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Ad networks: the scale and insight to beat fragmentation

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment
The past few years have shown remarkable growth of the mobile internet, driven by rapid consumer adoption and major advances in the capabilities of mobile devices. In recent months, mobile ad networks received a great vote of confidence from investors, who bet substantial sums that the space will continue growing, become more valuable, and attract an increasing share of marketing budgets.

In spite of this, though, some naysayers still question the value of ad networks. They believe that marketers are still treating mobile as an afterthought, and they question the quality of network traffic.
Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

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.

WHY MOBILE PRIVACY IS A MAJOR ISSUE IN FRANCE

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.

BUZZCITY’S STAND

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 

RELATED ARTICLE
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?

    Country
    Q1
    Q2
    Q on Q
    Growth
    1
    Egypt
        288,800,000
        497,200,000
    72%
    2
    Sudan
        125,500,000
        278,500,000
    122%
    3
    Morocco
           30,600,000
        105,800,000
    246%
    4
    Tunisia
           23,800,000
           36,600,000
    54%
    5
    Algeria
              4,700,000
              9,200,000
    96%
    6
    Libya
        164,700,000
                  100,000
    -100%
    North African Growth
        638,100,000
        927,400,000
    45%

    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.

    Phones
    EGYPT
    SUDAN
    MOROCCO
    1
    Nokia
    75.3%
    Nokia
    88.1%
    Nokia
    44.5%
    2
    Samsung
    9.7%
    Samsung
    4.9%
    Samsung
    26.3%
    3
    White Box
    Phones
    7.1%
    White Box
    Phones
    3.3%
    Apple
    10.6%
    4
    SonyEricsson
    3.4%
    SonyEricsson
    2.4%
    LG
    8.4%
    5
    Apple
    1.7%
    Vodafone
    0.8%
    SonyEricsson
    5.2%

    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

    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.

    Implications

    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

    BuzzCity Tours: July 2011

    Join our team in the month of July as they attend events in UK, Jakarta and South Africa. Here’s an update of the various events our team members will be attending:

    1. BuzzCity CEO, Dr KF Lai will be networking with mobile industry leaders at the MEF CEO Summit 2011 in London on 6th July. The next day on 7th July, Dr Lai will be joining Anna at the highly anticipated Meffy Awards where they will be sharing the latest developments at BuzzCity with professionals in the mobile industry. 
    2. Dr Lai will then be speaking in a panel discussion at the FutureChina Global Forum in Singapore on 12th July. The topic of the panel will be The spectacular rise of Chinas digital economy: what comes next?.
    3. Over in Capetown, South Africa on 15th July, Hawa will be speaking at the 4th Mobile Marketing Summit 2011 on the topic Wap vs App.
    4. Dr Lai will be part of the judging panel under the mobile applications and advertising category for the Indonesia ICT Awards (INAICTA) held in Jakarta on 28th July.
    5. The BuzzCity Developer Garage which is a channel for developers to share experience, trends and insights on developing sites and applications on mobile internet, will be held on 29th July at BuzzCity’s HQ office (Singapore). The topic of this event will focus on features and opportunities from the latest Windows Phone 7 Update – Mango. One of the speakers at this event will be Chris Ismael – Developer Evangelist at Mircrosoft. Further details on other speakers will be updated soon.
    Feel free to email feedback [at]buzzcity.com to arrange a meeting with any of our colleagues at these events.
    Categories: Uncategorized