December 16, 2009


By Wandrille Pruvot, Regional Director, Europe

This week, I'd like to share with you the story of two French financial institutions, both of which are successfully using the mobile internet to attract young consumers.

One company is adopting a straight-forward sales approach, providing information about financial products and a connection to sales agents. The other is undertaking a branding campaign with no direct sales component, the sort of advertising more generally associated with soft drink and alcohol companies.

For both groups, the youth – particularly those under the age of 25 -- are a critical target market, because if you choose a bank by your mid-twenties, you're likely to stick with it for the rest of your life.

It's a sign of the times that these mainstream “brick and mortar” companies are now making the mobile internet an integral part of their advertising strategies, particularly to reach out to the younger demographics.

Let's take a look . . .

December 10, 2009

Commentary : Google's Directory for The Noughties Generation

If you like supporting your local restaurant or shop instead of the nearest chain outpost, then Google has just made your life a bit easier. The US launch of Favourite Places means consumers can find and review over 100,000 local businesses on the move by using their mobile.

November 21, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

In an integrated multi-media campaign that ran across television, in newspapers and online, Guinness recently raised a toast to its founder. From Ireland – where it all began – to New York, Nigeria and Malaysia, cries of “To Arthur!” could be heard: “To Arthur Guinness, 250 remarkable years!”

Two hundred and fifty years ago – in 1759 -- Arthur Guinness signed a lease on St. James Gate in Dublin, the site of Guinness' first brewery. The stout is still brewed there today.

To celebrate, Guinness put on concerts in four continents. And to drive people to the event in Kuala Lumpur, where the Black Eyed Peas would perform, the brewery ran mobile ads on the BuzzCity Network.
The campaign objectives were clear:

November 18, 2009

Commentary : Mobile Ad Networks and The Need to Stand Out.

Mickey Alam Khan cut close to the bone when he recently said “One of the issues that mobile ad networks face is positioning, or rather the lack of it.”

So, how did mobile ad networks find themselves in this position?

October 30, 2009

Starting Prices on The BuzzCity Mobile Internet Ad Network

Starting prices (minimum bids) will no longer be fixed at $0.01 for CPC for some countries within the BuzzCity Mobile Ad Network. To date, this value has been kept at the most mimimum, allowing the available inventory to attract bidders who then place competing bids.

As experienced advertisers get better acquainted with the quality of our network, they start bidding at a price above the (previous) one cent minimum. This invariably sets a “reserve price” (of sorts) that is invisible to newer advertisers - new bids at one cent will get fewer exposure and clicks.

Commentary : Mobile Net 'heading for data jam' ?

News out of the UK – Mobile internet is becoming increasingly popular but should we expect repercussions?

Whether we want to be the first with the new Cheryl Cole ringtone or the new Fifa game, we all love to download things to our mobile phones. However, is our urge to download set to cause mobile operators a massive headache?

October 29, 2009


by Michael de Souza, Executive Producer, South Africa

Here in South Africa in recent months, we’ve noticed two distinct approaches to managing campaigns on the BuzzCity network. There are those who upload their campaigns and let them run, hardly making any changes. Then there are clients who monitor and optimise their campaigns, making constant tweaks, testing new bidding levels and exploring targeting options. No prizes for guessing who’s getting the best performance and return on adspend.

Some of our most experienced advertisers are sinfully lazy! They upload a campaign based on past experience. They set start and end dates, enter a bid rate, upload one version of a good solid creative and perhaps include some relevant targeting. Then they sit back and let the campaign run. Sometimes this means that an early mistake will play itself out through the entire campaign. That's an extreme case. Most advertisers still get decent results – it's just that they could be doing a lot better.

So, I’ve taken note of how some of our very best advertisers* continually optimise their campaigns and I hope they won’t mind me sharing a couple of their secrets with you.

Here’s what they’re doing:

October 13, 2009


By Manish Mishra, Country Manager & Executive Producer (India)

Earlier this year, I reported that there's been a shift in mobile advertising in India from branding to direct sales. Over the past nine months, I've seen increased evidence of this in the accounts that we serve.

Mobile ad sales overall in India have grown significantly in 2009 as compared to a year earlier. The BuzzCity Advertising Network served 899 million ads in India in the third quarter, 36% higher than a year earlier. More than a billion ads were served in Q2 '09, a 60% year-on-year increase.

Digital agencies like Webchutney, meanwhile, expect India's top 500 advertisers to markedly increase mobile's share of digital advertising over the next year from two percent to nine percent.

October 07, 2009


Our latest Ad Index is just out.

In the third quarter of 2009, more than 5.4 billion advertiser banners were delivered across the entire network. Among the Top 5, Indonesia, India, United States and South Africa remained unchanged in ranking.

