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Social TV Data might help TV Ads get better in Real-Time Business Insider

7 Nov

Social TV can sometimes seem like a lot of hype. Yes, people are engaging with social media while watching TV, but is it just the latest buzzed-about media trend with limited value to broadcast networks and advertisers?

As broadcasters have seized on social TV activity, it’s becoming clear that harnessing the phenomenon is not only about attracting and retaining viewers. Social TV activity also creates a trove of useful data, which can be put to use to generate more effective advertising and better programming decisions.

recent report from BI Intelligence finds that social TV is being put to work for a variety of big data purposes. The social TV audience is a built-in focus group, participating with content in real-time. And now a variety of measurement and analytics companies have sprung up to quantify and apply this data.


Here’s a run-down of some of the most popular uses for social TV-driven data:



Mobile Ads Are the Future. They’re Also Lousy

6 Nov
Companies across the Internet continually proclaim mobile ads as the next great frontier. Pandora Media (P), Twitter, and other big names often derive the majority of their revenue from them. On Oct. 23, Facebook’s (FB)stock leapt more than 10 percent on news that the social network earned 14 percent of its third-quarter revenue from mobile ads, up from almost nothing in the first quarter. That mobile advertising should be an enormous business makes sense. After all, our smartphones are always with us, know where we are, and collect far more data about us than a desktop PC. So if mobile has such potential, why are the ads so mediocre?

“Most mobile advertising is done as an afterthought,” says Eric Picard, chief executive officer of Rare Crowds, an ad technology company. “Immature designers have just sort of slapped banner ads in there.” Working with a tiny canvas—a smartphone display—most ads take one of two forms, each with obvious shortcomings. There is the tiny banner ad Picard refers to, which has little room to say anything more than “Click here for something!” and the interstitial, the screen that pops up and interrupts you while you’re trying to read something else.

These two simple forms have their roots in other media—only in other media they make a lot more sense. A print advertisement or, for that matter, a Web ad on a computer’s large display, is based on the concept of adjacency: We tolerate it because it’s next to content we want to consume. Television ads work the same way (at least for people without DVRs), but with the added dimension of time. Modern Family will be interrupted, sure, but the show’s story structure is designed for that, and we’ll sit through some commercials because we want to see what’s going to happen with Phil Dunphy’s next crazy scheme to surprise Claire.

When we encounter a mobile ad, it’s disruptive, and not in the positive way that business gurus breathlessly use the word. “When I see an ad pop up on my phone, I get scared,” says Al Rotches, a Web ad designer who has worked on Internet campaigns for Barack Obama, Honda Motor (HMC), and Trojan Brand Condoms (CHD). “When I’m on my phone, this is my thing,” he adds. “I don’t want to be tracked, I don’t want to be interrupted.”

Worldwide mobile-ad spending will reach $6.4 billion this year and more than $23.6 billion by 2016, according to researcher EMarketer. Google (GOOG) is the biggest beneficiary, but even it realizes that banner ads and interstitials aren’t going to work on a smartphone. The company has been developing enhanced ad services like click-to-call buttons, which allow people to contact an advertiser directly about an offer using the phone in their hand. Its Android devices also can use Google Now, a virtual personal assistant that keeps track of your frequently visited locations and repeating calendar entries and then tries to provide relevant information, such as a traffic report minutes before you head to work. The company hasn’t sent out any advertising through this service, but many in the industry expect it will: Besides the traffic, wouldn’t you be interested in a coupon for a new breakfast sandwich at that coffee place on your way to the office?

The company’s mobile-payment system, Google Wallet, is another way it’s moving beyond the standard model. Storing a user’s credit-card information does two things: It makes mobile purchases easier, since a person doesn’t have to enter payment information on a small device, and it provides a way to follow the money. Without a payment platform, Google and other ad networks have no way to determine whether an ad persuades a user to make an offline purchase. But if you use Google Wallet to pay a florist after Google sent you an ad from that florist, Google can make some conclusions about that ad’s efficacy and adjust prices accordingly.

