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For Facebook, Measuring Across Devices And Apps Is A Huge Focus

AdExchanger

Facebook is increasingly focused on connecting audiences across screens and channels, and helping clients measure those results.

Graham Mudd, the company’s director of advertising measurement for North America, described aspects of the company’s approach to AdExchanger at the IAB’s Mobile Marketplace conference.

“We believe the future of marketing is being able to find specific consumers based on what the publisher, advertiser or intermediary knows about the consumers,” Mudd said. “And [to do that] we need to move beyond panels and cookies to census-based measurements.”

Instead of relying on consumer panels, which Mudd said fail to provide the necessary scale to measure diverse audiences across channels, Facebook is focusing on a combination of CRM data and third-party data from companies like Datalogix, Acxiom and Epsilon to help clients enhance their measurement capabilities.

Mudd also confirmed that the new “people-based measurement capability” that Facebook ads product VP Brian Boland alluded to in an AdAge op-ed will include partnerships with other data providers, although he declined to name the providers.

Facebook uses Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) and Datalogix to measure the effectiveness of ads on both Facebook and Instagram, even though the latter is positioned as a separate brand and service. The company does not however, target users with ads based on data collected from both Instagram and Facebook.

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Programmatic, mobile boost adspend

Warc

LONDON: Global advertising expenditure is forecast to grow steadily over the next three years, according to new data from ZenithOptimedia which also highlighted the growing impact of programmatic and mobile.

Figures in the media agency’s latest Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report show growth in adspend at 3.9% in 2013 but increasing to 5.5% in 2014, 5.8% in 2015 and 6.1% in 2016.

This year’s figures will be helped by a series of ‘semi-quadrennial’ events – the Winter Olympics, the football World Cup, and the mid-term elections in the US – as well as the eurozone finally turning the corner to achieve its first year of growth since 2010.

While growth in the eurozone is expected to be a modest 0.7%, that will change as more countries stabilise – Finland, Italy and Greece, for example, are behind the curve – and adspend growth will accelerate to 1.6% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2016.

ZenithOptimedia noted that television remained the dominant advertising medium, attracting 40% of spend in 2013, nearly twice that taken by the internet (21%), and would gain most from the semi-quadrennial events, growing 5.2% in 2014.

But the internet was by some distance the fastest-growing medium, up 16.2% in 2013 and forecast to increase at a similar annual rate (16%) for the next three years.

The fastest-growing sub-category was display (21%), which was predicted to overtake paid search (13%) in 2015.

Traditional display (banners and other standard formats) was growing at 16% a year, boosted by the revolution in programmatic buying, which, said ZenthOptimedia, provided agencies and advertisers with more control and better value from their trading. Social media (growing at 29% a year) and online video (23% a year) were also starting to benefit from programmatic buying.

The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets was driving a boom in mobile advertising, projected to increase at an average of 50% a year between 2013 and 2016. In contrast, desktop internet advertising was slated to grow at an average of just 8% a year.

Over the same period, mobile’s share of the market was set to more than double, from 12.9% of internet expenditure and 2.7% of advertising across all media to 28.0% and 7.6% respectively. In doing so it would become bigger than radio, magazine or outdoor, making it the world’s fourth-largest medium.

The rise of mobile apps and the decline of the open web — a threat or an over-reaction?

Gigaom

As the use of mobile devices continues to climb, the use of dedicated apps is also increasing — but is this a natural evolution, or should we be worried about apps winning and the open web losing? Chris Dixon, a partner with venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, argues in a recent blog post that we should be concerned, because it is creating a future in which the web becomes a “niche product,” and the dominant environment is one of proprietary walled gardens run by a couple of web giants — and that this is bad for innovation.

Dixon’s evidence consists in part of two recent charts: one is from the web analytics company comScore, and shows that mobile usage has overtaken desktop usage — an event that occurred in January of this year. The second chart is from Flurry, which tracks app usage, and it shows that apps account for the vast majority of time spent vs. the mobile web, an amount that Flurry says is still growing. I’ve combined the two charts into one (somewhat ugly) graphic below:

If apps are winning, is the web losing?

