What Kept Marketers Awake In 2014

Marketers had a lot to talk about this year, according to an article from Adweek. The website posted a huge infographic, detailed below, that broke down the different trends that they discussed over the year.

Using data compiled from Salesforce, 86 percent of marketers surveyed indicated that building some form of holistic marketing approach was a top priority. By comparison, however, only 29 percent of companies actually made the effort to put such a structure to effect.

With the details provided by the infographic, email, social media and mobile showed the most growth amongst marketers, even though only 51 percent of those surveyed believe that there’s any given return on investment on the mobile front. That’s not to say it’s not put to good use, though — 30 percent of marketers utilize location-based tech, while 47 percent have their own app in place.

With the survey, 68 percent of marketers felt that email played a vital part with their strategies. However, out of those polled, 64 percent of respondents actually send out less than one million emails a year through their companies — so as not to spam their audience with unnecessary information.

Other information broken down in the infographic includes the importance of effective topics, predictive intelligence, and social marketing. In fact, 46 percent of the marketers polled believe that social marketing is an integral part of their business, with 89 percent preferring Facebook. Twitter came in second place with 87 percent, while LinkedIn and YouTube follow closely behind.

Another important part to take a look at in the infographic below is the effectiveness of select digital marketing technologies by the importance marketers place on them. As you can see, the numbers are quite up and down with the likes of CRM tools, marketing analytics and content management, but they all play a vital part of some sort.

‘Call of Duty’ Still The Best-Selling Game Of 2014 Despite Sales Slump

Over the years, Activision’s Call of Duty franchise has been quite the best seller on the game market, with games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Call of Duty: Black Ops II clearing millions of copies sold with ease. That said, the best-selling game series has declined in sales for the last three years, and this trend continues with the latest release, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Released on November 4h to a great deal of critical acclaim, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has reportedly dropped down 27 percent in sales based on year-over-year numbers with last year’s release, Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Michael Olson, an analyst for Piper Jaffray, explained to GamesIndustry International the impact of these sales numbers. “This is disappointing data following first week Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sales showing a year-over-year increase,” he said. “NPD data does not include digital copies or international sales, which, if included, would lessen the year-over-year decline, but we believe this data suggests potential for Q4 revenue upside is now very low.”

This is the third straight year that the Call of Duty franchise has shown a decline, as last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts dropped 19 percent compared to the 2012 release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which, in itself, showed a 17 percent decline over 2011’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

That’s a stark comparison when looked at directly; when you add it all up Advanced Warfare‘s first-month U.S. retail sales were less than half of what Modern Warfare 3 did back in 2011.

But the news isn’t entirely negative. Despite the decline, Activision was still quite pleased with the sales of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, explaining that sales of the title were still enough during the month of November to earmark it as the best-selling U.S. retail title of the year to date – even that over the company’s prior release of Destiny a couple of months beforehand.

To be fair, Activision did shift the series back to the good side with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare following last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, including a futuristic storyline, new gameplay perks and the star power of House of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey as the main character.

Google Looks To Change Mobile Install Apps

Marketers and advertisers alike have found success in putting together ad campaigns in applications and games, either with subtle ad banners or some other form of word-of-mouth embedded within promotional content or other means. However, Google could change the way this is done, according to an article from Mobile Dev Demo.

Earlier this month, Google confirmed that its new AdWords mobile app install ad unit would be making its way out of beta, presenting a new way for developers to link content within the application through mobile search. This would open up new advertising opportunities through utility apps, rather than just through games – opening a possible new door for revenue.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the campaign, Google utilized the hotel booking application HotelTonight to show how it could be used. For example, someone searching for hotels in San Francisco would see the usual results, along with a promoted search result for the app. Tapping on the link would then instantly transfer them over to the app, with the search results for San Francisco that they were initially looking for (if the application is installed, of course – if not, they would be directed to their mobile device’s app store to download).

With the new program, Google is looking to fulfill two goals. The first is to provide mobile users with intent-based ads with more relevant ads, instead of interstitial. The second is to give developers of regular apps (not games) the chance to leave their mark on the general app install marketplace.