Facebook’s rapid mobile-ad expansion has been possible because more than 60 percent of its users access the social networking site on a mobile device. The company attributes its recent growth in mobile ads to what is known in the digital-ad world as “native advertising,” or advertising that’s integrated with a site’s regular content. In Facebook’s case, that means ads that appear in a user’s news feed, which the company calls a “sponsored story.”

“We want to make the ads on Facebook part of the user experience in a seamless way,” says Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s product director for advertising. That not only means incorporating ad content into news feeds, but also storing users’ credit-card information so they can make purchases with a single click. “On mobile, the need to reduce friction in any transaction is exponentially greater,” says Rajaram.

On Facebook, each user can be turned into an ad network. Sponsored stories are first distributed to users who have chosen to be fans of an advertiser’s Facebook page. If a fan then likes the ad (often consisting of a coupon or other discount) in a sponsored story, it’s distributed to that fan’s network of friends, whether they liked the advertiser’s page or not. “We’re finding that more than 50 percent of all claims of offers come from friends of fans, not fans,” says Rajaram, adding that Facebook’s research showed people recalled an ad referred by a friend 10 times more often than a typical display ad.

Twitter is also pursuing a native-advertising strategy, in the form of promoted tweets, but custom formats for Facebook and Twitter will not work for the larger world of the Web, meaning that the magic formula for mobile advertising remains elusive—especially for sites that have fewer visitors. “Digital advertising is about getting my message in front of a lot of people at a low cost,” says Rare Crowds’ Picard. “The more we carve up that inventory, the harder it is to get that message out.” Facebook can do sponsored stories, he says, because it has such a large audience. “But not everybody’s Facebook.”

The bottom line: Traditional advertising doesn’t translate to mobile devices, and companies are still struggling to come up with effective strategies.


How Mobile Trends Are Shaping E-commerce

23 Aug

How often do you use your smartphone to peruse a website? According to a recent survey, over the course of the past year visits to leading ecommerce websites from consumers’ mobile devices have skyrocketed. And the battle for smartphone supremacy is intensifying.

The infographic below illustrates the direction in which the mobile commerce is headed, and shows the race between iPhone and Android.

Digital marketing technology company Monetate issued the report from which this information is extracted. The report analyzed more than 100 million online shopping experiences to come up with the data below.

Have you shopped more frequently from your mobile device in the past year? Tell us in the comments.


A Second Power Transfer in the Mobile Phone Industry: Will Xiaomi Succeed in the End?

31 Jul

Is it an irreversible trend or just a flash in the pan for Internet heavyweights in China to enter the mobile phone industry? Will they succeed as the new protagonists of the industry chain as they are trying to reshape the mobile phone ecosystem?

The first revolution in the mobile phone industry occurred with the arrival of 3G. Telecom operators succeeded in this revolution by shifting from old-fashioned telecommunication network providers to fashionable, entertainment-oriented information service providers. The data service methods of Japanese telecom operator NTT DoCoMo and SK Telecom from Korea were taken as models for Chinese telecom operators. On the NTT DocoMo platform i-mode for mobile phones, service providers and content providers were marginalized while operators made a lot of profit. Operators took profit shares at high proportions and paid the service and content providers separately, making the telecom operators dominant in the mobile phone industry chain.

Now the second power revolution has come. Internet companies are trying to reshape the telecom ecosystem and become the new dominators. With a large user-base at hand, can they really make money with software and applications?

“I think Internet companies will beat telecom operators and mobile phone manufacturers,” says Zhou HongYi, Chairman of Qihoo 360, while speaking at the China Telecom Mobile Internet Conference in June in Guangzhou.

