Archive for October, 2009

Starting Prices on The BuzzCity Mobile Internet Ad Network

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

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.

To create better transparency for advertisers we:-

  1. Have set a minimum bid fixed at $0.05 in high-demand markets.
  2. Are providing bid recommendations that closely match latest bidding patterns. These may fluctuate depending on competition for traffic and gives advertisers a better idea of what to bid. Please check the campaign planner to set or optimise campaigns.

While bid recommendations will be made for all countries within our network, the starting price is raised for some markets in our network. Starting Prices for US, UK, France, Spain, Germany & Italy are USD 0.05.

Current campaigns will continue to run based on prevailing starting prices of $0.01 until 1st Dec 2009. 

From 19th Nov 2009, all new campaigns will take into account revised starting prices for US, UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Categories: Uncategorized

Commentary : Mobile Net ‘heading for data jam’ ?

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

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?

According to the BBC, mobile data traffic is on the up (indeed experts at Informa are predicting a 25 fold increase by 2012) but this could create problems for mobile operators as the sharp rise in data downloads is not being matched by a similar increase in revenues. Without the revenues, operators cannot afford to upgrade the mobile networks and serious data traffic jams will form leaving consumers unable to download items to their mobile phones.

Recent survey findings by MEF indicate that premium, paid-for content tops the list of mobile search terms, but if usability and measurement issues are not resolved by operators swiftly, this revenue opportunity will soon be jeopardized.

One route which mobile networks are turning towards in an effort to prevent data traffic jams are optimisation schemes which shrink the size of the files that people download. This is a good start but more alternatives are needed if mobile operators are going to stand the test of the increasing traffic and start making profit and make the necessary improvements to the networks.

The dilemma seems to be that having rejected the role of ‘dumb pipe’ operators are struggling in their role as ‘smart pipe’ and are yet to transform their unique strengths (customer insights, location aware networks and brand power) into value adds for their content partners or users. These need to be deployed and turned into services users are willing to pay for.

Categories: Comments on the News


October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

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:

A/B testing 

  • Always test several versions of your creative. There’s no way to be sure which message the market will respond to. If you’re promoting a VOIP service with an ad that says “Make free mobile calls”, upload four or five versions. Include variations of the basic call to action, like “Make free calls now”, “Talk for free today”, and “Claim your free airtime”. Always be sure to include some wackier options that will stand out from the crowd, like “Slash your phone bill” or even “Paying for calls is *so* last year!”.
  • Of course, not all versions will perform, but your chances of hitting on a banner or text ad that really shoots the lights out is now five or six times higher. Once you have enough campaign data to see which version is winning, adjust your bidding accordingly, to take advantage of the best performance. Kill those versions that are not getting clicks.
  • For agencies working for large brands, ensure that you aren’t stuck with one version of the creative. We all know about slow approval cycles, so get your client’s stamp of approval on at least 4 to 5 creatives before the campaign goes live.
  • Note that running multiple versions of a campaign will not have any impact on your media costs as you can still set a daily advertising cap.

Use both banner and text ads

  • Many advertisers start out with either text ads or graphic banners, rather than both. What they don’t realise is that by doing so, they halve their potential reach. Why not start with double the exposure?

Make use of conversion tags

  • Distinguish between the ads that result in quality clicks and those delivering traffic that delves no further than your landing page. BuzzCity offers conversion tags that enable advertisers to see which campaigns result in your desired outcome, be it a signup, a download, a sale or navigation deeper into your site. It’s easy to do and doesn’t cost a cent. Read more about it here

Banner ads: experiment with imagery and colour

  • The most successful campaigns are punchy, with short sharp messages and colours that pop. It takes very little time for your design team to create several versions of a banner ad. Try making one in hot pink on black, another in high contrast black and white. Even if you’re working with a restricted palette of colours, you can and should still create several versions.

Bid high, bid low, bid middle

  • Bidding lower or higher than normal will often result in unexpected success. Different bidding rates attract different publishers and audiences. By bidding lower, you get fewer exposures per day, but the clickthrough rate can actually go up. Try cloning your campaigns three times, at three CPC rates. Leave all the settings, other than the bid rate, the same, then see what happens. Then as the results come in, adjust accordingly.