Through the introduction of this program, Google could introduce a more effective mobile app install ad campaign that works better than others, going through search instead of a blatantly placed advertisement through banners or in-app commercials.

Since the marketplace was originally built with mobile gaming companies in mind (instead of general app makers), some companies have found it difficult to finding a working (and non-intrusive) campaign. This could easily be the ticket, given both its ease of use and effectiveness in reaching an audience. As a result, revenue could increase for both Google and its partners, and the program should be able to find suitable footing going into 2015.

More details on how Google’s app install program could work can be found on Mobile Dev Demo’s site, here.

What The World’s Top Brands Are Doing On Facebook

As we’re nearing the end of 2014, it’s a time to reflect on what progresses we’ve made in marketing in just this past year alone. The latest study from Simply Measured juxtaposes a lot of it’s Q3 2014 research with that of last year in Q2. In just the span of a year, social media marketing has gone through changes, even on the world’s standard social media platform, Facebook.

To begin with, this year we see brand adoption of Facebook for Interbrand’s Top 100 Brands near 100 percent. Exactly 97 percent of the world’s top brands have a Facebook, with 95 percent of them posting at least once in Q3 of this year. These brands have an average audience size of 12 million on their respective Facebook pages. Sixty-five percent of top brands are posting 5 times or more a week and 44 percent post 5-10 times a week.

“Facebook is a mature social network with established standards and practices. Audiences are accustomed to branded content, and are willing to become fans of brand pages,” says Simply Measured in the report.

So, what has changed for these top brands and how they interact For one, brands are getting less reliant on using photos to bolster engagement and are diversifying the types of content they share. Photos for Q3 2014 accounted for 62 percent of brand posts and 77 percent of the engagement. This is down from Q2 2013 when photos made up 75 percent of branded posts and 95 percent of all brand engagement.

The use of links have also increased as well, which could give insight into the rise of content marketing. The usage of links is up from 13 percent last year to 27 percent this year.

When it comes to status length, most top brands are aware that keeping it short and sweet is best. Brand statuses for the most part hovered between 75 and 175 characters on the social platform.




Seen Any Good Movies Lately? Netflix On Android Has

Popular movie and television-streaming service Netflix got social on an entirely new level with the launch of their “Social Recommendation” feature on desktop, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and iOS platforms last September, allowing users to suggest movies and television shows to their friends on social networking services with the click of a button.

Now, Netflix intends to bring all supported platforms on board with Social Recommendations with today’s launch of the functionality for Android devices. According to a post on Netflix’s official blog, enhanced capabilities will be available for Android users, playing on Android’s highly regarded push notification functionalities to deliver users vibrant images and action buttons.

Android smartwatch users have reason to be excited today, too; Netflix’s announcement included a statement of support for Android Wear, allowing fans of wearables to receive alerts when new recommendations arrive on their Netflix accounts with options to watch, thank, or get information on the show or movie in question.

Today’s announcement continues Netflix’s ambitious push towards becoming an indispensable component of every entertainment consumer’s life; CEO Reed Hastings recently offered up a grim prognosis for broadcast television, while chief content officer Ted Sarandos outlined a plan to become available “everywhere in the world” by 2019.

Hulu Nabs Exclusive Rights To More TV Shows From Disney/ABC

by Sahil Patel

Hulu might be spending more on high-profile original series, but it’s certainly not at the expense of beefing up its TV library.

The company has signed a new licensing deal with Disney/ABC Television, which will give Hulu exclusive SVOD rights to all episodes of ABC’s “Resurrection” and “Mistresses,” as well as previous episodes of Lifetime’s “Devious Maids.”

For “Mistresses,” Hulu Plus users currently have access to all episodes of season one. Season two will become available ahead of the season three premiere, which is scheduled for summer 2015. Following that, new episodes of the show will be streamable on Hulu the day after they air.

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

Five Mobile Gaming Trends To Watch In 2015

As we get ready to bid a fond farewell to 2014, it’s time to prepare for what lies ahead in 2015. Prophecy is a chancy business at best – and as Cassandra found out, it can be especially frustrating when you’re correct in your visions but nobody listens. Still, the [a]listdaily is ready to take a risk and make some educated guesses about what will be the major trends in mobile gaming for 2015.

