December 29, 2014

The Crystal Ball 2015

By Lai Kok Fung, BuzzCity CEO

As we turn the page on 2014, it's that time of year again when we pull out the BuzzCity Crystal Ball to take a look at what the new year has in store for mobile users and the mobile industry.

The past twelve months have been a period of steady growth for the mobile industry.  Here are just a few indicators:
  • Since the start of the year, The BuzzCity Ad Network has delivered over 320 billion ads, up 19% from 2013.
  • The global market for mobile ads is expected to top US$31 billion in 2014.  Digital advertising is on the rise at a time when TV and print ads are stagnant or declining.
  • More than 1 billion smartphones will be sold this year and smartphone penetration is as high as 85% in Singapore, where mobile devices are far more popular than PCs.  More than three-quarters of mobile surfers use smartphones in 75 markets.
Based on what we see from BuzzCity's research and our survey of the overall industry, it's easy to be bullish on the year ahead as well, particularly when it comes to mobile video and m-commerce . . . which leads me to our two predictions for 2015:

1.  Mobile 'TV' Ads Go Mainstream

2.  Online Shopping Drives Retail Sales for Vendors Big and Small

December 15, 2014

Shopping for Essentials Online Becomes Routine

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

A host of new online shopping services - by established and upstart companies alike - are leading consumers to shop more frequently with their phones.

And more than that, consumer shopping routines are changing too, with people going online to shop when they need something, rather than just making regular visits to the store.

Sixty-nine percent of mobile users now shop online - up from 59% a little over a year ago - according to a BuzzCity survey of 4700 consumers from 25 countries across six continents. More than a quarter of these consumers shop online every day.

November 28, 2014

Travel Advertisers on Mobile

Travel advertisers are already using mobile as a ‘reach’ vehicle, indulging in cross platform advertising and meeting their local marketing needs with mobile to reach out to new customers.

These advertisers range from tourism authorities, airlines to online booking services.

November 07, 2014

Effective Marketing: The Convergence of Earned, Owned and Paid Media

By Manish Mishra, Vice President (Sales)

Social media and mobile phones have transformed the digital landscape, but while many businesses have been slow to adapt, others have internalised the wrong lessons.

In my last column, I discussed how the concepts of “Above the Line” and “Below the Line” Marketing are no longer relevant in a digital world. It didn't take long for marketers to develop three new categories: Earned, Owned and Paid Media.  Basically,
  • Paid Media are ads
  • Owned Media consists of content you control, like a website and
  • Earned Media happens when consumers talk about you and share your content

These lines are blurred as well, though.

The most effective marketing campaigns include all of these elements, along with clear goals and a comprehensive strategy.

October 27, 2014

Effective Marketing: The 'Line' Doesn't Exist Anymore

By Manish Mishra, Vice President (Sales)

What many of us learned in business school or in our first sales and marketing jobs is woefully out-of-date. In particular, creating a distinction - in a world of digital advertising - between 'above the line' and 'below the line' marketing no longer makes any sense.

Yet while effective marketers recognise this, many companies have not made the shift and as a result are deploying their resources poorly.

This GAP ad from the UAE links to the Men's Apparel section of the GAP website.
Is this an example of Above The Line, Below The Line or neither?

October 21, 2014

The BuzzCity Report Vol 4 Issue 4 - Sept 2014

In this report we cover the third quarter of 2014 during which our network delivered 83 billion paid ads. 

Over the course of the year we delivered 244 billion ads, a growth of 24% from last year.

Among the Top Markets in the third quarter are :-

India   20.0 billion
Indonesia   16.9 bil
South Africa   4.9 bil
Nigeria           3.3 bil
Pakistan         2.6 bil
United States  2.4 bil
Malaysia        2.4 bil

October 02, 2014

Movies: Delay Digital Releases At Your Own Peril

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

It's time for the feature film industry and television producers to adapt to a new era of distribution.

For decades -- since the advent of VCRs and home movie viewing, if not the beginning of television itself - major studios have given cinemas an exclusive window to screen films first before releasing them through other channels.

Today, though, these delays foster piracy.

September 26, 2014

Whiskey and Phones

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

TV Ad Dollars Are Shifting
to Web Videos 
The companies that provide consumer products and services are always on the look out for creative ways to market their goods.

Television ads used to be at the top of the ladder.

Then, viewers started recording programmes and fast-forwarding through commercials.

Enter product placements - a Coca-Cola cup here, an iMac there.

Now, though, a key group of consumers - youth aged 18 - 35 - are watching less television altogether, be it live or taped and are spending increasingly more time with other media devices - phones, tablets, game consoles and computers.

