Google Talks About Mobile Search Challenges

Mobile search plays a big part in today’s industry, and context is a vital part of it. eMarketer recently had a chance to speak with Jason Spero, vice president of performance media at Google, about just how much it weighs on the company, with the challenges that come from it.

The first thing Spero addressed is just how much mobile search has changed in the industry overall. “In the last 12 to 18 months, we’ve gotten smarter about the consumer,” he explained. “Before even talking about search, you have to talk about mobile behavior. Search isn’t just happening in your living room, your office or in the coffee shop. We’re connected when we’re in the mall, when we’re commuting or walking down the street looking for something, and that changes consumer behavior.

Jason Spero

“We spend a lot of time trying to understand, and frankly are still trying to understand, the changing consumer behavior and how we see that through the search lens. The first step is knowing the consumer is always connected. Location and context play a massive role in what creative they’re going to respond to, what types of problems they’re trying to solve and what types of things marketers need to think about when they engage them,” he continued.

Spero also explained how typed-in searches are far easier to perform than voice-activated ones, thanks to an easier input mechanism, although the company is making a big investment in making it easier to comprehend on mobile devices down the road.

“Right now most of our energy is going into understanding context and how we can serve better ads with context,” said Spero. “We have to get smarter about context, formats and about what touchscreens mean — that’s where the lion’s share of our energy is. Currently, Google Now is an add-on to search. It’s not something that has had a material impact that I’ve seen on search behavior. It’s highly complementary, and I expect that that’s where it will end up.”

As far as the biggest driving point of mobile search, Spero summed it up easily. “For all the voice search and fancy stuff that we can do with location targeting, and all the progress we’ve made with cross-device, the biggest driver of mobile search is customers getting smarter about the user experience. Marketers have largely been slow to understand what consumers want when they’re on these devices. However, we’re seeing a lot of good work going on now. It’s not necessarily sexy to talk about mobile websites and building great experiences, but that’s the biggest catalyst, and that’s where we’re putting a lot of our time,” he concluded.

PlayStation 4 Drops Price In U.K.

Microsoft has already made some big moves for the holiday season when it comes to its Xbox One. The company announced a $50 price drop that’s already started to take affect this week across its various bundles, although Sony has yet to retaliate. However, in the United Kingdom, it appears GameStop is already making moves.

MCVUK is reporting that the popular retail site has begun selling the special white edition of Sony’s PlayStation 4 console for under £300. This comes just days after Sony matched Microsoft’s price offer on its Xbox One systems overseas, dropping it to £329.99.

Sony does have a lot of third-party titles for the system this holiday season, including Assassin’s Creed: Unity, which will feature exclusive content, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. However, when it comes to first-party titles, it’s a little shorthanded in comparison to Microsoft.

Where that company has such big exclusives as Sunset Overdrive and Halo: The Master Chief Collection (which arrives next week), Sony merely has DriveClub, a racing game that’s run into its fair share of online problems over the past few weeks, and LittleBigPlanet 3, which will feature a multiplayer twist and arrive later this month. Outside of that, the company’s bigger titles, like Bloodborne and The Order: 1886, aren’t slated to arrive until February this year.

With this in mind, GameStop is probably just looking to get more PS4 units into homes — and it’s a move that could very well be a console pricing war here to the States. Although Sony Computer Entertainment of America hasn’t made a matching offer with its PlayStation 4 in this market just yet, there’s still time within the holiday season for it to announce its own price drop, or perhaps even a special bundle to even the odds — like the Destiny one it introduced a couple of months ago.

It’ll be interesting to see where the pricing battle goes from here, especially now that we’re in the thick of the holiday game releases.

Media And Tech Brands Rule YouTube

Data from Pixability shows what overall brand activity on YouTube is looking like. Media and technology are strongly a part of the growth of branded content on YouTube, while other verticals are now catching up, seeing leaps in content growth to be where the action is.

It’s clear that home supplies, financial services, transportation and energy are very interested in growing their cache on YouTube, while existing brand leaders on YouTube are not slowing down content growth.

