Mobile Advertising

Jumptap: Android and iOS Clicks Going in Opposite Directions

Jumptap just released its January 2012 mobile metrics report. There are a number of interesting things in the document. Among them, Jumptap saw a meaningful decline in iOS share of traffic over the course of 2011. This is consistent with what others have reported.

In general Android now has a little less than twice the market share of the iPhone in the US. However, December data show an surge in iPhone growth because of the 4S. 

Screen shot 2012-02-02 at 1.30.08 PM

ComScore released the following market share data for smartphones in Q4. Android grew 2.5%, which was nearly matched by the iPhone on a percentage basis. 

Here's previously released Nielsen data regarding smartphone share among recent US buyers. 

Another very interesting datapoint from Jumptap is the relative CTR rates of ads on Android and iOS devices. According to Jumptap, with successive versions of the OS, CTRs have gone in opposite directions for iOS and Android. Jumptap had no good explanation for the trend. 

Screen shot 2012-02-02 at 1.27.36 PM

Jumptap also presented a chart showing the relative usage of apps and the mobile web. In December they saw roughly equal shares of usage: 

  • Apps: 50.7%
  • Mobile Web: 49.3%

Compare comScore apps vs. mobile web share for December, 2011 (comparable in share):

  • Apps: 47.6.%
  • Mobile Web: 47.5%

Finally Jumptap offered some tablet traffic comparisons on its network as of December 31, 2011:

  • iPad: 44%
  • Kindle Fire: 30%
  • Other: 26%

What this would suggest is that non-iPad tablets have a majority share of traffic (56% to 44%) in the US. This probably calls into question whether Jumptap's network is representative of the US mobile market as a whole.

How's Our Four-Year-Old Mobile Forecast Doing?

Several years ago Dan Miller and I built a mobile advertising forecast that factored in display, search and pay per call. We haven't updated it in part because we've been extremely busy but also because the market is so dynamic. Beyond this there are scores of mobile ad forecasts out there, so it just seemed like adding more noise to the cocophany.

Here's what we projected in 2008:

Screen shot 2011-10-04 at 8.41.30 AM

There's a new mobile ad-revenue forecast out today from eMarketer, which upwardly revises to $2.6 billion (2012) the company's previous forecast. It's very close to our number above. EMarketer's number is somewhat larger -- but not by much. 

While the eMarketer forecast isn't an "average" of third party data, it reviews and takes into account the other data in the market:

Screen shot 2012-01-26 at 10.15.23 AM

Generally speaking, most forecasts are either too conservative ("contrarian") or overly "optimistic," often in an effort to grab attention and coverage for the firms generating them. 

If (or when) we re-do our mobile ad forecast above -- since this year is( the final year of the projection -- our methodology will likely change somewhat, because the market has changed so much in the past four years. Frankly, I'm surprised and pleased that our forecast has so closely tracked the actual growth of mobile ad revenues. 

Millennial Data Show Adverstisers Using Mobile to Drive in-Store Visits

Millennial Media is out with its latest SMART report (November, 2011). As always it showcases advertiser behavior and tactics on Millennial's network. This month focuses on the Telecom industry and its mobile ad efforts. What's interesting to me is how advertisers are increasingly and self-consciously using mobile to send people into stores and local dealers.

There are a mix of advertiser objectives on display in the Millennial document:

  • Online lead-generation
  • Brand or product awareness
  • Mobile commerce
  • Local store visits

 Screen shot 2012-01-11 at 10.38.09 AM

However Millennial reports growth in the use of store locators and local market targeting:

  • Store Locator experienced growth of 47% month-over-month, with 33% of the Post-Click Campaign Action Mix in November. Retail and Auto advertisers leveraged Store Locator to drive customers into stores and dealerships for seasonal sales.
  • Local Market targeting represented 69% of the Targeted Audience Mix in November. Restaurant and Telecom advertisers targeted customers with a variety of regional promotions to increase foot traffic into restaurants and stores where customers could redeem their offers. 

