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Mobile Teens Voice Privacy Concerns, Facebook Offers More Privacy Control

This morning the Pew Internet & American Life project released new data on teen app usage and mobile privacy. The big "takeaway" is that teens care very much about privacy and have taken action against (deleted) mobile apps they feel unnecessarily or gratuitously collect personal information or location data.

Pew says that 78% of teens have a mobile phone (though not all have smartphones) and 23% have tablets. The teen smartphone penetration number is probably 58%, given that's the number of teens who have downloaded mobile apps. 

Just over half (51%) "have avoided apps due to privacy concerns" while 26% have uninstalled an app because it was collecting personal data. And 46% of teen mobile users have turned off location tracking features (on their phone or in an app) out of concern for privacy. 

Teens and location tracking

Teens are more forgiving of apps that seek location data where there's a logical and clear justification for the information (e.g., maps). Girls are more likely to disable location tracking than boys; 59% of girls vs. 37% of boys have done so. 

Separately but still on the theme of privacy, Facebook announced today that it would give more control to Facebook mobile log-in users over what information is shared by third party apps on the Facebook Timeline and News Feed. Here's what the company said today in its announcement:

Although Facebook Login is widely used, we understand people’s concerns about apps posting on their Timeline or to their friends. For the past several months, we’ve been rolling out a new version of Facebook Login on mobile to address these concerns.

With this new update, mobile apps using Facebook Login must now separately ask you for permission to post back to Facebook.

Don’t want to share your music playlist or workout routine with friends? You can choose to skip sharing altogether.

Clearly separating sharing means people can decide whether they only want to use Facebook Login for fast registration without also sharing back to Facebook. If you want to share later, you still can.

This involuntary sharing element was a selling point for publishers and developers but a turn-off to many users. It became a significant barrier for some to using Facebook log-in for third party apps/sites.

By separating sharing from social log-ins Facebook hopes to remove friction for many people who might log in with Facebook but don't today for privacy reasons. I'm in that group. 

Google Loses 11% Mobile Search Share in Past Year

Yesterday comScore reported that Yahoo had claimed the top spot on its Top 50 websites chart from Google for the first time since March 2011 (originally I thought it was March 2008). Following that announcement and the excitement it generated, I decided to look at some of the mobile data, using StatCounter (which is actual traffic rather than extrapolated consumer survey data).

On a global basis Google dominates mobile search and has for the past several years. A year ago it controlled 97% of the worldwide mobile search market. Today that number is down slightly to just under 94%. Yahoo and Bing have grown slightly over the last year, which accounts for the change. 

In the US market something more interesting has happened. According to StatCounter data, Google has lost more than 10 points of mobile search market share in the past year: 

August 2012:  

  • Google -- 94%
  • Yahoo -- 4.2%
  • Bing -- 1.5%

August 2013: 

  • Google -- 82.8%
  • Yahoo -- 11.8%
  • Bing -- 5.1%

It's not clear why this has happened. But it is clear that if Google were to suffer a 11% loss in online search market share, investors and pundits would be going berserk. Yet this mobile decline has passed relatively unnoticed. 

While Bing has had a strong search app for some time, Yahoo hasn't. The latter has, however, poured money and effort into developing better mobile apps and redesigned key properties online and in mobile (e.g., homepage, mail).

It may be that many of Yahoo's mobile intiatives and effort to "update" the Yahoo identity and UX as a whole have started to pay off by lifting the brand. And those things may have translated into more mobile search volume. 

Placed Introduces Offline Mobile Ad Tracking

Last week Placed introduced Placed Attribution, a mobile ads offline tracking solution. The idea is to used Placed's opt-in panel to measure the impact of mobile ad exposures on in-store visits. PlaceIQ has a similar offering using a different methodology.

Capturing the offline impact of digital ads on store visits (and potentially sales) is really a kind of "holy grail" when it comes to conversion tracking. The ratio of online to offline conversions is skewed heavily in the direction of offline. E-commerce is only 5.5% of offline retail and mobile commerce is approaching 10% of e-commerce.