The changing nature of media consumption has led some brands to adapt again, this time becoming the producers and sponsors of their own content. (You'll want to read on: I'm about to share two great videos!)

September 24, 2014

BuzzCity Tours : Oct - Dec 2014

Over the coming months our team mates will be at several conferences and workshops and hope to meet with you.
  1. Istanbul Webit Conference : 1st – 2nd Oct. 2014 (Dan
  2. Johannesburg - Tech4Africa:  8th & 9th Oct. (Nick
  3. Dubai - Gitex 2014 : 12 - 16th Oct. (Amit)
  4. Mexico 21st – 24th Oct. (Dan & Isabel)  
  5. London - Ad Tech London :  21st – 22nd Oct.  Come meet with our UK team  at  Stand No. 371  at The National Hall, Olympia.
  6. Paris Games Connection  :  29-31 Oct. (Sabrina)
  7. New York- Ad Tech New York  :  5th & 6th November (Dan
  8. Cape Town - Market Research in the Mobile World:  5th - 6th Nov (Nick)
  9. Cape Town - AfricaCOM: 11th-13th Nov (Nick)
  10. PuneNASSCOM Game Developers Conference : 13th -15th Nov (Amit, Anil & Mario)
  11. London - Apps World London : 12th & 13th Nov.  Our European team will be exhibiting our advertiser and publisher opportunities for applications developers. Please visit us at Stand No. 129 @ ExCel, London. 
  12. Miami - M2Games Latam  : 3rd – 4th December (Dan & Isabel)  

September 22, 2014

TV Goes Online

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

If you're a television network and you notice that an increasing percentage of your core audience is spending less time in front of the TV, what do you do?

For MTV India, the answer was obvious.

Start producing content for mobile and the web.

"As a media channel, we can't ignore platforms where the youth (are)," MTV India's digital head Ekalavya Bhattacharya told MediaNama. "When a guy is glued to Facebook all the time, it doesn't make sense to ask him to switch to TV to just watch a show. It won't work."

September 08, 2014

BuzzCity Research: Mobile Video on the Rise

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)
  • Do you watch videos on your phone?
  • How often?
  • What do you like to watch?
These are among the questions that BuzzCity posed to some 5000 mobile users across 25 countries.

While we knew that video consumption is on the rise, the strength of the results surprised even us.

More than three-quarters of respondents told us that they use their phone to watch video. More than half watch at least a few times a week; 27% said they watch mobile videos every day.

August 27, 2014

Misleading Ads

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

Consumers hate them. Regulators are cracking down. Publishers regularly make complaints about them. And BuzzCity will not accept them on our mobile network. 

Misleading ads – banners imitating operating systems, virus threats, chat messages and falsely promise free stuff – have been a bane to consumers since the early days of internet advertising.

Yet some companies – oblivious to consumer and publisher concerns - continue to market in this manner thanks to a mistaken belief that click-throughs are sufficient to generate sales.

What companies actually need to do is to measure quality engagements.

What happens after mobile surfers arrive at your landing page? Do they proceed to find out more about your products and interact with your brand? Do they continue to the checkout counter? Or do they immediately bail and go back to what they were doing before? 

July 29, 2014

India's m-Commerce Boom

By Manish Mishra, Vice President (Sales)
"Gone in a Flash Sale: 3 Great Offers Only Today" screams an ad on one of India's most popular online shopping sites, Flipkart. "Exclusive Offers on the Mobile App".

"37% off on Mobile, 38% off on Mobile App" reads the copy on Myntra amidst images of clothing and accessories.

“Download Snapdeal Mobile App and Get Exclusive Offers” reads a promotional banner at the top of Snapdeal's home page.

India is undergoing a shopping revolution, driven by the proliferation of smartphones and affordable broadband. It's hard to understate the impact that mobile is having on consumer purchases and decisions.

In collaboration with the Mobile Marketing Association, BuzzCity recently conducted a consumer survey of nearly 3600 mobile users from 26 countries. In India, we found that nearly half of mobile users make purchases online and another 13% 'window shop' on the internet before going to physical stores.

The rapidly changing marketplace is having a big impact on companies and consumers alike.

July 17, 2014

The BuzzCity Report Volume 4 Issue 3

The BuzzCity Report Vol 4 Issue 3 In the latest edition of The BuzzCity Report, we look at the recent growth of the network as more advertisers include mobile as part of their integrated marketing activities.

During the first half of the year, retailers and online stores competed for mobile audiences as consumer activity increased. Carriers were among the most active to meet consumer demand for content, particularly video. This has helped to drive content consumption in markets across South Asia, but in key African markets, industry players are hoping for lower data rates to support growth..

