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The state of native ads on mobile in 5 charts

Digiday

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.)

Continue reading… 

In 2015, Technology Shifts Accelerate and China Rules, IDC Predicts

NYT

In the year-end predictions game, most technology forecasts tend to be either blue sky or boring, flights of imagination or a firm grasp of the obvious.

For the last several years, IDC has published prediction reports that generally avoid the pitfalls of the genre, and offer a useful framework for thinking about the trajectory of trends in technology. The technology research firm’s predictions for 2015, published on Tuesday, come in a 17-page report that is rich in numbers and analysis.

Beyond the detail, a couple of larger themes stand out. First is China. Most of the reporting and commentary recently on the Chinese economy has been about its slowing growth and challenges.

“In information technology, it’s just the opposite,” Frank Gens, IDC’s chief analyst, said in an interview. “China has a roaring domestic market in technology.”

In 2015, IDC estimates that nearly 500 million smartphones will be sold in China, three times the number sold in the United States and about one third of global sales. Roughly 85 percent of the smartphones sold in China will be made by its domestic producers like Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE and Coolpad.

The rising prowess of China’s homegrown smartphone makers will make it tougher on outsiders, as Samsung’s slowing growth and profits recently reflect.

More than 680 million people in China will be online next year, or 2.5 times the number in the United States. And the China numbers are poised to grow further, helped by its national initiative, the Broadband China Project, intended to give 95 percent of the country’s urban population access to high-speed broadband networks.

In all, China’s spending on information and communications technology will be more than $465 billion in 2015, a growth rate of 11 percent. The expansion of the China tech market will account for 43 percent of tech-sector growth worldwide.

Another theme in the IDC report is the quickening pace of the move from older technologies to new ones. Overall spending on technology and telecommunications, IDC estimates, will rise by a modest 3.8 percent in 2015. Yet the top-line numbers mask the trends beneath. IDC predicts there will be growth of 13 percent in what the research firm calls “3rd platform” technologies (cloud, mobile, social and big data). By contrast, older technologies will face a no-growth “near recession,” according to IDC, and “will shift fully into recession” by the second half of next year.

IDC’s 3rd platform is similar to what Gartner, another big research firm, has called a “nexus of forces” sweeping through the industry. (Gartner’s ingredients are virtually the same as IDC’s with slightly different labels — social interaction, mobility, cloud and information.) The 1st platform, in IDC’s taxonomy, was the mainframe era, running from the 1960s into the 1980s. The 2nd platform included personal computers and the Internet, and began in the 1980s and ran through the middle of the first decade of this century.

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What’s the right news experience on a phone? Stacy-Marie Ishmael and BuzzFeed are trying to figure it out

Nieman Journalism Lab

Few weeks ago, we wrote about BuzzFeed’s hiring of Stacy-Marie Ishmael, formerly of the Financial Times, as the editorial lead for their forthcoming news app. Product leadNoah Chestnut, formerly of The New Republic, has been working on building a product that will serve news in a mobile context to core BuzzFeed News readers for a few months now.

stacy marie ishmael1 300x177 What’s the right news experience on a phone? Stacy Marie Ishmael and BuzzFeed are trying to figure it out

Ishmael helped start one of the FT’s first blogs, Alphaville, which allowed the paper to experiment with tone for the first time. Connecting with digital financial communities eventually inspired Ishmael to look into how the paper could build a deeper relationship with its readership offline. As vice president of communities, Ishmael worked closely with teams including FT Live, the events business of the FT which hosts some 200 conferences a year.

But BuzzFeed offers Ishmael the opportunity to explore an area she’s never taken on directly — general news. She’s been thinking a lot about ways to reach BuzzFeed’s audience on mobile, like push notifications, email newsletters, and Twitter cards. Both she and Chestnut want to find a way to predict users’ information needs without asking them to commit time to establishing preferences and to provide an overall delightful experience on par with Instagram or Tinder.

As Ishmael has been preparing to leave the FT, Chestnut has been busy building up a staff of developers and researching competitors. During that transition, I had the chance to talk with Ishmael about her plans for the app, including her own mobile media diet, management philosophy, and experience in audience development. Here’s a lightly edited version of our conversation.

