There are sophisticated tracking programs that allow advertisers to understand consumer behavior on home computers – but smartphones and tablets are another matter.
Understanding mobile users’ online activity can give them key insights into how consumers shop online and how online media buyers can leverage this behavior. This growing area, and the consumer needs it gives rise to, is being met by a few innovative companies that are trying to connect the cross-screen identities of users.
Smartphones have nearly put personal stand-alone GPS devices out to pasture.
It’s far easier to use the device you already have in order to find the newest restaurant or visit a new city. For that reason, maps may be the deciding factor in which company has the long term dominance in mobile. When consumers go to their smartphones for mobile maps, they want the most precise, informative and easy to use platform possible. Apple, Google and Facebook are all taking note and trying to meet consumer demand.
Discovery tools, like maps, are an integral part of smartphone technology and usage. Nowhere was this clearer than with the backlash Apple received over its iPhone switch from Google maps to their native tool. The inferior Apple Maps infuriated iPhone users and prompted a Google Map iPhone app. Not only does Google have millions of business listings, it also features Zagat restaurant reviews and street views of locations.
Being a business on the Internet can be a tricky thing – especially when the search engine you rely on is creeping onto your turf.
This is the frustration that many web entrepreneurs are facing with search engine giant Google. As the world’s foremost Internet search engine, Google has become a central component in many would-be mogul’s business plans. Jeffrey Katz, founder of the web shopping site NexTag, has used Google’s finely tuned machine to drive his company. He estimates that his business at one point derived strong sales from a larger share of Google’s free search, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 percent.
Google Checkout eating up others’ profits? Lately NexTag’s online media buying has grown to almost 70 percent while their free search sales have whittled down to a mere 30. The culprit? Katz isn’t one to point fingers, but he does bring up an interesting fact – that the decline in his online sales have plummeted as Google’s launch of their own shopping site, Google Checkout. Searches for products such as “living room furniture” would lead to one of several NexTag results, but those were the good old days. Katz points out that despite increasing his advertising budget, the business of getting on Google’s coveted front page is getting tougher.
The next decade will see the rise of app market, and you can thank Apple for that.
Apple is a brilliant forecaster of the future; its products are a mainstay of technology boasting record profits in the billions each year. Many see the potential of mobile market and Apple’s latest popular offerings the iPhone and the iPad and the rush to make apps is on.
In a post-television world where media buyers and DRTV solutions are faced with new challenges, can these new breed of app designers strike it rich? Several industry insiders say, “Not likely.” Take the Grimes family for instance. Shawn and Stephanie were a typical working couple, she a school teacher and he a programmer working for a large company. They were thrown for a loop when Shawn’s employer, Legg Mason, a prominent Baltimore financial firm, decided to eliminate over 300 jobs from its bottom line. With an eye on a new source of income, the Grimes did what many others are doing in this tough economy: They turned to using technology to create a business model making apps. They are not alone in their quest to strike it rich online.
Apps for all! Since the inception of the marketing of the iPhone in the summer of 2007, this area has ballooned into a network of over six million in the U.S. alone, and that does not include the now ubiquitous iPad. Apple, master of the closed-loop, didn’t realize that its App Store, the only place to supply iPhones and iPads with programs of every stripe, would be the center of a new economy.
Apple reports a whopping 6.5 billion in revenues generated by app developers worldwide, a large sum in which Apple tidily collects 30 percent of each app sold. This kind of money is all too enticing for tech-savvy entrepreneurs who want to strike it rich in the apps market. Success stories such as Ethan Nichols, who was one of Apple’s first million-dollar app developers, are hard to ignore. There are now over 70,000 apps available in the App Store at Apple, and each one of them hopes to have identical (or better!) results.
Of course, with more competition comes a smaller chance to make big profits.
Media buying is entering a new phase of mobile saturation as more marketers are incorporating this form of advertising into their mix.
According to the latest data from Strongmail, mobile marketing is reaching a higher level of adoption rate. The survey noted that marketers are embracing mobile as a stand-alone marketing option and as part of integrated marketing strategies.
There are three areas of mobile marketing that topped Strongmail’s survey. Media buying agencies and advertisers noted that mobile websites were their favorite form of mobile marketing (at 70 percent). Mobile applications and QR codes were number two and three, with 55 percent and 49 percent respectively.
