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Apple revamps mobile ads with retargeting options

Digiday

Apple’s release of its new mobile operating system last month came with an overlooked gift for marketers: the ability to retarget ads based on users’ in-app browsing behaviors.

According to ad agencies, Apple is actively pitching the new capability as a way to effectively solve the mobile cookie problem.

Say, for example, a visitor to a retailer’s iPhone app adds a pair of shoes to his cart but ultimately decide not to buy it. In this scenario, the retailer will now be able to retarget that user with an ad for that exact pair — even in another app on his iPad. When tapped, the ad would direct him back to his abandoned checkout page and automatically add the shoes to his online shopping cart.

“One of the big limitations of not just iAd, but the entire iOS ecosystem, is that cookies don’t work,” said Eric Franchi, co-founder of cross-device ad network Undertone. IOS is the operating system on which Apple devices run. “If Apple can bring very advanced targeting combined with e-commerce, it will be incredibly powerful.”

E-commerce companies are a particular focus for the new feature as it enables them to retarget users across Apple devices based on items they have previously expressed interest in. E-commerce apps can also track the items shoppers add to their digital wishlists and send ads for those items when they go on sale, and target ads based upon a person’s shopping history.

Read on…

Smartphones Set the Pace as MEA Handset Sales Top 64 Million Units in Q2 2014

IDC PMS4colorversion  300x99 Smartphones Set the Pace as MEA Handset Sales Top 64 Million Units in Q2 2014

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) handset market grew to its largest size in ten quarters in Q2 2014, expanding 27% year on year to total 64 million units. The latest insights from global advisory and consulting services firm International Data Corporation (IDC) show that the majority of this growth was seen in the smartphone category, with a major shift underway in the composition of the market. Indeed, smartphone share of the overall MEA handset market jumped 13 percentage points year on year to reach 40% in Q2 2014, with that figure reaching as high as 75–80% in some of the region’s more developed countries.

Within Africa, Egypt and South Africa posted the largest year-on-year handset shipment growth, at 37% and 32%, respectively. In the Middle East, that honor was taken by the UAE and Qatar, with respective growth of 27% and 32%. “The growth seen in countries like Egypt is due to ongoing economic and political recovery, while for countries like the UAE and Qatar that are still benefiting from successful bids to host Expo 2020 and FIFA 2022, it is simply the result of increased consumer demand stemming from economic growth and tourism,” says Nabila Popal, research manager with IDC’s Systems and Infrastructure Systems Group.

The remaining MEA countries also posted growth over the same quarter in 2013, despite some — such as Iraq and Syria — experiencing extreme levels of instability. “This universal growth is unique to this technology segment,” continues Popal. “This is because phones are no longer simply a means of communication between people. Indeed, smartphones are becoming a way of expression and a window to the rest of the world, and this aspect is proving particularly important in lesser developed countries that are suffering from unrelenting political turmoil.”

Continue reading…

Mobile Infographic Video: Millennials vs. Generation X

IDG GlobalSolutions Color Mobile Infographic Video: Millennials vs. Generation X

A global content revolution is upon us. These days practically every piece of con- tent we discover, share or engage with comes as a stream of digital information – real-time search results, social media feeds or swathes of rich media ads and advertorial experiences.

Nearly all respondents aged 18 to 34 owned a smartphone, and 91% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 85% of 25- to 34-year-olds used social networking sites and apps on their smartphone. Only 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds owned a tablet, however. Tablet ownership jumps to 55% among 25- to 34-year-olds, and 65% report using another device or screen, primarily television (83%) at the same time as their tablet.

To download the 2014 IDG Global Mobile Survey white paper and view other infographics, CLICK HERE

World Tech Update: 9/19/14

IDG News Service

On this week’s World Tech Update,  Microsoft buys Minecraft developer Mojang, Apple readies its iPhone 6 for sale and we take a look at a high tech stadium.

EMEA mobile ad spend to quintuple by 2017, can publishers take advantage?

Media Briefing

Triple-digit growth percentages are guaranteed to get industry leaders grinning, so the latest figures predicting predicted mobile ad revenue will rise 543 percent per year to 2017 across the EMEA region will have many salivating. It’s should also come as at least some reassurance for publishers in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) who are seeing their audiences shift from desktop to mobile.

