This month has seen a mix of the positive, the illuminating, the quizzical, and, well – the mischievous.
APAC Ad spend going up.
Nielsen have published their quarterly ad spend report (Global Ad View Pulse). Globally, ad spend is reported to have continued with it’s ‘re-bound’, with the top line everything and everywhere figure being 1.9% quarter on quarter growth. So whilst much of Europe, and North America were flatfish, the APAC figure is the notable element with a solid 5.8% growth, with the star performers being Indonesia, Philippines and China each showing around 20% growth.
Facebook revenues. Product changes paying off, or novelty?
Lots of smiles at Facebook I imagine over their financial statement this month that shows a whopping 53% revenue growth in the second quarter to US$1.81 billion. The company attributes this to mobile, stating that it now derives 41% of it’s total ad revenues from mobile. The shift is the important thing here, as mobile’s contribution was practically zero at the start of 2012. Whilst click-through rates on mobile are far higher than desktop for facebook, those rates are falling. So the question is, are these figures just a lovely blip coming as they do, as a consequence of core product and ad enhancement of late, or has Facebook ended up with a good formula that works in their environments? Publishers should never stop developing and improving ad suites, and Facebook is certainly no different. The news feed ads in their current form people will tire in my view, so facebook needs a short NPD cycle balanced with a practical understanding of the appetite for media planners and buyers to digest changes and enhancements. There is a sweet spot, and this second element I don’t think Facebook has paid enough attention to in the past.
Transacting over Mobile, confidence leaps forward.
Havas and Market Probe International have published some useful insights around consumers attitudes, in 31 markets, to shopping and transacting over mobile. The ‘Digital and New Consumer’ study found that m-commerce is taking hold far more in key APAC markets, than for instance the U.S. or Europe. In terms of researching items or looking for consumer reviews and feedback, the smartphone is an essential tool, with worldwide 43% of respondents saying that they use the device for this purpose, but this measure in some APAC markets it’s appreciably higher with for instance China at 74%, and Singapore at 58%. When asked more broadly around ‘shopping’ on mobile, again, some APAC markets recorded top scores with China at 50%, Singapore at 48%, and India 42%. That APAC consumers display this propensity in the second decade of the internet is of little surprise, as much the scale and adoption of the internet in APAC in recent years is due to the penetration of mobile into very large marketplaces, essentially with desktop ecommerce being skipped in some markets. This supports broader consumer insight relating to high levels of confidence of using mobile. In the same study for instance, user or peer review content is playing more and more a part in helping people reach a decision, even up to the last second before a choice is made. Globally 61% of people say they trust peer reviews more than they trust expert reviews, in China this is 87%. Havas makes the point rightly however, that no channel is in a vacuum, and consideration and buying patterns play out across multiple touch points, so therefore should digital strategies.
Smart devices and multi-tasking.
The market research company DisplaySearch have added some weight and data in tracking the magnitude of multi-tasking across 15 advanced and emerging countries, so it’s relevant for us all. They note that 88% of tablet and 82% of the smartphone owners surveyed use their devices at least some of the time whilst they watch TV (in the traditional way). Some of the uses were web browsing, social media, texting, and looking up weather. A reason cited was the ability to watch what they want where they want when they want without having to fight for the remote. Seems perfectly understandable if a little anti-social, or am I being old fashioned? It’s important then to identify ‘like’ audiences across platforms as this time-shifting behaviour goes mainstream. Companion TV App based propositions have yet to prove themselves to any great degree, and even if they carve out a sustainable role, it will be to contribute to a far more influential intelligence based audience approach to video content consumption, and the brand stories woven throughout.
‘Get The Girl’ App.
I had to end on this. Those cheeky folks at Unilever UK are continuing to invest thinking and budget in mobile with their Lynx brand. 5 years after the ground-breaking ‘Get In There’ mobile campaign, they are at it again, reaching out to their core young, male, and ever-hopeful audience just in time for the Euro summer. They are arming lads with the appropriately named ‘Get The Girl’ App, a holiday essential for rascals, which they claim is more important than your passport. It’s a collision of gamification meets language translation, meets pick up coach, and is harmless, and silly. It’s a good example of branded content with utility, and I’m sure will be a hit on the beaches of Ibiza and elsewhere.
And really lastly, the Mobile Marketing Association is holding it’s annual APAC Forum in Singapore in late August. There’s a strong line-up, with some great topics and content promised – if you can go, go.
Graham Christie is partner of the Big Mobile Group