We're still in a period of experimentation with mobile advertising and best practices have yet to clearly emerge (although there are obviously some). Eventually people will figure out the best uses of mobile and what scenarios are most effective.

I think however we'll see two almost paradoxical things emerge: mobile is great for driving online-->offline visits (a kind of direct response) as well as a great brand-awareness medium.  

Groupon in Local + Mobile EU Distribution Deal with Deutsche Telekom

This morning Groupon and Deutsche Telekom announced a "strategic partnership" that will deliver Groupon deals to Deutsche Telekom customers throughout Europe. The deal is significant for both parties. Deutsche Telekom has a presence in 10 European countries. 

According to the release: 

The partnership marks the first time Groupon will partner with a multi-national service provider to distribute its products and services across a wide international network. It is also significantly enhances Deutsche Telekom's position as a leading provider of the latest applications for its customers.

Using a wide range of marketing and sales tools, varying from promotion activities to deeply integrating Groupon services in selected fixed and mobile services, Deutsche Telekom will offer Groupon services directly to its customers. Scheduled to be available in the first half of 2012 Deutsche Telekom mobile customers will enjoy Groupon's mobile services on their devices without the need for a separate download providing easy access to the best local deals in their area.

To those who dismiss Groupon as a business without a future, this deal is a powerful reminder of the strength of the Groupon brand and its near-global footprint.

The key to success will involve two things: deal coverage and execution. How much inventory is offered and how well presented are the deals?

Groupon Now, the company's mobile offering, in the US has so far not been a success. Accordingly that experience raises questions about how this might play out in a mobile context with Deutsche Telekom's subscribers. However it will not be limited to mobile. 

By contrast UK carrier (Telefonica) O2's opt-in "O2 More" partnership with Placecast to deliver local coupons/deals has proven to be very successful. So there is a precedent that shows this could play out in a very successful way for both companies if well executed. 

Telenav Introduces Personalized, X-Platform Navigation and Search App: "Scout"

At CES today GPS provider Telenav is launching a new app (and a new brand in a way) called Scout. It's a website; there's also a smartphone app (iPhone for now) and an in-car nav capability. Accordingly, it's coming to Ford vehicles later this year according to the company.

Here's how Telenav describes Scout: "The first daily personal navigator that will be seamlessly accessible across the web, smartphones, and in-car systems – offering users an easy and consistent discovery and navigation experience no matter where they are." 

Indeed, the cross-platform feature and personalization are key differentiation themes: 

Scout opens to My Dashboard, a customizable start screen that allows users to quickly get personalized, real-time commute times to work or home – as well as instant access to local search for easy discovery of new places and saved favorites. My Dashboard was created to solve the need for an everyday navigation tool, even when driving to familiar destinations.

The website enables users to conduct local searches (ratings are coming largely from Yelp), create favorite lists, get directions and share content with friends. That content can be later accessed on the Scout smartphone app or in-car.


Scout is free and will provide voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. Telenav also has free and paid apps for the iPhone and Android, which provide the same capabilities and most of the same content and local search features. The Scout app and site are supported by ads from Citysearch and xAd. 

The "Scout" brand as well as its look and features are more consumer friendly than "Telenav," which came out of the enterprise navigation segment.  That was probably the impetus behind the creation of the new site/app, which relies on the same infrastructure as Telenav proper. Telenav is also the provider behind many of the carriers' paid navigation apps. 

My experience with the Telenav app for the iPhone since giving up my Android handset and Google Navigation has been very positive.

Jumptap Maps Kindle Fire Hotspots

Out with its December "MobileSTAT" mix of network data, Jumptap confirms what others before it (most notably Millennial Media) have said about Kindle Fire -- that it's the most successful Android tablet out of the gate:

In the first two weeks after the Fire’s mid-November launch, Amazon’s tablet outpaced all of the other iPad competitors in traffic including the Motorola Zoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab. Kindle Fire traffic grew 270% in November.