What worries operators is applications like Weixin and Miliao, which may gradually replace traditional text messages and even voice services with the services of newfound phone manufacturers and Internet companies. Last year, KIK Messenger in America gave operators a fatal blow by letting users of KIK Messenger send messages to contacts in their address books for free. Xi GuoHua, Chairman of China Mobile,  recently said that traditional telecom operations are now confronted with a severe challenge provoked by Internet services.

Will the Xiaomi Model Succeed?

The so-called “Xiaomi model” develops mobile phone operating systems using the Internet, emphasizing software over hardware. Its business model is to outsource the hardware development and manufacture to a third party, while focusing on the development of mobile application software as well as on third-party developer communities. In other words, Xiaomi dominates the market through “e-commerce” and “customized service”.

Apart from the Xiaomi mobile phone itself, Xiaomi also provides users with services like the MIUI-based Android operating system, as well as Miliao, a voice chatting software. Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s CEO, described its business model in this way: ”Xiaomi doesn’t make money by selling phone or hardware, and it’s not yet clear whether one can make profit through applications.”

However, compared with Apple, which has many years of experience with consumer electronics development and manufacturing, Xiaomi Technology faces many challenges. Last October, Xiaomi was about to sell off 2000 phones. However, because floods were sweeping through Thailand at the time, where providers of the battery cells were located, they were threatened with supply problems. Thus, Xiaomi understood then the huge risks in its supply chain management.

Nevertheless, Xiaomi has an advantage in cost. It saves 40% of its channel cost by using social media for advertisements. “Xiaomi still relies on hardware to make money, and it is unclear when it can make a profit on software,” an insider from Xiaomi Technology said.

Competition Through Occupying the Mobile Phone Desktop

Different from the Xiaomi model, many Internet companies now threaten telecom operators by entering the phone industry with applications that occupy users’ phone desktops. They make profit through flows, for example, through advertisements and information retrieval.

Zhou HongYi has said that Weixin will replace text messages and MMS, VOIP will end voice services, and Internet accounts will replace phone numbers. Furthermore, he says the Internet has control of all kinds of applications. He believes that smart phones will be free of charge for hardware in the future. Internet companies will establish their business models by built-in value-added services.

Right now there are two ways for users to obtain apps: built-in apps or those downloaded from app stores. More than half of the apps used are built-in. So, built-in will be the best channel for companies to occupy. Of course, users will be the final judges.

However, Zhang Kai, GM of Zhidao Consulting, believes that the purpose of Internet companies is not built-in applications, but to make a profit by establishing the mobile phone ecosystem and imitating the business model of Apple.

Can Internet Companies Replace Operators?

Although Internet companies have entered the mobile phone industry with different business models, they have all concentrated on mobile Internet applications. Can they really replace operators and gain dominance?

“For operators, the spread of instant communication software like Miliao, Weixin of Tencent and Talkbox will cause a reduction of income from text messages,” said an industry insider. Indeed, the increase of traditional telecom services has lowered the pace of messaging globally. New technology and applications are replacing communication services at a growing speed. For example, Finland wireless operator Sonera found that people sent 8.5 million text messages on Christmas Eve in 2011, 10.9 million less than in 2010.

Sue Ruud of Strategy Analytics points out that, with the obvious increase of income from OTT information platforms, such as Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage, the income from text messages has reduced rapidly.

Operators try to defend their profit by launching applications like China Unicom’s Woyou and China Mobile’s Feiliao. But will traditional telecom operators rally? No one is sure.

“The replacement of phone calls and text messages is an irreversible trend,” says Zhang Kai. Still, it is not easy to make money by software and applications and reshape the ecosystem of the telecom industry. In Zhang’s view, only Tencent has the possibility to replace operators. The reason is simple: QQ has 700 million users.

Source:   Translated from the Chinese original by Stella Wang (Sina Tech) – Posted on 31 July 2012 by Dennis Cheng

Gartner: Social Media Leads Business

31 Jul

Mobile computing is forcing the biggest change to the way people live since the automobile, says Gartner. Mass adoption forces new infrastructure, it spawns new businesses, and it threatens the status quo.