Videos published growth

When taking a look at the top performing brands on YouTube, it is interesting to note how many YouTube channels they command. While Apple only has 1 channel, brands like Disney and Nike each have 41.

Top brand view gains

Monthly video views for these top 100 global brands as delineated by Interbrand also show immense growth in branded video viewership.

Top 100 brands total monthly views

CREATIVE: Christmas Arrives Early With #MontyThePenguin

John Lewis’ new spot for the holidays that begins airing this Friday shows that toys are much more than the sum of their parts: they are fuel for the imagination, they are companionship and they are formative.

Showing the friendship between a boy and his penguin Monty set to the John Lennon’s “Real Love,” performed by Tom Odell, the ad segues from vignette to vignette of the things they do together. When winter sets in, it becomes clearer to the boy what Monty is missing.

The campaign also partners with Samsung to create an in-store experience called Monty’s Den and story apps on iPad and Android. Of course, there are Monty plushies as well.

YouTuber SeaNanners Forms New Type Of MCN

By Sahil Patel

Adam Montoya, a prominent gaming creator on YouTube who goes by the name of SeaNanners (4.9 million subscribers), has formed a new multi-channel network that he claims will do things differently.

Called Jetpak, the focus of the MCN is to provide the same type of services to creators that other networks on YouTube claim to, but without all of the “one-sided” terms that favor the MCN more than the creator.

Specifically, Jetpak says it will be different in three ways: Instead of revenue-sharing arrangements based on the size of a creator’s audience, all deals with Jetpak will be based on the flat rates of any of the services the creator signs up for; all those deals will also be available on a non-exclusive, month-to-month basis, rather than exclusive multi-year contracts; and Jetpak promises to be fully transparent about the revenue a creator’s channel is generating, and the amount it collects.

Read more…

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 for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Newzoo/Overwolf’s October PC Game Rankings

The October 2014 rankings reveal that unlike last month, the top 5 Titles have not remained stable as consumer interest forces them to realign — despite the fact Riot Games’ League of Legends continues to remain at number 1, reaching its seven month doing so. The worlds’ most popular MOBA actually strengthened its leading position taking 20 percent of all unique game sessions of the top 20 games versus 18 percent in September.

Mojang’s Minecraft has fallen one place to Number 3, with Wargaming’s World of Tanks rising to take rank 2. It’s not too unusual to see this shift in Minecraft considering the somewhat recent news of Microsoft’s $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang and Minecraft. Gamers were unsettled by the news, many playing a waiting game to see what will happen to their beloved indie community now that it falls under ‘Big Blue’s’ umbrella.

eSports Cements LoL’s Lead

No doubt, the build-up towards the League of Legends World Final held on the 19th of October in Seoul, South-Korea, contributed to this. The finals were held in a sold out Sangam Stadium, seating 45,000 eSports fans that witnessed Korean team Samsung White take home the $1 million first place reward. The eSports hype shows no sign of slowing down as League of Legends will also be featured together with StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at the huge Intel Extreme Masters event on 6 and 7 December in San Jose, California. Organizer ESL has secured the 18,000 seat NHL Sharks‘ home arena. Online video streaming of the event in Silicon Valley is set to attract a significant share of the 12.1 million American eSports Enthusiasts as well as another 15.5 million American consumers that watch eSports occasionally, as reported in Newzoo’s US eSports Country Report.

Expansion News

This same pattern of one rank up, one rank down is repeated as we move down the rankings. Blizzard’s World of Warcraft has moved up 1 place to rank 5, displacing Valve’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive down to Rank 6. The recent news of rising subscriber numbers for Blizzard ahead of the imminent release of their new expansion Warlords of Draenor could mean an even higher session rank next month. EA’s Battlefield 4, with the upcoming release of its fifth expansion pack (Final Stand), re-entered the charts at number 14. In the MMO category, only Trion World’s ArcheAge received another promising boost, rising 1 place to Rank 8. This follows a meteoric rise of 8 places just last month.