Most of the growth is set to come from Western Europe. where smartphone penetration is already at 42 percent. However, the Middle East and Africa are set to grow faster – if from a much smaller base – as those populations also snap up smartphones.

This tallies with predictions from earlier this weekwhich said mobile ad revenue – and especially that of location targeted ads – was set to rise to $15

This tallies with predictions from earlier this weekwhich said mobile ad revenue – and especially that of location targeted ads – was set to rise to $15 billion in the same time period. The simple fact that a quarter of the population of the EMEA already owns a smartphone, with that figure set to rise, certainly goes a long way to back up that claim.

And while at the moment countries like Western Europe makes up the vast majority of measurable ad impressions, as the smartphone saturation of the other EMEA regions increases, that should start to shift.

Continue reading…

Mobile Video Viewing Poised To Take Over By 2016, Ooyala Report Says

MediaPost

Whatever size screen Apple is selling this year, they’re in the ballpark. Mobile screens, small and bigger, are where the viewers are headed, fast.

According to Ooyala’s Q2 Video Index being released today, viewing via mobile devices is destined to make up more than half of all video views by 2016. That’s a little more than just 15 months away.

Mobile — smartphones and tablets — made up 27% of online viewing in June, up from 21%, in February. In the past year, mobile viewing has doubled to become 25% of the total.

Ooyala is not alone in its predictions. Earlier, Cisco predicted (and Ooyala noted) that by 2018, mobile video traffic could make up 69% of the world’s Internet traffic.

This latest Ooyala report amplifies other recent data that show small-screen video is growing big — and not just for short-length content, although that is its dominant use.

All that go-go should keep going, it says, because of the oxymoronic trend toward larger small screens — like the new Apple iPhone 6 and others — that make video viewing on mobile devices better.

Oolyala also points out that there’s just more video available, and faster 4G phone service is more widely available. TV Everywhere service is becoming available, well, everywhere to everyone. Ooyala says in the U.S., it’s estimated that 90% of pay-TVers can access TVE, however, as other mind-blowing stats seem to indicate that you can lead basic cable subscribers to TV Everywhere, but you can’t make them use it.

Read on…

Android One: Google’s push to rule the smartphone world

CNET

Google just took an important step toward cementing its dominance over the world with its Android mobile operating system.

In the wee hours of the morning on Monday, almost 8,000 miles away from its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Google launched its Android One initiative in New Delhi, India. The project, originally announced at the company’s I/O conference in June, is essentially a way for Google to guide handset manufacturers in bringing affordable smartphones to emerging markets.

The initiative is designed both to reduce the ultimate price tag of Android smartphones, giving more budget-conscious consumers a chance to try out the devices, and to bring a more consistent Android experience, ensuring that those consumers are using Google services. That the Internet giant is making so much noise out of Android One underscores the importance of those markets, which are a critical source of future user growth — and where Google isn’t the only company looking to plant its flag.

Android One is first rolling out in India, then in Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia by the end of the year. For the launch, Google has partnered with three Indian device makers — Micromax, Karbonn and Spice — to create three $100 smartphones, as well as teamed up with the wireless provider Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile carrier in India, with 40 percent of smartphone users in the country on that network.

Phones made under the Android One rubric will also run “stock” Android, an unmodified version of the software, without the technical and user interface flourishes that manufacturers such as Samsung or HTC typically add to make their smartphones stand out from the competition. The company has already designed its most current version of Android, called KitKat, to run on low-cost hardware.

Continue reading….

The New York Times explores cheaper digital subscriptions

Digiday

The New York Times is considering a cheaper version of its digital subscription as it continues to look for ways to get more revenue out of consumers.

According to a survey sent to readers this week, the new offering would give users 30 articles a month for $8, over 45 percent lower than the current cheapest offering. Now, for readers who hit the paywall at 10 articles, digital access starts at $15 a month for access to NYTimes.com and Times smartphone apps.

“With the new subscription offer from The New York Times, you would get: Your choice of 30 articles a month on NYTimes.com and the NYTimes smartphone and tablet apps,” the survey read.

The survey also asked people how willing they would be to cancel their existing subscriptions if they could get the $8-a-month plan. A Times spokeswoman said the offering isn’t a done deal.

