Imgur Adds Advertisers

There are many sites that have gained interest with audiences when it comes to video and pictures – including Instagram and Pinterest – but now there’s a new competitor on the rise, and it seems to be opening its doors to advertisers.

Adweek has reported that Imgur, an alternative site to Pinterest that has managed to gain a large audience of millennials, is working on a new system that would enable advertisers to come on board, and reach out to said audience.

Imgur has previously explained that it was looking to begin offering promoted posts through a series of partners, which it intends to take out of beta later this summer to offer to its mainstream audience. And it’s audience is quite a big one, with over 150 million monthly active users, including a large male component. In fact, 75 percent of this audience consists of males under the age of 35 – an ideal millennial group to attract advertisers.

So how would the program operate to bring advertisers into the mix “We work with the advertiser to develop content that would fit well with the community,” said Steve Patrizi, vice president of marketing and sales for Imgur. “So, users perceive the content coming from brands as something that enhances the experience.”

While there are uphill struggles with integrating such content into its site, Patrizi has explained that it has had a positive effect, with users giving a thumbs-up to such posts in nine out of ten situations.

eBay has played a big part in this advertising, with posts that fit right in with Imgur’s storytelling style, complete with posted GIFs and photo albums that have mostly positive comments.

“We worked with Imgur for several months to research the types of themes and items that were popular on site, and we worked with some Imgurians to source imagery that helped us tell the best stories,” said Johnna Hoff, head of communications for eBay.

Imgur also has a creative team ready to go, which will assist brands with making posts that stand out for its growing audience. “We’re helping brands become citizens of Internet culture, not just a sponsor,” said Michelle Masek, head of communications for Imgur.

One such example of an effective advertising program on Imgur is the Tech Transformations That Happened In Your Lifetime gallery, which shows animated GIF’s on how far technology has come – with a little help from eBay, of course.

“Other companies who want to promote posts on Imgur should take note, THIS is how to do it,” said a commenter on the post.

With such a young male audience (countering Pinterest’s mostly female audience), Imgur definitely has a good opportunity on its hands. “Imgur has the highest composition of millennial males compared to any other mass-reach community,” the site reported.

There are also certain topics that can be utilized with these posts, such as science fiction and video games. “We started tracking the amount of time people are spending on these promoted posts, and it’s 25 seconds a post,” said Patrizi. “That’s getting pretty close to the gold standard of TV advertising.”

Hoff also posted positive results from the beta thus far. “We’ve been extremely encouraged by what we’ve seen in the Imgur promoted posts beta. It’s been a collaborative effort across eBay, Imgur and the Imgur community to understand the imagery and stories that resonate.”




Instagram Cleaning Up In Display Ad Revenue

There’s been some question as to whether Instagram can stay true with its display ad set-up, but there’s no question that the Facebook-owned site will see positive results from it.

A report from Marketing Land indicates that, per results posted by industry analyst eMarketer {link no longer active}, Instagram will make a whopping amount of money from display ads. This year alone, it’s expected to bring in $595 million in ad revenue — and that number will grow even bigger by 2017, when it’s expected to make an incredible $2.81 billion. That’s more than 10.6 percent of Facebook’s complete ad revenue for 2017, according to the site.

As you can see from this chart, Instagram will easily lap over Facebook’s numbers year over year, going more than double over its revenue for display ads by next year, and then doubling again the year after that. This is for paid advertising only, but still very effective in the long run.

What’s more, these numbers will give Instagram the need to overcome both Google and Twitter, two competitors in the display ad field. For this year, Google will continue to have the lead with $1.47 billion, with Instagram just under half that. But as you can see, the next couple of years will really tell a story, as Instagram begins to catch up and, by 2017, rises above Google by a small margin.

If these forecasts stay the course, that would mean huge benefits for Facebook — and a mounting lead in the social media division. “Now that Instagram is opening up, there is a lot of pent-up demand,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst for eMarketer. “The rollout of new features over the next several months means that by the end of 2015, Instagram will have a host of new ad products for advertisers large and small. In particular, Instagram advertisers will be able to use a full slate of Facebook targeting tools, including the popular Custom Audiences feature. That will be a key drawing card.”