Yet up to half of offline retail spending may not be impacted by digital media and the internet. Clicks are a terrible metric for mobile advertising, and secondary metrics like map views and calls are better but don't capture the entire picture for marketers.

There's a lot more "visibility" on performance when you can start to measure how digital ads impact offline purchase activity. That's the objective of Placed Attribution. Here are the kind of data to be reported:

  • Store Visits: In-store visits attributed to mobile advertising.
  • Lift – Standard: Impact of audience targeting and ad exposure in driving in-store visits as compared to the baseline population.
  • Audience Features: Demographic and geographic characteristics of audiences exposed to impressions, and those who went in-store.

Some of this will be extrapolated from a sample drawn from Placed's panel. Even so, it represents an advance over most of the ways in which marketers try to model attribution when it comes to mobile ads and offline conversions. Offline/in-store tracking will be common -- even mandatory -- for many categories of mobile ads within 12 - 18 months.

We'll be discussing "Ad Tracking to the Point of Sale" with PlaceIQ, Placed, xAd and Retailigence at the Place Conference on October 8 in San Francisco

Is Millennial Stuck in the 'Middle Seat' Even with JumpTap?

Earlier this week in something of a surprise JumpTap aggreed to be acquired by larger competitor Millennial Media for roughly $225 million in an all-stock deal. JumpTap had been on a publicly stated course toward an IPO. However JumpTap CEO George Bell told BizJournals that the uncertainty of the public markets swayed him in the direction of Millennial's offer:

"Our view was that Wall Street remained a very choppy, uncertain bedfellow and, despite good performance in our growth, it wasn't clear that we would have Wall Street's 'permission' to go public," Bell said. "Joining up with Millennial Media, of course, allows us to achieve a public status for our employees and shareholders without the pain of going through an IPO process ourselves."

Millennial bought smaller rival JumpTap in part because it needs to bulk up to better compete with bigger, more visible networks such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and even Pandora. Last year Millennial had revenues of roughly $178 million vs. $104 million in 2011.

With the addition of JumpTap, Millennial expects FY 2013 revenue to come in between $270 and $280 million. That's impressive growth but there's a substantial contribution being made by JumpTap's revenue. Compare the fact that Facebook is on course to make $1 billion in mobile revenue by Q1 2014 and Google will probably take in $4 billion in mobile ad revenue this year. 

IDC's 2012 estimates put Millennial in the number two "network" position after Google. JumpTap is number four:

  • Google (AdMob): $243 million
  • Millennial Media: $151 million
  • Apple iAd: $125 million
  • JumpTap: $90 million

The IDC 2012 estimate was off, as you can see, by about $26 million (not bad as these things go). It might similarly be low for JumpTap.

Let's say that JumpTap's revenues will come in around $100 million for 2013. Add that to Millennial's $178 million and that's where the latter's 2013 revenue guidance likely comes from ($178 + $100).

There will undoubtedly be more mobile ad network consolidation in the next 12 - 24 months. For example I expect Yahoo to make an ad-related mobile acquisition. Microsoft may as well; and Facebook will probably buy more mobile startups. The mobile ad network space is even more more of a "winner take all" market than the PC network segment. Indeed, five or six companies in the US will take about 75% of global mobile ad revenue in 2013. 

Millennial is in a sort of metaphorical "middle seat": neither big enough nor specialized enough. Accordingly it may be squeezed from "below" by specialist ad networks such as xAd and by programmatic buying. From "above," as mentioned, the company faces tough competition from Google and Facebook.

All that is why Millennial is going after larger scale and better data for more precision targeting. The risk remains, however, that despite JumpTap, Millennial might not be able to differentiate itself enough and lose out to more visible or "muscular" rivals.

Facebook Closing in on $4B Mobile Run Rate

To say that Facebook's mobile ad revenue growth has been impressive is an understatement. It has been, what you might call, meteoric.

In the course of a 12 month period the company has gone from less than 10% of ad revenue from mobile to 41% in Q2 of this year. By the end of this year (or very early next) 50% of Facebook's ad revenue will likely come from mobile. (By comparison, in 2012 more than half of Twitter's ad revenues came from mobile.)

