It's that time of year again . . . time for holiday parties and annual budgets . . . and time to pull BuzzCity's Crystal Ball out of the desk drawer, dust it off and have a look at 2014.
(Sorry to mix the work metaphors with the play, but it seems appropriate for those of us in the mobile industry. After all, we're using our phones on a daily basis now for everything from reading office memos and replying to emails to watching viral videos and buying theatre tickets.)
This year, we're going to keep it simple. Just two main predictions:
1. Many Channels, Mobile First
2. MobileMoney Becomes Commonplace - Everywhere!
If you're a close follower of the GammaLife blog, you'll know that we've been writing about the prevalence of mobile commerce & mobile payments -- as well as a mulit-device, multi-channel world -- for some time. But these two trends are only going to become stronger in the year ahead, as they shape our industry - and consumers' lives.
Visit the website of fashion retailer bebe and odds are you'll find cheaper prices than in a local outlet as well as some online exclusives. However price is not the only reason – or even the main reason – why consumers shop online.
What's really key is the overall shopping experience.
Does the mobistore have a great selection? Is it easy and fun to browse? Are the prices clearly marked? If I'm looking for something specific, can I find it quickly?
These same questions should be at the top of the list for brick and mortar retailers as well.
According to the 2013 BuzzCity Retail Survey – a poll of 13,000 mobile users across 20 countries – product variety is the number one factor for shoppers, regardless of whether a store is located online or not.
We recently polled 13,000 consumers in 20 countries on their online and in–store shopping habits.
One of the key findings dispels fears that online shopping is to blame for the challenges met by high street retailers; the 59% of consumers who shop online also shop in-store. Nearly half of consumers (47%) expect to do their holiday shopping online this year, but this does not adversely affect the number of people shopping in-store, with top destinations online and offline being Computers & Electronics, Books & Music and Clothing & Accessories.
Advertising on the BuzzCity Ad Network helps advertisers achieve various goals whether through branding or direct response campaigns.
Brand Advertisers Brand advertisers want to make sure their message reache their intended audience at an optimal cost while maintaining control of where their brand appears. For advertisers like Vodacom , this has meant taking advantage of our Brandsafe channels. Direct Response Advertisers
Other advertisers run campaigns that look to convert clicks into sales; or a sign up, lead, purchase, or other actions that an advertiser wants a user to take. These campaigns may take advantage our Conversion Tracker which helps advertisers monitor – and subsequently tweak – the performance and design of different banners and landing pages.
More working adults use mobile payments to buy things and pay their bills than cheques, according to the latest BuzzCity global survey. Mobile payments are also rapidly gaining on debit and credit cards. (Mobile payments are actually already more common when it comes to bill payments, but not yet for commercial transactions.)
Think about this for a moment.
Cheques were likely first used in the Middle East more than 2300 years ago.
Mobile commerce and mobile payments didn't exist until 1997.
It took centuries - well, millennium actually - for cheque usage to really take off. By the time of my parent's generation, billions of cheques were being issued annually and these rectangular pieces of paper were the preferred means of payment for many people, particularly in North America, India, Oceania and parts of Europe.
Mobile payments meanwhile have come a long way over the past sixteen years, when the first two mobile-enabled Coca-Cola machines accepted payment via SMS in Finland.
Let's take a closer look now at the stats and some examples from around the world.
More people are enjoying media and consuming content on a variety of devices; on their phones, PCs, tablets (and TV). Businesses too are following suit, by designing content and sites to reach consumers across multiple platforms and screens.
To support brands and agencies plan campaigns across different devices, we have updated our online campaign planner to include, generically, what consumers use to surf the internet.
By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing) At a time when mobile phones are becoming more and more intricately linked with our lives, across all sectors of society, the mobile industry is driving Financial Inclusion, providing consumers who have been left out of the financial system with new ways to pay bills, buy goods and services, make remittances and even store their savings.
