Could Twitter Be A New Shopping Portal?

People like using Twitter because it’s a good social experience, and it continues to be so, even with some of the changes made to the site to help cater more to new visitors and possible sponsors alike. Now, the company’s pushing its social page even further with the announcement of new pages and collections, which could open the door to shopping opportunities for users.

Adweek recently posted a story on the new features, which tie in with a new discovery tool that enables users to check out content that’s not only relevant to their needs, but also timely based on popularity. They will be tied in with places and products, and users will not only be able to view images, but also video and descriptions based on these items. Users can also check out prices for the items before they make a final purchase.

Twitter recently posted an official blog about the feature, with Amaryllis Fox (@amaryllisfox) breaking down just what can be expected:

“The first experience we’re testing is a new way to surface and organize relevant Tweets about products and places on dedicated pages. These pages will feature images and video about the product alongside information such as a description, price and an option to buy, book or visit the website for more information.

Take for example, the book The Martian by @andyweirdautor. We’ll show you images and a description right above the Tweets that are most timely and relevant to you. These may be Tweets from accounts you follow, relevant news updates, or popular content about the book.”

Brands and influencers will be behind the content, and such partners as @gameofthrones (the hit HBO Show) and @theEllenShow (featuring host Ellen Degeneres) will help with curating the project, in terms of demonstrating just how effective Collections can be.

It’s too soon to tell if the project will take off, but it does open up new possibilities for the social site – provided they’re done the right way, of course.

More information on these services can be found here.

Rovio On Mobile User Acquisition

Rovio has become a big company over the past few years with its immensely popular Angry Birds line of games. However, there are certain challenges that come with that brand, as indicated by our earlier interview. One of those challenges involves advertising other games that have nothing to do with Angry Birds – independent games that require a different form of advertising.

This challenge has fallen into the lap of new VP of user acquisition and engagement, Eric Seufert. With such an oversaturated marketplace (1.4 million apps and counting), there’s certainly a lot to overcome.

Seufert recently had a chance to sit down with Chartboost to talk about strategy behind advertising these games, and here are some of the highlights:

First, he talked about how user acquisition plays a big part in mobile again. “In my opinion, the app economy is the most competitive marketplace that’s ever existed. The barrier to enter into that marketplace is extremely low. And because the potential rewards for being a popular app are high, people are spending lots and lots of money to market their app. For example, Supercell reportedly spent something like $440 million last year on marketing. Not all of that was on performance UA, but a huge chunk of it was.”

He continued, “There’s also a lot of science behind this now, and there’s no opportunity to get your app seen unless you market your app intelligently. Now you have these awesome analytic frameworks that allow you to capture data and target your user very precisely. You’d be remiss in not spending money on marketing when you know that you have the analytics support to know how your game can be profitable.

From there, Seufert talked about how smaller developers can take advantage of the App Store. “I think it’s more of a mentality,” he said. “I hear people say, ‘I don’t have a marketing budget,’ but that to me is insane because developing a premium app requires gathering data before you actually launch it. I think it’s wrong-headed to think about UA money as ‘marketing budget’ – especially for a soft launch. That’s what’s needed to develop your app. It’s got to be a basic step in your development budget forecast. But then I think people say, ‘Well, I don’t know how much to spend’ or ‘I’ll just put the app out.’

“App stores are not designed to spread people’s attention equally around every single app that’s submitted. They’re designed to be winner-takes-all,” he continued. “So when apps from small or new developers rely on all organic or non-advertising driven downloads, (they’re ignoring) the fundamental structure of app stores.”

And apparently, companies don’t need mega-bucks to put together an advertising budget – just something modest. “I think you can do it on $5,000 to $10,000 – it doesn’t have to be $100,000,” said Seufert. “You can gather a decent amount of data for $5,000, especially if you have a sense of the core demographic that you should be targeting. And when you think about the overall development budget of the game, to not gather critical feedback about how the players use your app is silly. This isn’t just for the sake of trying to figure out what the LTV is, this is for seeing how the first-time user experience looks and for seeing where the choke points are.”

Finally, Seufert touched on the future of mobile gaming. “Well, for one, mobile games are definitely getting more beautiful. All the people that worked on the huge AAA games for console are now being exposed to mobile games, so we’re just seeing really, really cool games come out on mobile that rival the graphical fidelity of console games.

“In general, mobile games are getting a lot more connected and definitely more social. It’s exciting to see this social phenomenon that people experience on console when they play multiplayer Xbox or have friends over to play video games happening on mobile. As people become more social in their mobile game play, developers will make more engaging experiences — allowing them to earn more money and build even bigger games.”