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Video blogs, podcasts help marketers reach niche audiences on mobile

Mobile Marketer

NEW YORK – Video blogging and podcasting are experiencing rapid growth, with many consumers being reached via mobile, said a panel of podcasters and video bloggers at the ad:tech New York conference.

Because the mobile and Web video industry has seen a significant rise in the last several years, marketers and brands can effectively use those kinds of platforms to reach niche audiences. Videos and podcasts offer consumers control, which makes marketing appear more natural.

“Consumption has really gone mobile,” said Rob Walch, vice president of Podcaster Relations, Libsyn, Pittsburgh, PA. “More people are consuming now on mobile devices, and the media has become more aware of it.

“Podcasting is about consumers being able to consume the podcast when they want, how they want. Podcasting is the antithesis of streaming – you are in control.”

Tips for engagement
The way in which podcasts are being consumed has changed drastically in the past two years, with large numbers coming from mobile, said Mr. Walch. Video podcasts have decreased, with audio leading the way in building up listeners.

“Consumption has switched over to audio from the podcast side, and a lot of that has to do with people streaming from smartphones,” Mr. Walch said.

However, podcasters and video bloggers must be cognizant about which devices they are marketing towards. The iOS platform has over 500 million devices that have native-built podcast mobile applications, but Android does not.

“On the mobile side, it really is still an Apple world,” Mr. Walch said. “For podcasters, Apple is your friend. Google is not.”

Marketers seeking to use the podcast or video platforms should also make sure to keep the URLs simple, but unique for each show within the campaign.

Relevant marketing
Podcasters seeking to build a substantial fan base should ensure to focus on gaining listeners and followers rather than number of listens. Subscribers are also directly related to return on investment.

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The Davids are taking over the smartphone world

The Business Times

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.

Read on…

Jon Hook: Why Mobile Marketing Is Important

IDG GlobalSolutions Color Jon Hook: Why Mobile Marketing Is Important

We have asked the IDG Mobile Advisory Board why mobile marketing is crucial in the advertising mix. This is what John Hook, Head of Mobile at Mediacom International and Mediacom Beyond Advertising, said…

Mobile marketing offers us the ability to deliver data driven cross-screen advertising programmes like never before.  By 2018, 40% of all paid media in the UK will be on mobile, according to eMarketer, and it’s vital that we prepare ourselves for the opportunities this will bring.  In particular, how we are able to use data to ensure we build media programmes around user journeys. For example, as they seamlessly move between tablet to desktop, to mobile – do our media plans reflect this? How are we creating content that suits the screen they are on? And how we use this data to build attribution models that help us distribute our media channels that contribute and drive to purchase. Perhaps most importantly, mobile delivers brands’ accountability. We know (based on that person’s Device ID) not only who they are, but a lot of other personal information. Think about TV, OOH, print advertising – a lot of assumptions and unknowns with these channels. Where to start? Invest in your mobile infrastructure (ad serving/mobile sites/creative), plan effectively and embrace the mobile opportunity.

John Hook mobile quote short3 Jon Hook: Why Mobile Marketing Is Important

  • See what James Foulkes, Co-Founder of Kingpin Communications, says about mobile marketing…
  • See what Christopher Carmichael, Director of Media & Digital Marketing at HP, says about mobility for business…

Download the complete Mobile@IDG playbook 

2014 IDG Mobile Playbook

Today people have the ability to shop around the globe at the touch of a button. They can find out more than ever before about the brand they’re engaging with and talk about their experience, sharing their views with millions of people just like them. Their expectations (and demands), whether they are consumers or business customers, are soaring. Channeling into their needs and connecting with them both in the spaces they frequent, and on the devices they use to make purchase decisions, is now mission critical.

This digital playbook features why mobile marketing is important,  IDG global mobile research, a practical guide to mobile marketing, 10 tips using a mobile app, infographics, real world case studies, and more.

Please or in order to access this content.

 Screen Shot 2014 10 28 at 8.30.53 AM 212x300 2014 IDG Mobile Playbook

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