At the same time, these people without bank accounts – the 'UnderBanked' – have become the driving force behind a growing market for mobile payments.
These are two of the key findings of a recent BuzzCity survey of 17,000 consumers across 22 countries.
The latest edition of The BuzzCity Report is now available. Over the last quarter, our network delivered more than 69 billion paid ads as user activity and advertiser
campaigns continue to grow. Among the Top Markets in the third quarter are :-
India 18.4 billion ad impressions
Indonesia 9.4 bil
South Africa 3.4 bil
Saudi Arabia 2.8 bil
Nigeria 2.8 bil
United Kingdom 2.7 bil
United States 2.2 bil
We also report on the latest user attitudes towards mobile banking and payments. Our study shows, over a quarter of working adults are using their phones for some form of financial or banking transaction, with nearly a fifth intending to try mobile banking. But it is those without bank accounts, ironically, that are fuelling the growth of mobile payments – a higher percentage than those with bank accounts. In this issue we also look at some examples of how financial services, as a consumer centric product, have deployed mobile properties that demonstrate a sound approach to developing a mobile strategy. For more details, please download the report or the summarised infographic
Back in 2009, we published an article on GammaLife called "A Tale of Two Banks" about two French financial institutions - Credit Agricole and Mutuelles de Mans Assurances (MMA) - that were both using mobile to engage consumers, particularly youth, but in very different ways.
Credit Agricole was taking a straight-forward sales approach, providing information about financial products and a connection to sales agents. MMA, on the other hand, created a branded portal with no direct sales component; MMA's site, Mon Mobile Adore, offered users the ability to set up their own mobile home page and download simple mobile content like ringtones.
Now, four years later, how are the two banks doing? Have these early-adopters of mobile stuck to the same approach or changed course?
BuzzCity is making it easier for advertisers to target their campaigns. We've broadened the selection of carriers and included more handset makes. You can also target a campaign specifically for smartphones, feature phones or tablets.
For many, 2013 has been about launching a mobile strategy for online marketing; a more diverse set of advertisers are placing marketing dollars where the consumers are - on mobile! at the same time, over the first eight months of this year, mobile traffic to our clients has grown 31% compared to the same period last year.
Without a doubt, the growth of mobile usage continues to drive content consumption. Notably, media players continue to drive promotions of their mobile assets – whether as mobile sites or as applications. This is mirrored, in many markets, by carriers & access providers promoting better connectivity to digital content via faster networks.
By Manish Mishra, VP Business Development and Country Manager (India)
This is not my father's India. At least when it comes to finance.
The Aditya Birla Group – one of India's oldest conglomerates, but a relatively new player in the financial industry – knows it too.
The group's subsidiary, Aditya Birla Money, is using mobile to connect young people to the financial markets, enabling them to better manage their money and purchase stocks and other financial products.
My father's generation was much more likely to put their money in state banks, land or gold. Invest in stocks and bonds? Unlikely. And now we have an important Indian brand that's created an app to make money management easier.
By Nicolle Harding, Country Manager (South Africa)
It's no secret that advertisers want as much information as possible about their clients and the people who view their ads.
One of the advantages of mobile advertising is that you can target people much more specifically – and learn more about them – than with traditional print and broadcast ads or even internet advertising. Knowing someone's location, for example, can allow an advertiser to provide discounts or promotions at nearby stores and restaurants.
Some handset manufacturers and internet browsers make this hard to do though.
Blackberry and Operal Mini, for example, use proxy servers.
These proxies do two things which can affect your campaign's performance:
When I first moved to Paris in 2011, the BuzzCity Ad Network was serving 33 billion banners a quarter worldwide. That number has basically doubled to 65 billion banners today, thanks in part to the growth we've seen across Europe and Latin America, the markets we cover from our office here in Paris.