It definitely looks like Instagram is going places with its new approach. Let’s see how it fares…

Kabam’s ‘Marvel: Contest of Champions’ Hits Big

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Mobile success stories are becoming quite rampant these days, with many games cleaning up in millions from in-app purchases and other tie-ins with brands. Well, add Marvel: Contest of Champions to the list, as Kabam’s latest effort featuring Marvel superheroes (and supervillains) is raking in the dough.

According to VentureBeat, Kabam chief executive Kevin Chou announced that the action-based mobile game Marvel: Contest of Champions has surpassed $100 million in gross revenue in just seven months’ time. That makes it the fastest growing title under the Kabam label ever. (Of course, having the Marvel name doesn’t hurt, since comic books still sell incredibly well and the films have no problem generating big revenue.)

With this, Kabam’s focus on AAA high-quality free-to-play mobile games appears to be paying off, as Marvel has achieved over 40 million downloads, becoming a top-grossing hit in over 106 countries. And those profits are bound to grow even bigger, as the game is set to release in China later this year – a big mobile market in itself.

“Boy, what a difference a single year can make,” said Chou on the game’s success, which lapped the previous $100 million record set by The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth, which took 13 months to reach that figure. With Marvel, the company now has five games that have reached that landmark overall, keeping it profitable since 2012.

“We’ve seen many great companies fall in China because they did not hit the market appropriately,” said Chou, speaking about Marvel‘s launch this fall. However, the company has many partners that will assure it makes a smooth transition to that market, including Alibaba, which invested $120 million in the company. “I am so excited to bring Marvel: Contest of Champions to China,” he added. “I could not be more enthused.”

The game features a who’s who of Marvel superstars, including Wolverine, Hulk and many more. It’s instantly appealing to not only comic book fans, but also casual mobile players who are itching for a fight.

Kabam should have no trouble adding even more profits behind the strength of Marvel. Now the only question is what franchise could reach the $100 million mark next…

The trailer for Marvel: Contest of Champions is below.

Costs Are Still Rising For Android and iOS App Installs

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Cost per install continues to be a big number for mobile game makers — and the fact that it’s continuing to balloon is something they’ll want to pay attention to.

A new report from GamesIndustry International pointed out new statistics provided by Fiksu, indicating that CPI continues to be on the rise for both iOS and Android devices. The CPI for an Android game rose to $1.59 last month, an increase of 13 percent, while iOS saw a boost up by 17 percent. That said, Fiksu believes that iOS continues to be the more cost-effective platform, with an average CPI of $1.04.

At one point, back in March, the CPI for an iOS game managed to rise above Android, but it looks like that was temporary, as it dropped 21 percent during the month of May, compared to Android’s smaller 13 percent drop.

“Despite the decrease in CPIs, if your overall focus extends beyond just downloads, it’s important to note that the cost to acquire a loyal user remains on the rise,” said Fiksu in its report. “Marketers continue to be willing to pay more for those right users that will pay off in the long run.”

As you can see in the chart above, the competition was pretty steady for a while until iOS’ spike back in March/April. But since then, it’s dropped back down, and Android has risen to a new high level, almost to $2.00, back in May. It’s since settled a bit, but continues to be higher than iOS.

So will Android’s dominance in CPI continue It’s hard to say. Fiksu measured this index through attributed advertising numbers, so the right game could easily sway back in IOS’ favor in terms of a higher value. For now, though, Android continues to be on top.

The Dollars Are Really Moving From TV To Digital

As consumer spend ever greater amounts of time with digital media, it appears more and more advertisers are following suit.

Per a story from the Wall Street Journal, new data from Standard Media Index indicates that digital ad spending is on the rise, increasing by 16 percent in the U.S. between October 2014 and June 2015. This shows that more brands and marketers are getting behind digital means, while slightly moving away from traditional television.

