Archive for July, 2011

French Mobile Users and m-Commerce

A shift is taking place in the French mobile internet.

French mobile surfers are mainly using the internet for three reasons: (1) to have fun and play online, (2) to look for services and information like phone numbers, addresses and the next party to go to and (3) to read and access mobile content.

Most of the French brands don’t get this, though. They’ve been too focused on SMS marketing to their existing databases to see the advantages of mobile advertising. And ad agencies have been reluctant to use long-tail networks like BuzzCity due to lingering doubts.

But this is changing as French brands begin to use the medium to attract new consumers, rather than targeting campaigns to existing clients and some companies – like La Redoute – are discovering innovative ways of integrating m-commerce into their business models.

The French Mobile Environment

Data charges are scary – and prohibitively expensive – for many French consumers. Unlimited subscriptions are not the norm. I know a lot of people, young and old, who feel lost with smartphones and don’t know how turn off the browser when not in use. That said, smartphones are the norm. More that 97% of French phones have an XHTML browser and most have a music player and 3G as well.

The number and percentage of mobile phone users who access the mobile internet has also risen steadily over the past several years from 30% of SIM card owners at the beginning of 2008 to 43% today. And about 70% are on post-paid plans.

Source: ARCEP: “L’Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes

We also see that mobile phones are a very personal device for the French. We like to use our phones to take photos and watch videos, even more than our German and English neighbors.

And because our phones are personal, we take offense if ads appear to be intrusive.

Meanwhile, we’re likely to use our mobiles to access the mobile internet while in the office. French companies often set up firewalls to keep us from using the office PCs to access our favorite sites or check our personal emails. Of course, we tend to thumb our noses at these policies by using our phones instead.

Source: SFR Regie

In this graph, you can see that mobile usage climbs steadily throughout the morning, peaking in the early afternoon. Usage drops off in the evening when we’re out to dinner with friends and has evening peak around 10pm as we check emails and play online before going to sleep.

Finally, it’s worth noting that nearly one-third of French mobile surfers are aged 35 – 49 (another 30% are under 24) and the largest demographic group are Parisians.

Embedding Mobile in Your Business

One French company that we think is leading the way in mobile is clothing retailer La Redoute. Traditionally, La Redoute has relied on magazine ads to fuel sales. More recently, though, La Redoute is not only advertising on mobile, it’s making it easy for consumers to make a purchase. All you have to do is take a photo of the item you want to buy (from a catalogue), upload it to a mobile site, choose your size and then, voilà, you can buy it from your phone. Mobile banner ads also provide a code for free delivery.

La Redoute has the right idea. Market products with mobile ads, create a good mobile website, integrate the mobile campaign with the rest of the business and, above all, make it as easy as possible for consumers to buy what they want!

Related Article

Privacy is a big issue for French consumers as well as ad agencies and brands. We explain why and discuss BuzzCity’s take on the issue in this column.

Categories: Uncategorized

Mobile Surfing and Privacy in France

The #1 concern of ad agencies, brands and consumers in France, when it comes to the mobile internet, is privacy. And for good reason. We’ve seen high-profile scams and questionsable business practices that have tried consumer patience and hit users in the wallet.

We take these concerns seriously at BuzzCity.

In this column, we’d like to share with you some examples of the bad practices that have put French consumers on edge as well as what BuzzCity is doing to block unethical and rogue practices.

Please be sure to check out our other column that takes a closer look at the French mobile user and highlights how one innovative French company is making the most of m-Commerce.


SMS marketing has been used by a lot of French advertisers . . . and has annoyed a lot of French consumers. The French government reacted by passing a law requiring advertisers to give consumers the option of opting out of these lists. But when mobile users replied “stop” to these ads, some companies would send another SMS asking them to confirm their choice. Replying to this latter message added 4 euros to an unsuspecting consumer’s telephone bill.

Meanwhile, this past December, a number of companies ran campaigns – particularly targeting iPhone users – inviting consumers to telephone Santa Claus. The cost: 8 euros for the first minute! Then an additional euro for every consecutive minute. In addition to being exhorbitant, the problem is that parents often leave their iPhones with their kids. And when their children saw an ad inviting them to talk to Santa . . . well, you can imagine how the parents felt when they saw their telephone bill.


