The leap from print and analogue to digital has proven a steep learning curve for publishers plus those lethargic brands who were unflatteringly labelled ‘second-movers’.
This shows no sign of abating and phrases like “web 2.0” and “social web” themselves sound dated as we head to a “mobile first” era.
Cliches and acronyms aside, the very real commercial challenges they represent should now be occupying the time of marketing strategists eager to harness current trends in digital media consumption.
For starters, earlier this week, we took a look at how the growing conflict between Google and Apple resulted in a gaping hole in some brands’ affiliate referral data from iPhone users.
Ultimately, this meant brands would have found it difficult to accurately attribute affiliate sales resulting in yet more headaches as their affiliate partners would rightly have demanded payment.
The problem ultimately stemmed from brands using Google’s Doubleclick tracking tools to attribute which partners were responsible for referring Safari web users (i.e. sales leads) to their websites. On desktop this may have proven a relatively minor problem as the desktop environment has plethora of web browsers such as Google’s own Chrome and Firefox still in use.
But with mobile internet audiences, iPhone users (who are Safari web browsers in the main) generate the majority of usage and the issue required a host of back-end ‘fixes’ to keep things ticking over.
For brands, their affiliate partners and even the mighty Google alike, this situation required months of problem-solving. Sources tell me the issue is largely resolved now, but I wouldn’t be surprised it flares up again soon.
More recently, Tumblr announced its plans to offer brands promoted posts on its mobile properties in a bid to monetise its growing smartphone audience, which has quadrupled in the last six months alone.
On the face of it, this sounds exciting news for brand-side marketers given it’s another targeted audience that can be contacted while on the go. But I can’t help but feel the proposed offering is indicative of the problems facing brands as the worlds of social and mobile merge, or we enter the “so-mo” era.
For example, the proposed Tumblr proposition sounds similar to Twitter’s mobile mobile promoted posts offering in the first instance. But what will be interesting to see is the targeting capabilities Tumblr will provide on mobile.
Twitter’s mobile service lets brands target by location and makes sense as it’s a more text-based medium, which could be used by brands to provide directions to their stores for instance. However, Tumblr is a more image-based offering, similar to Instagram, and its primary input method is likely to be a device’s camera.
From here it’s clear to see how the next wave of “so-mo” platforms will require creative thinking and strategic guile to be effectively used as a marketing engagement channel.