Facebook mobile ad revenue growth

In Q2 '13 Facebook made more than $650 million in mobile ad revenue. If current trends continue expect Facebook to have a $1 billion mobile quarter by 1H 2014 (and possibly Q1 earnings). That would enable the company to claim a $4 billion annual mobile-ad revenue run rate.  

Based on averages and simple math, Facebook made roughly $0.80 per mobile user in Q2 on a global basis -- up from $0.50 in Q1 of this year. However developed markets offer more revenue than emerging markets and so the revenue generated per mobile user will vary considerably from market to market in practice.

Facebook monetization per mobile user

In 2010 we asked "How Long Before Facebook is a Mobile Ad Network?" and predicted that when Facebook turned on mobile ads it would immediately become the largest mobile "network." 

As formidable as Facebook is becoming in mobile Google is still dominant globally. Incredibly, Mountain View is expected to capture more than 50% of mobile revenues on a global basis this year. Facebook claims a much smaller percentage of mobile revenues, but still ranks as the number two player in mobile advertising today. 

Survey: E-Mail Marketers Need to Get Serious about Mobile -- or Else

Email vendor and small-business marketing services provider Constant Contact has released survey data (n=1,497 US adults) that show consumers increasingly expect to be able to read email on smartphones and other mobile devices. And if they can't they'll simply hit delete.

More and more email opens happen in mobile (numbers are creeping up over 50%) yet many marketers have not optimized their campaigns with this understanding. Nearly 90% of people between 18 and 30 read email on their smartphones. But perhaps the major finding of the survey is that "52% of consumers between 18 and 30 years old say their smartphone is now their primary email-reading device."

Regardless of age, however, consumers want to be able to open/read email on mobile devices. The survey found that older people also read mobile email: "66% of consumers over 60 open emails on a mobile device." 

Here are additional top-level data from the survey:

  • 80% smartphone owners say it is “extremely important” to be able to read emails on their mobile devices.
  • 75% said they are “highly likely” to delete an email if they can’t read it on their smartphone.
  • 79% of consumers are highly likely to reopen an email on a computer that was originally opened on a smartphone
  • 49% of consumers say they are likely to click on hyperlinks in mobile emails
  • 82% of iPhone owners open email on their mobile device
  • 72% of non-iPhone owners open email on their mobile device 

The individual bullets are not as important as the overall message: e-mail marketers need to get really serious about mobile optimization right now.

Most Smartphone Commerce Happening in the House

As apps and websites become optimized for mobile commerce, and as the "credit card problem" is addressed (see TheFind and Jumio), there will be more buying on smartphones. Most retailers and brands currently assume smartphone transactions happen on the go or in stores (or on other devices). In the home e-commerce is supposed to be the domain of PCs (and increasingly tablets).

The conventional wisdom is that smartphones are more heavily used for shopping out of home and that's been supported by prior survey data. Yet data released yesterday by Nielsen tell a somewhat different and more nuanced story.

Americans are indeed buying things on their smartphones (24%) but they're mostly doing it at home: 72% of people making purchases on their smartphones did so at home and not "on the go," as one would have expected. Only 3% of smartphone owners buying things on their devices did so in stores; 6% did so in their cars. The remainder, 18%, fall into an unidentified "other" bucket. 

It's interesting that smartphones are so widely used for commerce-related activities (store locators) on the go but buying happens at home. Nielsen doesn't offer any real explanation however. It may be that the "immediacy" and availability of the device make it a preferred option for some. 

There's also no data about audience segments. It would be interesting to see if these at-home smartphone transactors are younger, older and whether they have other devices available to them. 

Regardless this is another "wake up call" arguing that marketers and retailers need to quickly optimize e-commerce experiences for smartphones. 

Acxiom, 4INFO Announce Deal for CRM-Based Mobile Ad Targeting

The reinvented 4INFO announced a deal with Acxiom this morning that is consistent with the way mobile and the broader digital advertising markets are evolving: advanced targeting and in-store/sales lift measurement.

According to the release, "The partnership provides US consumer brands new levels of mobile advertising precision and confidence for customer relationship campaigns, including the ability to measure results where it counts — at the cash register." Accordingly, companies will be able to use their own data to target existing customers (and prospects) on mobile devices -- and then track response to the point of sale and see direct sales impact.