  1. Indonesia remains in top position - more than 1.8 billion banners were served to Indonesian audiences – although traffic dropped by 52% from the previous quarter.
  2. Indian advertising also declined by 16% and fell below the 1 billion mark.
  3. South African traffic declined in the third quarter, reversing the trend of previous quarters but remained in fourth place behind USA.
  4. Kenya enjoyed 52% growth and replaced United Kingdom in 5th place.

October 05, 2009

Commentary : When Will Mobile Advertising Overtake the Internet?

Very interesting news out of the UK.

The trade association for digital advertising there, the IAB (
Internet Advertising Bureau) has reported that the UK is the first major economy to spend more on internet ads than on television. According to The Guardian, TV advertising has been the leading ad medium for almost half a century. But it took the internet just 10 years to take the lead.

UK advertisers spent £1.75bn on internet advertising in the first six months of 2009, compared to £1.6bn on TV advertising. Back in 1998, UK advertisers spent just £19.4m on internet ads.

Will mobile be able to overtake the internet in an even shorter period of time?

The IAB notes five key drivers for the success of online ads. Unsurprisingly, these are also key success factors for Mobile albeit with one very important difference:

September 23, 2009


Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

BuzzCity champions an open mobile internet. Over the past couple years, we've written several times about how mobile carriers should not build barriers that restrict users to the carrier's portal or make it difficult or prohibitively expensive to surf other sites. User preferences are clear. In countries where carrier “wall gardens” have been lifted, mobile surfers access a wide range of content, both on- and off-portal.

So what's a telecom carrier to do, particularly if it wants to be a content provider as well as a communications pipe?

September 22, 2009

Commentary: WSJ and Niche Content

Rupert Murdoch has announced plans to start charging mobile readers of the Wall Street Journal. Before the end of the year, people who access the WSJ on Blackberries and iPhones will pay US$2 per week. Mobile access to the journal would cost a dollar a week for subscribers to the newspaper.

At BuzzCity, we applaud moves by print media to mobilise their content. New applications meanwhile make it easier to package content for mobile devices and improvements in the handsets themselves - such as larger, clearer screens - make it much easier to read.

So what's still missing here ?

September 15, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

Nichaphat Rojratanasap , a mother of three in her 50s, used to run a restaurant . . . before she found her calling in the fortune-telling business. While she's not famous, Khun Nichaphat is quite popular in her local community and with her clientele – all of whom consult her over the phone.

September 08, 2009


Results from our latest survey are out and the top 10 brands among mobile internet users are:

  1. KFC
  2. McDonald's
  3. Sony
  4. Nestlé
  5. Samsung
  6. Nokia
  7. LG
  8. Coca-Cola
  9. Panasonic
  10. Philips

August 23, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia 

One of the most common misperceptions about mobile advertising -- among ad agencies and brands -- is that you need to craft an entirely new campaign to fit the mobile medium and properly target mobile consumers.

But the truth is it's not hard at all to tweak your existing collateral for viewing on mobile devices. The Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) is running ads across the BuzzCity Advertising Network to increase the agency's profile, raise awareness of drug trafficking and engage the Thai public in a campaign to help protect their own communities. The mobile ads are part of an integrated campaign that includes outdoor billboards, radio, TV and the internet.

August 12, 2009


By Lai Kok Fung, BuzzCity CEO

Mobile companies are placing their bets now on whether applications or browsers will be the cornerstone of your mobile experience. Discussion within the industry is intense as carriers, developers, phone makers and internet giants like Google and Microsoft vie for market share and a spot at the top of your mobile speed dial list.

July 17, 2009


We're happy to report that BuzzCity has been nominated for the Spirit of Enterprise 2009 Award, which celebrates our company's founders as models of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Lai Kok Fung, Andrew Lim, Clifford Chew and Lee Cjin Pheow have been nominated as a group and are among 117 Nominees. Check out the nominating interview with KF and the team here.

The Spirit of Enterprise "promotes and advances entrepreneurial spirit in Singapore by honouring local self-reliant entrepreneurs operating small and medium-sized businesses." The programme also aims to inspire young Singaporeans to become entrepreneurs by facilitating interaction between students, business leaders and the general public.

July 16, 2009


We've released the advertising index for the 2nd Quarter.

Indonesia remains in first position with 3.78 billion impressions. India continued its growth trend, exceeding one billion banners, securing its position at number two in the rankings. The United Kingdom rose four places on the last quarter to 5th, reflecting increased advertiser interest in off portal advertising. Saudi Arabia also saw significant growth on the last quarter (63%), jumping ten spots to number nine.

This latest report also shows growth in Europe, with three countries appearing in the Top 20 for the first time. These include the United Kingdom (17%), France (26%) and Italy (23%).

June 15, 2009


by Michael de Souza, Executive Producer, South Africa

As a native South African – and someone who has spent the last 8 years working in marketing here – I've seen a dramatic transformation in how people communicate and access information.  South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of mobile internet penetration and I believe that the lessons from my homeland can guide marketers worldwide.

