As we’ve seen in our on-going series of Digital Statshot reports, mobile increasingly dominates the digital world, and we’re confident that ‘ubiquitous connectivity’ will gather even more pace during 2015, as cheaper handsets and more affordable data connections reach further around the world.
What’s more, with mobile-oriented services like WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger achieving the top social media ranking spots in some of the world’s biggest economies, it’s clear that much of our digital behaviors now converging around mobile devices.
Based on the trends within this data, we expect that mobile will help to push internet penetration beyond 50% of the world’s population during mid to late 2016.
Before that, though, we expect to see social media penetration reach one-third of the world’s population – likely by the end of 2015 – with new users in developing nations accounting for almost all of this growth.
Recent reports have suggested the Web is dying. That’s largely because data from analytics firms including comScore and Flurry say mobile device users now spend more than 85% of their time in apps instead of Web browsers.
But according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group for Web publishers, the relationship between mobile apps and the mobile Web isn’t that straightforward. It’s easy to look at comScore data and to reach the assumption the mobile Web is in decline, but what looks like app time may actually be mobile Web use in disguise, the online ad trade body said.
Many apps, including news aggregation and social media apps, include browser capabilities within them. If a user opens the FacebookFB-2.46% application and taps on a link, for example, they are technically operating within an application, but are actually consuming content from the mobile Web, too.
To understand users’ mobile Web habits better, the IAB commissioned Harris Poll to survey 2,030 adults in the U.S. in December, and found 52% of smartphone owners in that group said they click links within apps that take them to content on mobile websites. The research also found users actually value apps in part because they enable the discovery of webpages.
The IAB said it believes this type of mobile Web browsing inside non-browser applications represents a significant volume of traffic. In other words, mobile app use isn’t replacing mobile Web usage, it’s driving it.
After Apple and Samsung, which companies are selling the most smartphones around the globe?
If you guessed a growing group of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, you would be correct.
Most Americans know little about the emerging Chinese smartphone makers, let alone how to pronounce some of their names. Most of these handsets are unlikely to be seen in use by U.S. customers, at least for now.
Yet, these Chinese companies, with names like Huawei, Xiaomi, Coolpad, Lenovo, ZTE, and even Alcatel (which is now part of TCL Corp., a Chinese electronics company) are having a big impact both inside China and in emerging economies.
These companies mostly sell unlocked smartphones that run the Android mobile operating system. They usually charge much lower off-contract prices than Apple and Samsung, and they’re beginning to challenge some of the world’s traditional smartphone makers.
Globally, Huawei of Shenzhen, China, was the No. 3 smartphone maker in terms of revenue in the third quarter of 2014. Huawei was well behind Apple and Samsung, but in a virtual tie with LG Electronics of Seoul, South Korea, according to Infonetics Research.
Meanwhile, market research firm IDC reported that newcomer Xiaomi, which is based in Beijing, shipped the third-most smartphones to retailers in the third quarter. Xiaomi was just ahead of Lenovo, also based in Beijing, which was in fourth place but virtually tied with LG. Xiaomi’s smartphone shipments jumped an amazing 211% year over year, reaching 17.3 million units, according to IDC.
Out of the top 17 smartphone makers globally in the third quarter, 10 were based in China, according to Strategy Analytics. Xiaomi ranked third in total production, and Huawei ranked fifth. The rest of the Chinese group in Strategy Analytics’ top 17 included Lenovo, ZTE, TCL Alcatel, Lenovo (formerly Motorola under Google), Coolpad, Oppo, Vivo, Micromax and Tionee.
“The Chinese vendors are absolutely having an impact on many smartphone brands that have to compete with low-cost Chinese smartphones,” said Ken Hyers, an analyst at Strategy Analytics.
“People in the U.S. don’t even know who these Chinese companies are,” added John Byrne, an analyst at Infonetics.
“I was just in China recently, and you see phones in use with labels I’m not even familiar with,” Byrne said. “It was an eye-opener. Especially in Asia, there’s a much larger variety of phones in use and not the duopoly of Samsung and Apple that we have in the U.S.”
According to data from Salesforce, 86 percent of top marketers say building a holistic marketing approach is a top priority, but only 29 percent of companies say they actually have the structure in place.
The data point is one of several findings compiled from the ad-tech vendor this year. In terms of tactics: email, social media and mobile continue to grow for brands.
But despite the growing interest in mobile marketing, only 51 percent of survey participants said they expect mobile to have a return on investment. Thirty percent of marketers use location-based technology, and 47 percent have an app.
Meanwhile, 68 percent of marketers polled said email is a key piece of their strategies. But a sizable chunk of marketers aren’t just blasting out emails—64 percent of respondents said their companies send out 1 million or fewer emails per year.
So, what keeps CMOs up at night? Per Salesforce’s findings, that includes data and analytics; new customer service roles; and lining up a company’s internal functions.