What follows are some of the important trends that are sweeping the fast-growing mobile gaming market.

Strong Growth of Mobile Gaming Continues
This predictions not much of a stretch. The analysts who study the gaming market may disagree about the precise numbers, but there’s one common thing they all agree on: Mobile gaming is growing strongly. Mobile gaming has already become the largest segment of the gaming industry, and with an annual growth rate for next year predicted to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% that will be even more true at the end of 2015.

What’s propelling this growth Several factors, but the most important one is continued strong sales of smartphones and tablets. While Apple’s iPad sale may have leveled off this year, the company still sells more iPads in one quarter than the total number of PlayStation 4 consoles sold in a year. Android tablets are gaining share, and with more power and lower prices, the latest generation of Android tablets will be used more and more for game playing. Smartphones continue to get more powerful and more popular around the world. While the Western markets are becoming more of a replacement market for smartphones rather than new users, there is still substantial growth in countries like India and China. This year saw the sales of 1.2 billion smartphones worldwide, and that’s an amazing number of game-playing devices.

The revenue possible from the top mobile games continues to grow. Supercell is predicted to generate $1.8 billion in revenue this year, the majority of that from Clash of Clans – making that game comparable to the leading game moneymakers on any platform. We’ll likely be seeing mobile games that make $5 million a day or more in 2015.

Console and PC Games Come to Mobile
That means more than just a mobile game based on the same brand as a successful console or PC game – we’ll be seeing the same gameplay as the console or PC version on a mobile platform. Yes, we’ve seen most major new console titles accompanied by mobile games that act to extend the gammeplay experience, or even give you a separate experience from the console game. FIFA Ultimate Team, for example, has been a huge success for Electronic Arts, and certainly helps sell more copies of the conole and PC versions of FIFA as well as generating substantial revenue in its own right.

What we’ll see more of in 2015 are mobile games that are nearly pure ports of PC or console games. One of the first ones this year is Skylanders: Trap Team, which has taken the unprecedented step of including a Bluetooth console-like controller with the basic set for tablets – at the exact same price as the console version of the base set. “Brilliant,” said analyst Michael Pachter about this move by Activision. This effectively makes a family’s tablet into a console as far as the Skylander’s player is concerned, and not incidentally freeing up the TV for other uses.

That’s not the only move to take PC and console games more directly to tablets. Blizzard has had remarkable success with Hearthstone, its digital card game, which plays exactly the same way on a tablet as it does on a PC. That, in turn, is helping hardcore gamers see tablets as a useful, inexpensive portable gaming device – especially when compared to a laptop. Wargaming has also done a very creditable job of taking World of Tanks to tablets with World of Tanks Blitz, bringing the essence of the PC gameplay to the tablet environment. Expect to see more console and PC titles heading to mobile in 2015, bringing the same gameplay along.

Core Gaming on Mobile Grows
Up until now casual games have dominated mobile game revenues, but this is beginning to change. We’re already seeing deeper strategy and RPG games appearing in the Top Ten lists, like Clash of Clans, Game of War: Fire Age, and Puzzle & Dragons. Publishers realize that while a purely casual game like Candy Crush Saga can reach an amazingly large audience, it tends to do so without much monetization. Deeper games tend to bring higher monetization rates as players get more engaged for a longer period of time.

Even Apple is noticing this, featuring the unabashedly hardcore MOBA Vainglory in its latest iPhone ads. Publishers are going to be bringing other genres to mobile devices, and generally deeper gameplay, in the hopes of keeping players engaged longer and spending more. The real trick will be to attract the broadest possible audience into a game that has the depth of the best core games. We’ll see some attempts by major publishers to do just that in 2015.

The Return of Premium
Mobile games were initially sold for prices ranging upwards of $10 or more in some cases, but as the market became more crowded we saw prices driven downwards. Many games had a free Light version that served to entice you into buying the Premium version that cos a few dollars. When in-app purchases were enabled, the free-to-play games started to take off, and now dominate mobile gaming.