You will find results of a survey commissioned by the Mobile Marketing Association that investigates online shopping behaviour among mobile users. The report highlights challenges faced by retailers and shares insights for marketers to tap into the decision making process of the consumer.  You will find the survey summarised as an infographic here.

July 10, 2014

BuzzCity's Rich Media Platform: A How-To Guide

By Manish Mishra, Vice President (Sales)

BuzzCity has launched a new in-house rich media platform to make it easier for advertisers to serve video ads to mobile consumers across the globe.

As I mentioned in my last two columns ("The Rise of Mobile Video Ads" and "What the World Cup Tells Us About Mobile Video Ads"), video advertising is becoming increasingly popular on mobile. By one estimate, consumers spend nearly 1 hour a day watching digital video, while video ad spend rose 55% in the first quarter.

With the BuzzCity platform, mobile video advertising starts with a banner which expands into a video window with one click by the consumer. On a PC the banner expands when the cursor hovers over the banner (below)

In today's column, I'd like to walk you through the backend to show you how simple it is to set up a mobile video campaign.

June 27, 2014

What the World Cup Tells Us About Mobile Video Ads

By Manish Mishra, Vice President (Sales)

If there's one form of advertising that brands and consumers alike are most comfortable with, it's bound to be video. Television commercials have been a staple of the advertising community for decades. As I shared in my last column, video is also beginning to increasingly drive mobile advertising, a trend that is increasingly clear with the World Cup.

Sharing figures from Mary Meeker's annual state of the internet report, the New York Times reports that mobile data consumption is up more than 80% "as the world turns more to tablets and smartphones, especially to watch video".

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) notes that video ad spend rose 55% in the first quarter as compared with a year earlier.

To make mobile video advertising even easier, BuzzCity has launched a a new rich media advertising platform - it starts with a banner which users can click to view your video. 

In today's column, I'll like to share two important tips about using this medium, but first, a look at the most popular World Cup ads.

June 23, 2014

Who's advertising on Mobile ?

In the first half of 2014 the network delivered 166 billion advertising banners an increase of more than 32% compared to the first half of 2013. Our network now delivers 30 billion ad banners per month.

This follows the increasing diversity of advertisers adopting mobile as an advertising channel.

June 19, 2014

The Rise of Mobile Video Ads

By Manish Mishra, Vice President (Sales)

Have you watched a video on your phone today?

Odds are, you have. And not just because you're interested in mobile.

Increasingly, consumers are viewing video content from their phones and tablets, when and where they want.

At the same time, advertisers are shifting budgets from TV to online and mobile.

You should too.

And to help you along the way, BuzzCity is introducing a new in-house rich media platform for video ads.

June 03, 2014

Mobile Banking: Get the Message Right

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

We've all seen the ads. There's no shortage of creative commercials promoting mobile phones and carriers. But too many of these campaigns – particularly when it comes to services like mobile banking – portray these features as premium services for high-end users.

What the industry needs are ads that clearly demonstrate three things:
  • Mobile banking is useful and will make our lives easier
  • Mobile banking is for everyone
  • And here's how to do it
Banks and carriers also need to move beyond screens to engage consumers more directly with below-the-line marketing campaigns that have a personal touch.

May 23, 2014

Branchless Banking

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

In this week's column, we continue our series on mobile banking with a look at distribution.

When it comes to expanding financial services, distribution is the name of the game, particularly if you'd like to reach new consumers, such as the UnderBanked - people who have trouble accessing financial services or who do not have bank accounts.

To reach these consumers, banks need to look beyond traditional forms of distribution. They need to look beyond building bank branches. They need Branchless Banking.

May 07, 2014

Mobile Banking - Innovative Companies Make Inroads and Improve Lives

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

Mobile is changing the way people bank, particularly in communities where people never banked before.

A BuzzCity survey of consumers in twenty markets across four continents finds that nearly 1 in 3 mobile users find m-banking to be easy and useful.

And there are now at least nine countries where the number of registered mobile money accounts has surpassed traditional bank accounts, according to a report released at the 2014 Mobile World Congress.

Traditional banks have the biggest market share, but young upstarts – non-banks and mobile banks – are catching the attention – and money – of people from Bangladesh to Ghana and Guatemala.

May 05, 2014

Why aren't more people banking with their mobiles?

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

Financial institutions have a long way to go in terms of educating consumers about the availability and advantages of mobile banking.

That's the key conclusion of a BuzzCity survey of mobile users in twenty benchmark countries across four continents.

Contrary to popular belief, concerns about security are not holding back the industry. While that may have been an issue in previous years, the problem today boils down to awareness.