The cellphone has become ubiquitous in South Africa. From affluent urban shopping malls to poverty-stricken rural communities where they are often the sole means of communication, you'll find mobile phones in every nook and cranny of the country. A few statistics: 

  • South Africa has a population of 50 million people
  • But of these 50 million, 10 million are under the age of nine.
  • There are over 30 million active cellphone lines in the country. That's 75 percent of all South Africans, aged 10 or older.
  • More than 10 million people – one-third of all active cellphone users – connect regularly to the mobile internet.

June 03, 2009


By Wandrille Pruvot, Regional Director, Europe

IMAGINE for a moment that you are travelling to a new place. You've just arrived and you know nothing about it.
You subscribe to a mobile service that's like a travel guide. It provides information about historical facts, places to see, things to do, good restaurants, maps, safety tips and more – all tailored to meet your personal interests.Even better, take a photo of a nearby building, submit via your phone and the application knows exactly where you are, so it can target the information you desire even better.

This is one of the not-so-far-off scenarios that we considered at a recent workshop in Spain sponsored by the European Union.

May 27, 2009


From time to time, here on the Gamma Life blog, we like to share ideas and tips about how to make the most of the BuzzCity ad network. In this entry, we'd like to tell you a bit more about Mobile Landing Pages.

May 12, 2009

INDIA 2009

By Manish Mishra, Country Manager & Executive Producer (India)

Since January, there has been a definite shift – across the board -- in the way Indian companies advertise, a shift with positive implications for mobile and not-so-positive implications for traditional media. Branding campaigns are out. Sales Generation is in.

May 11, 2009


By Lai Kok Fung, BuzzCity CEO

Whether you work in the industry – or just enjoy good content – it's clear that the media landscape is undergoing a transformation. Newspapers are going out of business, music is sold piecemeal over the internet, and Twitter has become a household name. Mobile meanwhile continues to grow even while other sectors contract.

As BuzzCity celebrates its 10th anniversary, I find myself reflecting on these changes and I've noticed five industry trends that I would like to share with you today.

April 27, 2009


by Michael Switow, Guest Blogger

Shiok: A Singaporean English colloquial expression denoting extreme pleasure of the highest quality. Derived from either Malay or the Punjabi “shauk”.

Tak Shiok: The opposite of Shiok.

“What's Hot, What's Not? That's the million dollar question,” TheMobileGamer CEO Alvin Yap told participants at BuzzCity's Developer Garage and Marketing Roundtable. Identify the right trends – avoid the pitfalls – and you're on the road to success. Well, to paraphrase Yap, here's my Top Ten List from the event of what's “damn shiok!” – and what's not.

April 09, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

An advertiser on the BuzzCity Mobile Network recently launched a campaign to promote a free music service. “Free MP3 Downloads” read the banner, which attracted 150,000 views a day and a 1.89 percent click-through rate. At first glance, these are great numbers. But the campaign experienced only a 5 – 7 percent conversion rate. Out of 20 people clicking on the FREE MUSIC! banner, up to 19 were walking away without closing the deal.

What went wrong?

April 08, 2009


We're happy to report that more advertisers are budgeting for and running mobile internet campaigns. According to the latest BuzzCity Mobile Advertising Index, the BuzzCity network delivered 8.5 billion paid advertising banners in Q1 '09, an increase of 11% over the previous quarter.

March 05, 2009


By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

Just about every mobile campaign, by its very nature, is targeted at a particular audience. However many companies do not target their ads strategically. In this week's column, I'd like to share some best practices with you and also take a look at the Targeting Capabilities of the BuzzCity ad server. Particularly if you are a campaign manager who purchases ad space on the fly, I invite you to think about these five rules: 

February 03, 2009


By Wandrille Pruvot, Regional Director, Europe

Europe is facing its worst recession since World War II. Economic confidence – by consumers and businesses alike – is at a record low, according to the European Commission which first started charting confidence nearly 25 years ago. The IMF predicts that the euro-zone economy will shrink by two percent in 2009. And it seems like every day another major European company announces job cuts.

But I expect mobile advertising in Europe to grow – not contract – in 2009. Brands will switch to mobile advertising as they cut back on traditional campaigns. And new applications and content will fuel a growth in mobile page views which in turn attracts advertisers. Innovation – in ad campaigns, business models and applications – will drive this growth and be the key for successful companies. 

Since the economic crisis started late last year, the number of accounts that I oversee in Europe has risen, not contracted. More generally, European ad spend to date has not fallen either.

Mobile advertising is cheaper and more cost-effective than print media, radio, TV and outdoor ads.