Here are the top Kindle cities in the US, as reflected in ad requests on Jumptap's network:

Screen shot 2012-01-06 at 6.08.09 AM

Google’s Andy Rubin reported in Q4 last year that roughly 6 million Android tablets were in market. However there's not much evidence of actual usage. For example, see the following data from WiFi ad network JiWire (which also confirms Kindle Fire's surge):

The rumor is that Google will be producing a 7-inch tablet to compete with Kindle Fire and potentially undercutting it on price. 

Finally, a few other pieces of data from the MobileSTAT report. Android handsets now have more than 2X share of other operating systems on its network (Android 52.7%, iOS 22.1%). Compare Millennial's numbers (Android 50% vs. iOS 30%).

Among ad-targeting methods, location/geo is by far more widely used than other forms. While 79% of advertisers on Jumptap's network use at least one form of targeting, 64% use only one. Jumptap anticipates that will increase however over the coming year. 

Mobile Predictions: 2012 Edition

Last week I put some mobile predictions for 2012 into a column at Marketing Land. However many people probably didn't see them given that it was still during the holiday. So here they are again in more compact form:

  1. 2012 ends with 65% smartphone penetration in the US
  2. Android reaches 60%+ smartphone penetration by the end of 2012
  3. Voice search: Siri expands its reach to many more third party services; Google and Microsoft beef up their competitive voice offerings
  4. Apple launches its own mapping service for iOS
  5. RIM’s co-CEOs resign in 1H 2012
  6. Windows Phones see modest but not huge success in North America, greater success in Europe/Asia
  7. Major smartphone security (hacking/virus) event happens this year (most likely on Android handsets)
  8. Mobile payments see continued growth but 2012 isn’t the “breakthrough” year
  9. Tablets galore: 100 million tablets in market by the end of 2012 (globally). The iPad represents 65% of the market
  10. Google announces mobile ads “run rate” of $4 billion (in Q4)
  11. Facebook launches mobile advertising in 1H 2012
  12. Amazon buys a mobile ad network (Millennial or Jumptap)

The Great QR Code Debate

Very few people in the mobile industry are neutral about QR codes. People either love 'em or hate 'em and think they'll go away as soon as other (NFC, augmented reality) technologies take over. QR code boosters cite data that show scanning rates are increasing and promote successful case studies. Detractors cite surveys that show most people don't know what they are and generally ignore them.

AdAge covers Forrester data that argues "only 5% of Americans who own mobile phones actually used the 2-D barcodes in the three months ending July 2011 . . . and those 14 million early adopters tended to be young, affluent and male." Earlier comScore data confirmed this demographic profile: 

More than half of all QR code scanners were between the ages of 18-34 (53.4 percent). Those between the age of 25-34, who accounted for 36.8 percent of QR code scanners, were twice as likely as the average mobile user to engage in this behavior, while 18-24 year olds were 36 percent more likely than average (index of 136) to scan. More than 1 of every 3 QR code scanners (36.1 percent) had a household income of at least $100,000, representing both the largest and most over-represented income segment among the scanning audience.

ComScore extrapolated from its survey that 14 million Americans had scanned a QR code. Most scanning occurred on traditional media ads or product packaging, though many had scanned QR codes online.

Last year marketing firm Russell Herder conducted a survey (n=500) that confirmed the demographic profile of QR code scanners presented above, and also that it was a minority use case. The majority of mobile users have not scanned one.

According to the survey almost 75% of respondents had seen QR codes. However a dramatically smaller percentage had actually scanned one. 

Screen shot 2012-01-03 at 8.17.37 AMScreen shot 2012-01-03 at 8.18.04 AM

Most significantly the actual experience of scanning a QR code was generally mixed. Respondents said that doing so only delivered value "sometimes" for most people (although 80% had a positive experience one could argue).