The agency, which tracks 80 percent of overall U.S. agency spending, estimated that digital ad spending was up $3 billion for those months from the previous year, including about $1 billion in “organic” growth.

It also states that $1.1 billion of national TV ad dollars, $400 million in local TV and syndication spending, $350 million of print ad dollars and $150 million of radio spending moved to digital for those months. The chart below shows this in easier-to-read fashion.

However, that doesn’t mean television advertising is in any danger — far from it. Standard Media Index reported that advertisers spent an approximate $25.5 billion on national TV and $6.4 billion on local and syndicated television over those months, compared to $22 billion spent on digital. So it’s not going away anytime soon — it just has some healthy competition with digital.

Still, more and more advertisers are starting to see the conventional means of advertising directly to an audience with digital, as their ads are usually up-front compared to being saved for the usual commercial breaks. And this investment is likely to continue in the years ahead, and streaming and digital channels gain more ground.

The report concludes by confirming this theory, stating that many marketers showed interest in investing even more money in digital ads, provided a better metric system was put in place to measure their return on investment, and see whether online ads provide any leverage on purchases.

SuperData: Social Casino Games Evolving

Breakout of most-played social casino genres, 2015.

[Social Casino Genre/Percentage of respondents that played in the last month for PC, Smartphone and Tablet]

  1. Casino: 80 percent, 62 percent, 54 percent.
  2. Slots: 74 percent, percent, 61 percent.
  3. Bingo, 54 percent, 49 percent, 52 percent.
  4. Poker: 47 percent, 34 percent, 30 percent.
  5. Other table games: 24 percent, 21 percent, 17 percent.

SuperData, the leading provider of market intelligence on playable media and digital games, today released its report Social Casino Market: US Player Insights on the US market for social casino gaming. Valuing the total market for social and mobile casino games at $1.5 billion in 2015, the US continues to be the world’s largest. As the market has started to mature, a survey among players reveals that an emphasis on ‘mobile only’ is no longer enough to service this audience. Rising consumer expectations, the report finds, demand a different strategy for each of the platforms.

“PC players are more likely than their mobile counterparts to play all-in-one casino games like DoubleDown Casino. These games offer ample variety for long play sessions,” says SuperData Analyst, Carter Rogers. “On mobile, where shorter, on-the-go sessions are the norm, slots are the top casino game type.” In addition to identifying key consumer trends among social casino players, the Social Casino Market: US Player Insights report also focuses on the reasons why players stop playing games. According to the report, one of the ways that social casino games keep players interested is by featuring competitive multiplayer capabilities.

Key findings include:

  • Seventy-four percent (74%) of social casino players play on either a tablet or smartphone. While PC is the most popular individual platform, smartphone and tablet players together make up a bigger portion of social casino players.
  • On PC, the lifetime value of those who spend on all-in-one casino games is $611.29. While smartphone spenders tend to have longer life spans, PC player’s high average monthly spending means their lifetime value across all genres averages 85 percent higher.
  • Four out of five PC players play all-in-one casino games, while slots games are the top genre on mobile. Because PC game sessions tend to be longer than those on mobile, PC players favor games offering a wide variety of content.
  • The average PC social casino user plays four casino games at once, one more than mobile players. The contracting PC social casino market means only the most dedicated players still play on the platform.
  • Mobile casino players are more than twice as likely as PC players to make monthly in-game purchases. PC payers spend 97 percent more on average than their mobile counterparts each month.
  • Social media ads are how 53 percent of social casino players hear about new games. Social casino games stand apart from most video game genres, where word-of-mouth is the most common way to learn about new games.
  • Seventy percent (70%) of social casino players return to a game after quitting. New features and bug fixes lure back more former players than promotions or bonus in-game currency.

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.

Razer’s OUYA Acquisition Finalized, Forges Ahead On Android TV

For years, Razer has been known for creating some of the most reliable – not to mention stylish – PCs and accessories around, from glowing equipment to fancy laptops and tablets that create a unique gaming experience. However, today, the company has made a leap forward with its Android-based gaming console by acquiring the struggling OUYA platform.