This growth, as well as our bullish outlook going forward, has led us to expand our European team and move into a larger office. First, we opened a country office in London at the beginning of the year to manage the expanding UK market, which was previously handled from France. Then, this past week, my team and I moved into a larger space in Paris.
Our new office is in the 16th arrondisement and just a ten minute walk from the Eiffle Tower. Despite being close to this icon of France, the neighbourhood feels less touristy than our old place. I'm looking forward to trying out all the restaurants and cafes in the area. The ones I've visited so far are excellent!
By Nicolle Harding, Country Manager (South Africa)
As an advertiser, how do you get the best return on your investment?
There are a number of ways to optimise a mobile campaign.
But unlike print, radio, TV and direct mail, these tricks of the trade require companies to take a more engaged approach. We find that “Activist Advertisers” – those who test and consistently monitor an ad's performance then make adjustments accordingly – get the best results.
Your ads will likely perform better, for example, on one site or app than another. But in a 'blind network' like BuzzCity, where advertisers do not directly choose the mobile sites where their ads appear, how can you direct your ads to sites where consumers are most likely to show interest?
One of BuzzCity's newest tools, Publisher Targeting, allows you to do just that – by excluding sites and apps that aren't converting for you. Let me walk you through it . . .
You know that your consumers spend a lot of time on the phone, not just talking, but surfing the web, chatting with friends, watching videos, buying movie tickets, checking out travel sites and more. After all, you do the same thing.
You know that it makes sense for your business to engage customers online and on their phones.
You realise that if you don't have a mobile strategy, you're missing out and may actually lose customers to your competitors.
The latest edition of The BuzzCity Report is now available.
In the last six months we’ve reported on the improved consumer trust in mCommerce and how this may yet outpace mobile entertainment in 2013. Despite closures in high-street retailing in many markets early this year, reports have since surfaced pointing to the rise of mobile commerce. Not surprisingly, we also saw an increase in mobile ad spends across numerous industry sectors. Advertisers included Media, Airlines, Fast Food Chains, Banking, Education and Property.
Over this period, our network delivered more than 125 billion paid ads, this is 60% of all ads served in 2012 as consumer and advertiser activity continues to increase on the mobile Internet.
Content consumption patterns continue to evolve but one thing is clear, mobile dominates! Mobile phones keep users constantly connected and this has important implications for media buyers – particularly as new users come online.
In the July edition of our Advertiser Inventory Alerts we’ve identified Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman among those markets where high returns are possible at USD 1 cent.
Advertisers now have a diverse array of mobile tools to choose from to connect their messages and interactions with consumers thanks to advancements in mobile. Display advertising on mobile is one of these tactics and has been successfully used by advertisers to drive brand awareness, purchases, and loyalty.
Here's a quick guide on how to setup a mobile campaign on BuzzCity in a few easy steps.
Are you looking to increase interactivity and consumer awareness of your brand?
If so, you should consider using rich media mobile ads.
According to a two-month study earlier this year by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, consumers react more quickly to rich media ads, which they find to be generally 'better' than standard mobile ads. Rich media generates higher brand recall – of both brand names and messaging – and nearly twice the interaction rate of standard banners.
In this article, we provide an introduction to Rich Media Ads as well as some initial steps for getting you started.
Let's begin though with a brief look at the evolution of mobile ads (we promise it will be quick!) . . .
While some struggle to keep up with the explosion of digital channels, the savvy marketer is going where the consumers are – and are getting there first. Those who are keen to get to where the customer is, will want to start early; when the cost to test is relatively low.
To this end we have identified markets that may be of interest to advertisers and media buyers running trials or exploring opportunities in non-traditional markets. In each of these markets a significant amount of traffic is available at the minimum bid price of USD 0.01 per click.
Please click here to download the Advertiser Inventory Alert for June 2013. If you would like to be included in our monthly releases, please email april[at]buzzcity.com.
Within a few weeks, Mozilla – the not-for-profit company that has largely made a name for itself in the Internet space – is set to make waves in the mobile industry with the launch of a new Firefox operating system for mobile phones.
