Ad Networks

Millennial: Local Targeting Gains by 50%

Millennial Media has released its latest SMART report, which offers data about the campaigns running on its network. This edition has case studies and more data than most.

I zeroed in on a statistic that has also been reported in several other articles: location targeting increased by 50% quarter-over-quarter. Among campaigns on Millennial's network using any form of targeting, local targeting (which is at the city level) represented 66% percent of 45% of campaigns employing any form of targeting.

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I took a look back at a previous report covering July 2011 and discovered that 44% of campaigns were then targeted and 67% of those campaigns used what Millennial calls "Local Market Targeting." So the 50% growth figure doesn't entirely make sense to me. But I'm glad to see more advertisers recognizing the value of location targeting. 

Millennial highlights, among others, a Benjamin Moore paint campaign that sought to drive consumers into retail stores with a special offer. According to Millennial, "the campaign drove a consumer engagement rate that is more than double the network’s average for home furnishings and produced unique analytics for Benjamin Moore on consumer behavior around couponing."

Millennial also touted "triple-digit growth" across a range of verticals. Clearly we're in a hyper-growth period for mobile. In addition, Millennial announced earlier this week that they were expanding their operations to the Asian market. 

Why QR Codes, NFC and Augmented Reality Will Disappear into 'Visual Search'

QR codes are proliferating yet it's not clear that consumers are "getting it." ScanLife, it is Q3 trends report, says that 2D or QR barcode scanning is growing dramatically:

  • We have seen over 20 million scans in 2011, and that represents a 440% increase from 2010 through the same time period.
  • The number of countries scanning in a single day increased by 66% in a year. Users are now scanning from 128 different countries daily, a testament to the expanding global footprint of this technology.
  • The aggregated growth is also translating into a significant rise in the individual scans per code. As an example, the single largest marketing campaign this past quarter saw over 400,000 scans, compared to 65,000 a year ago. 

However US and UK consumer surveys indicate that most consumers don't know what a QR code is and only between 6% and 11% have ever scanned one (in the UK it appears to be 19%). According to comScore data, QR code scanners are mainly men and younger people (18-34) vs. other market segments.

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Somewhat strangely, QR codes seem to polarize marketers. There are some very vocal and aggressive QR code detractors that consider the technology a failure. And many see QR codes as some sort of interim step before NFC technology become mass market. 

In a parallel vein there's augmented reality ("AR"), which is a "cool technology" chasing a mass market use case. AR continues to be more of a novelty than something really useful to consumers -- or marketers. But it has potential in many non-commercial and commercial situations.

Then there's NFC, which has been written about extensively in connection with the launch of Google Wallet and mobile payments. Beyond payments, NFC is also a marketing tool and can deliver content and marketing messages to a handset with a simple touch of the device on an NFC-enabled surface or receiver. Given that very close proximity is required to invoke NFC it's not a substitute in all situations for AR or QR codes, which can both work from a distance.

A category that will likely subsume and incorporate all these technologies and tools is "visual search." Exemplified by Google Goggles or Amazon's new "Flow" app, it simply asks consumers to position the handset/camera over or in front of an object and then delivers information: reviews, prices, nearby stores, additional content and so on.

The notion of "visual search" is conceptually simpler and much more consumer friendly than "Augmented Reality," "QR codes" or "NFC." For that reason I believe that visual search will become the metaphor or category name for a range of approaches and technologies that are collectively about getting information or content (whether commercial or non-commercial) into the handset through the smartphone lens. 

NFC, AR and QR Codes all wear their complexity on their proverbial sleeves, while the term "visual search" buries the technological complexity behind a very descriptive and easy to understand concept. 

Google's HTGM Site May Help SMBs Go Mobile

This morning Google has launched a new site (HowToGoMo) intended to educate marketers large and small about the importance of mobile, and direct them to vendors that can build sites for them. I've written up the announcement and initiative generally at Search Engine Land.

The site offers mobile case studies, data on why you need a mobile site ("61% of users are unlikely to return to a site that’s not mobile-friendly") and the ability to see what your site currently looks like on a smartphone.

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The most interesting part of the site from my perspective is a vendor marketplace together with a set of filters that help you choose one. The questions or filter fall into three categories: 

  • Do you want to build it yourself? 
  • How much do you want spend annually (less than $1K or more than $75K)?
  • How quickly do you need one (one day, week or month)?  

There are 12 vendors that are likely to see a bunch of new leads from this site (Google isn't making any money from the leads). It will definitely help SMBs and enterprises accelerate mobile site adoption. As I wrote yesterday, In March of this year Google reported that the overwhelming majority (79%) of its top advertisers didn’t have a mobile-optimized site. But a new report from a firm called the Acquity Group found that 37% of the Internet Retailer 500 now do.