But that’s not the only way to make money on mobile games, nor even the best one for types of games. Many indie developers have done much beter with paid games, such as Monument Valley. Certain game types, such as strongly story-based games, don’t make sense as a free-to-play game, but are perfectly suited to a small up-front fee.

In 2015 we’ll see more games with an up-front cost, and more experimentation by publishers with variations on monetization schemes. Free-to-play games are great moneymakers when they work properly, but it seems odd to leave 95 percent or more of your audience paying nothing whatsoever to play your game. Advertising, subscriptions, sponsorships and other methods of monetization will get more chances in 2015 to see if there’s more than one path into a gamer’s wallet.

More Creativity
Finally, this trend is an important one in the ever more competitive mobile game market. There are more than enough me-too games out there, and it’s very hard to connect with an audience and keep it engaged when there are so many other games to play. The biggest players can do all right without being too creative, because they already have a huge audience or a huge warchest – they can coast along on those advantages for a while without the need to be too creative. But publishers and developers, especially smaller ones, are realizing that creativity is an inexpensive way to be successful, though risky.

Creativity in game design is where it starts, but for real success you need creativity in marketing, monetization, community, and every aspect of the business. This is a golden age for games, but the gold is going to go to the most creative developers and publishers in the long run as the global compatitions heats up. Why is a tiny developer like Supercell generating more revenue from a handful of mobile games than massive Electronic Arts with hundreds of mobile games Perhaps there’s some luck in there, but there’s certainly a lot of creativity.

Look for the interesting, unusual, and creative ideas in game design, marketing, and other parts of the mobile game business to see more success in 2015. That’s where you’ll find the new entries in the top-grossing game lists.

Mobile Beats Out Every Other Medium For Your Attention

A number of independent market research agencies have confirmed news analysts had expected: Mobile is now the top attention medium in the United States, surpassing all other broadcast platforms including television.

The “flurry” of news about mobile’s American takeover began with Flurry’s report that Americans spent more time on mobile devices than they did watching television, a shift heralded by similar changes in the rest of the world in preceding months and years.

Nielsen followed with a series of studies painting their own picture of Americans’ embrace of mobile as a broadcast medium, the most recent of which stating that online streaming video viewing increased by 60 percent as traditional television viewership reported a four percent decline.

Finally, comScore told Internet Retailer that American consumers spent 52 percent of their time online on smartphone and tablet apps just this past week, a figure besting desktop web’s second-place forty percent. Facebook leads a crowded field of mobile apps vying for consumers’ attention, accounting for 1/6th of all app time.

What does this mean for marketers? Traditional broadcast mediums are well on their way out the door, a somewhat long-held sentiment now backed up by a bevy of facts and figures from reputable research firms. Marketers who fail to adopt mobile-first strategies for their brands do so at their own peril, risking being left in the wilderness as fans of broadcast television and desktop browsing continue their mass mobile exodus.

Game-a-Thon Gets Hosted At Coca-Cola’s Headquarters

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola’s Matt Wolf spoke to [a]listdaily about the importance of eSports, and why the online gaming competition was important to them. This week, it appears that the company’s initiative is finally getting off the ground, as it has teamed up with Twitch to host an e-Sports-based Game-A-Thon, which is taking place at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, starting today.

As reported per VentureBeat, the event features four players facing off against one another in select games, as chosen by Coca-Cola. This will be the company’s true foray into the world of eSports, and will offer the winner the opportunity to make a big donation to charity. The games will be “mystery” titles, so the players won’t really expect what challenges will come their way – which will no doubt add some interest to the tournament.

“We are interested in gaming,” said Wolf, head of global gaming for Coca-Cola. “It’s big. We know it. We’re being smart and focused about how we approach it. As we head into the end of the year, this opportunity with our friends at Twitch is a great way for us to cap off the year with a great on-site production. We can give back to the players and to a charity for the holidays.”

Coca-Cola originally came to Twitch in an effort to reach out more to the gaming community, according to the streaming channel’s chief operating officer, Kevin Lin. With its audience of 60 million active users – and a healthy investment from Amazon earlier this year – there’s no doubt the soda maker can benefit from such a partnership.