Zombies Blues

Bohemia Interactive’s DayZ has enjoyed, until somewhat recently, a steady climb and high position in the overall rankings. By May 2014 it had risen 4 places to Rank 8. August 2014 saw it shoot up again 2 places to reach Rank 6. Then it all began to change in September, where we saw it slide down a dramatic 8 places to Rank 14. The October 2014 rankings reveal it had fallen another 5 places to Rank 19 — drastic results when you compare the two months together. We might see it disappear altogether by November. Another fact to consider is the rise of more ‘Mod’ based open world zombie survival games like Facepunch’s Rust, Phosphor Games Nether and The Fun Pimp’s 7 Days to Die — all of which are giving DayZ strong competition on Steam.Â

Russian Moves

The Russian Top 10 Core PC Games by unique sessions is an interesting contrast to the worldwide Rankings. Number 1 in Russia is Wargaming’s World of Tanks while the world’s Number 1 League of Legends isn’t even an entry in the Russia Top 10. In the top 5 for both we see a few shared titles: Minecraft is Rank 4 in Russia, while it is rank 3 worldwide. While Counter Strike: Global Offensive is rank 3 in Russia and Rank 5 worldwide, in Russia Counter Strike: Condition Zero and Counter-Strike 1.6 are ranks 9 and 10. These last two Counter Strike titles don’t even appear in the Worldwide and NA + EU Rankings.

The strong contradictions between gamer habits in Russia versus the rest of the world that gives rise to these session time discrepancies have been explored in our recent reports on the Russian Gaming Market in greater detail.

League of Legends World Finals 2014 in Seoul

About Overwolf

Overwolf is a customizable in-game overlay platform that has been installed in over 8 million PCs. This community of hardcore PC gamers are consistently making their own apps within the Overwolf platform and sharing them. Why Because it’s super simple and it enhances the gameplay experience of anyone’s favorite title in a personal way. From in-game chat systems to customized controls, streaming or video capture, Overwolf allows users to implement their own visions into these games and do so in a timely manner.

About Newzoo

Newzoo is the leading global market research firm focused purely on the games market. The company provides its clients with a mix of primary consumer research, transactional data and financial analysis across all continents, screens and business models. It is also known for actively sharing a variety of insights by means of free trend reports, infographics, blogposts and monthly rankings. Newzoo’s clients include Tencent, SEGA, Logitech, Wizards of the Coast, Nvidia, Microsoft, EA, Coca-Cola and Visa/PlaySpan.

Turtle Beach’s HyperSound Attacks Retail

The video game headphone accessory market is certainly picking up, with several players like Astro Gaming, SteelSeries and others offering a number of products for gamers to enjoy. However, Turtle Beach’s latest campaign may have taken the cake, as the company has launched a new program with HyperSound Virtual Reality Audio Zones that will truly involve those who give it a shot.

Tied in with retail displays for Activision’s recently released Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Turtle Beach has set these up at 987 various Best Buy locations across the United States. With it, users are able to experience a zone of audio created within the display, utilizing HyperSound audio backed by a sub-woofer – so that they can hear the experience along with feeling it as they play.

“This marquee implementation of HyperSound will change the way retailers think about retail audio,” said Rodney Schutt, SVP and General Manager of HyperSound. “This is the first, large-scale implementation of a new generation of retail audio that is unlike anything that has been done before.”

With HyperSound, Turtle Beach vows to deliver its most in-depth audio experience yet, with a three-dimensional experience created similar to that of surround sound headsets.

The displays promise to be the most prominent yet for a game accessory company, and it certainly helps that Turtle Beach has tied in one of the most popular releases of the year, Advanced Warfare, to demonstrate said technology.

With the program, Turtle Beach hopes that the displays provide a site-specific, targeted point-of-sale messaging for the retailer, according to the company’s press release. It can also provide increased engagement and dwell time amongst consumers, having them stick around to get the entire experience that only something like HyperSound could provide with said display. In addition, the way that the controlled sound zone is set up, it won’t distract other audio experiences within the store, like, say, in Best Buy’s car stereo department. But those within earshot will, obviously, get the gist of what the technology is about.