The full interview can be found here.

‘Guitar Hero Live’ Introduces ‘Guitar Hero TV’

One of this past week’s highlights at the Electronic Entertainment Expo was Activision’s Guitar Hero Live, the latest entry in the music/rhythm series. Attendees and journalists alike got their opportunity to go hands-on with the new guitar being designed for the game, as well as the many songs that will be included with it, including Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Higher Ground” and Kongos’ “Come With Me Now,” among dozens of others.

But there’s a unique social aspect that will play a key part in the game’s advertising once it gets closer to its fall release – Guitar Hero TV. Initially announced with the game back in April, GHTV, one of the game’s two primary modes, enables players to compete with one another through live competition, while at the same time discovering new songs through a variety of channels – a “try before you buy” approach that lets players go hands-on with tunes before making choices on which ones they want to buy.

With that, consumers are provided a choice. There’s an option to buy songs via real money, a strategy similar to previously released games in the series. However, there’s also an “on-demand” service. As players strum through Guitar Hero Live, they’ll earn credits that can be turned around for songs to request on-the-fly to play along with friends, in case they don’t feel like owning it permanently.

The service will feature “hundreds” of songs, as promised by the company, with more continuously being added to Guitar Hero‘s store following the game’s initial release.

“It looks like a really slick channel guide that you would see on TV, with ‘what’s coming up next’ rows,” said CEO Eric Hirshberg, speaking with Mashable during the game’s announcement. “You’re gonna be able to click on that, join a show in progress, join a song in progress, play it instantly. And then play that stream, ongoing, for as long as you like. And then if you don’t like something, you can switch to a different channel.”

He continued, “The shows are all genre-centric, so there could be a show called ‘Current Pop Hits’, there could be a show called ‘Best Guitar Songs of All Time’, there could be a ‘Best From Coachella’ mash-up.”

This presents a number of opportunities, particularly with certain record companies to step in and contribute concert footage and shows from established and up-and-coming artists to what the developers call premium content. Premium content is earned through completing in-game challenges. Popular rock band Avenged Sevenfold has already signed on, providing bonus premium content free of charge to those that pre-order the game.

Other companies could step up as well with “sponsored” content, although Activision hasn’t confirmed this feature just yet. The possibility is certainly there, though, especially considering that the publisher just announced a deal where users could get an exclusive Destiny quest by purchasing specially marked Red Bull products.

So what does this mean for Guitar Hero fans Honestly, it seems like the best of both worlds. On the one hand, players can compete with one another in real time on the channel, competing for top performance score. On the other, the always-on network with continually updated songs is a great way to see what jams fit players best, whether it’s something from Green Day or from more contemporary artists like The Avett Brothers.

We’ll see how this social angle plays out when Guitar Hero Live rocks the masses on October 20th for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Wii U, as well as select mobile platforms. The debut trailer is below.


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‘Rock Band 4’: ‘The Response Has Been Phenomenal’

“We are blown away by the passion people have for this franchise,” said Greg LoPiccolo, creative lead at Harmonix. “We had this hope that people were still into it and when we went out and asked, people got excited.”

Now that Rock Band 4 is well and truly on its way, the company has been a presence at major gaming events as of late, and the same was of course true at E3. With a full outdoor stage and a line of attendees queuing up to rock out on the stage to an audience, Harmonix has given fans of the fun party game exactly what they’ve wanted in the franchise’s revival.

“The flagship feature is the new freestyle guitar solo,” said LoPiccolo. “Guitar players can actually craft their own guitar solos on the fly.”


Harmonix took the stage set-up at E3 to the legendary Mayan Theater at night for a preview party, showing just how fun it is to not just play but watch the game being played.Â

You really can’t get more rock n’ roll than this.


Android Cost-Per-Install Rises Over iOS

After spending what seems like an eternity in the catch-up game, the Android platform managed to finally overtake iOS a couple of months ago in terms of revenue. However, it appears that the CPI (cost per install) is picking up the pace as well.

A new report from GamesIndustry International indicates that, according to data provided by Fiksu, the CPI for Android has managed to increase over iOS, with the average cost on Android being $1.82 and Apple’s format sitting at 50 cents less, at $1.32.

“There’s definitely opportunity to reach a continually growing user base on Android, but it’s going to come at a cost,” said Fiksu’s Glen Kiladis. “Android games cost for the month of May were nearly 40 percent higher than iOS costs, a trend that can also be observed on a broader scale outside of just games. In fact, Android costs were up 72 percent since March, while iOS costs were relatively flat compared to just two months prior.”

