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MOBILE IN THE AMERICAS

April 26, 2008 Leave a comment

By Ramy Yared (Regional Director, Americas)

Hi. My name is Ramy and this is my first time contributing to the Gamma Life blog. I head up BuzzCity’s US sales team. Over the past couple weeks I’ve attended two major North American tradeshows – one focusing on mobile, the other on digital media ads — and I’d like to share my observations from these events with you.

CTIA Wireless
, held annually in Las Vegas, is the largest mobile event in the United States with more than 1,000 exhibitors and 40,000 participants. There were two interesting trends to note this year.


MOBILE COMMUNITIES MULTIPLY
The first was the presence of more mobile social networking companies. Each tradeshow seems to host more mobile communities than the show before it. In addition to myGamma, there were at six or seven other platforms at CTIA Wireless. Companies like “funkysexycool“, which started in Australia and has expanded to the US, appear to be trying to strike a middle ground between PC-based social networks like Facebook and mobile platforms like myGamma. Either that or they can’t make up their mind. Funkysexycool has a web front as well as a mobile one and it seems to assume that users will check their profiles from both computers and mobile devices.

Regular GammaLife readers know that this approach is in stark contrast to our experience at myGamma, where we have found that mobile communities and the people who compose them are not the same as PC-based ones. Still, success breeds competition, so we welcome the entrance of new competitors in this space. It will be interesting to see if the newer players can penetrate international markets and achieve sustainable growth.

“VOICE IN, VISUAL OUT” MOBILE SEARCHS
The second item that caught my eye at CTIA Wireless was a voice-recognition demo by Yahoo! The exhibition hall was big and noisy, yet when I tried out the updated version of Y!’s mobile search engine, OneSearch, the software picked up on my voice and returned the search results quickly. I was surprised by the accuracy of the technology.

Another good feature is that you can switch between voice and typing any time. Yahoo! says the mobile search engine has a bigger vocabulary than conventional speech recognition services and can handle queries on a range of subjects including flight listings, locations, news, restaurants, sporting events and website names. Voice searchs take about five seconds – a couple seconds to recognise what you say and a few more to return results to the phone. Slower networks take up to 20 seconds. The latter is definitely slower than my demo experience and more importantly slower than what many users expect, but on better networks the timing is ok.

I must admit that I’m a sceptic when it comes to the future of voice-recognition technology, more so probably than my colleagues, but I was impressed. It will be interesting to see feedback from mobile users around the world towards this kind of service.

It’s worth noting that other players are also active in the voice-recognition space. Microsoft’s purchase of TellMe last year has led to an integration of voice into several of the company’s services. And this past week, Microsoft announced that it has added a GPS location feature to the voice portal (available only to Blackberry users at the moment). This probably won’t be of much interest to myGamma users as we’ve found that most people in our communities go online from work or at home, not when they’re on the move.

CONVERGING WITH THE “BRICK & MORTAR” INTERNET
ad:tech is a very different event from CTIA. It’s the largest internet advertising conference and tradeshow in the world, with forums in the US, Europe and Asia. I’ve been to at least eight or nine ad:techs over the past five years and they are very PC-centric events. Mobile hasn’t really had a place there – until now. What struck me at the latest ad:tech in San Francisco is that for the first there was a dedicated section for Mobile Marketing. It was a small section and placed in a lonely corner of the show floor, but it was still there.

Unlike CTIA, many of the companies attending ad:tech have never tried mobile advertising before. But they realise there’s an opportunity and are keen to give it a try. They just need someone to take their hand and show them how it works, because they don’t understand the medium yet.

There are a few points that I make to prospective advertisers, who are accustomed to the internet but are trying mobile for the first time:

1.The business model and the structure for advertising on the traditional internet and the mobile internet are basically the same. There’s pay-per-click, text ads, banner ads, etc.
2.The major question is how to converge PC and mobile campaigns.
3.Just as you need a website to have a presence on the internet, you need a wap site for mobile.
4.Mobile and PC screens are different, so the layout for a mobile campaign needs to be customised.
5.You need to have a mobile payment gateway. The service you use for accepting payments on the traditional internet may not work on mobile.
6.It’s cheaper to advertise on mobile in most markets.

BuzzCity makes it easy for new clients. We have partners that create wap sites for advertisers or they can use our own tools to create a wap page for free.

The response on the floor was really positive and a lot of companies are trying out pilot campaigns. And I’m sure that once these American companies go mobile, they won’t look back : )

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Categories: Ramy Yared

The myGamma Global Mobile Advertising Index

April 24, 2008 Leave a comment

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

This week BuzzCity releases its first quarterly survey of advertising trends, the myGamma Global Mobile Advertising Index. With this tool, BuzzCity tracks the growth of our advertising network – ads are currently served on more than 2000 publisher sites worldwide – and by extension the growth of the mobile internet. No matter which direction the index moves (and it’s an easy bet right now it will continue to rise and rise), we’ll announce the results and trends every quarter.

But for now . . . Mark the date. The time has come to announce that MOBILE ADVERTISING is no longer a promise, it’s real. Despite contracting economies in many regions and sectors, mobile is growing. And it’s growing spectacularly. In fact, over the past year, the number of advertisements served across the myGamma
Network has grown 730% from 340 million ads in the first quarter of 2007 to over 2.5 BILLION ads in the first quarter of this year.