Just nine months ago, the overwhelming majority of small business (SMB) owners didn’t consider mobile an important marketing channel. In February 2011 we found that SMBs had very limited understanding and usage of mobile. Roughly 83% said they were not doing any form of mobile marketing.

However a more recent survey by Borrell Associates, among 484 small business owners, found that “four out of every five plan to spend money on mobile marketing this year; [and] on average these businesses expect to devote more than 20 percent of their ad budgets to mobile initiatives.” The survey also reported that 56% of these SMB respondents had been pitched mobile marketing solutions by “vendors or media outlets.”

In the larger context of yellow pages publishers and other SMB sales channels pitching mobile, as well as widespread adoption of smartphones by small merchants, this Google initiative -- especially its vendor marketplace -- will help speed SMB mobile site adoption. 

Jumptap: Everything Better with Rich Media

Jumptap is also out today with its monthly metrics newsletter on the heels of one from Millennial Media. The most noteworthy piece of data in this report involves the results of an examination of the relative performance of "standard mobile banners" vs. rich media ads: 

We ran an experiment to see how close we could get to isolating rich media as a performance factor, reviewing over 300 million campaign impressions, across several major advertisers that ran both rich and standard media with similar creative and messaging.

As you might expect the rich media ads outperformed the banners. But they did so by a significant margin: 

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Jumptap acknowledges that this wasn't a perfect comparison ("similar creative and messaging") but I believe the data are reflective of a performance gap between the two media types or units. 

Jumptap also reported that 56% of its advertisers used one form of targeting in September, while 8% used two forms and 2% used three or more types. By comparison, 34% used no targeting at all. Among the several forms of targeting location (by MSA) was the most common form (33%). 

In terms of landing pages and actions: click-to-web (76%) and click-to-download (23%) were the "preferred actions." I wonder how many of that 76% have mobile optimized sites or landing pages. I'd wager at least 50% do not. 

According to the Jumptap data, mobile ad clickers tend to be higher income ($50K+), male 2:1 over female and 35-75 years old, with the highest concentration in the 55 to 75 age range. In terms of platforms, Symbian sees the most clicks, followed by iOS, RIM and Android in that order. 

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Average mobile display CTR is 0.50; on the PC it's roughly between 0.1 and 0.3.

Like Millennial, Jumptap now sees twice as many Android devices on its network compared to iOS (47% vs. 23%). Millennial reported 56% of handsets were Android and 28% iOS.

Millennial: Android Share Now Double iOS on Network

Millennial Media's latest SMART report is out and the story is familiar: Android is the top platform, while the iPhone is the top individual device. RIM is still holding its own in the top 20 devices and Windows Phones still haven't shown meaningful growth. 

In July of 2010 smartphones constituted 49% of the devices on Millennial's network (immediately below). Now smartphones represent 72% of all devices on Millennial's network. While they'll never reach 100% (because of tablets and other "connected devices"), by Q1 of next year the number of smartphones on the network will probably be closer to 90%. 

July 2010: 

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Android devices represent 56% of all the handsets showing up for Millennial, while iOS has a 28% share. Accordingly, Android's share is now double iOS on Millennial's network. However Apple outperforms its relative share in terms of monetization, while Android under-performs: Apple devices generate 41% of monetized impressions on Millennial's network vs. 49% for for Android. 

September 2011:  

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Facebook Mobile Inventory Potentially Worth $2.5B

If Facebook wanted to turn on mobile advertising it would instantly become the largest "mobile ad network" on the planet. Indeed, I believe after the IPO Facebook will be all but compelled to run ads on its mobile apps and HTML site. But how much money might Facebook stand to gain from such a move?

A great deal is the short answer. Let's do some simple math to find out. 

Facebook now has more than 1 trillion monthly page views on a global basis. In the US the number of monthly page views is 300 billion. According to an analysis by Hubspot in May, 2011 roughly 33% of Facebook's traffic was coming from mobile devices. 

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If that formula is correct, then approximately 99 billion of Facebook's monthly US page views come from mobile devices. This is mind boggling. 

If we use a $2.50 mobile CPM ($2.50 per 1K impressions) to value this inventory it would mean that Facebook would be in a position to instantly add $247.5 million in US ad revenue to its coffers -- assuming 100% fill.