Facebook has a similar product and relationship with Acxiom. At Facebook "Custom Audiences" allows companies to find and target their own customers on the site or in mobile. Catalina has a deal with 4INFO that leverages the former's purchase history data so that third party CPG companies and others can target buyers of specific products/product categories. But the 4INFO-Acxiom CRM-based targeting and sales measurement may be a first (other than Facebook) in mobile. 

Behind the scenes the advertiser's CRM/customer data (or Acxiom audience data) are matched with 4INFO's database on a 1:1 basis. 4INFO claims profiles of 152 million mobile devices covering 101 million US households.

4INFO will also be making Acxiom audience segments data available to its "AdHaven Bullseye" advertisers. Most of the ad inventory 4INFO uses come from mobile exchanges. 

It's worth repeating; what's significant about the announcement are the ways that it's a kind of harbinger of the future:

  1. Increasingly sophisticated and precise mobile targeting
  2. Ability to measure in-store/sales impact 

As I've argued elsewhere in-store/sales measurement will become an almost mandatory requirement of many mobile campaigns (depending on the objectives). There are now multiple companies including Placed, PlaceIQ, uSamp and others offering the capacity to measure in-store lift from mobile campaigns. Being tied into CRM databases offers even greater accuracy in terms of measuring sales impact. 

Once these methodologies become more widely available and understood, advertisers will demand them. Placed and PlaceIQ will be talking about ad tracking to the point of sale and in-store measurement at Place 2013. The early bird conference rate expires this week. To take advantage register today

Pew: Roughly 122 Million Bank Online, 83 Million in Mobile

The Pew Internet & American Life Project issued an online banking report (based on US consumer survey findings) earlier this week. Pew found that 61% of internet users said they banked online and 35% of "cell phone owners" also said they used their mobile devices to do some of their banking.

The total adult US internet population is roughly 200 million (give or take a few million). Using rough math and Pew's survey findings, that would mean approximately 122 million people were engaged in online banking in the US. Mobile phone penetration (including non-smartphones) among the US adult population is over 100% according to CTIA.

That means, using the Pew survey data, that roughly 83 million adults in the US are doing mobile banking. Although the percentages in the chart below seem far apart, the actual population numbers are much closer.  

Online and mobile banking 

According to Pew younger, non-white US adults are more likely to do mobile banking than their white peers:

Young adults (ages 18-29) and whites report the most significant increases for online banking. In 2010, 55% of 18-29 year-olds said they banked online; in 2013, 66% of that group did so. In 2010, 47% of whites said they banked online; in 2013, 54% of that group did so.

Younger adults are also leading the mobile banking trend. However, in contrast with online banking trends, non-white cell phone owners are more likely than whites to engage in mobile banking.

What's interesting to consider is whether online banking will lead to more comfort with mobile bill paying generally and later mobile commerce and payments beyond that. However one factor here is that people mostly trust their banks, and their willingness to conduct financial transactions on mobile devices will depend (for now) on their relationship to the brand or provider in question.  

M-Commerce Approaching 10% of E-Commerce

Comscore has published Q2 e-commerce estimates for the US. I discuss those figures over at Screenwerk. The quarterly total is just under $50 billion ($49.8 billion). Of interest here are the "m-commerce" estimates provided by comScore: $4.7 billion in Q2. 

Here's what the firm said about mobile e-commerce: "Consumers spent an additional $4.7 billion in mobile commerce (m-commerce) via smartphones and tablets, an increase of 24% over the past year." That means, according to comScore, m-commerce was about 9.4% of e-commerce spending, which is in turn about 5.5% of total US retail. 

The firm doesn't detail what percentage of m-commerce is coming from tablets vs. transactions on smartphones. However there are relatively few e-commerce transactions completed on smartphones, though that is growing.

E-commerce on tablets is much like e-commerce on a PC; there is relatively little friction vs. the experience on smartphones. Indeed, most e-commerce sites have not done a good job optimizing their shopping experiences for smartphones.  