Hotmail.com was a mainstay for early web-based email adopters, but the sun is setting on the email provider.
Owner Microsoft Corp is phasing out Hotmail and replacing it with an online version of its popular desktop-based email client, Outlook. With the shift to Outlook.com, Microsoft hopes to update its product and tie in Hotmail with Microsoft’s other services. Similar to how Gmail and Google act as an online hub for communication, Microsoft is also attempting to centralize old Hotmail user’s online experience.
However, Microsoft is taking their update one step further than Google has. They plan on integrating Facebook, Twitter and other Microsoft service contacts into the Outlook.com hub. The new platform will contain ads (a good sign for online media buyers) but is also designed to bridge the gap between the old Hotmail and the demands of today’s online users.
“We designed it to be applicable to tablets in particular,” said Brain Hall, general manager of Windows, the group that oversaw Hotmail. The new design will have attributes of Hotmail but integrate the social media features that most users are using. It is streamlined, and features several built-in features to automatically filter our newsletters and filler email that isn’t urgent, but that isn’t quite spam either.
In addition, users can see recent status updates from their Facebook friends and Twitter contacts. There are plans to add Skype voice and video calling in the future. Although there will be display ads, they won’t be targeted to users’ activity. Media buyers may see this as a drawback, but Microsoft views the inbox targeting practice used by Google to be invasive to users’ privacy. Ads will only appear in the inbox and not when an email is opened.
During a preview period, Hotmail users will be introduced to Outlook.com and encouraged to make the switch. Other interested users can opt in to create a new Outlook.com address and begin managing email from one location. Over time, all hotmail users will be moved over to Outlook.com, but there is no firm date for the transfers.
The media conglomerate News Corp is going to have two very different faces within the next few years.
The company’s board unanimously approved a plan to split the media giant into two separate corporations. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch spoke at the board meeting along with financial advisers who made presentations to the board. The meeting and decision were completed within about 90 minutes – although some details, like who will head the publishing business – remain yet to be determined.
The first company will contain the News Corp entertainment businesses, which contains 20th Century Fox, Fox broadcast network and Fox News Channel. The second company will be focused on publishing – The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, HarperCollins book publishing and the News Corp’s education business.
Before the announcement was made, News Corp. shares jumped 11% on rumor of the split alone. The newspaper assets have been much less profitable in the recent years, and have a lower profit margin than the TV and film divisions. DRTV media buying and advertising rates have fallen about 50% in the past five years industry wide – leaving the publishing portion of the company struggling to keep up.
Getting the hang of media buying may seem like learning a foreign language, but there are some specific steps that, once learned, can go a long way toward understanding the process and, for the right company, implementing a media buying plan that works.
Pinpoint your target market – The very first step is to understand who you’re trying to reach. The more detailed you can be at this stage in the process, the better. Create a profile that includes facts like their gender, average income and location. This profile will help you identify the best media buying opportunities.
Simultaneous advertising on television and online gives brands an extended opportunity to connect with potential buyers, and with MTV’s new multi-platform advertising service, it’s easier than ever to do. MTV is introducing its platform just as brands are looking for a way to connect with media “multitaskers” who frequently watch TV while they are on their mobile devices are laptops.
How big is this target market? The number of social media comments made about TV shows has increased exponentially in the last few years, pointing to a growing trend to multitask during television shows. According to research, 84% of Smartphone owners and 86% of tablet owners used their mobile devices while watching TV at least once in the last month. 50% of those mobile device users reported that they used social media, like Twitter or Facebook, during the program.
Kids are an untapped market that eBay is looking to tap into.
Although the online auction giant currently limits accounts to people who are over 18 years of age, this may change shortly according the Devin Wenig, eBay’s president of global marketplaces. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Wenig explained the plan and addressed privacy and content concerns.
eBay plans on requiring parental authorization for kids to set up their accounts, and they will be able to search through the site in a controlled environment that removes the option to view or purchase adult content and products. Even with these safeguards in place, Wenig recommends that parents not allow their children to go free rein on the site. “We would want a parent [or] adult as a ride-along,” says Wenig. The rollout for under-18 accounts will start sometime in the next nine months, but the plans aren’t complete yet.