EBG: Perspectives from the Mobile & Social Media event of the year

Last updated: 20 March 2014

Hello from Paris at the EBG event. The catchphrase these past two days has been ‘If you snooze, you lose.’ While that might be taking it a bit far, it’s certainly true that it’s been a highly engaging and fast-moving conference in a fast-moving and evolving industry.

And, having dosed up on coffee, I’m keen to share my perspectives on the conference, of which there are three main buzzwords: mCommerce, mobile messaging and mobile marketing. (Yes, mobile messaging is still up there!)


Across the two stages, whatever the topic, the conclusion has always been the same: mobile is revolutionising commerce. But how come? Well, our esteemed mobile analyst Thomas Husson of Forrester has one response, which is that mobile bridges the physical and digital worlds. Mobile provides an influential touch point across the entire purchase lifecycle, and in particular at the point of sale.

And the figures speak for themselves. Yves Tyrode from Voyages SNCF said that they will generate 3% of their revenues on mobile this year (up from 0% revenues last year). But what is more astonishing is that on eBay, a car is sold every five minutes via a mobile.

It sounds promising. But what do analysts think? Forrester and Gfk have differing views, with Gfk, as usual, quite optimistic, announcing that mCommerce will represent 12% of overall eCommerce sales by 2013, which represents a $90 billion market. Forrester, however, is more conservative, talking about a $25 billion market by 2015, which will be less than 10% of the eCommerce market. Despite these varied predictions, it can’t be denied that potential is there!

Mobile messaging

Mobile marketing outreach can range from Search, Apps, Video, display and more. However, the ultimate winner is Messaging. Messaging really does rule the roost, with 99% of SMS received opened and 90% replied to, because it is simple and efficient.

But, will Messaging also be the future? According to Hani Ramzi from Alcatel Lucent, Pablo Sanchez from Telefonica and Arda Kertmeliodlu from Mobilera, the answer is a clear and definitive yes. Purely because mobile messaging is personal, relies on mass media and interactive at the same time. Alcatel Lucent also claims success rates of 30 to 40% on their campaigns with Adidas, Visa and Volkswagen. Not bad. But just imagine what you could achieve with Gemalto Smart Message, the only true text dialogue on mobile…

Finally, the last buzzword:

Mobile marketing, or mobile CRM

Views here at EBG on this topic have been quite aligned, namely that mobile marketing is definitely late to the game compared with mobile commerce. Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP CEO, made this very clear 2 days ago during the opening session. Marketing on mobile remains disappointing compared to mobile payment. And mobile marketing has a long way to go to reach its full potential. Indeed, 7% of the time spent consuming media is on the mobile, yet investment in mobile marketing remains at 0%. And at the same time, formats are evolving (display is down, apps are up, search currently leads the race, but they are all still some way behind messaging), metrics are being implemented, business models discussed (CPM for brand ad, CPC and CPA for performance/CRM). So, if you’re not part of the discussion, you’ll soon not even be part of the ecosystem.

Brands and advertisers need to wake up and smell the coffee. There are solutions out there you’re not taking full advantage of. If you don’t, your competitors will.