On a global basis, using the same crude formula, Facebook's inventory would be worth approximatley $2.5 billion, the annual mobile ads run rate that Google announced last week

Mobile + POS Data Will Transform "Online Marketing"

There are now a range of companies working on connecting online activity and ads with action at the POS using mobile devices. NFC-enabled mobile payments is just one of many initiatives going on. For example, Shopkick just announced a deal with Giant Eagle supermarkets that connects the mobile app with Giant Eagle loyalty accounts:

Shopkick's first partnership with a supermarket, and more importantly, co-founder and chief marketing officer Jeff Sellinger said that it allows the startup to "close the loop." Now, by tying user accounts to Giant Eagle loyalty cards, Shopkick will have data on what users actually purchase. That means brands can offer rewards not just for scanning products, but for buying them too.

Google Wallet just expanded its features, as well as the roster of participating stores and merchants. Now with a "single tap" Google Wallet users can pay, redeem coupons and get loyalty points. Currently Google doesn't see the transaction value or other details in the way that Shopkick and Giant Eagle will through their arrangement. But eventually Google will probably get access to more data and make that available to marketers.

Deal vendor Bloomspot has a system that uses registered credit cards to close the loop with daily deal buyers and determine whether they spent more than the face value of the deal in restaurants and stores. Placecast is working on something that matches offers and in-store transactions through credit card accounts. LSN Mobile has a relationship with First Data.

There are several other such examples I could use to illustrate what is a growing and very important trend. 

Mobile devices will allow marketers to see who showed up in stores and, in the very near future, what they bought and how much they spent. There are some significant privacy issues and implications of all this and I don't want to dismiss or minimize them. However the effort to track the influence of ads and offers from online (or traditional media) to the point of sale is a trend that is starting to gain momentum.

We're not that far away from a time when agencies and marketers will have considerably more visibility into what online ads drove what in-store purchases, as well as user profiles based on purchase behavior and response to ads. This data has been collected for years in the offline world but now, through mobile devices, online marketers are going to get some new visibility on the dominant online-offline shopping paradigm. 

Remember that e-commerce is only about 5% to total US retail but the Internet influences billions of dollars in offline transactions. Accordingly the growing visibility that marketers will have in just a few years about who responded to ads and what they spent will have a profound impact on the future sophistication and tactics of "online marketing." 

Report: Android Dominates but iOS the CTR King

Ad networks Jumptap and Millennial Media are out with their respective data newsletters today. The Millennial missive this time focuses on CPG companies and their campaigns. According to Millennial, most of its CPG advertisers' focus was on branding and awareness, rather than driving people into stores to buy products or app downloads.

Yet one of the primary "post click actions" of CPG campaigns involved sending users to a Facebook page or other social media account. "Mobile Social Media represented 78% of the Post-Click Campaign Action Mix for CPG Advertisers in August," according to Millennial. "CPG advertisers utilized mobile campaigns to drive customers to social media outlets where they could engage with the brands and provide feedback on products."

Consistent with their branding objectives, CPG brands also over-indexed on mobile video as well. 

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Jumptap presented data on a fairly broad range of topics, from CTR rates by OS to demographics and device marketshare. Jumptap now says that Android devices now deliver almost 50% of the impressions its network and that the Google OS is close to having more than twice the share of the other operating systems combined.

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For comparison purposes, here's what comScore said yesterday about smartphone OS share in the US: close but not identical to the Jumptap figures. 

Jumptap points out that despite Apple's smaller market share its iOS generates higher CTRs, while Android under-indexes vs. the average on Jumptap's network.
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Most Jumptap campaigns (see below) appear to be sending people to the mobile Web ("click to Web"). What's not clear from the data is whether these campaigns are sending people to mobile-optimized sites/landing pages or whether they're simply going to conventional PC websites. More likely than not it's the latter, given Google's previous comment than nearly 80% of its top advertisers didn't have a mobile-optimized presence. 

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Jumptap said that "mobile users age 45-74 have the highest CTR" and that men have 2X CTR of women. Those earning over $50K click on ads 5X more than those under $50K, which Jumptap attributes to higher rates of smartphone ownership among more affluent consumers.  

Among targeting methods -- and this is echoed by Millennial's data -- the top tactic was location targeting followed by device/handset targeting and demographic targeting. 

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Finally, Jumptap compared the top-spending verticals by CTR. The X-axis in the chart below shows spending and the Y-axis shows relative CTR. Entertainment is the vertical that sits in the sweet spot of both, followed by automotive, insurance and technology/electronics. 

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Survey: 67% Want Local-Mobile Offers, but 45% Concerned about Location Tracking

Prosper Mobile Insights released data from a recent US consumer survey (n=348 smartphone and iPad owners), conducted last month. The survey questions ask a range of things about mobile usage and mobile subscriber attitudes. Below I highlight a few coupon-related findings from the survey. 

