Mobile Ad Traffic Picking Up

Think mobile ad traffic is just starting to gain speed You haven’t seen anything yet.

Fierce Developer reports that AppFlood has posted new research that breaks down just how significant an increase there’s been in mobile advertising. It’s risen an incredible 9 percent in revenue year-over-year.

Through AppFlood’s Global Mobile Android Advertising Insights report, these numbers came together, along with the following statistics:

  • Personalization apps make a generous amount of revenue, raking in over two times more than general communication apps, although they still came in a close second.
  • 67 percent of mobile users from around the world come from three specific countries — Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
  • Average mobile ad budgets on a global scale have increased by 24 percent month over month, from July 2013.

As you can see by the chart, the cost per install has dropped as well, going from $.43 in the third quarter of 2013 to just $.26 now — that’s nearly half down.

“It’s not a bad time to be a mobile advertiser as the appetite for apps grows around the world amid a growing supply of traffic outpacing demand,” the report indicates. “Install rates grew across the board in developing regions, suggesting positive sentiment for mobile app discovery through ads.”

It looks like a majority of the numbers show that the biggest increases are coming from the U.S. market, although there isn’t much mention in the Chinese one. At least, not yet — but advertising is likely continuing on a strong streak there as well, and likely to pick up even further next year.

Meanwhile, Fierce Developer also advises that this could be the time to allocate a marketing budget with the coming year. Some particular categories may not benefit as much as “personalization apps,” according to the site.

‘Warlords of Draenor’ Wreck New York

It’s a big week for video games, between the likes of Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One, Assassin’s Creed Unity for next-gen systems and PC, Assassin’s Creed Rogue for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and a number of other titles. However, Blizzard is preparing its own holiday storm with the forthcoming expansion to World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor.

With this latest release due out on Thursday, the publisher has gone the extra mile with the game’s promotion. In addition to TV advertising taken from the incredible cinematics located below, it’s staged a special attraction right in the heart of Times Square in New York City to advertise the game.

A New York City cab is in the heart of the promotion, showing signs of being destroyed by the stars of the Draenor expansion. Both the hood and trunk are dented in, and a gigantic axe is buried right on top of the vehicle.

In addition to the cab, a sliced sign promoting Warlords of Draenor sits in front of the cab, and the entire area is surrounded by work poles and warning tape, which has the word “#Warlords” printed all across it.

It’s quite an eye-catching promotion, and pretty ingenious in fact, as photographers and tourists everywhere have stopped to snap a picture of the destruction, then hashtagging it “#Warlords” on their social media feeds.

Promotion for the forthcoming expansion is at an all-time high. It got big attention at Blizzard’s BlizzCon event over the weekend in Anaheim, and it’s also getting heavy promotion for its “level 90 increase,” which is being promised to all players who pick it up. Considering that World of Warcraft‘s subscriber count has dwindled a little bit, this is sure to bring quite a few players back into the fold.

Granted, they probably won’t take that cab…

Warlords of Draenor releases on November 13 for PC.

Pinterest Stars On The Rise

There’s no question that some folks have made a living out of becoming social media superstars, whether they have a large presence through small Vine videos, put together YouTube programming that millions of fans watch, or even express themselves through lively Twitter posts. However, you can now add one more social media site to the fold, as “Pinfluencers” are on the rise.

Re/code posted a story talking about these up-and-coming stars, who consider themselves under that name, as well as “Pinstars” and possibly “Pinlebrities,” according to the article. “Pinterest actually likes to call them Pinterest Influencers,” said Kyla Brennan, the head of HelloSociety, a Pinterest-based talent agency – the largest in the world. “They don’t like any change to the word Pinterest.”

Pinterest is just gaining ground in terms of breeding such superstars, as it takes time to establish the right kind of outreach in posts (not just blind photos). However, according to Brennan, over 400 highly paid influencers are part of the site now – a huge feat considering the HelloSociety got its start two years ago out of her home in Littleton, Colorado.

At first, some folks might be confused by the idea of a Pinterest superstar. “I know. I totally understand the skepticism. People hear Pinterest star and they’re like, what !” she explains. “But after three years of doing this, seeing clients making hundreds of thousands of dollars and quit their jobs and pin full time, it’s real.”

The company’s making more than you might think, too. HelloSociety has gathered $12.5 million in revenue last year, and employees 26 people full time. “Pinterest is commerce-based, it’s based on intent,” said Brennan. “Facebook, it’s still disruptive to see ads (there). Twitter’s not even in the conversation. Pinterest is built for commerce.”