Gartner believes sharing comments, links and recommendations with friends, drives enterprise IT practices. Social technologies both drive and depend on the other three Nexus forces:

  • Social provides an important need for mobility: Accessing social networks is one of the primary uses of mobile devices and social interactions have much more value when they are possible wherever the user is located.
  • Social depends on cloud for scale and access: Social networks benefit from scale, the kind of scale that is really only practical through cloud deployment.
  • Social feeds and depends on deep analysis: Social interactions provide a rich source of information about connections, preferences and intentions. As social networks get larger, participants need better tools to be able to manage the growing number of interactions, which drives the need for deeper social analytics.

“The combination of pervasive mobility, near-ubiquitous connectivity, industrial compute services, and information access decreases the gap between idea and action,” said Chris Howard, managing vice president at Gartner.

Source: – Posted by Sam Churchill on July 30th, 2012

How Consumers Are Using Their Phones To Shop

19 Jul


Mobile devices are playing an increasingly large role in commerce.

Consumers use their phones for mobile commerce in several different ways. 

In a special report just out from BI Intelligence, we analyze how people use their phones to shop, and also take a look at the most popular mobile activities, the growth of the mobile web, and how users are consuming content on their mobile devices.

Access The Full Report By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today>>

So, how are consumers using their phones in the shopping process? 

  • Mobile Commerce: Mobile is driving an increasingly large share of traffic to ecommerce sites.  Forrester Research forecasts U.S. mobile commerce to hit $10 billion this year, up from $6 billion in 2010. Mobile sales made up 6.6% of Cyber Monday sales in 2011, more than double the percentage of the previous year.
  • Marketing: Email is a crucial marketing channel for companies like Gilt Groupe, Groupon, and LivingSocial. Since many consumers access email mainly through their phones, mobile has become an important marketing channel.
  • Research: Mobile shoppers are likely to use their phones in-store to compare prices and consult on potential purchases with friends. An analysis by Deloitte estimates mobile will influence $158 billion of in-person retail sales this year. This is a big problem for brick-and-mortar retailers, as it brings ecommerce competition directly into their stores. 
  • In-Store Payments: Consumers are beginning to make payments directly with their phones. According to Nielsen, 9% of mobile shoppers have paid for goods or services at point of sale. NFC probably won’t be the solution that powers this change though, but new apps like Pay with Square and Apple’s Passbook are promising.

In full, the report also looks at:

Business Insider |Jul. 18, 2012, 8:45 AM | 393 |


Mobile Commerce is on the Rise: An Infographic

16 Jul

How big is mobile commerce really? Well according to a recent infographic by German Internet statistics company, Statista, The number of smartphone and tablet users has increased fourfold over the last two years. There are currently close to 120 million smartphone users in the U.S. and almost 60 million tablet users.

Statista’s infographic points out that ecommerce sales via mobile devices have risen from 2 percent in 2010 to 8 percent as of March this year.

When it came to grabbing the lion’s share of mobile user visits for this past March alone, Amazon topped the list at just over 41 percent, followed by eBay’s distant second of approximately 27 percent with Netflix, Wal-Mart and Target in tow respectively.

So how does this translate for the future of mobile commerce? These figures are expected to continue their upward momentum, reaching a predicted 150 million plus for smartphones and nearly 90 million for tablet users by 2014.

It’s interesting to note that retailers are closely eying the tablet toting consumer. Why? Because tablet owners tend to represent a wealthier cross section of consumers with 38 percent of tablet users having a household income of $100K and over. Could it be that keeping up with the Joneses just got a whole lot more affordable? No more need to worry about owning the multi-million dollar mansion or having a Bentley in the driveway. Looking affluent might now be as simple as shopping from a tablet. Just make sure it’s an Apple iPad.  

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Posted by Kris Ashton, Daily Deal Media on Jul 15 2012.

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