Make your advertising consistent and recognisable

  • Some of our larger advertisers lose money because their ads do not have a recognisable look or theme. What happens is that the same users click on different ads, not realising they are linked to the same offering. While space is already cramped in mobile, try to include your brand name or logo in each ad. This will save you money and ensure that a higher proportion of your budget is spent on clicks from fresh users.

As digital marketers (and you’ll know this if you work at a digital agency or specialist mobile company), we are constantly emphasising to our clients the benefits of digital media – it’s measurable, adaptable, accountable and real time. We criticise traditional media for not being as nimble. Be sure that you don’t fall into the trap of not practising what you preach.

Making ongoing changes can be time-consuming. It also requires analytical enquiry and a spirit of competitiveness. You may even decide to hire someone new – an optimisation manager – to monitor your campaigns and get the most out of them. But the rewards are there. It’s definitely worth it.

*Footnote: Which advertisers get the best return on the advertising dollar?
Mobile content providers — the companies that sell ringtones, MP3s, tips of the day, etc — tend to be the best marketers. Their businesses operate on tight margins, as a slice of every transaction is paid out to telecom carriers, media aggregators and the license-holders of the content. The biggest variable in their business model is the media cost and how many clicks it takes to get a transaction. They know what each click is worth and what click rates are acceptable.

Categories: How to, Michael de Souza


October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

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.
In 2008, the biggest advertisers were content providers (ringtones, wallpapers, downloadable videos, etc.). Now, though, banking, finance, entertainment and educational companies are joining in.

I believe there are two reasons that Indian companies are spending more on mobile. One, the return on investment – in terms of generated sales leads and conversions – is clear and easy to measure. And two, mobile provides better reach to consumers outside of India’s top tier markets (Calcutta, Chennai, Dehli and Mumbai).

Let’s take a look at an example from the educational sector, which according to CLSA Asia, is a US$40 billion market.

NIIT specialises in courses in the banking, finance and I.T. sectors. The school has a pan-Indian presence and offers guaranteed jobs to graduates.

NIIT’s mobile ad campaign has one clear objective: generate leads for their courses.

The company designed several text and banner ads, publishing them across all categories of Indian mobile channels. The ads have clear engaging messages like:

  • “Get Job Ready in 99 Days”
  • “IFBI offers Scholarship worth 25k”
  • “Career in Banking with Scholarships”

Users who click on the banners are taken to a landing page, where they enter personal data.

A sales representative then follows up with a call. The campaign generates 150 leads per day (or more than 4500 leads a month) at a cost of about 40 US cents per lead. Given that the average NIIT course costs 25,000 – 27,000 rupees (about USD 540 -580), it only takes a few sales to generate a positive monthly ROI.

The ads, meanwhile, have been most effective in reaching consumers in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets (ie outside the big four cities).

To further improve the campaign’s effectiveness, NIIT joined BuzzCity’s beta “Conversion Tracking” programme, which directs NIIT banners to mobile sites that generate the most leads. It works by placing a cookie on a user’s mobile phone when s/he clicks on an ad. If the user subsequently reaches the conversion page – in this case a thank you note that NIIT sends consumers who fill out the “contact me” form — the cookie is retrieved and matched with your ad.

The algorithm monitors which sites generate the most conversions and directs future ads that way. It also uses the information to improve your campaign’s ad scheduling. The Conversion Tracker also helps advertisers monitor – and subsequently tweak – the performance and design of different landing pages.

NIIT has renewed their contract, a clear indication that they’re happy with the campaign’s perrformance. I think any lead-oriented company in India – particularly in the educational sector – would be foolish not to target consumers with a mobile campaign. It doesn’t cost much – particularly compared with other forms of media – and the return is measured in actual sales, not brand-building.

Categories: case study, Manish Mishra

BuzzCity Tours : September & October ’09

October 7, 2009 Leave a comment

October and November are again busy months for our team as we tour mobile industry conferences across the globe. This is another good chance to meet with our team mates for updates on what we’ve been up to recently.