“Pinfluencers” are more rare than you might think, though. “It’s much harder to get a huge audience in Pinterest – it’s just much rarer than something like YouTube, where you make one viral video and there you are,” she explained. “You’re not going to get one viral Pin and get a bunch of followers.”

However, they’re certainly on the rise – and even if some of them are odd, Brennan believes they should be welcomed just like “normal” folks. “In the early days, Pinterest suggested a few sort of strange birds who weren’t in their aesthetic. We’ve come across people who have all these followers for, I don’t know, like My Android Board or My Intergalactic Gemstones board. Or Frogs,” she said. “We’ve encouraged a lot of those Pinners to broaden their topics. Maybe branch out of frogs. Or do frogs but think about frogs in other ways.”

 

Obama Calls For Net Neutrality

By Jessica Klein

President Obama’s come out with a statement in support of net neutrality, cementing his administration’s stance on the issue. In the statement, he calls for the FCC to reclassify consumer broadband service under the Telecommunications Act’s Title II, which will prevent the likes of “internet fast lanes.”

“We cannot allow internet service providers to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas,” Obama said.

Though he noted that the decision is ultimately up to the FCC alone, he called for them to consider such rules as “no blocking,” “no throttling” (when ISPs slow some content providers and grant speedier access to others), “increased transparency,” and “no paid prioritization.”

Of course, major players on both sides of the Title II battle include Netflix and Verizon. The former previously filed with the FCC in support of reclassifying consumer broadband service under Title II. Meanwhile, Verizon responded to the president’s statement, according to Variety, insisting that Title II would mark “a radical reversal of course that would in and of itself threaten great harm to an open internet.”

Watch President Obama’s Statement

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via thevideoink.com for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Bringing Mobile Games To China

The massive growth of mobile games is a phenomenon that’s occurring all over the globe, but nowhere faster than in China. Smartphone adoption is growing by double-digit rates, and the market is measured in hundreds of millions of smartphones and billions of dollars. Yet with all this rapid growth, Western game publishers haven’t had much success in bringing mobile games to the Chinese market. The Chinese app charts are dominated by Chinese mobile games, despite the large numbers of games developed elsewhere in the world that have generated devoted audiences.

This seems like a tremendous opportunity, and Golden Gate Games was formed precisely in order to take advantage of it. The company, founded by game industry veterans Keith McCurdy and David Zhu, helps developers and publishers bring games to China. “Working in China can be a challenge for all but the largest companies in the gaming industry,” Golden Gate Games’ web site proclaims. “With G3’s local knowledge, Shanghai game development studio, corporate and financial cross border structure, publishing team, and distribution connections, we can culturalize your game for the China market and publish it via a wide array of app stores and mobile operator channels.”

Golden Gate Games has already taken several games into China since its founding in February of this year, and more are on the way. The [a]listdaily spoke with co-founder Keith McCurdy about the company’s efforts to help Western developers gain a place in the vast Chinese market.

Keith McCurdy

[a]listdaily: What’s the state of the Chinese market for mobile games

Keith McCurdy: The market is exploding. It doubled in the last two years each year, some say more than doubled last year. It’s probably going to double again in 2014. It’s on a hyper-growth trajectory, and there’s lots of new smartphones being sold in China. There are 400 million new Android phones this year and another 400 million Android phones next year. That’s almost a billion empty Andropid phones. While some of them are low cost, they are still high quality. They’re dual core, big-screen phones that can play the type of games that 80-90 percent of the mobile gaming market covers just fine.

It’s a huge and growing market, and they do like Western content. In the top ten games, five of them are Western games, things like Plants Vs. Zombies and Subway Surfers. There’s a huge, fast-growing market, and there’s a proven appetite for Western content. There’s just a couple of things missing in the equation. One, it’s very difficult for Westerners to deal with China, culturally, legally, product-development-wise, publishing, and otherwise. It’s also very difficult when you make money in China to bring it back to the West. It’s very hard to know what to do with your games; you can’t just localize by changing the language, publish it in China and expect to make money.

