester, a few key lessons come to mind that I will take into the new year:

1.       Synthesis is “in.” In fact, I learned so much about this topic, I wrote a full blog post dedicated to it! In essence, we now live in a world where the truest insight is a product of synthesis – building knowledge up – rather than of analysis – breaking ideas down. I recently attended SSI’s seminar featuring Simon Chadwick, who proposed that data synthesis is “the next big thing” in insight skills. I agree: With so many diverse data sources at our fingertips that offer unique perspectives on consumers’ lives, researchers need to put the puzzle pieces together to construct a comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior.

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Huawei Experiments With Mobile Ads On A Taxi-Hailing App: A Great Start With Room For Improvement

Xiaofeng Wang

Taxi-hailing apps are gaining momentum globally, and China is a very important battlefield for both international players like Uber and local players like Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. While the battle for market share and consumer loyalty is ongoing, monetization has also appeared on the agenda of these taxi-hailing apps. Pioneer marketers have started to experiment with mobile advertising on Didi, and Huawei is one of them.

On December 17, 2014, Huawei sponsored Didi’s lucky money in its first attempt to place mobile ads on Didi for its newest smartphone, the Huawei Honor 6 Plus. Huawei has embedded the product name, ad copy, and images in Didi lucky money and aims to reach the more than 100 million Didi users and their friends on WeChat. Huawei has created four opportunities for ad exposure:

1. Banner ad on the menu page of the Didi app

2. Full-page ad when the user clicks into the banner ad

3. Sponsorship of Didi lucky money shared in WeChat

4. Full-page ad embedded in Didi lucky money

This ad campaign has certainly created buzz and attracted attention. However, Huawei could improve its implementation by:

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