The success of social media marketing is often seen when big brands (and celebrities!) run campaigns that attract media attention when they get more Facebook fans or Twitter followers.
There are a range of features besides the basic ‘likes’ that can be useful for achieving marketing goals, but proven tactics usually involve promotional giveaways. This is hardly surprising. Decades before online social media even existed, businesses were already implementing successful contests, sweepstakes, challenges and promotional campaigns.
Mobile ownership, content consumption and advertiser activity is all on the rise. More than 13 markets across the BuzzCity Network now serve a billion paid ads or more every quarter. Overall, in the first quarter of 2013, our network grew 36% year-on-year.
As consumers spend more time on their phones, businesses in the mobile space - including operators and manufacturers - have been among the first to take advantage of this growth by creating new products and publicising the launches via mobile. For example . . .
By Manish Mishra, VP Business Development and Country Manager (India)
In my earlier post, I discussed how fast the Indian mobile market is growing as well as how both the smartphone and feature phone segments of the market are important.
At this point, if I was making a presentation to prospective clients, they'd want to see some examples of the types of companies that are using mobile. So, let me share a number of cases with you here.
By Manish Mishra, VP Business Development and Country Manager (India)
Smartphone penetration in India has reached a 'tipping point' according to many analysts – and while the number of smartphone users is certain to increase sharply over the next one to two years, advertisers would be remiss to overlook the growing feature phone market as well.
That's right. The size of India's mobile market is growing so rapidly that we expect the number of feature phone and smartphone users to both increase substantially, presenting marketers with a range of opportunities, particularly when it comes to reaching consumers who are traditionally difficult to reach.
In this article, I'd like to share with you a few of the factors fueling mobile growth in India as well as examples of companies that are already capitalising on this trend.
"What is your highest priority item to take as you leave the house?"
This is a question that we asked more than 3600 consumers in 20 countries -- from Bangladesh to the United States -- across the BuzzCity Network.
The number one answer by far was the mobile phone, ranking higher than money or keys.
But while mobile devices have become an integral part of people's daily routines, consumers are hungry for more content - particularly local content - and they are open to mobile commerce, a sector that is still largely underdeveloped.
One of the hottest topics – and most intense areas of competition – in the mobile industry has been a focus on how to capture feature phone users as they migrate to smartphones. But as I pointed out in my last post, there's also a large market segment that is still sticking with feature phones. This is clear from the success of the Nokia S40 OS, which is powering cheap feature phones that offer many of the same features as their more expensive 'intelligent' siblings. In addition, carriers in several markets are eliminating phone subsidies, so whereas consumers used to feel that they were getting a free phone (though paying for it through higher monthly plans), the comparison has now changed.
So what does all this mean for marketers and developers?
The latest edition of The BuzzCity Report is now available. In the first quarter of this year we delivered more than 61 billion paid ads; a 36% Y-on-Y growth against Q1 of 2012.
In this report we look at those hotspots that have attracted advertising dollars and we believe will continue to do so in the coming months. You will find results of a new survey which reveals travel trends among the ever connected consumer. We believe this opens up more opportunities for developers and marketers as advancements in mobile devices and changes in user behaviour invariably opens up possibilities for local content and applications.
Among the Top Markets in the first quarter are:-
India 16.98 billion impressions
Indonesia 8.2 bil
South Africa 2.53 bil
Nigeria 2.48 bil
Saudi Arabia 2.41 bil
United States 2.37 bil
United Kingdom 1.84 bil
The coming months will also see more disruption in the mobile industry as more carriers abandon device subsidies. We think this will drive price sensitive consumers to turn to cheaper but powerful devices disrupting the growth path of many manufacturers and affect the development of content.
A funny thing happened on the way to the mobile store . . .
