Twitter Ad Sales Rise, But There’s Room For Improvement

For Twitter, things are getting better, but there’s always room for improvement.

A report from Adweek indicates that the social site has seen an increase in ad sales, according to the second quarter earnings report. Ad sales have managed to increase 63 percent over the previous year, hitting just over $450 million. Revenue has also gone through the roof to just over $502 million.

That said, interim CEO Jack Dorsey wasn’t entirely pleased with the results, as the pace of growth was much lower than expected. As a result, he promises a better user experience, as well as a full marketing blitz in the hopes of getting more people to jump on board.

“Our Q2 results show good progress in monetization, but we are not satisfied with our growth in audience,” said Dorsey during the earnings announcement. “In order to realize Twitter’s full potential, we must improve in three key areas: ensure more disciplined execution, simplify our service to deliver Twitter’s value faster, and better communicate that value.”

Dorsey found big shoes to fill when former CEO Dick Costolo stepped down last month, since he already had his hands full with his mobile payments company Square. Still, he seems confident in pleasing Twitter’s growing audience, which has risen to 316 million, up from 308 million from the previous quarter.

Speaking with Wall Street analysts, Twitter reps explained that attracting mainstream users could take some time, and the company is still thinking up ways to revitalize the platform so that it’s much easier for them to use. Part of that could come in the form of Project Lightning, a media service set to curate the most popular content on Twitter so that people can see what’s trending almost immediately, instead of sorting through hundreds of messages. “For the first time, we’ll have an integrated marketing campaign in the U.S. behind the launch of Project Lightning,” said CFO Anthony Noto.

It would help to cater to a mobile audience, since the site generates 88 percent of its ad revenue through mobile devices. Clearly, it has something in mind for making Project Lightning work in favor of those who use tablets and smartphones.

Another interesting fact about this earnings announcement is that it was broadcasted live on Twitter’s Periscope app, and over 4,000 people tuned in to hear the numbers live. Hardly record numbers, but, hey, it’s still innovative – and probably paves the way for future announcements to follow suit in the same way.

App Vs. Mobile Web Battle Continues Worldwide

For the longest time, as mobile web was competing against native apps, it found itself in a losing battle — in the U.S., anyway. 80 percent or more of time is spent on native apps, like Facebook and Tumblr as well as Game of War, while only a minimal amount is spent on the mobile web, according to VentureBeat.

However, that isn’t quite the case with the rest of the world. Opera Mediaworks recently released its second quarter report on the state of mobile advertising, as reported by VentureBeat, and it shows a much different story between the two.

As you can see from the chart above, web impressions go through the roof over app use in other countries, including Africa (90 percent compared to a measly five percent for apps), the Americas (a slight lead over apps, by maybe two or three percent), and other regions. In fact, aside from the Oceania area that includes Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, only the U.S. shows an increased use in apps over mobile web.

This shift in numbers is quite an interesting one, dictating the state of mobile markets for certain countries. That’s not to say people don’t use web browsers at all in the U.S., and don’t turn to apps in countries like Japan and Korea (especially with games like Puzzle & Dragons still getting lots of attention). But to see such high preference of one over the other, and how they differ via country, is really something, even if the numbers aren’t necessary conclusive (since they’re based upon Opera’s mobile advertising business).

That said, don’t be surprised if marketers pay close attention to numbers like these in the hopes of getting the most out of their marketing. U.S. developers, for instance, may try to do more with apps, while other countries improve upon their mobile advertising plans. We’ll see how well these numbers hold up over the next few months.

Inside ‘League of Legends’ Success

For years, Riot Games’ League of Legends has established itself as one of the most popular free-to-play games on the market, to the point that it’s become a phenomenon in the eSports world, with multi-million dollar championships being held around the world. And now, Business Insider has taken a closer look at the game, and just what kind of effect it has on both its massive audience and hardcore players.

League of Millions explores the popularity of players taking part in games on the Internet, namely in League of Legends competition. The game garners a very large audience on a daily basis, with 27 million players taking part. In fact, during peak hours, more than seven million players take part concurrently, driving Riot Games’ success even further.

Mobile Strategy Games Are Winning

Mobile strategy games have really grown in popularity over the last few years, with offerings like Clash of Clans and Game of War: Fire Age getting millions of downloads and making huge bank based on both player popularity and lucrative marketing campaigns, featuring the likes of Liam Neeson and Kate Upton, respectively.