Q: To what extent do you agree with the following statements about location-based coupons on your mobile device?:

They are very convenient and useful

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Those that fall into the "Somewhat/Strongly Agree" category equal 67% or 2/3 of respondents. These data simply confirm many other survey findings that have found consumers are interested in mobile coupons. 

Interestingly marketing newsletter MarketingVox focused on the 18% (below) who said they didn't want coupons on their mobile devices, using the contrarian headline: "1 in 5 Mobile Users Don’t Want Coupons."

Q: How would you prefer to receive coupons on your smartphone or tablet? (Check all that apply)

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One could group responses in the slide above generally into two categories: push and pull. Any category that requires "affirmative action" on the part of the consumer (e.g., search, QR code scanning) would fall into the "pull" category. Push categories would include email, SMS, geofencing ("automatically when I am near a store").

Social media check-in is more ambiguous but probably falls into the push category more than pull. Here the user is being presented with an offer as incentive to come to a location/store or is being shown an offer after checking in (e.g., "nearby offers"). 

Respondents were allowed to "check all that apply," so the numbers exceed 100%. Basically these responsdents appear to be saying they want to access coupons in multiple ways, actively and passively.

Using the percentages as points here's how the push vs. pull preferences broke down:

  • Push: 118
  • Pull: 64.1
  • No coupons: 18.1 

Even as many people are interested in searching for deals -- which is about inventory, relevance and control -- they're more interested in getting deals presented to them. Email was the preferred method of receiving deals information. This may be more about familiarity than anything else.

I am concerned about security issues and my location being tracked

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Those who expressed moderate or strong concern about location tracking constituted 44.8% of respondents. This is generally consistent with other survey findings. For example, in Q2 WiFi ad network JiWire found that "53% of all respondents are willing to share location information in exchange for relevant content." That means 47% had concerns about location awareness or tracking.

Accordingly nearly half of the mobile users popular has some ambivalence or concern about giving up location information. 

Google Shows 3-Screen Dayparting Data

Google has been a great source of data and evangelism around mobile usage and advertising. The company is now regularly releasing survey data and exposing some of the usage patterns it is seeing internally in an effort to accelerate awareness of the strategic importance of mobile.

One interesting piece of data released yesterday is on comparative usage of PCs, smartphones and tablets (iPads):

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3JIuyJTuOf0/ToC7SlGcvpI/AAAAAAAAAEU/-Dd50JSS00U/s1600/Better+Together.jpg

What the data above reflect is that PCs are used throughout the day but usage peaks between 4pm and 6pm. Smartphones are also used throughout the day but usage steadily climbs and peaks between 9pm and 11pm. Tablets are primarily used at home during the evening.

There are obvious implications for publishers and advertisers coming from this and other data that show similar usage behavior.

In a previous Google-AdMob survey 77% of tablet (iPad) owners said that they were using their PCs/laptops less often following their purchase of a tablet. What we can infer from that and the above information is that some of the Internet usage at home that would have been on the PC is now happening on tablets. And this substitution will probably continue and grow as tablet sales grow. 

What Exactly Is Flurry Saying and What Does It Mean for Mobile Advertising?

Yesterday mobile analytics company Flurry presented data that was both compelling and potentially confusing. And the way it got reported was misleading: the value of mobile ad inventory to surpass PC display inventory. I want to take a closer look at what Flurry said and its implications for mobile advertising.

Here's what Flurry said verbatim: 

Flurry focuses on the size and growth of available advertising inventory within iOS and Android applications . . . The chart below shows that U.S. app inventory is not only growing at a staggering rate, but also poised to absorb the equivalent of the entire U.S. Internet display advertising spend by the end of this year.

This is confusing. It's also hypothetical.

What Flurry means is that mobile app usage is growing and thereby creating opportunities for advertising ("inventory"). The actual ads aren't there yet. Although some networks and exchanges promise publishers/developers near 100% fill the existing monetization doesn't match the growth of page views. 

Flurry assigns a value to that growing "inventory" ($2.50 CPM), which is how they project out the hypothetical mobile spend. Accordingly if there were advertisers sufficient to fill all the potential mobile "inventory" it could potentially exceed the value of online advertising. However the discussion is all about consumer behavior, creating opportunities for advertising -- not about actual monetization.

According to Nielsen, two-thirds of (Android) user mobile Internet time is spent in apps vs. one-third spent on the mobile Web. 

Android smartphone apps-vs-web

By comparison mobile search occupies relatively little time, whether in-app or through a browser. However it's currently driving more revenue than display by some estimates.