He continued, “As we’ve mentioned before, these indexes include both incent and non-incent spending. As a result, iOS games costs are often times lower than Android games costs as a result of increased spending on IOS on lower-cost incentivized networks. Nonetheless, this is the highest Android games costs have been during the past year.

“When looking at year over year trends, Android costs were up 31 percent while iOS costs were down 25 percent. In May of 2014, costs on both platforms were hovering around the $1.50 mark.

“These higher costs on Android are not unexpected. In our broader Fiksu Indexes, we’ve observed a pattern of increasing costs across the board. However, as advertisers consistently employ higher-value targeting and more precise audience segmentation data, we expect that loyalty rates will also go up.”

It’ll be interesting to see how this shapes up over the next year…

Facebook Reveals Vision For Mobile Ads

With both its main social and Messenger apps doing well on the mobile front, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Facebook wants to roll out an effective ad program for mobile advertisers. But what exactly does it have in mind Well, thanks to a new video, Facebook has just provided an idea.

Re/code recently reported that the company rolled out the video during its visit to Cannes Lions, with product head Chris Cox presenting it this afternoon. With it, there’s a format provided, one that shows full-screen imagery, videos and product shots that offer full 360-degree rotation with a swipe across the screen. In short, it provides companies the opportunity to create a mini-version of their own website on Facebook’s application, keeping them on the app while moving them towards its specific set-up. The video is below.

Facebook has used this sort of set-up before with traditional content, including stories that could be found within its News Feed. That managed to draw out a number of strong advertising partners, including BuzzFeed and the New York Times, through hosted content that kept users on the Facebook site, rather than diverting them to a secondary link back to the advertiser’s page. The difference, however, is that video advertising seems to work better from a retailer’s perspective, although other companies can obviously take part as well.

Considering that 94 percent of the company’s overall revenue comes from advertising, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Facebook is focusing more on the video front. The question now, though, is just how effective it will be for companies in the long run. There are half a billion people who interact with the site from a mobile standpoint, although a right campaign to draw them in with still has yet to be found.

Hopefully we’ll see more of Facebook’s business plans with video soon, as well as what kind of partners will be on board for it. It does look innovative, but looks are one thing. Effectiveness is another.

Image source

Mobile Ad Spending Will Continue To Grow

We’ve spoken in the past about what kind of growth ad spending will go through over the next few years, including mobile exceeding desktop. However, a series of new charts have broken down just what kind of increases the industry is in for over the next few years.

DigiDay has reported how the state of mobile ad spending is looking, with information provided by MwC Outlook Report, Magna Global, Mary Meeker and eMarketer. Each chart breaks down specifics when it comes to certain spending, such as how much is being spent specifically on mobile versus desktop, and so on.

First up, as you can see, there was a time that desktop was getting more spending than mobile — last year, in fact. However, as the years continue onward, mobile will be taking more of a focus, and by 2018, it’ll overlap it by a few million dollars. By 2019, however, there will be a stark difference, with no indications of slowing down.

By 2017, it’s easy to see where most of global ad spending will be going. 37 percent will be devoted to television, while desktop will take 19.5 percent. Mobile will be close behind with 13 percent, although these numbers, again, could easily change in the following years. Surprising enough, newspaper still has a decent grasp with 11.8 percent, while magazines, radio and outdoor follow closely behind.

While television ad spending looks unstoppable in the previous chart, there are signs that it’s slowing down, as indicated by the above chart. Mobile will slowly increase over the next few years, while television will see a somewhat similar point, around the $180-$200 billion range.

As for which companies will lead the charge on mobile ad spending, Google will continue to be unstoppable over the next few years, with a large revenue share. However, Facebook will be close behind, at about halfway of what Google is spending, followed by Twitter, Pandora and Yahoo! with much lower numbers.

As for this somewhat complicated final chart, it shows a mobile monetization gap, with Americans spending 24 percent of their time using mobile devices, but only eight percent of ad dollars going into the format. That creates a noticeable gap of $25 billion, according to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report.

More details on the report can be found here.

‘Terminator Genisys’ Brings VR To YouTube

Variety has reported that The Terminator, who will be making his return in the forthcoming Terminator Genisys film on July 1st, is the primary focus in a new virtual reality-oriented project now available on YouTube. The film, produced by Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman), is a 360-degree video experience, showing what happens when Arnold Schwarzenegger’s unstoppable robot goes nuts in YouTube’s studio. The video works in conjunction with Google’s Cardboard virtual reality viewer, and can be seen below.