Mobile is going to crush Facebook – NOT

Mark Cuban’s recent article on Facebook IPO Post Mortem and his point that Mobile will crush Facebook. He has several valid points but in my view misses that mobile is a challenge for more than just Facebook.

Facebook is valuable because it makes possible targeted advertising to consumers to a greater extent that has been possible with Google.

Google has been mining data for years and not only what we search. They mine what we share with others over email (gmail users), and then correlate that information with trends based on our geographic location. Does Google know my age? Probably since I have used other services were I have given up this information and if not it could fairly easily put me in a range. Does Google know if I’m single or married or have kids? They can probably guess by scrapping content from my emails. Does Google know what I buy? If I have used Google to pay for it or again scrapping any invoice/receipt that arrives in my inbox. Does Google know what I like to watch? Sure, they own YouTube.

I agree that Facebook has a problem with mobile but the value proposition that it presents to brands is greater than what Google has to offer and furthermore mobile is not a problem for just Facebook, but for all the players whose revenue model rely on income from advertisements.

Advertising has always relied on passive users, thus the strategy was to capture the largest amount of eyeballs using delivery channels such as TV, radio or print media. Google and Facebook make it possible to provide relevant advertisement in a way not possible before.

Mobile will change how brands interact with consumers; from the consumer perspective it offers just in time access to on-demand content, were people reach out to information when they want from where they want. This presents a challenge for the traditional marketing strategy that has perfected the “couch potato” pitch. Today people using mobile devices will not be passively sitting in front of the regular channel, so if a brand expects to get in front of consumers it will have to find a different way.

So what’s different about the mobile platform. Smaller screens, less bandwidth or bandwidth caps. The tablet will remove these limitations but its a totally different device whose use and demographic are also totally different.

Trying to force mobile to become an additional marketing channel in the same way TV or Web is used is a mistake, because the way people interact with mobile is different from the way people interact with TV, radio, print and the personal computer. Realizing this, the handicap of a smaller screen and bandwidth limitations, utilizing the advantages of relevant/targeted advertising and features that mobile brings with it such as location will necessarily spawn new ways for brands to connect with consumers.
Data Mining: How Companies Now Know Everything About You

E-commerce and The End of Search

Most of us consider the Internet a bucket of miscellaneous tidbits, and the modern search engine our personal assistant. But is that analogy correct? You open your browser, bringing up the Google homepage, then enter whatever term you happen to be looking for at the time and bingo. You get a list of results you then have to “search” through to find what you are looking for. So in fact you are searching through the results of what Google searched for.

Google co-founder Larry Page once described the “perfect search engine” as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want”, far from what Google is today.

 

A recent study titled “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips” by researchers at Columbia, Harvard and Wisconsin-Madison universities studied whether the Internet has become our primary transitive memory source–basically an external memory system. These are the conclusions reached by the four controlled experiments in the study:

1) People share information easily because they rapidly think of computers when they find they need knowledge (Expt. 1).

2) The social form of information storage is also reflected in the findings that people forget items they think will be available externally, and remember items they think will not be available (Expts. 2 and 3).

3) Transactive memory is also evident when people seem better able to remember which computer folder an item has been stored in than the identity of the item itself (Expt. 4).

The effect on whether or not we choose to commit certain information to memory when we know the information is readily available on the computer is what is relevant here. We store specific things in specific places, like food in the fridge, but who remembers what is specifically in the fridge?

It is completely natural for people to minimize what needs to be encoded into memory by organizing and then encoding the location of the information, rather than the information itself. This is where the traditional search engine falls short of meeting the basic cognitive needs of humans.

The emergence of the mobile device has been remarkable and Apple’s vision in this space has changed the way people access information. There is data to support the notion that people are not mirroring desktop behavior on mobile devices.

People are not searching on smartphones as much as they do on desktops. Steve Jobs attributes this to the availability of mobile apps and the desktop lacking an app store. In reality, the availability of app, or the lack thereof, is not really the central point. What’s important is information is being categorized, compartmentalized and organized for consumption, and delivered more efficiently through mobile devices. This is clearly a step in the right direction in delivering more relevant and timely information to the user.

Artificial Intelligence will play a major role in the next wave of innovation, starting with Evolving and Adaptive Fuzzy Systems as classification algorithms and then matching the wants with the needs of the user. A recent example of this is an application that gives personalized restaurant recommendations called Alfred—it is all recommendations and no direct search.

GiftWoo takes the next step forward in the e-commerce space in a vertical market. Until now going online to find a gift for your better half involves a search, which results in thousands of choices. Currently, e-commerce websites are designed to deliver a high number of choices, rather than the “right choice” for the consumer. GiftWoo will give the buyer the unique and perfect gift they seek without the searching, by initially building a profile for the gift recipient, then utilizing a proprietary algorithm to match the ideal gift to the profile.