The implication of all this is obvious, says Dixon. Mobile is the future, and what wins on mobile will win the internet — and “right now, apps are winning and the web is losing.” Not only that, but Dixon argues that the problem is likely to get worse, as more companies realize that an app gives them much more control over the user experience than a website. And with less and less investment in making the web experience better on mobile, it will continue to deteriorate, which in turn will push users even further towards the use of apps.

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MOBILE VIDEO VIEWING INCREASED BY 700% BETWEEN 2011 AND 2013

Fast Company

TV is no longer just a box in the living room. Unless you haven’t been paying attention, you know it also includes smartphones and tablets, and a new report fromvideo services company Ooyala provides more evidence of that trend. By analyzing viewing data from 200 million people, the Global Video Index report found mobile and tablet viewing increased 719% from 2011 to 2013. In 2013 alone, the share of videos watched on mobile phones increased by 10 times.

The holiday season played a role in these shifting viewing habits. Not only were consumers watching product videos to learn about potential gifts, but many also received tablets and smartphones as presents, helping drive growth in December. Overall, mobile phones and tablets accounted for 26% of viewing by the end of December of 2013, up from 18% in October.

More than half of the time people spent watching on mobile devices was on videos that were 30 minutes or longer. However, it was connected TVs that engaged online viewers the longest, with 39% of people watching content more than an hour long.

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How Twitter Has Changed Over the Years in 12 Charts

The Atlantic

It’s been eight years since Twitter debuted. Like the rest of the social networks that have survived, it has changed, both in response to user and commercial demands. The user interface, application ecosystem, geographical distribution, and culture not what they were in 2010, let alone 2006.

But each Twitter user sees the service through his or her own tiny window of followers and followed. It’s hard to tell if everyone’s behavior is changing, or just that of one’s subset of the social network. Now, new research from Yabing Liu and Alan Mislove of Northeastern with Brown’s Chloe Kliman-Silverattempts to quantify the way tweeting has changed through the years.

“Twitter is known to have evolved significantly since its founding,” they write, “And it remains unclear how much the user base and behavior has evolved, whether prior results still hold, and whether the (often implicit) assumptions of proposed systems are still valid.”

While their paper is directed at fellow researchers, their results might be of interest to anyone whose ever used Twitter. They combined three datasets to come up with 37 billion tweets from March of 2006 until the end of 2013. The key thing to know is that they talk about two different datasets: What they call the “crawl” dataset constitutes all the tweets, and what they call the “gardenhose” dataset constitutes only a sample of either 15 percent of all tweets (until July 2010) or 10 percent of all tweets (after July 2010).

OK, with that caveat, here are some of their most interesting findings.

Click to see charts and continue reading 

US Smartphone Usage Nears UK Levels

eMarketer

iOS claims greater share of US smartphone market compared with the UK

The UK has long been one of the more advanced mobile markets in the world, with rapid adoption of smartphones. But consumers in the US are catching up, eMarketer estimates.

eMarketer expects 65.0% of US mobile phone users, or 51.4% of the total population, to use a smartphone at least monthly in 2014. That compares with two-thirds of mobile phone users in the UK, or 53.7% of the total population. The UK will continue to lead by both of these metrics—but only slightly—throughout our forecast period, thanks to robust growth in the US smartphone market.

Among US smartphone owners, Android-based handsets are the most popular, and eMarketer estimates that they will reach 50.0% penetration this year, while iOS-based handsets continue to claw back share slowly, with 40.5% of the market expected for 2014. Both major operating systems will continue to make slight gains as BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and other operating systems continue to lose significance.

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Breaking News Is the Top Reason for Mobile News App Usage

eMarketer

Less than one-third of consumers pay for a smartphone or tablet news app

Less than four in 10 US consumers use mobile news apps, but those who do are likely keeping them on hand to stay up to date with unexpected events.

In a December 2013 study by StepLeader, 42% of US mobile news app users said that breaking news was the most important news app category. This was the top response by a long shot—just 18% of respondents cited second-place national news—and it makes sense when one considers that mobile devices allow users to keep up with the latest news whenever and wherever they go.

But getting breaking news via smartphone apps was far more popular than on tablets, likely due to the former being more portable. More than four in 10 respondents said they used smartphone apps to get breaking news alerts, compared with just 20.0% who said the same for tablets. Instead, the larger screens were more common for reading news content—likely in a more relaxed setting—with more than half of tablet news app users saying they did so, vs. less than one-third of smartphone users.