Regardless, the implications of the Flurry data are significant. Beyond the fact that they show consumer adoption and massive revenue potential accordingly, they also show that mobile display is likely to be a larger part of the mobile advertising pie than many forecasters had imagined. 

With that assumption, the second question is: how much of that ad inventory will be geotargeted or local? Some have assumed that "local advertising" would dominate mobile because of the better targeting options on mobile devices vs. PC. However local ads many not be a dominant part of the ad spend. Location may play out on landing or secondary pages rather than in the ad creative itself.

Local deals may be pervasive in the display space but so will brand and national ads. 

Millennial: Windows Phones a Rowboat on the Android Sea

The iPhone vs. Android meme is getting very tired yet it persists. That's the thrust of the coverage surrounding Millennial Media's "Mobile Mix" report for July 2011. Among other data, it ranks handsets and market share on the Millennial network by device type and operating system. Here are the "quick facts":

  • iOS and RIM impressions were relatively flat month-over-month
  • Android impressions grew 31% month-over-month
  • Symbian impressions grew 11% month-over-month
  • Windows Phone 7 impressions grew 71% month-over-month

The Windows Phone growth is noteworthy for the fact that that there is growth/life. By contrast comScore shows Windows/Microsoft losing share month over month. However high percentage growth from a very small base is, in actual handset numbers, not particularly meaningful. Several months of such growth would be significant however. We'll need to wait for the first Nokisoft phones to appear to see whether Windows will "make it" as an OS.

Unfortunately Millennial doesn't put much historical context into its individual reports. So I always like to take a look at the data from several months or a year ago to compare the figures. Accordingly here are several charts from this month's report and July 2010:

Top handsets on the network (7/10 then 7/11):

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The iPhone has maintained its top position and RIM is holding on with three handsets in the top 20 vs. four a year ago. But otherwise it's all Android.

Operating system share (7/10 then 7/11):

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As you can see smartphones have grown from 49% to 68% on the network. In the US market smartphones are about 40% of all handsets now according to Nielsen. As you can also see, the relationship between iOS and Android has flipped in a year with Android handsets now representing 61% of all impressions. 

In terms of monetization and revenue, however, Android continues to underperform its share while Apple devices outperform their relative share. 

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Finally, as PaidContent has pointed out, one of the more interesting pieces of data surrounds "carrier" usage. Over the past year WiFi access has grown from 26% to 33%. This is probably a direct result of the use of "connected devices" (e.g., the iPad) more than any other variable. 

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However as carriers eliminate unlimited data and throttle speeds on their networks, on the go users will increasingly seek alternatives that offer cheaper and/or faster access to their applications and the mobile Internet.

Placecast ShopAlerts Now App-Ready

Placecast announced today the availability of ShopAlerts push notifications for retailer mobile apps. Previously Placecast ShopAlerts enabled geographically relevant SMS or MMS messages after a consumer opt-in. This new announcement means that geofenced alerts can be integrated into existing retailer apps to boost the effectiveness of those apps.

In the conventional scenario, users need to launch a retailer app and affirmatively search or browse for content. The new program enables consumers to receive LBS alerts that use promotional messages to direct consumers to the nearest local store or outlet, once inside the geofenced area. It's not clear whether the app-based ShopAlerts would require explicit consent to LBS notifications. (On the iPhone notifications require acceptance in general.) Best practices suggest at least a disclosure if not an opt-in. 

Push notifications aren't new but this combination of app + alerts could prove effective for retailers and help boost app usage. Examples of companies already working with Placecast ShopAlerts include North Face, Subway, Kohl’s, Kmart, Starbucks and JetBlue, among several others.

The efficacy of geofenced ShopAlerts has been demonstrated in the UK with O2 and in various tests and trials in the US.

Related Placecast posts: 

Millennial's 50th SMART Report Charts Growing Sophistication of Mobile Campaigns

Millennial Media is out with its monthly SMART report. Yesterday the company hosted an in-depth webinar to review the data in advance of the report's release and in honor of this being the 50th such report. Familiar data points about campaign tactics and devices were discussed. For example, in June, Android retains its platform leadership (53% of impressions), while the iPhone remains the top individual device (27% of impressions).