However, Coca-Cola is taking its time entering into the foray of e-Sports. “Matt’s challenge to us was how can Coke embrace not just the hardcore of e-sports but gaming culture more broadly in a good, authentic way,” Lin said. “They want to establish Coke as a brand wholeheartedly and not just as a small piece within Twitch. This is a cool and fun angle that brings a lot of our community people together in a way that has a fun component and a charity component. Our job at Twitch is to help brands like Coca-Cola come into this space and understand it.”

“A lot of these gamers have shunned traditional media. They have completely replaced that with watching Twitch. It’s important to know what type of messaging works with them,” he added.

“It’s a perfect match between the two brands as we make our way into the gaming space, e-sports, and live streaming broadcasts,” Wolf said. “We want to bring our own flavor and speak to this audience through our brand. It’s about being humble and understanding the markets we move into. We need best of breed partners to make sure we deliver quality content and authentic content that resonates with that core.

“A fifth of the world plays games for an hour a day or more,” Wolf continued. “We look forward to continuing with our gaming community for a long time. We are doing this at our headquarters. We want people at Coca-Cola to understand more about what these games are and how people consume them.”

Participants in the tournament include Twitch’s content director Jon Carnage, Frag Doll e-Sports combatant Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico, and other pro players, including The Justin Flynn, Swiftor, and Voyboy.

Interested parties can check out the action here.

F2P Takes 1/3 Of All Gaming Time And Other Need-To-Know Gaming Stats

A report from VentureBeat indicates that gamers certainly have interesting habits when it comes to their gaming, as they’re still more than willing to invest in a free-to-play title while still downloading full games to their heart’s content on both PCs and consoles.

Insights Meta recently conducted a survey across more than 1,700 gamers, which shows that more than half of those asked continue to download their content through PC and gaming consoles, while 75 percent spent some form of time playing free-to-play titles. In fact, nearly a third of all time spent on video games is geared towards free-to-play in general.

Jason Anderson, the president of Insights, believes that, by the end of the current console life cycle (which will be quite a few years down the road), game sales are likely to emerge from “digital natives,” or gamers who prefer to download their games rather than purchase them at retail. He also noted quite a mixture between both free and fully paid game products, indicating a balance that should bring the industry nearly $25 billion by year’s end.

“That was a surprise for us, how many people were consuming both paid and free-to-play content,” said Anderson. “We were trying to figure out how to segment the free-to-play market, and it was all the same people. This is either a truth that has always been there about free-to-play and its impact on the pay-to-play markets, or the adoption has been very aggressive.”

Out of those surveyed, all but ten percent of core pay-to-play gamers play free content, while more than 80 percent who play free-to-play titles also invest in fully priced games.

The chart below shows this in more detail across four key categories — mobile, console, PC and Subscription. Subscription seems to be at the lowest with 15 percent of those surveyed saying they play them, while the others have percentages wavering from 31 percent all the way to 62 percent, depending on what format they prefer.

Meanwhile, Anderson pointed out the thriving digital download market, with only about 60 percent preferring to play their games in a physical format. “The paid download share is much larger than the people realize,” said Anderson. “Publishers have an understanding of how their own individual titles are performing in that regard. I don’t know that people realize how successful it is becoming across all titles.”

Out of those “digital natives,” Anderson believes a good chunk of them are millennials. “The idea of buying something and downloading it rather than buying a disc is a no-brainer for them,” he explained. “It would be their first preference.”

He also believes this generation is just getting started on buying power as well. “My guess is that at the end of this console cycle, it’ll be the digital natives that drive most of the revenues. It’s a permanent tipping point,” he said.

Meanwhile, as far as a defining leader in the market, consoles make up slightly less than half of all gaming revenue, while the rest comes from the PC side with downloads, retail titles, subscriptions and other services. Free-to-play games, meanwhile, add up to 15 percent of the overall market.

“Those high-consumption players have an impact,” Anderson said. He was surprised to find that the number of gamers playing F2P content on PC was about equal to the number playing on mobile, but said those PC players are frequently core gamers, playing League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and the F2P Battlefield content. Mobile F2P gamers are more diverse.”

More details on the company’s findings, including free console downloads, can be found here.