I'm sure that comScore doesn't have this number but what would be most interesting is the dollar impact of smartphone usage on retail spending, either online or in the store. Smartphones now are an integral part of the shopping process and especially used in stores.

Siva Kumar, CEO of TheFind, told me earlier this week that 70% of the smartphone searches on TheFind's app are happening in stores. Accordingly smartphones are playing a major role in consumer decision making and having a much larger impact on purchase decisions than the still-modest "m-commerce" figures would suggest. 

Has Android 'Peaked' in the US?

Android's share (of smartphone shipments) across the globe is gaining momentum according to the latest IDC numbers. By contrast there's evidence that Android's US share may have "peaked" according to analysis from Asymco's Horace Dediu. 

Below are IDC's estimates showing global market share for Q2 by shipments: 

  • Android: 79.3% (2012: 69.1%)
  • iOS: 13.2%  (2012: 16.6%)
  • Windows Phone: 3.7%  (2012: 3.1%)
  • BlackBerry: 2.9%  (2012: 4.9%) 
  • Others: 1%  (2012: 6.2%) 

Thus Android stands near 80% of global smartphone shipments, which aren't identical with sales. But it's a directional indication of actual sales.  

However in the US market the story is different; Android's share is flat (per comScore): 

smartphone market share june by OS 

Dediu points out that over the past six to eight months in the US the iPhone has gained more usage than Android (11M vs. 6.6M users). So it would appear that Apple's US and international fortunes have significantly diverged. 

However we also have research from CIRP, which finds (via survey data) that "first time smartphone buyers" in the US (meaning those buying smartphones for the first time now) tend to be older and more price sensitive. They buy "secondary Android brands" (e.g., LG) and keep their phones longer. 

Apple's strategy for more price-sensitive consumers has been the iPhone 4 and 4S, which has been reasonably successful to date. However rumors suggest a low-cost "plastic" iPhone for emerging markets and more price-conscious consumers. 

When looked at in the context of overall computer operating systems (including the PC), Android will be the dominant OS by 2015 on a global basis -- far outstripping Windows. By comparision, Apple's overall OS share (iOS + Mac OS) is expected to nearly match Windows. 

Nielsen: US Smartphone Penetration Now 62%

Nielsen revised slightly upward its smartphone penetration data for the US market. Last quarter the figure was 61%; as of today Nielsen says that 62% of American adults own smartphones. 

Kantar research has been arguing that their data show the rise of Windows Phones in the US. However the Nielsen numbers reflect that in Q2 Windows Phones had just 2.3% market share. BlackBerry had 3%. And the remainder, 92%, was divided between the iPhone and Android. 

Apple continues to be the single leading smartphone OEM, followed by Samsung. Motorola, HTC and LG are closely arrayed after that.  

file

Motorola is hoping to "reboot" its brand and sales with the new Moto X. What's perhaps most fascinating about the handset is that it targets women specifically, by positioning the phone as a personal fashion accessory.

Motorola's former (pre-Google) strategy had been very spec- and male-centric. The company had even attacked the iPhone at one point for being a "princess." At least with this model (Moto X) it's a dramatic shift for the company. 

Conflicting Claims: Which Smartphone Is More 'Satisfying'?

Last week the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released findings asserting that the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note II beat the iPhone 5 for customer satisfaction. The Galaxy S4 was not part of the study, which was conducted before the device's release. Somewhat Ironically, Korean consumers said the opposite: that they preferred Apple devices to Samsung's. 

Here are the US ACSI scores by device: 

Smartphone Customer Satisfaction 2013

Survey questions addressed the following areas:

  • Design (including weight and screen size)
  • General handset features
  • Video and audio quality
  • Software and ease of use (including OS and UI) 

What's interesting is that Apple rates higher than Samsung overall in the ACSI company scores -- though Samsung has closed the gap vs. 2012: 

 

Apple more handily beats Samsung in the JD Power ratings, where the iPhone 5 contributed to Apple's overall 2013 smartphone win. In the JD Power satisfaction scoring, Samsung is at the bottom of the group. How can these conflicting scores (within the ACSI and between ACSI and JD Power) be reconciled?