Those interested in HyperSound can learn more over at Turtle Beach’s website.

Perfecting Programmatic Video

Over the last year, we’ve seen a rise in various advertising trends. Among them is programmatic video, in which advertisers and publishers are able to put their content front and center for consumers visiting certain sites.

According to Mobile Marketing Magazine, digital video ad spending has been on the rise, increasing 41 percent for this year alone. Overall spending in this department is likely to reach $5.89 billion by year’s end, if it continues at this rate.

Still, that doesn’t mean everyone has the process of programmatic video nailed down just yet, as they can’t find the right approach at times. Fortunately, Tremor Video is here to help, producing a useful infographic (posted below) that breaks down just how programmatic video can be used most effectively.

Titled Path of the Publisher, the infographic has a lot to take in, but it’s certainly food for thought. As you can see, it’s broken down as a chart that goes over every degree, from how much video ads could cost to statistics that break down just how many younger viewers (specifically 18-29 years old) watch or download online video. (Hint: it’s a whopping 95 percent.)

The chart then goes even further, asking about reserved inventory and how much time is spent daily watching digital video (55 minutes, a 6 minute increase from four years ago).

From there, it gets into the nitty gritty, breaking up categories even more with the options available for programmatic video options, such as finding an unreserved fixed rate, and taking part in an auction.

It’s worth noting, according to the statistics, that video RTB will account for nearly 25 percent of U.S. online video ad spend for this year alone, and over half of publishers of video content actually make inventory available directly through programmatic channels.

Snapchat Reaches Out To Potential Partners

Snapchat, the popular social app that enables people to share pictures and other information with one another, may be looking to partner up with bigger and better companies to gain some exposure.

Digiday has reported that the company behind the popular social application has reached out to Comedy Central, Spotify and Vice as a possible tie-in with the forthcoming launch of Discover, a new section of the program that will enable users the opportunity to view articles, music and video that tie in with said companies.

In addition, as you can see from the mock-up art, the company has also been talking with other companies, including BuzzFeed, CNN, the Daily Mail, ESPN, National Geographic, Time Inc. (publishers of People Magazine), Hearst (Cosmopolitan Magazine) and popular YouTube music video service VEVO.

With this move, Snapchat is looking to shift into a larger area for media distribution, while opening up a possible revenue circle for the growing site. After all, it’s become quite popular, despite controversies surrounding certain photographic content that’s being shared (such as porn-related pictures).

With the promotional tie-ins, Snapchat would strengthen its service to be more on a casual level, especially if such companies as Hearst and National Geographic are in discussions. Both provide publications that are not only rich in visual content, but articles as well.

Through Discover, Snapchat is asking its potential partners to provide original content that fits into the style of the service. As a result, media companies would benefit in advertising in a different manner than usual sites, while Snapchat would obviously pocket a small portion of the revenue that generates from said ads.

There’s also no limitation in terms of the length of content on Discover. Snapchat isn’t looking for “bite-size” stories, as it will reportedly have no limit through the service in terms of how big a story can be.

It’ll be interesting to see who jumps on board the Discover service, as well as it does for Snapchat’s growing user base. Perhaps it’ll even expand it more, if the content is on the right track. Only time will tell at this rate.

This Week’s [a]list Jobs – November 5th

[a]listdaily is now your source for the hottest job openings for senior management and marketing in games, entertainment and social media. Check here every Wednesday for the latest openings.

Sitting all day ruining your posture Here are 5 ways to incorporate yoga in the workplace and how to work at a desk without destroying your body.

Here are this week’s [a]list jobs:

  • Electronic Arts – Senior Director, Global Marketing (Orlando, Florida)
  • Google – Head of Industry, Media and Entertainment Vertical (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • NBCUniversal – Director, Global Brand Marketing for TV (Universal City, Calif.)
  • Kabam – Director of User Acquisition Marketing (San Francisco, Calif.)

For last week’s [a]list jobs, click here.