Invest In Analytics To Meet Your Mobile Objectives

Thomas Husson

A year ago, I blogged about the fact that the app economy was blurring the lines and opening up new opportunities, with a lot of new entrants in the mobile space, be it with mobile CRM and analytics, store analytics, dedicated gaming analytics, etc.

Since 2010, more than 40 companies have raised about $500 million in that space! Watch it closely – consolidation will continue, as evidenced recently by Yahoo’s acquisition of Flurry.

While a lot of innovation is happening on the supply-side, too many marketers have not defined the metrics they’ll use to measure the success of their mobile initiatives. Many lack the tools they need to deeply analyze traffic and behaviors to optimize their performance.

Fifty-seven percent of marketers we surveyed do not have defined mobile objectives. For those who do, goals are not necessarily clearly defined, prioritized, and quantified. Only 38% of marketers surveyed use a mobile analytics solution! Most marketers consider mobile as a loyalty channel: a way to improve customer engagement and increase satisfaction. Marketers must define precisely what they expect their customers to do on their mobile websites or mobile apps, and what actions they would like customers to take, before tracking progress. Too many marketers focus on traffic and app downloads rather than usage and time spent. While 30% of marketers surveyed consider increasing brand awareness as a key objective for their mobile initiatives, only 16% have defined it as a key metric to measure their success!

Read more

Forrester’s First Asia Pacific Social Media Advertising Spending Forecast

Xiaofeng Wang

As social media adoption continues to grow in Asia Pacific (AP), so too does marketers’ spending on social advertising. Forrester’s just-published Asia Pacific Social Media Advertising Spending Forecast, 2014 To 2019 report projects that social media ad spending will continue its rapid growth over the next five years. In this period, marketing leaders in Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea will increase their investment in advertising on social media (excluding mobile messaging apps) at a 21.6% compound annual growth rate, reaching $5.8 billion by 2019. The rapid pace of growth is mainly due to:

  • Low market maturity coupled with a large and active social media population. Collective social ad spending in these five AP markets end up being less than half of that in the US in 2014. The maturity of the AP social ad market is low considering the large numbers of people in the region who use social media, and as this market matures it will grow faster than in the US.
  • Increasing social media consumption will continue to boost ad spending. The percentage of the online population using social media in the five AP markets will increase by double digits from 2014 to 2019. Forrester projects that further Internet adoption will bring even more consumption of social media.
Read more

The Rise Of Dial-Up, Dial-Down Advertising

Ryan Skinner

Advertising as we’ve always known it, online or off, worked a bit like this:

Produce advertising content />> Place advertising content

Here, advertising content had no life independent of its placement. Print ads, TV ads and radio ads lived only on the servers of the ad companies who created them, and then the media who carried them, for however long they carried them.

Now, a new kind of advertising has emerged:

Promote earned or owned content />> Promote more if it works (or less if not)

Here it’s a question of identifying content for promotion that’s already in the wild, on a blog, in a discussion forum, uploaded to YouTube, and then paying to drive more eyeballs to it, because it supports your brand, or it converts interested communities into customers.

It’s particularly attractive for two very good reasons:

  1. It’s already published, and has often already shown potential to create results for the business (in the form of awareness, leads or even sales), and
  2. You can often dial up the eyeballs that go to it, or dial them down, as you see fit, based on performance.
Read more

What To Expect From Berlin's IFA And From Apple's Upcoming Announcements

Thomas Husson

Will the iPhone 6, to be announced on September 9, have NFC and a Sapphire Crystal display?

What about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, to be announced at Unpacked on September 3? And will the new Nokia Lumia 730 (a.k.a Superman), to be announced on September 4have a 5-Megapixel rear-facing camera?  

This week's scheduled launch events from Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Motorola, LG, and Apple will cause lots of comparison about device features – with about 15 new devices to be launched along the IFA show in Berlin.

It simply does not matter.

Forrester made the call that competition shifted from devices to ecosystems about two years ago. New devices are simply vehicles for increasing the value of the entire digital relationship across a rich digital platform.

As my colleague Frank Gillett puts it, “Samsung's challenge is to establish an enduring relationship with customers, rather than being an interchangeable Android device maker – and it will take more than a new Galaxy Note to do that.”

Read more

Content Distribution Is A Hot Mess Right Now

Ryan Skinner

[UPDATE 4 Sept: I have updated this post to the original draft, which includes specific and strong recommendations to publishers and marketers. They had been redacted, but a colleague asked "What would you DO about this?" so I saw fit to reinclude them. These are my answers; there are no easy solutions, but these are a step towards guidelines. Updates at the end of the piece, in bold.]

Publishers Are Engaged In Self-Harm, With Marketers As An Accessory

You remember when the email spam problem maxed out almost a decade ago? Or when content farms threatened to turn Google search results into useless piles of keyword-slurry? Or peak belly fat?

There should be a word for the moments when the mechanisms that aim to keep our electronic information corridors running well fail.

It’s shaping up to be one of those moments for the content distribution space (and particularly its subdiscipline native advertising, or sponsored content).

You can pity the reader who arrives at an article on many publishers’ websites today; I’m talking about you, Guardian and Forbes, but also you, New York Times and Washington Post. How is the reader to know if the article they’ve come to read is the product of a straightforward pay-to-publish play, an informal “link exchange” relationship, an “influencer” play, an independent opinion piece, or a piece of pure editorial? They can’t.