[a]listdaily: What is it that you have to do to mobile games for the Chinese market

Keith McCurdy: All the games that are making money in China are heavily culturalized. By culturalization we mean not just changing the language, but changing the some of the content — the graphics, the style, the user interface, the monetization mechanics, sometimes the difficulty level because Chinese like things different. There’s a lot of work to be done. Two years ago people thought it was a lot like porting. What David and I have found is it’s more like product development work, You have to really come to the table with a plan to take a Western game and change it in a way that will make money in China. There’s the fundamental bones of the game that will make money, but the outer-facing stuff will need to be adjusted in a very conscientious way to apply to the Chinese market. Stuff like changing what you sell, or how often you sell it, or how aggressively you push it, or changing the way the main character looks, or how you navigate the user interface. These are all easy things to do once you have a good game that’s accessible, but they take know-how in country — Chinese designers, programmers, artists — and you have to do it specifically for that market.

Romans from Mars

 

[a]listdaily: What are the biggest changes you see headed to the market in China

Keith McCurdy: There’s growth and what’s driving it, just the massive number of new handsets and new users, and and people upgrading from feature phones and to better smartphones. The other growth drivers is the move to 4G quality networks. China is really expanding that quickly, which is allowing people to download bigger apps, do more connected stuff, more video streaming, and stuff like that. Those are the growth drivers.

The other big change in China is around billing. Right now a lot of the billing in mobile gaming in China goes through the carriers. Even if you download a game from, say, the Baidu app store (which is one of the largest), you still have to pay for stuff. If you’re, say, a China Mobile subscriber (which is like being a Verizon subscriber) you can buy stuff in the game by using SMS billing, where it shows up on your phone. They charge a lot for that — they charge 30 percent for that billing. But there are a lot of people like AliPay and WeChat Pay and other systems that are integrated that are lowering that charge for billing to the publisher down to 10 percent or lower. That’s a huge bonus for us content guys that make games. Instead of paying 30 percent to collect revenue, you’re paying 5 percent to 10 percent.

That will make some channels and some games and some customers much more profitable on a percentage basis than even the West, where we pay 30 percent across the board. That whole transition is a big open thing — similar to the way app stores are fragmented, billing is fragmented.

[a]listdaily: How do you see publishers approaching the Chinese market

Keith McCurdy: I’ve talked to a lot of guys at some of the bigger publishers, and they all say ‘we want to work in China because we feel it’s a precursor of what’s going to happen in the West.’ This is an example of that. In China, the deep integration, the community, the sharing, that’s what drives all the revenue. We’re seeing that in the West now, but I think it started in China a year and a half ago. People in the West look to China and Asia in general to see the future of free-to-play, online gaming, and mobile gaming.

What’s going on with WeChat, Line, Kakao, is important. If you’re familiar with Xiaomi, they’re like the Apple of China. [Xiaomi is a rapidly growing smartphone maker with phones reminiscent of Apple — Ed.] Xiaomi is creating its own instant messaging social network and gaming is a big part of it. There’s a lot of stuff going on in Asia, and I think Western publishers look at it and say “We need to be doing stuff there and learning from there, because they are figuring out stuff at a faster pace than we are in the West.”

CREATIVE: ASOS Lets You Control The Colors

Brands are having a whole lot of fun with video lately. From last week’s cinematic masterpiece from Honda to GAP’s interactive video letting you play with stripes. Now another clothing brand is exploring the possibilities and music is a huge part of it yet again.

ASOS has created a music video where the clothing, background and accessories are color-coordinated, where you can navigate each theme by clicking on your colors of choice at the bottom of the screen. It’s a fun and interesting way to reall showcase ASOS’ broad clothing collection for AW14. The whole thing is set to a song from London-based band, JUCE.

Online video is ripe with possibilities when it comes to creating interactive and augmented-reality experiences and brands are certainly getting attention this way.

Oculus Rift Teams With Mountain Dew

The team behind Mountain Dew is doing quite a bit of innovative stuff these days – odd soda flavor “Dewritos” not withstanding – but along with delivering new products, it also wants to immerse its audience in a great new virtual experience.

Back in September, the team announced the production of a new live-action, 360-degree experience that utilizes the Oculus VR headset to create a virtual “Dew Tour Brooklyn” experience. Those in attendance could put on the headset and check out skateboarder Paul Rodriguez taking part in a run alongside the “Mtn. Dew” skate team for a two-minute period.

With the experience, which you can view in the video below, Mountain Dew director of brand marketing Jamal Henderson explained, “This is not an advertisement. This is an experience.”

According to Adweek, this is just the first collaboration that Mountain Dew has with the VR headset, as it’s looking to create a number of videos for users to download and enjoy, placing them in the shoes of other extreme sports athletes, as well as other parties.