While industry watchers were focusing on the growing dominance of smartphones and media reports highlighted the contest between Android and iPhones, another operating system has snuck into the picture.
Well it hasn't so much snuck in as it already had a 20% market share on the BuzzCity Network, but it's refused to go away and grown stronger. Not only that, this OS runs devices that are largely considered to be, get this, feature phones!
At the same time, carriers are beginning to shift away from a business model that has given a substantial boost to smartphone manufacturers: they're choosing to no longer give away costly handsets to customers.
More about that in a moment. First though, enough for being cryptic. Have you figured out which manufacturer is smiling big now and which OS is capturing an unexpectedly large market share?
As more brands begin advertising on mobile, we put more effort into a white listing effort to create a brandsafe advertising environment. If the goal is to get exposure to your brand, asking for specific channels makes sense as you want the right audience to see your brand.
Each channel is a collection of sites aggregated together for advertisers providing high reach environment in a single category or theme. Each channel directs your banner ads to the right audience from a large variety of traffic available.
Consumer confidence in mobile commerce is at an all-time high.
Over the past two years, all sorts of companies -- from SingTel and Vodafone to Starbucks and Google -- have rolled out mobile wallets and other types of payment plans.
A number of observers - including those of us here at BuzzCity - thought that the large number and variety of offerings would confuse consumers. We argued that their lack of depth would discourage adoption, as services would work in one store but not another.
We were wrong.
In fact, the opposite has occurred. The publicity surrounding the launch of new m-payment services, the partnerships, the continuing promotions have served to educate the public and put their minds at ease.
According to our latest BuzzCity survey, only 3% of mobile users are worried about the security of mobile payments, down from 27% a year earlier.
By the start of 2013, our network has grown by another 67% Y-on-Y : over the whole of last year we delivered more than 210 billion ads. Among the top markets in the last quarter :-
India : 18,608,919,690 banners served.
Indonesia : 6,864,742,844
United States : 2,954,184,407
Nigeria : 2,383,223,756
South Africa : 2,270,907,788
Saudi Arabia : 1,838,635,714
United Kingdom : 1,568,121,889
Notable among some of the hotspots at the end last year :
India saw four quarters of double digit growth and closed off with a Year-on-Year growth of 46%. By Dec 2012, just fewer than 25% of Indian mobile users surfed with smartphones.
Indonesia saw three quarters of positive growth although demand softened in the 4th quarter of 2012. Overall, Indonesian traffic saw a Y-on-Y growth of 39%. By Dec 2012, nearly a third of Indonesian (33%) surfers used smartphones.
Nigeria’s phenomenal growth continues. Three quarters of double digit growth led to a Y-on-Y annual growth of 68%. Nokia phones dominate the market (39%, previously 62%) although White Box (30%) phones continue to gain popularity (previously 24%). Smartphone penetration remains modest (10%) in relation to the rest of the network and advertisers are targeting feature phones users before they migrate to smartphones.
South Africa saw an overall growth of 57% in 2012 and smartphone penetration has grown to 32% and is rapidly becoming a mainstream device. Usage is expected to grow as many more will enjoy the benefits of reduced bandwidth costs and improved infrastructure.
The publicity around m-commerce has got many retailers and advertisers thinking about targeting their audience on mobiles as these become the first point of contact between advertisers and the consumer. To start planning your campaigns on mobile, download the latest Campaign Planner Summary Sheet of visit our online campaign planner.
What do you think will be the biggest and most important mobile trends in the year ahead?
What if I told you that iPhones were just a big fad and by January 2014, no one will be talking about them anymore? Or how about if I wrote that mobile penetration has peaked and will start to decline?
Yeah, I wouldn't buy it either.
However I do have four trends that I think will define the next twelve months:
Marketers become Data Crunchers
Mobile becomes the starting point for advertisers, not an after-thought
Emerging Markets Responsible for Breakthrough Mobile Innovations
Take a look and let me know what you think! What are your predictions for the year?