On its Razerzone site, Razer announced this morning that its acquisition of OUYA, including its content catalog and online retail platform, has been completed. As a result, Razer will have access to a large number of independent developers who made games for the OUYA platform, as well as the opportunity to advance further on the Android-based game console market. Financial terms were not revealed from the deal.

“Razer has a long-term vision for Android TV and Android-based TV consoles, such as the Xiaomi Mi Box and Alibaba Tmail Box, to which OUYA already publishes,” said Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “OUYA’s work with game developers, both AAA and indies, went a long way in bringing Android games to the living room and Razer intends to further that work. This acquisition is envisaged to usher more developers and content to the Android TV platform.”

Those who own an existing OUYA unit (as part of its initial Kickstarter campaign, or picking them up at retail) will have the opportunity to migrate to a more advanced Forge TV micro-console and Serval controller bundle, bringing their games, controllers and accounts to the Cortex TV platform with ease. The OUYA store, which has been home to many indie developers, will soon be launched as Cortex for Android TV, featuring a number of Forge items as well as previously released games.

Initially, the OUYA launched with great success on Kickstarter, and even managed to find good retail distribution at the likes of Target and other stores. As of late, however, it’s been struggling to keep up with good business, mainly due to a poorly conceived ad campaign and a lack of quality third-party titles from AAA developers. This buyout through Razer, however, provides an opportunity to see the service live on, even though it’ll be under a new name.

“When it comes to gamers, Min clearly knows what he is doing,” said Brian Fargo, video game designer, producer, programmer and founder of Interplay Entertainment and inXile Entertainment. “I’m certain that he has clever ideas on how to make his many initiatives with Forge TV fit well with all the titles and hard work that OUYA put in.”

Razer’s Forge TV console is signifcantly more powerful than the OUYA, and Forge will be adding more features later this year with the ability to stream games from your PC to your TV using Cortex Stream, and adding in the Turret keyboard and mouse combo. Adding the large catalog of OUYA games, and its relationships with developers, will give the Android console a significant boost. Plus, OUYA’s relationships in China will help Razer gain a foothold there, as the console battle heats up in that country.

We’ll see how well the migration goes for the OUYA platform and its games over the next few months. However, this is good news for those all around, and could give Razer even more incentive when it comes to its Android platform.

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

Meerkat Introduces GoPro Support

In the live-streaming app business, Meerkat has been struggling to keep up with Twitter’s thriving Periscope app – even with popular events like the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight. However, with the introduction of a new feature, it could easily get back into the race.

Per a report from AdWeek, Meerkat has announced that its live-streaming app is now compatible with GoPro cameras, enabling users to stream their sports activities and other events with ease straight from the app.

The procedure is simple, as per instructions provided by a Meerkat representative. “Connect the GoPro to your iOS device as you normally would and open the Meerkat app. Shake it, and a prompt will pop up to start streaming directly from your GoPro device. Note that the current version of the iOS Meerkat app only supports GoPro 3 with GoPro 4 being available in the next update of the app.”

GoPro has become quite the popular service with both partners and video broadcasts over the past few years, enabling would-be filmmakers to catch events from a first-person perspective, providing a “you are there” viewpoint. These are especially popular with extreme sports activities, including wing diving and parachuting, although they’re used for more practical purposes as well.

Meerkat tweeted about the compatibility starting yesterday, complete with a GIF-based video that explains just how easy GoPro is to use through the app, complete with little animations. It will no doubt give the company a little boost heading into this weekend’s VidCon event in Anaheim.

The only question is what this will mean for the long term, as Twitter is likely to find a way to provide GoPro support for its popular Periscope app as well somewhere down the road. For the time being, Meerkat can enjoy the exclusivity – but it should find a way to take advantage of it so that it can gain ground on its competitor.

Image: The Next Web