Apple’s new iPhone 4S feature could hinder mobile content monetisation

There are two main types of mobile page impression in my book. Firstly, there are page impressions of your full site, that just happen to have been visited from a mobile device. (Mobile phone or tablet device). Secondly, there are page impressions of a mobile optimised site, from mobile devices. You could arguably segment further still, and say that the BBC screen grab below has been optimised for viewing on an iPhone, because it has squashed the main site into a smaller screen, but for the purposes of this article it is sufficient to concentrate just on the first two categories of page impression.

If you don’t have a mobile optimised site, it is very likely that the ad-campaigns that you have set up to serve on your main site are also appearing on page impressions viewed on mobile devices. If this is the case on a tablet, this isn’t too much of an issue because full sites can look great on these devices and the size of the tablet means that the advertising still appears at a perfectly viewable size.

On a mobile phone however, the advertising is scaled down so significantly, that it can be bordering on the illegible in some cases, and that is before you consider the damage that Apple’s new Reader app will cause over time.

Reader allows the user to turn a small, hard to read, and cluttered webpage like this:

… into a wonderful, clean, easy to read format such as this:

With just one click, the crowded page with a tiny font is transformed immediately into a clean, well laid out article. The problem is that Reader is essentially Apple offering their users a virtual mobile optimisation tool and the bad news is that it doesn’t take advertising with it!

Reader really does enhance the users enjoyment of the text, which makes it even more important for your to build a mobile optimised site now, so you can still be in control of monetising it. If you don’t offer the user a great mobile experience, then  I can see a future where Apple users read billions of page impressions ad-free!

4m iPhone 4S’s have been sold already, and it has broken all previous sales record that Apple set. That number may be a small percentage of the overall pie right now, but bear in mind that iOS users tend to use more mobile data than users on other operating systems, and that the iPhone 4S will sell a truck load more than 4m as time goes by.

In summary, you either make a beautiful mobile reading experience for your users with advertising, or soon many will make that experience for themselves without advertising.

T-Mobile Parking Ticket

T-Mobile have done it again with another highly entertaining piece of branded video!

I came across this within an expandable super-banner on the front page of I launched, and wanted to share it with the world, which is where this campaign fell down a bit for me, because although it was in a YouTube player and on (albeit within an ad-unit) I couldn’t find a way to share it directly out of the advert.

I went to the trouble of searching for it afterwards because I work in online & mobile video, but how many sharing opportunities were lost from the casual viewer? I’d say a fair few, and it’s ironic really consider T-Mobile tell us that ‘Life’s for sharing’

Great video though, really enjoyed it!

iPhone 4GS unveiled

Okaaay then, no iPhone 5 launch just yet!

Instead we have the iPhone 4s, which looks like the iPhone 4 on the outside, but the 4S has a number of new features that should be just enough to get the current iPhone 3GS customers to renew their soon to be expired 2 year contract.

Here’s the unveiling by Phillip Shiller, SVP, Apple on October 4th 2011:

Main new features are:

> Full HD 1080p video recording with image stabilisation.

> Improved stills camera, meaning you can print ‘pixel perfect 8×10 glossy photos’

> Apple A5 chip (previously only deployed in iPad 2) – up to 7 times quicker for graphics. Gaming is exploding on mobile, so this is a big tick from me.

> Siri (voice activated assistant) – if this works as well as it says, this is cool!

> Improved battery with 8 hours talk time, 10 hours watching video which is a real growth area in mobile.

The future of mobile communications is video

When the majority of the UK population had either a dial-up internet connection or a fairly crap broadband one, watching video online could be a frustrating experience. Then connection speeds increased, and video exploded all over the internet. The growth of online video advertising is still rising at breakneck speeds, and I fully expect it to carry on doing so for many years to come.

Video is the medium that most closely resembles the way in which human beings experience real life. It fuses sight, sound and motion in a way that no other medium can equal. Just add touch and smell into the equation and you have a truly life-like message. Radio is audio only, newspaper ads, and outdoor ads are visual only in the main, although digital OOH is bring motion to the party.

I believe that well-edited and scripted video is the most effective communications medium that brands have at their disposal, and gone are the days when TV & Cinema had this power all to themselves. We truly do live now in the age of the screen.

In mobile, I think the same explosion of video viewership is just around the corner. Currently, many consumers chose to watch video only over a Wi-Fi connection because the 3G network is not always up to the task of allowing faultless playback of video. But 4G is coming, soon. In London we will have super-fast connection as soon as next year by way of the Wi-Fi network that Boris Johnson has promised in time for the Olympics. A contact at O2 tells me that they have a city-wide wi-fi network that will be free to consumers, and that is coming soon as well.

We already have apps like the ITV Rugby World Cup app, and Sky’s Go app, blazing a trail in the app store. Both are heavily reliant on video, and both were in the top ten downloads recently.

When the connection infrastructure can support the delivery of video, you can bet your bottom dollar that video consumption on smartphones will sky rocket. I already see more and more people watching video on the train into and out of London every day, but imagine filling the moments of downtime that we experience every day with rich video content. Whether it be travelling to work, waiting for a train, waiting for a mate in a coffee shop or whatever, soon we will have the option of watching great quality video on our handsets. We know that ad dollars naturally follow eyeballs, and so the question that you should be asking yourself now is, are we ready for mobile video?

While working at Telegraph Media Group, I ran a Bluetooth campaign with Bliss Mobile & American Express. It offered bored commuters who were waiting for a train to watch the latest news video from the Telegraph for free, by simply turning on their Bluetooth. What we had created here was a perfect moment to talk to consumers as they were receptive to receive content, they had nowhere to be or nothing to do for a few minutes, and we were able to deliver a short video pre-roll advert for American Express into the space before the new video. We were talking to the consumer while they are had the time and the inclination to listen, so to speak. I can’t divulge the exact results of the campaign, but I can tell you that downloads exceeded expectations ten-fold and the client was delighted with the campaign.

Mobile phones are always on, and always with you, and consumers are already using them as entertainment channels to fill downtime. When video comes of age, that experience will be one of the most powerful a brand can buy. Exciting times!

iPhone 5 details to be revealed soon? Exciting!

We’ve all heard the rumours of what the iPhone 5 will offer, over and above its previous models.

I am going to have a guess at the following:

> Supercharged retina display

> Longer battery life

> Thinner, lighter, with a larger screen and edge to edge glass

> 4G ready

> NFC technology

> Some sort of feature to improve the quality of video playback

Whatever it has, I am excited to find out, and it is almost certain that it will boost the sales of smartphones once again. That can only be good for the mobile advertising market, and it’s continued growth.


ESPN Goals to become advertiser-funded

ESPN Goals, the app that allows football fans to see goal scored in the Premier League shortly after they are scored, is to be offered for download free of charge from the start of the 2011-12 season.

That then passes the onus onto the commercial team to sell enough advertising to make the app profitable, although there are obvious marketing benefits to ESPN in generating a larger audience through a free download model.

I think this offers advertisers a really engaging, premium environment in which to advertise.

Full article from Ronan Shields at NMA here:


Hi and welcome!

Video & Mobile are my passion and expertise, but while writing my blog I have increasingly found myself wanting to write about other digital stuff as well.

So, I present to you Making Digital Connections, which will have a focus on video & mobile but will also scan the wider digital space.

I hope you find something interesting or useful to you.