Here are some of the things I "tweeted" yesterday during the webinar: 

  • More than 70% of Millennial ad impressions are coming from in-app activity
  • 40% of mobile consumers' usage time spent inside the home (based on InsightExpress data)
  • Local market targeting continues to gain traction to drive consumers to brick and mortar locations
  • Feature phones are no longer in top 20 handsets on the Millennial network

But the most interesting thing about the report to me is the comparison of June 2011 findings with those in the first report more than two years ago. Here are several graphics that reflect the market's growth and evolution:

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The broad themes reflected in the graphics above are: the rise of touchscreen smartphones (Android and the iPhone in particular) and the growing sophistication of mobile advertisers and their campaigns. I don't have the vertical categories chart among those above. However Millennial has seen explosive, quadruple-digit growth in verticals like Finance, Retail/Restaurants, Automotive, Entertainment, Travel and Pharma. 

In response to a question during the webinar about the sophistication of advertisers Millennial SVP  Mack McKelvey responded, "The vast majority of our advertisers are very savvy and challenge us all the time."

Mobile Users Prefer Coupons and Opt-In SMS to Other Types of Ads

A press release based on research from Upstream (conducted by Luth Research) carries the following headline: "Personalized Messages Four Times More Effective than Time-, Lifestyle- or Location-Based Offers . . ." This came to me in an email last night.

The headline and the presentation of the data in the release are somewhat misleading, however. And with so many companies releasing data for PR reasons (and the market awash in numbers) no one should rely on a single piece of data or single study. There are some interesting findings however. 

The Upstream study involved a consumer survey of just over 2,000 US adults (both smartphone and feature phone users); there's no behavioral data here. Below is the hierarchy of ad preferences based on the categories in the survey:

Users ranked personalized offers at 59 percent over those focused on timing (18 percent), lifestyle (16 percent) or location (8 percent). Smartphone users responded in similar fashion, with 60 percent preferring personalized offers over promotions based on timing (17 percent), lifestyle (10 percent) or location (14 percent).

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This stands for the idea that personalization trumps dayparting, lifestyle and location. Lifestyle is a vague concept that seems less relevant than "my tastes and interests." Indeed, this phrase implies greater relevance than these other aided-response categories. The verbatim question is: "In your mind what constitutes the best basis for an offer to be relevant to you?"

Location by itself doesn't mean an offer or ad is relevant, neither does timing. Timing and location are "hollow" in the above list. An ad directed ad people in San Francisco may or may not have any application to my situation. However an ad or offer that has to do with "my tastes and interests" may require location to be relevant and actionable. I can't attend a movie premiere or retail sale happening in another city.

Timing is also an important variable. A discount offer for a restaurant or bar may be more or less relevant depending on time of day and/or day of week.  

The larger point is: multiple variables help make ads more actionable and relevant. And most transactions are conducted or fulfilled offline, so location becomes a way to lead people to a transaction unless it's a pure ecommerce event.

An ad for a new product -- a sound system for example -- needs to show me where I can hear, see and possibly buy the product (location) to make it more than simply a less-than-optimal awareness ad. An ad for a holiday retail sale on my phone is going to be a lot more effective if it comes with a store locator vs. taking me to a crappy mobile shopping experience on my handset. 

Some of the other data among the findings reveal that consumers often assume offline action or local fulfillment. For example, smartphone owners valued the following categories as those they were most interested in (re ads/offers): 

  1. "Content" for my mobile device (it's unclear but this might be apps, music)
  2. Movies/entertainment, including tickets (all fulfilled locally)
  3. Offering from my mobile service provider (perhaps hoping for a discount)
  4. Retail store (95%+ offline purchase probability)
  5. Computers and technology
  6. Travel or vacation (likely e-commerce transaction that pertains to location)

So when we "peel back the onion" on the data, what we see is that people want relevant ads and offers but that location is very much in the background or an assumed feature of the offer.

Perhaps the most interesting and significant data form the survey concerns the most desired marketing "channel" or ad delivery mechanism. The survey question asks, "Which of the following channels for delivering ads to your mobile phone about a product/service would make you more likely to learn more about or purchase the product/service?"

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Among smartphone owners the top responses were the following:

  1. Mobile coupon
  2. Text message (after opt-in)
  3. Mobile email
  4. Ad on mobile site 

Amazingly smartphone users were more interested in SMS marketing messages than feature phone users.

The big conclusion I draw from the data above is that mobile users are interested in saving money (coupons) and essentially want control over the marketing messages they receive (opt-in SMS, or email). Thus these types of ads are likely to be most effective. However, again, the survey is measuring attitudes and not behavior. 

Report: SonyEricsson Android Owners Click Ads Most, HTC Least

Ad network Jumptap released its latest "MobileSTAT" data dive for July. This month's newsletter focuses on Android but also contains general metrics from the Jumptap network. There's a link to a write up of the June data at the bottom of this post.