 

The ACSI report offers no real explanation for the Galaxy and Galaxy Note wins. Other than screen specs, Samsung's phones are not the highest quality Android devices on the market. Arguably HTC, LG and perhaps Motorola have stronger offerings from an overall quality perspective. However Samsung outspends them all (combined) on marketing, which has been the chief driver of the Galaxy line's success. 

My suspicion is that consumers are responding to screen size more than any other single variable or factor in rating the Galaxy S3 and Note II above the iPhone. This underscores the larger-screen imperative that Apple now confronts. The company needs to produce an iPhone with a larger screen. And according to multiple rumors, that will happen with the iPhone 6 though not the "5S," which is supposed to retain its current screen of just over 4 inches.

The new Google-Motorola Moto X chose not match the S4 and go to 5 inches after the company did considerable consumer research and arrived at 4.7 inches as the optimal screen span. Accordingly, an ideal screen size for a smartphone is probably right in-between the current iPhone 5 (4 inches) and the Galaxy S4 (5 inches). 

Moto X: Google Turns the Whole Phone into a Personal Assistant

There are a number of interesting things about Googlerola's just-released Moto X. First, it emphasizes design over specs. The latter had always been the hallmark of Motorola's previous Android ("Droid") phones. The new phone also allows for an unprecedented degree of customization:

  • 22 phone back covers (including wood)
  • 7 trim-band colors
  • White or black front/face

In fact, the way the phone is presented on the Motorola site makes it effectively into a fashion accessory. However that's how many people do treat their smartphones today. The customization, which is smart, is apparently made possible because the phone is manufactured in Texas (rather than China). 

But beyond those things, the phone can be activated or invoked without touching it. Users can speak commands to the phone and get responses or create reminders, set alarms and so on. Like Google Glass, Google Now can be initiated with a "wake up" phrase: "OK Google Now." This effectively turns the entire phone into a personal assistant. The TV spot linked below demonstrates this positioning and the functionality in action.

Previously Google Now and voice actions on Android devices had to be initiated by touching the screen: swiping up or touching the microphone icon. That's not required here (I haven't had a chance to use the device). Google/Motorola are using this "always ready" assistant capability to make the device stand out from both the iPhone and other Android devices. Below is one of the new TV commercials for the Moto X, which showcases how Google Now is now being "personified" -- much more like Siri than in the past.

Moto X is priced at $199 with a two-year carrier contract in the US. There will be a Google Play edition but there's no word at this point on unlocked pricing.

Facebook Winning App Game, Where's Google Maps?

There's considerable data (see, e.g., comScore) that indicate Facebook is the most popular mobile app in the US market. That extends beyond unique visitors to engagement and time spent.

Time spent with the Facebook mobile app outstrips every other individual app by a large margin. Earlier this year comScore found that 23% of all time spent with mobile apps was on Facebook. Nielsen has similar figures.

Facebook & Google: Mobile Apps by Share

Source: comScore (Q1 2013) 

Confirming just how popular Facebook's app is relative to other mobile apps are new survey findings from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The company asked 500 smartphone users and 1,000 tablet owners in the US about which mobile apps they used most often. 

The question was: "What are the three apps you use most frequently?" There were no suggested responses (no multiple choice answers). The question was completely open-ended. Below are the results: 

Among other interesting things Google Maps doesn't make an appearance in the surve results. Yet Nielsen and comScore data reflect that Google Maps is one of the most popular apps and the most popular location-based app. Mysteriously it doesn't appear here at all -- unless it's considered part of "Google." There's no clear explanation why.

Top US Mobile Apps Ranked by Unique Visitors

Source: comScore (Q1 2013)

Why the Future of Mobile Payments Looks More Like OpenTable than ISIS

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that carrier-backed and NFC-based mobile payments venture ISIS would begin rolling out nationally:

The nearly three-year-old venture, known as Isis, plans to announce Wednesday that it will launch the payment service nationwide later this year after nine months of testing . . . 

Isis said that the pilot tests' findings will be incorporated into the latest version of the system. Among other things, the test showed that active users tapped their phones for payment more than 10 times a month. Two-thirds of active users chose to receive offers and messages from specific brands, according to the test results.