THE TOP TEN
At the top of the myGamma Global Mobile Advertising Index is Indonesia with more than 654 million ads served. What’s particularly interesting is that Indonesia wasn’t even among the top ten markets a year earlier. In fact three of the top ten countries — China, Pakistan and Indonesia — are new entries.

Here’s the top ten list by advertising page views and percent year-on-year growth in parenthesis:

1. Indonesia : 654 million (+ 13328%)
2. India : 577 million (+ 1522%)
3. South Africa : 426 million (+ 418%)
4. USA : 132 million (+ 917%)
5. Kenya : 79 million (+ 424%)
6. Romania : 57 million (+ 446%)
7. Bangladesh : 53 million (+ 305%)
8. China : 37 million (+ 6053%)
9. Brunei : 35 million (+ 221%)
10. Pakistan : 35 million (+ 814%)

As you can see, from the table above, the number of advertising page views in Indonesia grew by more than than 13,000 percent. I don’t think I’ve ever written a percentage that high before. But there were in fact twenty markets on our list registering more than 1000 percent growth. And among the top twenty countries, even the smallest growth story is experiencing nearly 100 percent growth year on year.

THE ADVERTISERS
Let’s take a closer look at who is placing the ads. The top advertisers by segment are

1. Mobile Services
2. Financial Services
3. Consumer brands

Mobile service companies – businesses that sell ringtones, games, other social networks and ad-supported services – were among the first adopters of the medium and they still occupy top spot. But financials and other brick and mortar companies are not far behind. Here’s an example from each sector:

Cellufun is an ad-sponsored mobile gaming service that wishes to increase its global distribution. They are running multiple campaigns across a variety of markets. Cellufun optimises bannners regularly to keep spending in check, and as a result, achieves click-through rate higher then the network average.


Standard Bank has undertaken several campaigns in South Africa. They’ve launched a mobile banking service and a referral recruitment drive. Both subscribers and referrals were entered into a lucky draw to win a new phone. The lucky draw was promoted with banner ads targeting South African visitors to myGamma. This campaign costs just US$58 per day and generates nearly half a million page views per month. And this month, Standard Chartered is engaging consumers with another interactive campaign – leveraging on its sponsorship of the Pro20 Cricket Series to promote mobile banking. In this case, consumers can win tickets to the matches.

Coca-Cola is promoting the Sprite brand with a wap site called “Sprite Yard”. This campaign has targeted French mobile users with graphic and text banners, inviting them to a social network where they can download branded content such as visual ringtones and animated “mobisodes”. Coca-Cola spent just US$12 per day on the campaign.

MILESTONES
In the first quarter of the year, there were

38 countries averaging more than 1 million page views per month;
11 countries averaging more than 10 million page views per month;
3 countries averaging more than 100 million page views per month.

Within the next two quarters, we expect all of the countries in the Top Ten will exceed monthly page views of 100 million.

FINAL THOUGHTS
So why is Indonesia at the top of the charts and why is its growth so incredibly off-the-charts? First, the cost of handsets has dropped. So more people have phones. Second, the cost of mobile access has dropped too. So more people can get online. Third, advertising on the mobile internet is extremely cost competitive with other media. The Indonesian example is a good indicator of trends in the rest of the world. Basically, mobile is cheap. It has great reach and penetration. So it shouldn’t really be a surprise that advertisers are turning mobile. To many, though, it still is. They just haven’t seen the myGamma Global Mobile Advertising Index yet.

Categories: Hisham Isa, index, report

BuzzCity Road Show – Singapore

April 16, 2008 Leave a comment

We kicked off the BuzzCity Road Show in Singapore earlier this month. The inaugural conference held at the Orchard Hotel was a well attended event with participants from advertising agencies and representatives from consumer products.

We thought it would be a good idea to pass some key outcomes from the conference along to you!

While we shared the combined experience of our businesses (Colin Miles from i-POP Networks, Cato Gullichsen from inCent and KF Lai & Delynn Ho from BuzzCity) the audience too shared their general expectations of the mobile internet in a short poll :-


  1. More than 60% agree that it’s important to own a mobile site.
  2. More than 70% feel that having a mobile site will help them increase interactivity between their brand and the users.
  3. 16% have not tried any form of mobile marketing but SMS campaigns were the most frequently tried (48%) followed by Mobile Internet campaigns (24%). Bluetooth and MMS were only tried by 8% and 4% of marketing execs.
  4. Overall , industry executives in Singapore expect to use the mobile internet for :-
  • Building of brand awareness 27%
  • Driving traffic, visits or purchases 27%
  • Brand interaction with users 17%
  • Generating customer opt-in databases 15%
  • Click-to-call 2%

BuzzCity Road Show – Mumbai

We plan to share more information from our Road Show which next stops in Mumbai on 16th May at :-

Kokane’s Kohinoor Park
Kohinoor Corner,
Veer Savarkar Marg,
Opposite Siddhi Vinayak Temple,
Prabhadevi, Mumbai-25


Also joining us to share their experience are Neeraj Roy from Hungama and Ratan Kanth Kank from Pinstorm.

To get more information and to book seats please email partners@buzzcity.com with your enquiry.

Categories: Uncategorized