In the latest issue of its newsletter Jumptap has created a map that shows where Android, iOS and RIM handsets "overindex" by state. This aspect of the report is getting lots of coverage. However the data are little more than a curiosity with few practical or actionable implications. These data may also not actually reflect the sales distribution of the various OS handsets because the Jumptap network is not necessarily representative of the mobile Internet as a whole or used equally by a representative group of mobile subscribers.

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More interesting are the other metrics in the report. For example, Jumptap showcases Android handset CTRs by device type and by carrier. CTRs for Android devices are generally consistent across carriers (averaging about 20%). But there appears to be wide variability in display ad CTRs according to handset type. There's no satisfactory explanation offered for the variation in CTR performance by handset.

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Jumptap says the following about why Android SonyEricsson handset owners generate the highest CTRs:

We speculate Sony’s relatively high CTR is due to their positioning as a premium brand, but don’t rule out the role that usability, hardware and interface may have.

By contrast I would speculate that LG and SonyEricsson handset owners are late Android adopters, while HTC and Motorola handset owners are earlier adopters and so less inclined to click on ads than Android neophytes.

The following is Jumptap's CTR chart by age, showing that those between 55 and 75 click the most. 

Screen shot 2011-08-05 at 8.35.20 AM

Compare the data from June: 

Screen shot 2011-06-30 at 5.30.39 PM

These data are likely impacted by a higher number of "unintended clicks" and/or lower mobile sophistication levels in these older age groups. 

Jumptap also said that 61% of the campaigns on its network are targeted in some way (vs. 49% in June). The chart below shows the breakdown of targeting methods. Note that "location" is only used by about 18% of advertisers using any form of targeting. 

Screen shot 2011-08-05 at 8.34.50 AM

Finally most advertisers on Jumptap's network appear to be sending people to mobile websites or landing pages. Jumptap speculates that this reflects growth in the number of mobile websites. It's a safe bet however that the entire "click to Web" group is not sending users to optimized mobile sites or landing pages.

Screen shot 2011-08-05 at 8.35.11 AM

A substantial number of these "click to Web" mobile marketers may be unsophisticated, however, and simply sending users to their PC sites -- incorrectly assuming that the smartphone browser does a good job rendering them.

See also: Selective Zip-Level Targeting Produced 85% Lift.

HipCricket Acquired by Little-Known Augme

Yesterday Augme Technologies, which recently purchased 2D barcode marketer JAGTAG, announced the acquisition of SMS mobile marketing pioneer HipCricket. The purchase price of was $44.5 million ($6 million in cash and $38.5 million in Augme stock). There's also an earnout that could yield an additional $27.5 million.

The HipCricket team will be retained by Augme, which has been until now an off-the-radar mobile marketing company. The addition of HipCricket, together with the JAGTAG assets, will provide a revenue boost and a new client base, as well as a broad array of tools and new capabilities. 

HipCricket began as an SMS-based marketing platform in 2004 but more recently started to offer a wider array of mobile marketing capabilities, as well as launching an ad network. HipCricket clients include Nestle, Macys, ClearChannel, Coors and others. 

The structure of the deal (mostly stock from a little-known company) suggests that HipCricket was actively trying to sell itself.

Placecast Opens Up Geofenced Marketing to Self-Service

Placecast has introduced a self-service version of its SMS and MMS ShopAlerts marketing platform. The platform enables template-driven campaign creation, with extensive control over the radius of geofenced areas as well as the time and dates of message delivery.

This means that any merchant, franchisee or small businesses could potentially utilize the Placecast platform to deliver geographic-based push messages and promotions to opt-in consumers. It's going to be challenging for small businesses as a practical matter. But it's particularly well-suited to franchise businesses and can handle multiple locations with ease. Distribution is up to the business or entity, which would need to capture the opt-ins (similar to follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook).

Messages or promotions can be built around deals and offers but don't have to be; there are many other types of content that can populate these messages.  

Placecast works with O2 in the UK and AT&T in the US, as well as individual retailers. The O2 program has seen great success in the UK; the AT&T program is still in very early stages. Unless carriers are going to buy ad networks, the ShopAlerts/O2program is the model for carrier-based advertising -- although it's not apparent that the carriers see that clearly.

Screen shot 2011-07-21 at 11.15.11 AM

The original beta version of the ShopAlerts program, tested with selected retailers in the US in late 2009 and early 2010, yielded impressive results:

  • 60% of participants found the location-triggered messages to be cool & innovative
  • 79% said it increased their likelihood to visit a store
  • 65% made a purchase as a result of a ShopAlerts message (though not necessarily in real time after receiving the SMS)
  • 73% of participants would definitely or probably use the service in the future

Agencies and companies often neglect SMS as a marketing medium and CRM tool. Even with smartphone penetration nearing 40% in the US that still means that 60% of users don't have them. SMS penetration and usage are nearly 100%. 