  • Cindy will be attending CTIA at the San Diego Convention Center (Oct 6th) and will be on hand to assist with your enquiries and share the latest from our network. If you are in Singapore on 8th October, catch Kok Fung at the IBM/Axiata Mobile Social Networking Invite where he will share tips on how carriers can increase APRU and lower churn with mobile social networking.
  • Kok Fung and Wandrille will be in London for Mobile Web and Apps (The Cumberland, 20th & 21st Oct.) where Kok Fung is among the panelists discussing “Next Generation Social Networking”. He will also share our experience with social networks, so don’t miss “Mobile Social Networking in Emerging Markets – What’s the Difference?”
  • Also on a panel discussion (at Mobile VAS Asia, 21 – 22 October 2009, Singapore) is Malcom who will offer perspectives on challenges in to overcome in providing mobile services and the value propositions mobile web will offer in Asia.
  • Meanwhile in Kuala Lumpur, Jessica and Hisham will be attending GoMobile Expo and Ad Asia 09 (23-25 October 2009). Jessica has worked closely with partners and advertisers in Malaysia to explore creative campaigns on mobile – both will be happy to discuss your ideas for mobile.
  • Cindy and Anna will be visiting Ad Tech New York @ Javits Center New York (4th – 6th Nov). Both were kept busy last month at Ad Tech London and we expect will be just as busy in New York.
  • KF will be speaking at the APEC SME Summit in Singapore (12th Nov) and at the Cellcom Media Conference and Mobile Monday Tel Aviv (15th – 16th Nov).
  • Games and applications developers are among our biggest advertising partners and Jessica will be on hand at App Store Asia in HK (16-17th Nov) to share our experience.
  • Wandrille and Anna will be at Mobile 2.0 in Berlin ( Kempinski Bristol Hotel, 23rd – 25th Nov) and are looking forward to meeting up with more of our European partners. Feel free to email feedback[at]buzzcity. com to arrange a meeting with any of our colleagues at these events.

Categories: Tours


October 7, 2009 Leave a comment

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.

Among the Top 10 Countries noted for sustained growth are :-

  1. Nigeria, which rose to 6th place having enjoyed a growth of 114%.
  2. Canada (in 8th place) and Malaysia (9th) rose in ranking having enjoyed 28% and 13% growth respectively.
  3. Italy continues to grow (23%) but remained in 19th place.
  4. Australian growtoh continues to grow for two straight quarters – 19% in Q2 and 70% in Q3.
  5. New Zealand enjoys triple digit growth in Q2 (136%) and in Q3 (148%) .

Depth continues to develop in the network with 26 countries now with monthly traffic exceeding 10 million impressions per month as more users surf the internet on their mobiles. To find out more, click here for a full copy of the Mobile Internet Ad Index.
Categories: index, report

Commentary : When Will Mobile Advertising Overtake the Internet?

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment

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:

Spending on mobile internet advertising is not included in the internet advertising statistics from the IAB as they treat mobile as a standalone category.

  1. Ad Networks
  2. Direct Response – consumers can respond to a call to action by making a direct purchase
  3. Advertisers’ willingness to experiment and invest
  4. Faster and cheaper access
  5. E-commerce is booming

Well the first four stars are aligned. These factors are helping mobile advertising spending grow every year. However, #5, well . . . ah . . . m-commerce has been limited largely to ringtones and wallpaper sales and fraught with false starts (blush).

So what’s the problem with m-commerce?

Online economies demand efficiency. But the m-commerce landscape is often characterised by the inclusion of a new middleman – the telecom carrier – which takes a cut or inserts roadblocks even before banks and credit card companies come into play.

New applications and technologies like WiFi, WiMax, Google Checkout and Paypal Express Checkout may yet bypass the carrier, but these are not complete solutions.

If mobile advertising is to become the dominant medium, carriers need to make it cheaper — not more expensive or more difficult — for merchants to sell services via mobile.

Categories: Comments on the News