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Archive for February, 2009

WE’RE MOVING!

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment


We’ve outgrown the office we’ve had for 10 years and will soon move to our new headquarters. The movers should start on the 20th of March and we’re going to spend that weekend hauling our things and getting settled. We don’t expect any major disruption as our teams in Thailand, India, France and South Africa continue to provide the usual levels of business support.

From Monday, 23rd March 2009 you can find our Singapore office at:-

No 1 Lorong 2, Toa Payoh,
#02-03, Yellow Pages Building,

Singapore 319637.


We should be all set up at the new place then and it would be great to have you come visit. It’s best to take the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) service and stop at Braddell. You will find the Yellow Pages building if you take Exit C. If you’re planning to drive, you may want to print this road map to help you around.

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Categories: Uncategorized

We’re Opening Up myGamma

February 18, 2009 Leave a comment

We’ve launched another initiative that gets you, our partners, even closer to our members. The myGamma Developer Platform provides a way for our partners and advertisers to create applications that integrate directly with myGamma members.

So what’s likely to go down well with them…?
1. Our members, like all mobile users, go online to Connect and Share with others. We think tools that help them extend this experience will be well received.

  • Everyone loves to vote and get voted for. The Hall of Fame sees a lot of activity and there’s lots of room and ways to vote and rank the cutest, hottest, smartest, chattiest, funniest etc. And who doesn’t love a compliment, a present or a pat on the back? Each day, members offer thousands of testimonials and awards to each other on myGamma. There is, again, lots of room for gifts, kisses, hugs and the occasional kick in the pants as people get to know each other better.

  • There are of course lots of other things that members already do (chat, share blogs, track group postings, event invites, swap photos, etc) that can be done in many different ways. The list is endless, but these activities represent the different ways we communicate and each can have a mobile application associated with it.

2. Like all of us, our members like their fun games and want to be entertained. There’s nothing like a Feel-good & Time-Filler application to do just that.

  • Most of our members already play games on a regular basis, simple games that let members play together encourages interaction and makes for fun gameplay.
  • More than a third of our users have made a mobile purchase and have purchased virtual items.

3. And then there is always the Useful and Practical tool that helps people with their everyday lives.

  • A third of our members are students and many will soon graduate this year ; a tool that helps them find jobs would be helpful.
  • Many enjoy food, music and movies; recommender and alert services would also be useful.

There are lots of applications that are useful and insights into user behaviour help our partners develop tools that are relevant. Our survey reports should help you identify more possible applications. Once you’ve launched a tool, usage and analytics will also help you with more insights. Want to monetize your application? Our Publisher and Merchant programmes can help you do that. You can (must!) also sign up as a member to learn more about our users; use the same login to start creating your application.

Good luck!

Categories: myGamma, Yuszela Yusoff

MOBILE CONSUMERS

February 16, 2009 Leave a comment

By Yuszela Yusoff, Manager, Content & Community

Fred is a 27-year old Kenyan athlete. He’s training to run marathons in the Great Rift Valley, which has produced some of the world’s fastest long-distance runners. Vakee owns a small clothing business in Indonesia. And “Funk¥ dud€” is the online name for a medical student in Nigeria.
While these three young men are pursuing different careers and live in vastly different environments, they have something in common. They are “typical” mobile consumers.


In a recent 14 country survey – released today — of some of the biggest mobile markets, entitled “Who Uses the Mobile Internet and What do they do?”, BuzzCity tracked the online and offline interests of mobile users. This was our third such survey, but what makes this study unique is that for the first time we included mobile surfers outside the myGamma social networking community. In this week’s blog entry, I’d like to share a few of the key learnings.

First, like Fred, Vakee and “Funk¥ dud€”, a “typical” mobile consumer is a twenty-something male. More than 80 percent of survey respondents were under the age of thirty. Nearly 70 percent were men.

The annual income of a typical mobile consumer meanwhile isn’t large and he’s likely in the “bottom of the pyramid”. But again, like our three friends, typical users are often upwardly mobile – a student like “Funk¥ dud€”, a small business owner like Vakee or a freelancer like Fred (though other surfers are likely not in training to be a world-class athlete : ).

Students account for nearly one-third of mobile internet users. Freelancers & small business owners (such as beauty salons, coffee stalls and convenience stores) make up another twenty percent.

18-year old Indian engineering student Eishwin is a bit younger than our “typical” surfer, but he shares many of the same habits. He enjoys outdoor sports and stays in shape (like more than one-third of survey respondents), even though he goes online about five times a day, sometimes for as long as two hours at a time.

It’s clear from the survey that mobile internet access is regular and frequent:

  • Eighty-seven percent of users surf at least once a day.
  • Half of all users go online more than five times a day.
  • More than sixty percent of respondents spend thirty minutes or more online each time they log in.

While peak hours vary by country, most users (61%) tend to go online in the early evening or late at night. And while they’re using mobile devices, they are not on the move. Most mobile surfers are at home when they connect.

Ask Eishwin why he connects to myGamma and other mobile sites and he’ll tell you that his primary motivation is communication. He likes to chat. Communicating with friends, in fact, is the most common reason for accessing the mobile internet. Chatting, blogging, discussion groups and forums are all popular. Sixty percent of survey respondents list communication as the main reason for going online. This figure tops seventy-five percent in several markets.

Entertainment and news sites also draw people online. Sixteen percent of survey respondents say the use the mobile internet to play games, listen to music and watch videos. Another ten percent stay up-to-date on current affairs.

Eishwin is also an avid gamer and would like to buy a home entertainment system. This highlights another characteristic of mobile internet users. Regardless of how much they make a month, the typical mobile consumer has disposable income. And top on the list of things to buy are electronic and virtual goods.

Survey respondents also tell us that they want to be able to do more with their mobile devices. Businesses take note! Consumers want to conduct more transactions online. The demand for m-commerce and mobile banking is clear. But businesses are either not providing these services in the markets surveyed or they’re doing a poor job of publicising them. Here’s a shortlist of the capabilities mobile consumers desire (in order of preference):

  • Transfer airtime minutes
  • Purchase items for use in online games
  • Pay cafe and restaurant bills
  • Transfer money and make remittances
  • Purchase groceries
  • Buy tickets to movies and other events
  • Buy bus and train tickets
  • Pay bills
  • Pay for parking

In addition, there is pent-up demand for more mobile content, particularly sports and entertainment news.

I invite you to take a look at our survey report. You can download “Who Uses the Mobile Internet and What do they do?” here. In addition to providing an international overview, there are also individual country reports.

Categories: myGamma, Yuszela Yusoff

EUROPE 2009

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment
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. 

IS MOBILE RECESSION-PROOF?
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.]


REFLECTIONS
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.

Categories: Wandrille Pruvot