Per a report from Chartboost, games like these, as well as Supercell’s Boom Beach, rule the top-grossing charts on mobile, raking in millions of dollars a day through in-game transactions, according to numbers reported by analytics company Think Gaming.

But before any of these games existed, earlier games helped pave the way for their success, including 2009’s Kingdoms At War from A Thinking Ape. Even though it took a little time for the profits to start rolling in, that title would eventually become one of the highest grossing games for both 2010 and 2011. From there, Kabam stepped in with Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle For the North, which became the number one grossing iOS game for 2012.

How we look at strategy-based games, however, has changed immensely. Back then, these games didn’t have a huge campaign to drive their success, only customer rankings and, with the right placement, advertisement in an app store. These days, companies like Supercell produce multi-million dollar campaigns to spread the word about its titles, and more often than not, these campaigns pay off — like the well-received Super Bowl ad featuring Liam Neeson, threatening to get revenge on a player who destroyed his land. (The commercial is below.)

And what’s more, there’s always room for more competition to come in and make mad money on a good strategy game. Big Huge Games’ DomiNations has managed to earn a strong place in mobile in a short amount of time; and others, like NaturalMotion’s forthcoming Dawn of Titans, are expected to drive in even bigger sales upon release later this year.

Chartboost has broken down this success in a number of factors with its report, starting with a historic timeline that looks back on when the genre got its start (following the launch of the iPhone in 2007 and the Android market in 2008); and then also breaks down a number of design tips for effective mobile ads for strategy games, as explained by Zynga. (These include keeping certain goals in mind, imagining your game having presence at a dinner party, following the tenets of good design, testing and optimization, and knowing when it’s a good time to break the rules on game design.)

Another factor to keep in mind is player retention, and having players around for the “long haul” when it comes to continuous play. As you can see by the chart below, player retention is quite important for the strategy genre, especially with Google Play gaining ground on iOS for last month. The report breaks this down with various numbers as well, including spend per transaction ($16.90 on iOS compared to $12.57 on Google).

There are also some strategies from mobile strategy game creative as well, including a breakdown of how certain games are designed. One example of this includes Samurai Siege from Space Ape Games, which breaks down into three steps:

1. Stack of characters oriented toward the CTA and logo, training viewer’s eyes on the essentials while still looking exciting.

2. Creates a sense of urgency, motivating higher install rates.

3. Gameplay screenshot ensures players are clicking because they know exactly what they’ll get.

Finally, DomiNations‘ success is broken down with an explanation in various parts, including entering the mobile market, finding the right development team and appeal, and prioritizing the in-game experience. “We don’t really try to teach facts,” said Big Huge Games co-founder Tim Train. “But we do try to convey our love of history, and designing for mobile meant we could do so for a much broader audience than other platforms. In the old days, if one of our games sold two million units, that was a staggering amount — [but] with DomiNations we have a real chance to reach 100 million players or more.”

The full report can be found here. It’s quite the read for those who want to learn more about the growing strategy market.

Ivana Kirkbride Departs YouTube, Lands At Vessel

by Jocelyn Johnson

Ivana Kirkbride has departed her post as head of unscripted at YouTube to join competing online video platform Vessel as VP of of content acquisition. Vessel confirmed the move late yesterday.

Kirbride joins a content acquisition team at Vessel that has expanded from three to ten people in recent months. She will assume her post in August. Ben Relles, previously head of comedy, takes over Kirkbride’s duties, assuming the title of head of comedy & unscripted for YouTube Originals.

Keep reading…

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.

10 Reasons To Attend [a]list Mobile + Social Video Summit On Aug. 19

What Is Facebook’s Answer To YouTube

YouTube ruled the proceedings at VidCon this year, but YouTube’s biggest rival in terms of online video scale and ad revenue, Facebook, will instead be keynoting the [a]list summit to talk about Facebook and Instagram as marketing platforms and what you need to succeed in mobile and social video.

How YouTube’s Biggest Break-Out Star Is Building An Empire

Michelle Phan became a household name as one of YouTube’s biggest stars, but the talented beauty expert has been able to build a business empire, too. She’ll be doing a keynote interview together with her CEO and co-founder of ipsy Marcelo Camberos. Centered around the award-winning monthly Glam Bag, ipsy now boasts over 1 million subscribers and generates more than $150 million in revenue.

Big Opportunities, Big Value

With a massive supply of influencers, and only a few marketers using influencer marketing to their advantage, the cost of an influencer campaign is below its real value.

On average, marketers are seeing $6.50 for every $1 spent. For those who have used influencer marketing most effectively, the top 13 percent of marketers are gaining $20 per $1 spent.