Check out Salesforce’s infographic below. (Click to expand for improved readability.)
Mobile monetization is causing a big headache for publishers. While consumers spend more of their time on their devices, the platform isn’t getting a proportionate share of ad revenue:ad rates are nearly one-fifth what they are on desktop.
And while banner ads perform badly on small screens, native ads are showing promise as a way to get consumers’ attention on mobile devices. Consider Facebook’s experience with mobile: according to a study by Marin Software, click-through rates of Facebook’s mobile-only newsfeed ads are 187 percent higher on mobile than on desktop.
There are catches, of course. Native ads’ performance is driven by a lot of factors. Ads do better when they appear on article pages and blend in with the host publisher’s editorial style, but if they look too much like the surrounding editorial, they could turn readers off. Their formats aren’t standardized like banners are, which makes them harder to scale.
Here, then, are five things to know about the current state of native ads on mobile.
Polar, whose native ad platform is used by The Huffington Post, Condé Nast, Bloomberg and others, packaged up a set of benchmarks that show how the format is performing on mobile, tablet and desktop. Polar found that native ads do better on mobile than on desktop, where native ads have to compete with so many other elements for attention. However, mobile devices aren’t all created equal when it comes to native’s performance. Click-through rates are higher on smartphones than on the desktop and tablets, which is closer to the desktop experience than the smartphone.
That trend carries through to engagement. On average, time spent on native ads also is higher on smartphones than on tablets and desktop.
Polar also compared performance of mobile native ads in the content categories of finance, lifestyle and news. The click-through rate was highest in the news category, but time spent was lowest. Finance, meanwhile, had the lowest click-through rate but the longest time spent per ad. (Numbers are averages.)
The value of video in digital marketing is growing as video consumption continues to rise across channels and connected devices. In the first half of 2014, the Interactive Advertising Bureau reported digital video ad spending increased by 24% compared to the first half of 2013.
While TV is not dead — consumers still watch on average 4.5 hours of TV per day — users are spending significant amounts of more time viewing video content on other devices like desktop, smartphone and tablet. Mobile now accounts for 22% of overall digital video consumption, expected to rise in 2015 with ad spending in social expected to exceed $26 billion dollars globally.
Enter Social Media: A Channel Capable of Widespread Impact
As marketers, we need to stop thinking in silos and start media planning with complete storytelling in mind. Using video content and social channels together to tell a cohesive, engaging narrative that leverages the mind-set of the user, based on the screen and platform they are viewing, should be the norm.
Once content creators begin to develop video based on channel and device, engagement and video completion rates skyrocket. Adding videos to landing pages can increase conversions by nearly 90 percent—especially across the ever-increasing landscape of social platforms, where video has become a strategic way to break through the daily clutter of 58 million tweets, 4.75 billion pieces of Facebook content, and 60 million Instagram posts.
Few advertising channels outside of social allow a brand to maximize distribution of short- and long-form content and get users to watch nearly an entire video clip. Video is a tool to help change perception and sentiment among a brand’s target audience, while leveraging established advocates to relay influential opinions to their peers across multiple channels.
Given the usage of social platforms, high engagement with content and the ability to target audiences on a one-to-one level, it’s surprising that video and social are so commonly planned separately. As marketers, isn’t it our job to find the right user and deliver the right message to them at the right time? If so, why are we not planning video strategies on Facebook and Twitter in conjunction with our broader video buys? It is time to tear down the channel walls and start building smarter media plans inclusive of social user behavior and each platform’s unique capabilities.
Video-based social media offerings are becoming more advanced and marketers should continue to adjust their strategy accordingly. Recent research from SocialBakers found that more marketers are opting for Facebook video over YouTube, and Twitter’s native Video Card outperforms YouTube links — emphasizing the huge opportunity for brands to develop engaging content that resonates with each social network’s unique audience and format.
Interest in tablets by Brazilian consumers and corporates appears to be declining, according to recent numbers by analyst IDC.
The research house’s Tablets Monthly Tracker suggests that in July, some 612.000 tablets were sold, up 17 percent on July 2013. However, 642.000 devices were sold in August, 3 percent less compared to the same month last year.
Out of all the devices sold in those two months, 96 percent were sold to final consumers and 4 percent to corporates.
This decrease in sales points to the start of a decline in tablet fever in Brazil. According to IDC, the “big moment” for tablets in the country has passed and that from now on, sales are likely to reach a more stable level rather than the exponential growth seen in previous months.
“We had a moment with many tablet launches with some low-quality options, which has led to consumers being disappointed and not considering a second purchase,” says IDC Brazil analyst Pedro Hagge.
NEW data released by IDC on smartphone sales last week shows that there’s a new kid on the block. According to the research agency’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in the third quarter of this year, Chinese phonemaker Xiaomi zoomed to the No 3 slot in the global list of top five smartphone makers in the world, behind Samsung (No 1) and Apple (No 2). The Chinese company sold 17.3 million units in the quarter for a 5.3 per cent market, pipping Lenovo (5.2 per cent) and LG (5.1 per cent) to the third spot.