A quick recap of the major advantages and trends (as these have been written about more extensively elsewhere):

  • Mobile ad rates are dropping due to increased inventory.
  • The continuing expansion of the mobile internet will further increase inventory.
  • The personal nature of the mobile phone provides unprecedented targeting capabilities.
  • Unlike SMS push-marketing, the opt-in and non-intrusive manner of mobile advertising does not violate consumer privacy (and does not annoy users).
  • Enhanced mobile campaign metrics make it easier to analyse and improve ROI.
Meanwhile, I expect the recession to lead mobile publishers and application providers to monetise their content more quickly. In recent years, companies have advertised products and provided them for free upon launch, with the goal of attracting a user base first. Now, however, companies are talking with us about how they place banner ads inside an application and sell ads more quickly.

In 2008, the BuzzCity Mobile Advertising Network served 19.5 billion ads and grew by more than 300 percent. Romania, the UK and Norway are the biggest European markets at the moment, accounting for more than 600 million ads served.

A year from now, I expect to report higher numbers and deeper European penetration.

INNOVATION - PART 1 (Sales & Marketing)

Renault is a great example of a major brand with integrated campaigns. The French automaker launches a mobile site for every new product in sync with its radio and TV ads. Take a look at the site for Renault's Laguna Coupe. You can view the car inside and out. In addition to text, there are pictures and videos profiling the Laguna's major selling points, including the Bose sound system and four-wheel drive.

The multimedia is great, but Renault also adds an element of interactivity to boost direct sales. Click on “Try It” and you're asked to enter a postal code. This then brings up a list of nearby resellers. Each entry contains a link to a map. Click on the phone number and you're connected straight away to the car dealership to set up a test drive.

INNOVATION - PART 2 (Business Models)
The biggest European mobile advertisers, though, continue to be companies that offer mobile value-added services, like ringtones, wallpapers, videos, etc. Typically, consumers pay a fee to download a limited number of items within a set period of time. Vivendi – the French entertainment giant which owns Universal Music, movie distributor Canal+ , a majority stake in French telecom carrier SFR and produces the popular video game World of Warcraft – is trying a new approach with its mobile subsidiary ZaOza. It's offering unlimited downloads in an effort to attract greater market share. ZaOza, whose name comes from a Chinese word meaning "word of mouth", also openly encourages customers to share mobile content with other subscribers. Since launching a year ago, ZaOza has attracted 350,000 French subscribers.

INNOVATION - PART 3 (Applications)
Taptu -- based out of Cambridge, England -- is a new mobile internet search engine. It's a “google for mobiles.” But it's actually much better than the big G. Google transcodes internet sites so that they can be viewed on a mobile device. The problem with this though is that it often doesn't work well. The sites look squeezed and can be hard to read or navigate. Taptu, on the other hand, only provides results that are on the mobile internet and that are compatible for your phone. To quote their website:

"If you're looking for high-resolution panoramas of the Tibetan countryside, you might not find them here. But if you're looking for music, images and web results perfectly shaped for your mobile, then give Taptu a go."
In addition to English, Taptu offers search in four European languages: French, German, Italian and Spanish. It's pretty unusual for a start-up to launch in multiple languages, but the feedback to date has been good.

[Full disclosure: BuzzCity is partnering with Taptu to develop a new application for myGamma. But I use their search engine myself and really like it.]

For companies, this is a time to try new things. When the economy is strong, it's easy to coast and keep doing what works. But in challenging economic times like today, business leaders need to search for cost effective solutions and new ways to monetise their products. The mobile internet is bound to benefit.

Finally, in my October blog, I wrote that European telecom carriers were restricting growth by making it difficult and expensive for consumers to surf outside telco portals. Unfortunately these barriers still exist and carriers are not giving any indication of changing now. However a boom in mobile ad inventory (resulting from more published content) and innovations outside the carriers' control will fuel mobile advertising in the year ahead.

January 16, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

Hi. My name is Delynn (“De – Lynn”) and I head up BuzzCity's Asia sales team. In my contributions to the GammaLife blog, I plan to share examples of how companies conduct branding and marketing exercises on the mobile internet. By the very nature of our business, these cases often extend beyond one particular geographic region and this week's story is no exception.

Emami – an Indian company that specialises in personal care products – aimed to increase brand recognition of a facial cream for men called “Fair and Handsome”. The fast-moving consumer goods business also wanted to survey consumer perceptions. So, Emami turned to a Singapore-based company called Mobiquest that partners with clients to provide mobile application services. Together, Emami and Mobiquest produced a contest-driven mobile campaign in two countries, India and Kenya.

I'm going to dive into a fair bit of detail now, but I think this will be useful for advertisers and publishers alike.

January 08, 2009


The BuzzCity Advertising Network grew 300% in 2008 as compared with a year earlier. BuzzCity served more than 19.5 billion ad banners across the 200+ country network.

We're also happy to report more depth in the network as 28 countries now each draw more than 10 million ad banners per month.