Brands Are Going All-In On Social

With 70 percent of brands planning to increase their social advertising budget, and 59 percent making increases specific to influencer marketing, it’s clear brands are going all-in. At [a]list Video summit, attendees can learn how to find those influencers that best align with your brand to create content that is more organic and engaging.

What Is The Future of AR and VR for Entertainment

AR and VR is a hot topic that will be front-and-center when this year’s holiday campaigns kick off from companies like Microsoft, Samsung and Apple. We have a keynote conversation with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville who has been working with Ayzenberg on a documentary series on Microsoft HoloLens, which may be screened now at HoloLens.com and on the HoloLens YouTube channel.

The Content Shift Has Already Happened

This year, we’ve seen the world’s top 100 brands increase their monthly video views on YouTube by 55 percent and Facebook’s share of video ad revenue grow by 20 percent. On top of that, eMarketer predicts that digital video advertising spending will finally eclipse TV by 2018.

What’s Next In Data-Driven Video Storytelling

New Form Digital is an exciting new online studio joint venture created by Discovery, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. SVP Cangilla will speak with Allison Stern, co-founder of Video Intelligence firm Tubular Labs, about the future of the data-driven digital studio and how to identify rising star storytellers, create engaging digital scripted content and successfully grow engaged digital audiences.

The Influencer Marketing Boom Is Showing No Signs Of Stopping

Google searches for “influencer marketing” are climbing higher and higher.

Video Is Capturing Attentions, Imagination

We’ve all heard of the stats around banner blindness, with only 14 percent of consumers able to remember the last display ad they saw. Consumers have been vocal about their preference for content as opposed to traditional advertising to learn about new products. With branded content, brand lift is 82 percent higher and purchase intent is up 53 percent.

85+ Brands Will Converge On The Future Of Mobile + Social Video

[a]list Mobile + Social Video summit will have 85+ brands in attendance, with many networking opportunities. There will be breakfast, lunch and a cocktail reception sponsored by our friends at Curse in the heart of Hollywood at the W Hotel.

Get Your Tickets Now!

Gamescom Preview: The ‘Next Level of Entertainment’

The biggest consumer game show of all is coming up August 5 in Germany, as gamescom 2015 opens its doors to greet somewhere over 335,000 visitors at the Koelnmesse expo center in Cologne, Germany. The show has expanded its floor space by 18 percent to 193,000 square meters, which means we’re quite likely to see more visitors than last year to the show. The marketing value of the conference is not to be underestimated.

Unlike the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) show in Los Angeles, the focus at gamescom is on the consumer. Yes, the trade and the press will be at the show as well (with over 5,000 journalists expected to attend), but this show allows direct experience with eager fans. It’s a prime promotional opportunity that the game industry’s largest companies are taking full advantage of, with over 800 exhibitors from more than 45 countries will present their new products in Cologne.

Game publishers are taking full advantage of the marketing opportunity with special tournaments, plenty of livestreams, elaborate booths, and all of the social media love they can encourage amoung the hundreds of thousands of game fans in attendance as well as the millions who are expected to tune in to the show remotely. There’s plenty of news expected to drop about upcoming releases, and we should see a wave of new game trailers to get excitement for new titles ramped up even higher.

The theme of this year’s gamescom will be the “Next Level of Entertainment,” and that means more than just the upcoming games, there will be plenty of virtual reality on display as well. BIU managing director Dr Maximilian Schenk explained this year’s theme as follows: “gamescom is reaching a new level in 2015. It’s not just bigger – it’s also more diverse, and takes an all-embracing look at the future of digital games. This year we have brought a very appealing partner country on board with the United Kingdom, [which] highlights the reputation of gamescom as the most important business platform in Europe.”

While all the major game companies have booths at the show, many are holding press conferences as well in order to present important information on new titles. Here’s some of what to expect from gamescom beginning on August 5:

Blizzard has a big gamescom 2015 press briefing planned, with media invites already sent out. What’s in store isn’t confirmed, but we already know Blizzard is gearing up for Legacy of the Void, its expansion for Starcraft 2, later this year. Meanwhile, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone are probably going to get some promotional love. Eager fans are also hoping for more info on Overwatch, and of course more information about World of Warcraft is always welcome. As the Warcraft movie draws closer, we may even see something from that.