It’s true that, as IDC notes, Xiaomi benefited from its focus on China and adjacent markets. This, coupled with innovative marketing, brought triple-digit year-on-year growth. But, as IDC notes again, it remains to be seen how quickly the company can move beyond its home territories to drive volumes higher.
Was this a fluke, one-off phenomenon?
No, expect more non-traditional brands in the Top 5. This is because the next billion smartphone users are not going to come from established and wealthy markets such as those in North America, Europe, Japan and pockets of Asia such as Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. They will come from emerging markets such as India, China, Indonesia and Brazil. These markets are characterised by less brand loyalty and extreme price sensitivity.
According to the Acquity Group’s annual State of B2B Procurement study of corporate business procurement professionals in the U.S. with annual purchasing budgets in excess of $100,000, 68% of B2B buyers now purchase goods online, up from 57% in 2013.
Additionally, business buyers’ purchasing habits and preferences included in the report show that:
The number of respondents who spent 90% or more of their budgets online in the last year doubled from 2013, increasing from nine to 18%
44% of respondents have researched company products on a smartphone or tablet in the past year, compared with 41% in 2013
30% of B2B buyers report they research at least 90% of products online before purchasing, up from 22% in 2013
Although buyers are researching and spending more online, suppliers are not capturing a large enough share of the market, says the report. 57% of business buyers have made an online purchase of $5,000 or more in the last year, and 66% of business buyers say they make a major purchase of $5,000 or more (online or via print, or telephone) at least once per month. But only 48% of respondents purchase goods online directly from suppliers, opting instead for third-party websites and other purchasing channels.
17% of B2B buyers use Amazon Supply, the most popular third-party website from which to make a business purchase regularly, and 38% of B2B buyers make a purchase using the service at least once per quarter.
The B2B Procurement study uncovered massive growth in online research and spending by B2B buyers across multiple devices. Study highlights include:
Electronic Purchasing Platforms In Which Users Participated
% of Respondents
Do not purchase online
Source: AquityGroup, October 2014
B2B organizations are undergoing a major shift in customer behavior, marked by a steady increase in online research and browsing across multiple sources before purchasing. Overall, 94% of B2B buyers report that they conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product, while 55% of B2B buyers conduct online research for at least half of their corporate purchases.
Additionally, procurement teams are spending more time researching products and comparing prices online for goods at all price points. 40% of buyers research more than half of goods under $10,000 online. 31% of buyers research more than half of goods costing $100,000 or more online. For larger corporate purchases of $5,000 or more, 34% spend more than three hours researching products.
Most Popular Online Sources Used To Make A Purchase Decisions (% Using)
% of Respondents
3rd party website
Userreview of products
Do not participate
Source: AquityGroup, October 2014
Although, according to 83% of respondents, supplier websites are the most popular channels for conducting research online, only 37% of B2B buyers who conduct research through a supplier’s website said it was the most helpful channel for this purpose.
According to the report, these findings reveal a significant gap between the information procurement officers want and the content that B2B websites currently provide, despite the fact that many suppliers appear to be adapting to changing preferences among B2B buyers.
71% of respondents prefer to conduct research and purchase on their own with access to a sales representative via the phone or online chat when needed, demonstrating the importance of a highly integrated, omni-channel eBusiness approach to sales and marketing. Respondents reported:
31.6% said Research and purchase on my own online, but would like phone support with any issues
16.2% want to speak to someone directly via telephone to discuss options and walk through the entire process
15.8% research and purchase on their own online, but would like live chat support with any issues
13.4% like to do their own research, but talk through purchasing on the phone
12.4% would like to speak with someone directly in person to discuss options and walk me through the entire process
10.5% research and purchase on their own online, no sales person necessary
We have asked the IDG Mobile Advisory Board why mobile marketing is crucial in the advertising mix. This is what James Foulkes, Co-Founder of Kingpin Communications, said…
Today our phones are as vital to us as our wallets. But a wallet can’t browse the web, compare products, or watch catch-up TV. Extending this further, the mobile revolution is no longer just about one single deivce. The rise of tablets and technology like Apple TV mean we need to talk to a multi-screen audience and that has to drive us to think about context even more than we ever have. For example, during daytime working hours desktop banners may have validity. We might need to share video/snacking content around commuter time and more research driven content for home in the evening and weekends – each have different call to actions and responses. This means the key questions we ask before we commence any campaign haven’t changed – we still need to know what defines success and how to measure it. The big shift will be to acknowledge that with the context being more widespread and complex – our metrics will also have to adapt.
See what JON HOOK, Head of Mobile at Mediacom International and Mediacom Beyond Advertising, says about mobile marketing…