While mobile payments will eventually be widespread -- different global markets are seeing varying rates of development and adoption -- the near-term future of mobile payments in the US looks less like ISIS and much more like OpenTable's new (vertical) payments offering.

The NY Times yesterday reported that the restaurant reservations app will soon incorporate no-frills mobile payments:

The payment process, still in testing, will be straightforward, Matthew Roberts, chief executive of OpenTable, said in an interview. At the end of a meal, the diner would open the OpenTable app and pay the check with the tap of a button. The diner can review the check, adjust the tip and finish the payment.

“There’s no scanning, there’s no bar codes, there’s no geeky stuff,” Mr. Roberts said. He said that OpenTable would not take a cut of each transaction if a diner paid with the app. The restaurant would be charged the typical interchange fee for a credit card transaction. The simple transactions through the app are another way to attract people to use OpenTable, which charges restaurants for reservations made through the service as well as a monthly service charge for using its equipment.

In individual store and specific vertical contexts mobile payments are starting to take hold in the US. That's because consumers see concrete value or convenience in using mobile apps to pay (parking is my favorite example). Arguably the most successful example of mobile payments in the US to date is the Starbucks app.

As a general matter, however, credit cards remain very easy to use and there's no common standard or experience available across merchants. Most US consumers don't see a justification for mobile payments in the abstract. But "in the moment" or in very specific situations consumers can recognize their value. 

The transition to NFC-based payments will probably still take years in the US market -- unless the next iPhone enables them (ISIS wants to expand to iOS). But there's a significant, immediate opportunity for vertical apps like OpenTable to cultivate consumer mobile payments usage. Mobile payments through the OpenTable app also may create more loyalty and frequency vs. competitors such as Yelp or TripAdvisor.

I believe that these very concrete use cases will help train consumers to trust and adopt mobile wallets/payments, which will eventually pave the way for services such as ISIS or Google Wallet. However it will be 3 - 5 years before there's strong, national consumer usage (and merchant adoption) of these "horizontal" payments offerings. 

By contrast people will be using OpenTable payments as soon as OpenTable flips the switch. 

Mobile Credit-Card Scanning Should Be Ubiquitous

Dan Miller and I took a briefing with Jumio this morning. Jumio is an authentication and identity management platform (mischaracterized originally as "augmented reality"). The company has been around since 2010. 

It has two major products that rely on the same technology. Netswipe helps facilitate transactions on mobile apps and Netverify enables accurate remote identity authentication for fraud prevention. I'll focus on the former but the latter is very impressive and worthy of its own discussion later.

Jumio works in the same way that Card.io did. Using an SDK developers embed the Jumio solution within their apps. When the consumer is ready to complete a transaction or check out (book a room, flight or make another kind of purchase), she merely scans the desired credit card and enters the CVV number manually. The transaction takes a fraction of the time that would otherwise be required if she were to key in 16 digits, enter her address information, etc. 

If you've already got your credit card and related information on file (see, e.g., Amazon, iTunes) there's less of a need for this approach. However developers should offer it to new customers as a way to generally eliminate barriers for consumers, and capture credit card details for faster checkout next time.

Jumio competitor Card.io was acquired by PayPal one year ago, leaving Jumio as the lone independent vendor of this type card-scanning technology. Every mobile publisher and developer should be using Jumio or Card.io to improve conversion rates and the customer experience. Beyond mobile transaction-abandonment, frustrating users reflects poorly on the brand according to many studies.

Accordingly, every mobile developer should be using a mobile card-scanning solution as one way to remove friction from mobile transactions. It's not clear why they might not, except for perhaps for ignorance, lethargy and inertia. I could also imagine this approach as an alternative to card swipes in stores, although that's less necessary.  

Jumio has adopted a flat-fee SaaS model. Customers pay a fixed monthly fee for an unlimited number of transactions. 

It's rare instance where consumer and merchant interests are entirely aligned. But here they are: more secure and faster transactions for the merchant and consumer, as well as fewer charge backs and fraud. It's kind of a "no brainer." 