“We often issue surveys to provide input from existing customers on their level of interest in various potential new initiatives,” she said. “Surveys are not indicative of any firm plans to launch new subscriptions.”

The Times has conducted surveys before on prospective and new products, like NYT Cooking.

The initiative comes as the Times’ digital subscription growth has slowed, and new paid apps have failed to take off in a big way. As the Times revealed in its second-quarter earnings call, itadded 32,000 digital subs in the second quarter, down from 39,000 in the first quarter. Meanwhile, print ad revenue declined a troubling 6.6 percent (after a 4 percent gain in first quarter).

The proposed, lower-priced offer resembles the Times’ new, $8-a-month NYT Now app aimed at young readers (big differences being that NYT Now is an app and the articles are handpicked by Times editors) and dovetails with a truncated version of the print newspaper that it also reportedly is looking into. It’s all part and parcel of the effort to unbundle the Times’ content, with the idea that there’s a market for vertical products (NYT Cooking, NYT Opinion) and a lower-priced, lighter version of the full news product.

There are good reasons to try a cheaper sub-offer. Growth for All-Access may have leveled off, and the Times may have miscalculated the market for NYT Now, said Ken Doctor, analyst with Outsell. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a market out there for less than the full product. “There are people who don’t want a wide range of access.”

The proposed subscription offer is Web-based, which could fit better with news-consumption behavior. People on smartphones are more likely to get their news from a browser than an app, and they’re increasingly coming to the news from search and social. A Pew Research Center report found that 61 percent of smartphone news users got news “mostly” from their mobile browsers versus 28 percent who got their news “mostly” from apps. Getting your app discovered is a challenge, as is getting people to keep using it once they download it — issues that a Web-subscription plan solves.

Still, there’s always the risk that a cheaper product will cannibalize the full-priced option, a risk the Times is trying to assess with the survey. There’s also the risk of confusing readers with the ongoing parade of new offers, which are difficult to compare, said Rebecca Lieb, analyst at Altimeter (a problem the Times itself conceded).

“People do the math later, and then you always feel like you never get the best deal … and that’s not best way to get people to subscribe,” she said.

Microsoft still believes in basic phones, launches Nokia 130 for $25

IDG News Service

Microsoft’s Devices Group has unveiled the Nokia 130, a mobile phone that costs just $25 but lacks an Internet connection and apps.

The focus of Microsoft’s mobile device strategy is on building both high-end and low-cost smartphones running Windows Phone, but there is still a need for “ultra-affordable” mobile phones, the company said on Monday.

With the 130, Microsoft is going after people in emerging markets who are buying their first phone. It’s also a good fit for people who want a backup to complement their existing smartphones, according to the company.

The $25 price tag (before taxes and subsidies) is about $90 cheaper than the Lumia 530, which is the lowest cost Windows Phone Microsoft has introduced so far. The price difference with the cheapest Android-based Nokia X — which was recently killed in favor of Windows Phone — is about the same.

For many people in the emerging markets that Microsoft is targeting, a price tag over $100 is simply too much. The company hence feels it needs to offer them a more affordable alternative to prevent them from going to another vendor from whom to buy a phone today and possibly a smartphone in the future.

The 130 has a 1.8-inch color display and will be available with one or two SIM cards. Microsoft also brags about a month-long standby-time, which is a boon for users that live in parts of the world where access to electricity isn’t always a certainty.

The phone also has a built-in video player, music player, an FM radio and a flashlight. It’s expected to begin shipping in the third quarter, and will be available in countries such as India, China and Indonesia.

The choice of this trio is far from a coincidence; they added the largest number of new mobile phone subscribers in the world during the first three months of the year, according to a survey conducted by telecom vendor Ericsson.

There might be a market for products like the 130 today, but the window of opportunity is closing quickly thanks to a continuing decline in smartphone pricing.

For example, Mozilla Foundation and chip maker Spreadtrum have developed a reference platform and partnered with Indian vendors Intex and Spice to launch ultra-low-cost Firefox OS smartphones in the next few months, they said in June. Spreadtrum has said the phones will cost about $25.

That means Microsoft has to continue to work on making Windows Phone available on smartphones that cost well below $100, which is what Google is doing with Android.

The 130 will also go on sale in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.