For the record: The “clear labeling” commandment is a fig leaf. By the time a reader has gotten so far through the article that they’re wondering why it keeps promoting a particular mindset, product, or opinion and started searching for cruft around the article, the trust in the information, the source, and the medium is lost.

Read more

The Beginning Of The End For The "Programmatic" Ad Network

The acquisition of [X+1] by Rocketfuel signals the beginning of the end for “programmatic” ad networks. Since the industry’s shift to programmatic, countless ad networks have changed how they market themselves, adjusting their sales language to mimic legitimate programmatic platforms. The “programmatic” ad network insertion order-based and flat-rate business model has prolonged the black box opacity that spurred the need for demand side platforms and exchange based media buying. It’s only fitting that one of the industry’s most successful “programmatic” ad networks — Rocketfuel — is addressing client demand by making a move that launches them into the digital marketing SaaS market.

There is a lot to be said about the success that Rocketfuel has had in the industry; they have done great things for marketers looking to automate audience prospecting and retargeting. They certainly have done an amazing job marketing their programmatic chops, with the success of their AI product and their success with agencies running performance based campaigns. Their recent revenue growth and the fact that Rocketfuel had the capital to acquire a DSP/DMP in [X+1], are testaments to the success that they have had in the industry.

Despite their success, prolonging opacity for marketers in this market is a short-term strategy, and Rocketfuel is positioning itself for long-term success.

Coming from the agency trading desk world, I did not partner with Rocketfuel for several reasons:

  • Rocketfuel works with marketers and agencies on a flat-rate business model, which is aligned with traditional ad network buying.
Read more

Beacon Marketing: Be Wary Of The Hype

Thomas Husson

Beacons have a great deal of disruptive potential as they bridge the digital and physical worlds. I quite like this quote from Steve Cheney, SVP at Estimote: “Beacons as a platform are really a wedge into ‘appifying’ the physical world. They give context to a physical space. They are a way of actually extending the network intelligence to the edge again, something that has been missing since the desktop era. Beacons are truly a way of giving your smartphone eyes—place dumb signs around you and let your phone discover and read them.”

Beacon technology offers new opportunities for marketers across a wide range of industries and verticals. In particular, they enable marketers to:

  • Engage consumers in their mobile moments via in-app interactions.
  • Improve the customer experience.
  • Understand customer behaviors by leveraging analytics.
Read more

Let's Talk About Programmatic

Programmatic – one of digital marketing’s buzzwords of 2014. It seems today everyone is doing programmatic ad buying – and if you’re not, then some would say your media strategy is lagging behind. 

Most marketers are still trying to make sense of the programmatic buying space and answer questions like:

  • How should I be using programmatic and what can it do for my brand?
  • What types of programmatic technology should I be using?
  • Am I getting the most out of my current programmatic approach?
Read more

A European Market For Social Media? Does Not Exist

Ryan Skinner

An agency head told me how he was on a call between the European head of marketing for a US brand and that brand’s board of directors. The chairman asked the marketing honcho, “How is the European market?” The marketer answered, “There isn’t one.” Awkward silence. “That is, there is no European market. There is a French market. A German market. A British one. And so on. I can tell you about those.”

In no other sphere of marketing are these national differences magnified more than in social media. Social media is, by its nature, participatory and thus takes on the form, tone, and color of its users. Social media in Germany is German social media. In France, French social media.

Then brands enter the picture. That social media strategy hatched in Dallas or Dublin, with a sum earmarked for translations, will not cut it.

Three reasons cookie-cutter strategies will fail in Europe:

  • Europeans as a broad group are less likely to engage with brands on social media than, say, in the United States or metro Hong Kong.
  • Europeans’ usage differ significantly country to country; Italians usage is not comparable to German usage.
  • Each market boasts strong local players that excel at the intricacies of their market’s social media usage.
Read more

What Lies Behind That Result From Facebook

Ryan Skinner

Pundits’ take that Facebook has “solved” mobile advertising after its home run last week hid a bigger, behind-the-scenes story:

We’re finally seeing branding and direct response marketing merge in a meaningful and measurable way; Facebook is just one place where it’s happening most demonstrably.

Here’s important context: Facebook’s quarterly earnings beat projections last Thursday, driven by the 62% of its ad revenue that comes from mobile. Also note that Facebook’s only ad revenue from mobile is its in-feed ads (or native ads, or whatever you want to call them).

The in-feed ad is Facebook’s holy grail. If they can manage to position ads in users’ mobile feeds so that these ads: a) perform well, and b) don’t kill engagement with Facebook, then they can print money against their 1 billion-plus monthly active users.

Facebook knows they’ll need advertisers’ and their agencies’ help to achieve this. That’s why I want to draw your attention to a slightly less publicized study that came out of Facebook and two partners the week prior to its quarterly earnings announcement.

Working with the social ad platform Adaptly and Refinery29 (one of a new set of savvy content-driven eCommerce outlets), Facebook showed that social advertising that merges branding and direct response outperforms direct response ads alone, by a margin of about 70%.

Facebook Valuable Content Uplift

Read more