Related posts on Placecast: 

Android Has 16 of Top 20 Phones on Millennial Network, Tablets Cannibalizing PC Usage

Millennial Media's Mobile Mix monthly device report is out this morning. And once again I'll excerpt what I think is interesting. First here are some of the top bullets, representing trends the company is seeing on its mobile ad network:

  • The iPhone was the top individual device (for a long time now). However Android was the "leading OS on our network for the 7th consecutive month  . . . Android also had 16 of the top 20 mobile phones."
  • iOS impressions (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) grew 18% vs a year ago. Android impressions grew 11%.
  • Windows Phone impressions grew 31% quarter-over-quarter; RIM impressions grew 29% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Connected devices (iPod touch, etc.) and tablets (iPad) accounted for 18% of all impressions on the network

The share of impressions being generated by smartphones is basically flat. In March 2011 smartphones were responsible for 64% of the impressions on Millennial's network. Today, in July, it's 65%. 

Screen shot 2011-07-15 at 5.34.25 AM

So-called connected devices constitute 18% of Millennial's impressions. This month Millennial has included some InsightExpress data that addresses tablets. In the chart below are behaviors that have shifted to tablets or have been impacted by the acquisition of an iPad or other tablet device:

 Screen shot 2011-07-15 at 5.34.42 AM

These numbers are lower but consistent with other data showing that tablets do cannibalize some PC usage. Below are data from a Google-AdMob survey on the same question: 

 Picture 27

Nielsen offers similar data (May 2011): 

Now back to the Millennial data. In May iOS had a 27% share of impressions but was responsible for 45% of revenue on the Millennial network. This month, iOS's share is 26% but revenues generated are 49%. Accordingly from a revenue standpoint iOS continues to "outperform" its share percentage, while Android "underperforms": 54% share, 41% of revenue generated. 

Screen shot 2011-07-15 at 5.35.01 AM

Among the top 20 handsets that Millennial sees, there are three RIM devices and the iPhone. Otherwise it's all Android. This is an amazing story.

Google CEO Larry Page said yesterday on Google's earnings call that the company was activating 550,000 devices a day. The company also disclosed that there were a total of 135 million activated Android devices in the market. There are a total of 400 Android devices in the market.

As of the end of Q2 2011 Apple had sold a total of 189 million iOS devices, including iPod Touches and iPads. 

UK Carrier O2 Seeing Success with LBS Offers

UK carrier O2 (owned by Spain's Telefonica) is seeing great success with its opt-in SMS marketing program O2 More. The location-based service is powered by Placecast, which also supports a similar but more nascent program in the US for AT&T. (It's not clear how much promotional effort AT&T is putting behind it.)

O2 not long ago announced it had more than two million subscribers for More. Consumers sign up for the O2 program, specifiy interest categories and recieve no more than a single text per day. The program sees very low churn. 

Earlier this month the UK carrier touted the success of a More campaign for gym Fitness First:

Fitness First targeted O2 customers with location-based messages offering a free two-day pass and details of the nearest club. This resulted over 1,100 recipients signing up as new members of Fitness First on four month and 12 month contracts.

With average membership costing just under £300 per year, this uptake generated increased revenue around £400,000.

The best responding target audience was 18 to 35-year-old smart phone using single Londoners, who enjoy engaging through social media.

US carrier T-Mobile recently got into the daily deals market with the launch of an app called "more for me." But with much larger competitors -- and so many competitors -- it's unlikely that T-Mobile will see great success with the program.

However daily deals could be converted into SMS messages for broader distribution and differentiation. Indeed, the O2-Placecast model is a stronger bet than an app strategy for carrier advertising, and can reach 100% of the carrier's customers potentially.

Many marketers and companies tend to look "beyond" SMS to in-app ads and mobile Web advertising because SMS isn't sexy. (Just like text ads in search aren't sexy.) However the reach of SMS is 100% and the response rates to opt-in text messaging programs can be huge. 

For example, in early 2010 Placecast found the following in its US beta test of ShopAlerts (the same kind of program run by O2): 

  • 60% of participants found the location-triggered messages to be cool & innovative
  • 79% said it increased their likelihood to visit a store
  • 65% made a purchase as a result of a ShopAlerts message (this sometimes occurred on the same day and sometimes later)
  • 73% of participants would definitely or probably use the service in the future