Microsoft is promising the “greatest games lineup in Xbox history” for gamescom, with a special page set up to give a glimpse at what they will be showing. Featured games will include Quantum Break, Crackdown, and Scalebound. Of course, Halo 5: Guardians will be get prime placement as Microsoft’s biggest release this year. We’ll learn more about Halo 5, and perhaps see some new products associated with Halo 5 from Astro Gaming. Microsoft will be showing their gamescom briefing live on your Xbox or at xbox.com, and there will be live video updates throughout the show featuring “gamescom breaking news, exclusive announcements, trailer reveals, game demos, and interviews with game creators.”

Sony won’t be making a big splash with a press conference at gamescom, saving their efforts for Paris Games Week in October. Of course, Sony will still have a booth with plenty of games being showcased, and no doubt we’ll see more about Horizon Zero Dawn, No Man’s Sky, The Last Guardian, and the special content coming up on the PS4 for Destiny and Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

Nintendo’s booth will be showing many of their top titles that are already out, including Splatoon, with some key upcoming titles like Super Mario Maker and Star Fox Zero getting some special attention. There will be some special events for Nintendo fans, including Super Smash Bros. and Splatoon tournaments. Check out the full lineup here.

Ubisoft won’t be holding a big press conference, but their gamescom booth will feature a new Assassin’s Creed Syndicate demo, hands-on multiplayer battles for For Honor, Rainbow Six Siege, and The Division, along with a Rabbids Virtual Reality Ride and on-stage presentations for Just Dance 2016 and The Crew Wild Run.

Electronic Arts will be holding a press conference, but they aren’t providing any details of what might be announced. You can expect to see the company’s fall titles showcased, though, with Madden NFL 16, FIFA 16, and NHL 16 in the spotlight, along with Star Wars Battlefront and Need for Speed.

Square Enix has already announced some of their Final Fantasy events you can catch online. Square Enix will be hosting livestreams of Final Fantasy 15 on their Twitch channel.

A rather exhaustive list of games being displayed at gamescom can be found here.

Marriott’s Moxy Hotels Introduce ‘Do Disturb’ Web Series

YouTube viewers, prepare to get your Moxy on.

Per a report from Tubefilter, Marriott International has announced that it will launch a new digital series based on its millennial-driven Moxy Hotels brand. The series is called DO NOT DISTURB (with the word NOT crossed out, in case you missed it), and it will focus on interviewing celebrities, as well as introducing consumers to the Moxy brand across its various locations in the U.S., including New York City, San Francisco and Seattle.

The series will be hosted by YouTube actress/comedian Taryn Southern, who has a huge following on the video channel thanks to her variety of humorous and music-based videos. She previously signed up with The Today Show to provide a series of “Self Help For Your Digital Soul” videos, so she fits right in with what Moxy’s trying to do with its series. Southern will interview the celebs, getting more insight into their careers and best travel experiences.

“We are excited about our collaboration with Moxy Hotels and Taryn Southern to produce DO NOT DISTURB,” said David Beebe, Vice President of Creative and Content Marketing at Marriott International, in a release. “This partnership allows our studio to create innovative content that will entertain and amuse a new generation of consumers, and speaks to the playful nature of the Moxy Hotels brand. Furthermore, this series is another example of how our portfolio of brands is partnering directly with the YouTube creator community to establish long-term relationships with a focus on enabling creators to do what they do best – tell original stories, engage audiences, and ultimately create entertaining content where the brand plays a character in the story.”

“Moxy fully embraces today’s contemporary traveler and welcomes guests with its style, design, affordability, and attitude,” added Vicki Poulos, Brand Director at Moxy Hotels. “Marriott’s Content Studio gives Moxy creative platforms that sets us apart from other lifestyle brands and helps us connect with travelers through the power of YouTube.”

A sample video of what Moxy has in mind for its campaign is below, and it’s definitely an edgier approach than most hotel advertising, with the promise that the show will definitely follow in the same style.

The show will make its premiere this September, and episodes can be watched either on the Moxy Hotels web page or its dedicated YouTube channel.

 

Verizon’s Mobile Streaming Service Has A Name, Say Hello To Go90

by Evan DeSimone

The long-rumored mobile video service that Verizon plans to launch this summer finally has a name, according to an article published by Variety.

A pre-launch staging website discovered by the publication and then hastily hidden away by Verizon indicated that the service will be called Go90 and, at least initially, offered to consumers for free.

Until the launch page slip-up, Verizon had been stingy with details about the service, fueling industry speculation about its name, price and content offerings. The site’s “about” section suggested that Go90 will offer a wide range of content, including live music and sports, in addition to traditional television programming from partner networks.

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.