Not long ago, on the French BuzzCity advertising network, we noticed a dating service campaign targeting Android phones. As soon as someone clicked on the banner, the dating app was automatically downloaded and the consumer was billed for it.

We blocked the campaign. We didn’t have to do this. There’s no legal requirement. But we’re not going to sit by and watch an unethical company destroy our market. We owe it to our publishers and users.

Unfortunately, it’s not feasible for us to check every campaign that runs on our network. There are just too many. But the moment we notice something wrong – or receive a complaint – we’ll take action.

If you are aware of a campaign that should be blocked – or just have some feedback or questions – please contact us at 

The French Mobile User and m-Commerce

Categories: Uncategorized

BuzzCity Tours : August & September 2011

Our team is travelling again this August & September; we hope to be seeing you at :-

  1. Digital Marketing Conference in Jakarta – (Dewi) [10th August]
  2. AusCham Ho Chi Minh City Business Briefing – (KF) [23rd August]
  3. Vietnamese Youth Entrepreneurs Bootcamp in Ho Chi Minh City – (KF) [23rd -25th August)
  4. Salon E-Commerce in Paris – (Anna / Camille) [13th – 15th Sept.]
  5. DMEXCO in Cologne – (Delynn) [21st – 22nd Sept ]
  6. Ad:Tech I London – (Anna, Camille, Ryan and Daniel) [21st – 22nd Sept.] We look forward to seeing you at Booth 340 National Hall, Olympia.
  7. Social Media Marketing in Indonesia , Jakarta – (Dewi) [22nd – 23rd Sept. ]
  8. Mobile Monday Summit , Bucharest – Anna [26-28th Sept]
  9. Mobile Marketing & Customer Engagement Summit 2011 Bangkok – KF Lai [27- 28th Sept]  

Our Developer Garage returns at the end of this month with two key presentations by John Phillip, founder & CEO of DocuBuzz and Grace Chng, Editor of Digital Life at SPH. John will talk about their challenges in developing a tablet-oriented meeting management / digital collaboration solutions.  Grace will be sharing insights on “iPad Dominance : is there life in tablets that are non-iOS?”

Details of the Meet up are as follows:                                                         
Date: 30 September (Friday)              
Time: 4 – 6pm
Location: BuzzCity (Yellow Pages Building)
Address: 1 Lor 2 Toa Payoh Yellow Pages Building #02-03 Singapore 319637

    Categories: Uncategorized

    Exploring North African Markets

    The demand for Value-Added Services (VAS) in North African markets is rising as telecoms and media converge further. If you are a VAS provider looking to expand in this region, here are the questions you should be asking:

    1. What are the key North African hotspots?

    Q on Q
    North African Growth

    Traffic in North African countries has seen tremendous growth in the last 18 months.  Surfing activity in the first half of 2011 generated as much traffic as during the preceding year.  And in the second quarter of this year, we served nearly 1 billion ads in the region.

    With the exception of Libya, the upward growth trend is expected to continue.  Egypt (72%) and Sudan (122%) each serves more than 100m ads per month and more growth is expected.

    Morocco saw very strong growth in Q2 (246%) as a result of moves in 2010 to liberalise the market. Competition has driven prices down and increased the number of subscribers. Competition has also driven up the level of innovation.  Maroc Telecom, for example, announced plans in December to launch a service that will allow people in France (later in Spain and Italy) to add money to the accounts of friends and family in Morocco. This will effectively enable Maroc Telecom to tap into the significant volume of remittances sent by the Moroccan community in Western Europe.

    2. What are users surfing with?

    Nokia is dominant in all markets, although Samsung is a strong second in Morocco and can influence campaign targets and outcomes.

    White Box
    White Box

    3. What are users looking for? 

    Mobile surfers in these countries, as in all markets, are hungry for content.  And there are significant opportunities for brands that provide content related to Entertainment & Lifestyle and Mobile Content (mobile games and videos continue to be a favourite). Community services (social networking) continues to draw members and these sites are visited frequently.

    All in all, we expect carriers to be among the first to promote mobile entertainment on the mobile internet. But there’s also definitely room for smaller players to make a sizeable dent in this competitive yet rapidly changing mobile-entertainment space.