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Facebook Reveals 10 Year Plan, Confident on Mobile

The Street

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Facebook (FB_) CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the company’s thinking process around its three, five and ten year strategy in a conference call with analysts to explain the social network’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, a virtual reality platform that venture capital investors in the company compare to Silicon Valley’s biggest breakthroughs such as the Apple (AAPL_II, the iPhone, the Macintosh, Netscape and Google (GOOG_).

Investors puzzling over Facebook’s apparent entrance into virtual reality may be heartened by the clearer picture of the company’s medium-to-long-term thinking provided by CEO Zuckerberg. They also may be comforted by Zuckerberg’s increasing confidence that Facebook has solved its problems in bringing more than 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs) to mobile devices.

Those two developments, expressed on Tuesday evening in a call with analysts, may have more bearing on Facebook’s share price than the immediate impact of the Oculus VR acquisition. The company Facebook is acquiring is still in the process of developing its next generation product after using crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to raise $2.4 million to develop its first product, Oculus Rift.

While Facebook is shelling out $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in stock for Oculus VR, in addition to an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock incentives, Oculus VR is unlikely to have any impact on the company’s earnings in the next few years.

On Tuesday, Facebook was unwilling to provide specific financial guidance on the acquisition or how it came upon a price, but CFO David Ebersman noted that the company focused on the games business because it’s the furthest along. It is worth noting no bankers were hired to advise Facebook’s acquisition, indicating CEO Mark Zuckerberg is confident he can be an effective dealmaker in Silicon Valley.

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Smartphone innovation is slowing, so what’s next?

Computerworld

In the last year or so, there has been a noticeable slowdown in innovations in new smartphones — with both hardware and software.

In a five-year smartphone forecast through 2018 released last week, research firm IDC noted: “It has been widely acknowledged that the pace of innovation on smartphones has slowed down, even reached a plateau. Indeed, many of the new innovations launched in 2013 appeared to be incremental improvements on a theme, and it was questionable whether many of them would have lasting value.”

With smartphone innovation flattening, the next direction seems to be making the smartphone the hub — connected via Bluetooth, primarily — to emerging technologies. These systems include smartwatches, other wearable devices and everything in the much larger ecosystem of home appliances, cars and other products that, when connected, would comprise what’s being called the Internet of Things.

While this slowdown in innovation has been widely recognized, marketers for smartphone vendors still trumpet their devices’ new features at large-scale events where the latest products are unveiled amid hype that overstates the new capabilities. Samsung, for example, hired a live orchestra to play on an elaborate stage for the launch of its Galaxy S5 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona in late February. The event was attended by thousands. The Galaxy S5 will ship April 11.

Tuesday’s launch of the expected HTC One M8 has been preceded by online videos and plenty of hype touting a phone that has a 5-in. full HD screen (larger than the one on last year’s HTC One), two rear camera sensors for taking better photos, a Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM for greater speed.

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Facebook takes mobile ad analytics in-house

VentureBeat

Facebook likes the mobile advertising space. So it’s getting ready to bite off an even bigger piece.

The Menlo Park, Calif. based social media kingpin is growing its in-house mobile analytic capabilities while at the same time working with the company’s roughly 13 mobile ad partners. It’s a two-pronged approach aimed at increasing Facebook’s clout and its access to data.

While Facebook says it doesn’t yet have the capability to totally rely on its own in-house analytics platforms, some say it’s only a matter of time until it cuts out the third parties.

“Advertisers are trying to cut out the middlemen, and mobile advertising is the frontier for this to happen. Facebook and Google are starting to allow advertisers to go directly to them,” said analyst Ray “R” Wang of Constellation Research.

The mobile ad market, and the third-party mobile analytic outfits that help marketers target their ads, is wide open and ripe for the taking. The space grew 105 percent in 2013 to a total of $17.9 billion, and research firm eMarketer expects that tally to grow to over $30 billion by the end of 2014.

Google currently dominates the market, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the mobile ad revenue haul, but Facebook is catching up fast, with 17.5 percent in 2013, rising to 21.7 percent in 2014, eMarketer says.

For its part, Facebook knows the future is mobile: It has over a billion mobile users, according to its latest quarterly earnings report, and more than half of last quarter’s $2.5 billion in revenue comes from mobile ads.

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