April 23, 2014

The BuzzCity Report Vol 4 Issue 2 (April 2014)

In the last quarter the network grew by another 15% and each day we deliver close to 1 billion advertiser banners. 

More household brands are advertising on mobile and not least among them are banks and financial services. Digital, and in particular mobile, of course offers opportunities for financial services to reach new market segments and deliver a different customer experience. Consequently, mobile banking has come to mean different things to different banks and each deploys mobile to suit their customer base.

In this report, we observe some growth of mobile banking, the rise of mobile-based banks and learn that many are yet to uncover the value proposition of banking with mobiles. 

More people are adopting mobile banking, and finding it easy and useful up but adoption has not seen more growth primarily because feel they do not need mobile banking. Adoption has defied popular belief of age bias but appears to have a gender bias. 

We continue to look at those hotspots that have attracted advertising dollars and are likely to do so in the coming months. We note particular advertiser interest in Pakistan and Bangladesh while rapid growth continues in Latin American markets.

April 16, 2014

Tips for Retailers

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing) 

Mobile users are constantly connected. Don't forget it. Whether they are in traffic, at home, the office or walking on the street, consumers are online.

What does this mean for retailers?

Here are a few tips . . .

April 02, 2014

Mobile & Desktop Campaigns – 4 Simple Steps

Consumers’ adoption of PCs, smartphones and tablets has given need for advertising campaigns to be spread across multiple screens for marketers to stay in front of audiences.  

From April 2014, advertisers can do just this on the BuzzCity Ad Network.

March 17, 2014

Mobile Hotspots: Latin America 2014

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

Rising smartphone penetration and cheaper phones are leading mobile advertisers to take a fresh look at Latin America, where there are now more mobile devices than people.

Brazil and Mexico are attracting the most attention.

But we are also seeing significant advertiser interest in Argentina, Costa Rica, Columbia and Guatemala.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the BuzzCity Network served nearly 3.5 billion ads across the region, up 55% from the previous quarter. We expect more than 4 billion impressions in the first quarter of this year.

February 24, 2014

Falling Smartphone Prices Means Greater Penetration

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

Where can you buy the world's cheapest smartphones?

I'll share that answer in a moment. First, though, it seems that most discussions about smartphones have been about iPhones, Android or Android vs iPhones. A host of new producers, though - some of whom have been building other brands' smartphones for years - are driving down handset prices. And the story set to dominate this week's Mobile World Congress is the advent of inexpensive smartphones.

For many consumers, smartphones are finally becoming affordable!

February 18, 2014

Publisher Alert : High Latent Demand Among Advertisers

In this advisory, we highlight markets where there is a strong latent demand among advertisers. Demand is particularly high in Indonesia, Thailand and South Africa where competitive bids are driving maximum bids upwards. This is also true in key markets in Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Guatemala) where maximum bids are in the double digits as more advertisers vie for audiences.

Demand is not expected to ease in the first half of 2014 as more campaigns are deployed in our network with the direct benefits to publishers and ad supported mobile services.

Please download the latest advisory for a full list of high-earning markets.

February 06, 2014

The BuzzCity Report - Vol.4, Issue 1 (Jan 2014)

The BuzzCity Report Vol 4 Issue 1 In the latest edition of The BuzzCity Report, we look at how the robust return of mobile content players over the past twelve months has driven up advertising spending.

The opportunity to engage consumers via their handsets is driving mobile commerce. In some markets mobile commerce grew in step with e-commerce while in others, m-commerce streaked ahead.

In the BuzzCity Report, we look at consumer surfing behaviour as well as planned purchases over the next year. We also cover the fourth quarter of 2013 during which time The BuzCity Network delivered more than 72 billion paid ads.

We look at hotspots that have attracted advertising dollars and are likely to continue doing so in the months ahead. We also highlight a few countries outside the Top 10 that we think may interest advertisers.

February 04, 2014

Consumers Surf Less; How To Reverse The Trend

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

Fact #1: Carriers have discontinued unlimited mobile surfing packages in many markets.

Fact #2: Mobile surfers are spending less time online.


Less consumer time online means missed opportunities and potentially lower revenues for all sorts of mobile players, from advertisers to publishers and merchants.

We are seeing creative attempts though - mainly in the form of partnerships between telecoms and Over-The-Top (OTT) players like Facebook and Google - to counteract this trend and encourage more surfing. To really be successful though, carriers need to look beyond a few big-name brands and embrace mobile merchants as well.  At the same time, they should take a fresh look at pricing plans to make them clearer and more predictable.

Let's take a closer look.