    Categories: Uncategorized

    Mobile Development Tips: The Hybrid Approach

    By Michael de Souza, VP Media

    OK, you’re about to embark on a new advertising campaign. One agency tells you that Mobile Apps are the way to go – they’re sexy, there’s no lag in the experience, the app stays on a consumer’s phone forever (unless she deletes it), it’s a fantastic branding tool and besides everyone’s doing it. But another agency has a long list of reasons why you should concentrate on a mobile website: they’re easier to access, cheaper to build, better suited to sales and have a superior return-on-investment.

    So what do you do?

    Increasingly, the right approach is to build both. Here are five steps to help you along the way . . .

    Step 1

    Determine which mobile platforms are most prevalent in your target market(s) and, if possible, which platforms are most used by your consumers. To do this, a good place to start is with BuzzCity’s Campaign Planner. If you have an existing campaign in place, you can also use the detailed data from BuzzCity campaign spending reports and tools like Google Analytics to determine which devices are being used to view your campaign and visit your mobile website.

    Step 2

    Determine whether the number of users on a particular platform justifies your investment.

    For example, in Spain, we see that you can hit 60% of mobile users, if you build for Symbian and iOS.

    In the UK, you can reach 60% of the market by developing for Blackberry and iPhone consumers.

    But in France, there’s no single dominant operating system.

    Similarly, if you are launching a pan-European campaign, it’s difficult to choose which operating systems to target, without doing a more detailed analysis of the consumers who access your mobile website. So, in this scenario, you’d be advised to go for the platform-agnostic approach, such as providing an HTML5 version. HTML5 provides a rich, app-like experience within the mobile web and allows you to reach the majority of advanced smartphones, including Android, iPhone and newer Blackberry models.

    Keep in mind that the average cost of building a mobile application is US$35,000 and the more platforms you build for, the more expensive the investment.

    Step 3

    Outline the scope of the campaign that will promote your app and what you want it to acheive. Don’t forget to share this brief with your developer! Here are some examples of campaigns that integrate apps with a mobile web presence:

    One of the most successful recent campaigns that integrated apps with a mobile web presence was run by Adidas in India.  It used the BuzzCity Mobile advertising network – and a mobile website — to promote the app, which provided users with useful sports information (tournament fixtures, scores and standings) as well as fun stuff (like wallpapers featuring football stars and promos of adidas football gear). Even without the app, the mobisite had enough content to promote the brand.

    Step 4

    Make sure your mobile website is not the application’s poorer relative. The app might be slicker or have more features, but your mobisite needs to also stand on its own. A lot of users will see your mobile website first, after clicking on a banner ad. And not all of them will go on to download an application. Some won’t have the right type of phone; others just won’t want another app. So the site itself must also offer a good brand experience.

    Step 5

    Work closely with your digital agency to determine your specific marketing objectives and the brand associations that you would like to create with the app.

    Anurag Singh, a mobile marketer in India whose clients include adidas, Orbit, Reebok, Samsung and Wrigley’s, tells us that there are three main principles driving mobile advertising: information, interaction and engagement. If your goal is to inform, create an app that has information that is proprietary and unique. For greater interaction and engagement, consider building a branded game.

    To this list, I would also add e-commerce. Companies in the travel industry, in particular, have embedded mobisites into their business models. If I’m traveling from Singapore to Paris, it’s easy for me to use my phone to buy a plane ticket with AirAsia and book a room with


    A word to the wise . . . just because everyone in your brand agency lays an iPhone on the table during meetings doesn’t mean that’s where your market is. Do your research! ; )

    Additional Resource:
    For more about applications versus mobile website, check out the latest edition of The BuzzCity Report and in particular an article on page 26 called “Innovative Strategies for App Development”.

    Categories: Michael de Souza

    The BuzzCity Report: Vol 1 Issue 3

    The latest BuzzCity Report has been released, covering our activity for the second quarter of 2011. The report includes detailed statistics on the performance of the network and studies the trends and forces that are shaping mobile internet advertising.

