Archive for November, 2009


November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia
In an integrated multi-media campaign that ran across television, in newspapers and online, Guinness recently raised a toast to its founder. From Ireland – where it all began – to New York, Nigeria and Malaysia, cries of “To Arthur!” could be heard: “To Arthur Guinness, 250 remarkable years!”

Two hundred and fifty years ago – in 1759 — Arthur Guinness signed a lease on St. James Gate in Dublin, the site of Guinness’ first brewery. The stout is still brewed there today.

To celebrate, Guinness put on concerts in four continents. And to drive people to the event in Kuala Lumpur, where the Black Eyed Peas would perform, the brewery ran mobile ads on the BuzzCity Network.
The campaign objectives were clear:

  • raise awareness of the event and
  • encourage fans to sign up online and attend.

Guinness created a single graphic banner and a text banner to run on Malayian mobile websites.

 Users who clicked on the banner were taken to Guinness’ mobile portal, where they could learn more about the festival, take part in an online contest and even locate nearby pubs. 

The click-through rate for the banners was 0.5%. 

What sets the Guinness campaign apart is that they set up 10 campaigns — five for the graphic banner and five for the text ad – each with a different bid rate.

As regular readers know, mobile advertisers place auction-style bids for how much they will pay per impression. The BuzzCity advertising platform provides a recommended bid for each geographic market, based on the current supply (of mobile real estate where ads can appear) and demand (by advertisers). But advertisers are free to bid above or below this rate.

The advantage of selecting multiple price levels is that an ad will likely appear more frequently and across more publisher sites.

In Guinness’ case, they bid from 3 to 9 US cents per impression. They started with 2 graphic and 2 text campaigns, but then added more campaigns to keep people interested.

The impact of setting multiple bid rates is clear:

  • Over two months, the Guinness campaign generated over 12 million impressions.
  • Similar advertisers, running fewer campaigns, average 1 – 2 million impressions per month.

All of Guinness’ bids, though, were below the Malaysian network average. The campaign could have done even better had some of the bid rates been set at or above the recommended bid rate.

There are a couple other ways in which Guinness could have improved the campaign as well.

One, from the banners, users were taken to the main Guinness mobile property. It would have been better to direct users instead to the Arthur’s Day event website. From there, if they wanted, users could still loop back to the general portal.

Two, create multiple styles of banners. Michael de Souza wrote about this recently – response rates are just about always higher when there is a variety of creatives.

I would actually recommend running a branding campaign in parallel to the event-driven ads. Out of the 10 campaigns, let’s say that 3 connected users to the main Guinness mobile property and 7 would be linked to the event page. Of course, the branding creatives linking to the general mobile website need to be different than the event/concert ads.

Overall, though, this Guinness case study highlights how advertisers can use mobile ads to drive consumers to an event as well as the importance of thinking creatively to get the most out of the medium.


Categories: case study, Delynn Ho

Commentary : Mobile Ad Networks and The Need to Stand Out.

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Mickey Alam Khan cut close to the bone when he recently said “One of the issues that mobile ad networks face is positioning, or rather the lack of it.”

So, how did mobile ad networks find themselves in this position?

Firstly, unlike the traditional internet, mobile internet grew from carrier portals where content was tightly controlled. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that content on the mobile internet has not grown quite as fast as the fixed line internet. Where it has grown, albeit quietly, has been in off-portal services that encourage user generated content.

Consequently, large community sites (social networks) have developed that generate huge amounts of traffic without any specifically tailored context – making the development of specialised advertising channels a challenge.

Secondly, there was a long held belief among (aspiring and incumbent) mobile players that all valuable content was paid content. This led to extended periods of soul searching among many for that perfect recipe to make people pay for content – and among some incumbents, there were some highly dubious subscription plans.  A major consequence of this has been the prolonged delay of further content being made available on the mobile internet.

Until more content is deployed, the land grab for the precious mobile real estate that is currently available will continue (the crescendo of whispers may yet peak!) and few will be able to demonstrate a clear “area of specialty” simply by owning generalised sites.  Without more tailored content, the mobile internet is still a long way from boutique networks serving verticals of specialised content.

While we agree with Mickey’s overall view, we think technology only provides a fleeting edge to a provider’s USP. We feel the ad networks that stand out, even as the advertising industry is evolving with digital media, will be those whose brands are built by delivering superior customer service – perhaps even bespoke campaign development & management – not just to global advertisers and agencies but publishers too.

Categories: Comments on the News


November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

By Yuszela Yusoff, Manager, Content & Community

About four months ago, BuzzCity formally launched a member-driven translation platform that is transforming the way many people view and use myGamma. Local community groups are now surging and people from communities that were previously excluded are finding it a lot easier to interact online.

Today, myGamma is translated into more than 90 languages — including Javanese, Kikuyu and Jamaican Patois. This is a huge jump from before, when myGamma was available in 14 languages. That seemed pretty good at the time, but it pales in comparison to the platform’s new reach.

I must admit I’d never actually even heard of many of our newer languages before. But when a new volunteer steps forward, my team and I have to approve their application for translator admin access, which means I’ve done quite a few internet searches to learn about the languages that are put forward.

Previously, BuzzCity employed professional services to translate the myGamma platform into languages like Thai and Arabic. However we encountered two problems with this:

  • One, the translators didn’t really understand myGamma or our terminology. So, while their work was technically accurate, it often didn’t capture the spirit of the social network. It wasn’t uncommon for members to write us suggesting better phrasing.
  • Two, hiring professional translating services for French and Indonesian is no problem. But try finding an agency to translate English into Gujarati or Serbian. It’s not easy!

But you might be surprised by the number of people who are keen to fill this void. There are currently about 4500 volunteer translators, people like 24-year old “Condor” from Nigeria. Condor is on the Yoruba team. He writes:

“I am a yorùbá guy n i love 2 show my tribe anywhere i go. It’s (also) a pleasure having something 2 do 4 gamma.”

36-year old “MsyeN”, who translates myGamma pages into Kimeru (the language spoken by the Meru people, who hail from the eastern and northern slopes of Mt. Kenya) agrees.

“I joined this program coz its a thing that enables me 2 do something 4 many pple en nt 4 me alone. Again its a program that makes me nt only a gamma member bt a worker en that helps 2 b mo committed 2 gamma rather than being thea 4 fun only.”

The translation programme works like a wiki. If a volunteer wants to translate a new page or sees a mistake in a local language version, s/he can just log in to make the necessary edits. Users police each other, correcting each other and reporting abuse (in the rare cases where that’s necessary).

A common thread that runs through the translation community is that the volunteers are proud of their ethnicity and local languages. They also like being in a globalised community like myGamma and want to share this with their friends, many of whom feel more at home in a localised-language platform.

When we first launched the translation programme, I was really amazed that we had so many members speaking so many different languages, many of which were brand new to me. It’s also easy to forget that even if a user can speak a national language, like English or French, they often prefer to communicate in their own language or dialect. With local translations, it also becomes easier to create links within local communities.

I find it really exciting that more and more people can now easily access the myGamma platform – to read news, share recipes, play games or just simply make connections with friends. I’m also inspired by the passion and dedication that thousands of myGamma users have shown by volunteering to make this possible!

Categories: myGamma, Yuszela Yusoff