“When you think about the consumer — and it all starts with the consumer — they’re consuming more media. In our feeds, we want to see more content. The more we can be a part of that editorial and a part of the feed and not disruptive pre-roll, I think that’s the way for our brand to tell our story,” said Henderson.

This would put Mountain Dew into competition with the likes of Red Bull and GoPro, each of which have a large stake in extreme sports in one form or another, with video footage and other sponsorships in play.

This isn’t the first time that a major company has taken advantage of the Oculus VR headset for promotion, as a number of movie studios utilized it for projects at San Diego Comic-Con, and Marriott recently hosted a special “virtual tour” of dream vacation spots in certain locations.

Mountain Dew faces a large uphill battle against its competition, but Henderson believes the company will score big. “Brands that target millennials are going to be in that ‘lean-in experience’ space,” he explained. Oculus VR “is the next iteration of that. I 100 percent think that this is where brands are going. I just hope they don’t do it as fast as we do.”

 

 

Are Most Marketers Thinking Mobile-First? Not Quite

When it comes to mobile advertising, some companies are certainly grasping onto popular trends, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all in with some form of strategy.

Mediapost recently reported that, according to the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and its most recently study, only 17 percent of marketers polled in the study believe that their mobile strategies are fully integrated and aligned with overall marketing strategies. In the same poll, 31 percent stated that they don’t have a strategy in place, or believe that mobile is best viewed as a campaign, rather than a general strategy.

The study, conducted in partnership with SAS, also revealed that 61 percent of marketers surveyed did use some form of mobile engagement, while 54 percent of respondents believe that mobile channels are a critical part to customer interaction, as well as retention and brand differentiation. However, in general, marketers just don’t have that grasp yet on how to incorporate mobile into an overall strategy.

Some simply believe it’s not a crucial part of a campaign. 48 percent believe that mobile isn’t big enough to be part of marketing and engagement strategies, while 28 percent believe it’s more suited for campaign purposes, and not strategy. 24 percent feel that mobile overall is quite confusing, and hard to approach.

Some still believe mobile is a key part to an overall business solution, but only 10 percent of those feel it’s just a campaign, and 7 percent are confused with it overall. That said, 57 percent believe it’s a valued channel when it comes to consumer outreach.

Eventually, marketers may adapt to ideas that are better suited for the mobile market, but, for now, it appears that the idea of putting together a sound strategy over accepting general campaign terms just isn’t highly accepted yet. However, with the way certain trends are growing – particularly with revenue – that could change sooner rather than later.

Mobile Gamers Get Younger, Revenues Get Bigger

According to a new report from Eedar, the mobile gaming audience is getting younger. Compared to just a year ago, the average mobile

gamer’s age has decreased by 7 years to 27.7 years old. The survey information was taken from 3,500 smartphone and tablet gamers in August of this year.

Eedar is careful to point out the role of core gamers in the gaming landscape, pointing out that they are playing mobile games “as an extension of a brand or experience they are using on another platform.”

While men are outnumbered by women in player numbers on mobile, men are more likely to be big spenders on the platform, spending at least $10 a month, with “whales” spending nearly $300 a year.

As mobile gaming continues to attract these core gamers and finds new ways to attract spending from casual gamers, mobile gaming is a hugely growing market, set to surpass traditional consoles by 2015, reaching $30.3 billion in revenue.

That number could reach $40.9 billion in 2017 according to a forecast from Newzoo. While smartphones account for the majority of this total, tablet gaming is an area of increasing monetization, with a compound annual growth rate of 33.3 percent between 2013 and 2017 compared to smartphones at 19.2 percent.

 

Facebook’s Unfollow Feature Will Be Unkind To Boring Content

On Friday, Facebook unveiled in a new blog post that they would be making it even easier to unfollow friends and items in your newsfeed than ever before. If you were concerned about organic reach before, this utility will possibly make that reach even less– if your content isn’t up to snuff.

This all is in line with Mark Zuckerberg’s recent Q&A, where we discussed how Facebook is taking strides to give users more control over how they want their Facebook feeds to look like.

So what does this mean for brands whose pages are more often than not buried in mix without a paid boost It’s going to take a bit more to ensure users aren’t unfollowing you. Just one lackluster post could mean a big dip in followers and more users choosing to see less of your content.

For now, the feature is available on desktop and mobile web version of Facebook but will soon be coming to the social network’s popular mobile app.