    As the latest issue explains, we’ve posted another quarter of exceptionally strong growth:

    1. The number of ads served has increased by 30% this quarter, to 30.2 billion, an important milestone for the ad network (for the first quarter in our history, we’ve averaged over 10 billion ads a month).
    2. Our top 20 countries delivered 76% of all banners served (23 billion).
    3. We now have four markets which serve over 1 billion ads per quarter, namely India, Indonesia, Vietnam and the United States. We anticipate that in the course of the current quarter, at least one other country will join this list.
    4. Other countries that stand out for their rapid growth include Saudi Arabia (50% growth over the previous quarter), Nigeria (+44%), Thailand (+82%), Mexico (+36%) and Brazil (+68%).

    In our ‘Quarterly Feature’ and ‘Media Insight’ sections, we’ve focused on fragmentation, and the challenges that marketers face when developing apps. We investigate best practices on reducing risk, to ensure that they’re reaching their intended target markets. Our coverage includes:

    1. The basics: What an operating system is, the inherent limitations that operating systems impose, and the functionality that they allow.
    2. Approaches: Establishing a strategy for app development that promotes your brand, and promotional strategies on the mobile internet.
    3. Advice from the experts: We talk to experts in the field of app development, in developing and developed markets, for their advice on brand-building using apps.

    To download the latest report, please visit

    Categories: report

    Oh What a Lovely (Price) War!

    By Daniel Courtenay, Publisher Alliance Account Manager (Africa)

    South Africans who have travelled abroad over the past decade have often returned with envy-provoking tales of cheap, high-speed uncapped internet access, for as little as R200 a month (around US$30). Customers in Europe and the US have had access to deals like this for the past eight or ten years. Back home, this kind of connectivity has been limited to a privileged few. Until recently.

    The opening salvo

    A fortnight ago 8ta, Telkom’s new mobile operator, slashed mobile broadband prices, firing the opening salvo in a local price war which is likely to rock the entire industry.

    The offer is as follows: 10Gb of data per month, for a period of 24 months, at R199 a month (US$30), and an additional 10Gb of data for late night usage over the same period for R100 (US$15). That’s a cut of nearly 90% per MB over average industry rates.

    MTN was the first of the carriers to respond, by slashing the price of its ‘uncapped’ offers last week. Its ‘Uncapped Lite’ product has been reduced from R749 a month (US$110) to R299 (US$45) a month and its ‘Broadband Uncapped Pro’ package has been reduced from R1 999 (US$300) to R899 (US$135). The products aren’t truly uncapped as they are subject to a fair-use policy of 3GB and 10GB respectively, and they’re available only on a 24-month contract.


    For starters, the lower cost of data will lead to an increase in internet traffic across the board, and bring entirely new users to the fold. New demographics, previously unable to afford internet access, will start to consume content and take up web services, while light internet users are likely to take up unlimited packages. Downloads, particularly of multimedia content, are likely to see dramatic increases.

    Out-of-bundle internet access rates will be adjusted more slowly (these are real cash cows for the operators), but they’ll inevitably succumb to this downward pricing pressure too.

    This presents an opportunity for network advertisers, as increased supply of inventory is likely to cause an easing, at least temporarily, in the average bid rates required to achieve their targets. Publishers, meanwhile, will benefit from a larger audience, and wider reach.

    The ability to reach this ‘new’ consumer demographic also offers brands, ad agencies and anyone seeking to reach the mobile end user an opportunity to reach a completely new market and lower-income consumer. Advertisers that were once hesitant to use mobile could now very well be on the other side of the fence – insisting that this is the way forward.

    The pressure is on for the remaining mobile carriers to respond to this challenge. They will have significant challenges to increase their data capacity, while matching the pricing levels set by 8ta, which will mean a significant drop in revenues. Failure to adjust their tariffs within coming weeks will lead to churn between networks, as consumers start to question their loyalty to existing providers.

    Another dash of chaos, in a white box?

    Although ‘white box’ manufacturers have until now achieved very limited distribution in the South African market, it can’t be long before the presence of cheap ($50 to $100) smartphones further stimulates demand for connectivity.

    The combination of the falling cost of access, the advanced network infrastructure already in place locally, and this quantum shift in the cost of hardware, may well culminate in a perfect storm for exponential growth of the mobile marketing industry.

    Categories: Uncategorized