Below is a promotion video that explains the Jumio Netswipe offering: 

Facebook Mobile Ad Revs Now 41% of Total

Facebook announced its Q2 2013 revenues a few minutes ago. Overall the company beat analysts' expectations with $1.81 billion in total revenue. Advertising supplied $1.6 billion of that total with payments and fees providing $214 million.

The big suprise was mobile, which was responsible for 41% of total ad revenue (or $656 million) -- up from 30% last quarter. Here are the mobile numbers: 

  • Mobile monthly active users grew to 819 million
  • Daily mobile users in Q2 were 469 million
  • There were 219 million mobile only users

Facebook monthly mobile users

The company said on its earnings call that it's investing in "mobile, measurement and product innovation." The company said it has the most effective mobile ad products and is in a position to lead the mobile ad market. Indeed the company is second only to Google now in mobile advertising revenue. 

Apple's $35.3 billion Quarter Visualized

Apple just reported a $35.3 billion quarter, which was somewhat better than a year ago and beat financial analyst expectations -- largely on the strength of iPhone sales. The company also announced profit was $6.9 billion (vs. $8.8 billion a year ago). Sales outside North America accounted for 57% of revenue.

The company sold 31.2 million iPhones (vs. 26 million a year ago). But it sold fewer iPads than expected:14.6 million. Mac sales were down but Macs outperformed the PC industry as a whole, which is slumping badly. 

Below are two charts that show the distribution of revenues by segment/geography and by product line (figures in $billions): 

Unit sales of iPads were a concern for many financial analysts. The company sold 14.6 million tablet devices compared with 17 million last year and more than 19 million last quarter. While this implies market share erosion or shift away from the iPad, today Chitika released data showing that in North America at least, the iPad's web traffic share had grown since April and now stands at just over 84%. 

June iPad traffic

Source: Chitika

While Apple continues to generate huge quarterly revenues growth has slowed or declined in some cases. Accordingly there's enormous pressure from investors to bring out new products or create new product categories: TV, wearables, etc. On the earnings call Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said, “We are on track to have a very busy fall" though he wouldn't elaborate.

New iPads and iPhones are expected to be introduced. There may even be "surprise" products such as the rumored iWatch. 

Report: Apple Considering Building a 'Phablet'

The term "phablet," used to describe devices that operate like a phone but approach the size of small tablets, is horrible. But what may be more horrible is that Apple is reportedly considering creating one, potentially mimicking Samsung's strategy of a range of devices of differing screen sizes. 

Samsung is throwing a lot of mobile device spaghetti at the refrigerator, metaphorically speaking, to see what sticks with consumers. One might even describe its strategy as "incoherent." Nonetheless Apple may be moving toward introducing more devices with various screen sizes. That's according to an article in the Wall Street Journal:

The tests with suppliers seem to suggest that Apple is exploring ways to capture diversifying customer needs when many mobile device makers offer smartphones and tablets in various sizes.

In addition to potentially developing a device in-between the iPhone and current iPad mini, Apple is also apparently experimenting with larger screens for iPads. Most of these prototype experiments probably won't come to market.  

The huge-screened Samsung Galaxy Note has proven popular; however it's unclear how many units have sold. Indeed, Samsung has been the primary creator of market demand for larger-screen smartphones. And now Apple is feeling pressure to respond with a larger-screen iPhone. However that's not likely to be the 5S, due out later this year.

It might make sense for Apple to offer two iPhones: one with the current screen (small) and one with a 5-inch screen (large). However beyond that it makes little sense for Apple to go.

When Steve Jobs rejoined Apple as CEO 1997 one of the first things he did was to simplify Apple's product lineup, which had become cluttered and confusing to consumers. This is the danger if Apple tries to follow Samsung and create multiple device screen sizes.

Consumers do want a larger-screen iPhone but they haven't been asking for multiple devices of incrementally larger screens. It's also not clear that anyone wants or cares about a larger iPad. Maybe one with a slightly larger screen would be interesting but that would need to entirely replace the current iPad.

It makes sense for Apple to have four devices at most: iPhone (two screen sizes perhaps), iPad Mini and iPad. Beyond this the product lineup becomes muddled and confusing. And to the extent that Apple seeks to imitate Samsung's approach it may indicate the company has lost confidence in its vision.