Beyond the "how-to" problem, most marketers in my experience aren't delivering a sufficient reason to scan codes. If all QR codes offered discounts, for example, many more people would scan them. But in most ads the reason to scan a code is unclear; only occasionally is there a specific QR call to action. 

Screen shot 2012-01-03 at 8.17.53 AM

As a practical matter, for the time being at least, QR codes amount to a way to make a "tech-forward" branding statement and not much more. If marketers put more "meat" behind QR codes they could develop some staying power and become more mainstream. However if they're not used thoughtfully then they will be swept aside when NFC or some other "new, new" mobile marketing vehicle comes along.

Millennial Seeing 'Hundreds of Millions' of Kindle Fire Ad Impressions

Millennial Media is out this morning with its latest "Mobile Mix" devices report. The report reflects the distribution of devices and corresponding operating systems on Millennial's network. Over time the percentage of smartphones on Millennial's network has grown dramatically and now stands at 70%. By contrast smartphone penetration in the US is about 44% according to the latest Nielsen figures. The other 30% of devices on the Millennial network are feature phones (14%) and so-called "connected devices" (16%): iPod Touches, Kindles, iPads and other tablets.

Connected devices are the main focus of Millennial's newsletter this time, in particular the Kindle Fire. Millennial confirms the popularity and apparently significant sales of the Kindle Fire, saying that the company is seeing a "monthly run rate of hundreds of millions of impressions":

Since its release in mid-November, the Kindle Fire has made an impact on the connected device market right out of the gate with early signs of strong consumer adoption.

On the Millennial Media platform, impressions from the Kindle Fire have grown at an average daily rate of 19% since its launch several weeks ago. We’re not just seeing millions of impressions, we’re seeing a monthly run rate of hundreds of millions of impressions.

The Kindle Fire’s impression growth on our platform has slightly outpaced that of the iPad when the iPad launched in early 2010. Though the Kindle Fire has been introduced into a more mature tablet market than the market which greeted the original iPad, the integration of Amazon’s robust digital entertainment library and the $199 price point may also have helped drive this early use by consumers. (emphasis added.)

The question raised in the excerpt above is whether "the $199 price point may [ ] have helped drive this early use by consumers." It's pretty clear the answer is "yes." The Amazon brand has certainly been critical, but it's mainly the $199 price that is responsible for the device's huge sales. The iPad created the new market for tablets and Kindle unlocked demand among those who we're more price sensitive and resisted buying "no-name" lower-priced Android tablets. 

Among the smartphones on Millennial's network, 50% are Android based handsets. However, save the Nook and Kindle Fire, Google/Android tablets have had almost no success for reasons of price and quality.

Retrevo presented some interesting survey data yesterday showing consumer tablet demand is greatest for the iPad, followed by the Kindle Fire and then the B&N Nook. Retrevo shows that there is a market for Android tablets -- the Kindle Fire has already confirmed that -- provided the price is right and at least $100 less than the iPad.

Putting aside quality for a moment -- Android Honeycomb was a major disappointment from a UX perspective -- price is the major variable that consumers are responding to in Kindle Fire (but with the confidence of the Amazon brand behind it). The problem is that it's almost impossible for most tablet OEMs to get prices low enough to make any margin on them and be price-competitive.

If they match the iPad pricing they're perceived as imitators (e.g., Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab). But mobile carrier subsidies, which bring down the prices of smartphones, have not worked so far stimulate Android tablet demand -- mainly because consumers don't want another two-year carrier contract and the associated data fees. They're buying WiFi tablets instead. 

Android-based tablets that have been priced at or below $200 in the past have been made by companies that are unfamiliar to consumers and received poor quality ratings from experts and consumer reviewers alike. Even though Kindle Fire has had its share of problems and disappointed many reviewers, consumers know and like Amazon.

It was also shown that Amazon was taking a loss on the sale of every Kindle Fire, to establish a beachhead in the tablet market and because the company figured it could make up the loss and much more on content sales. 

There are rumors that Apple will introduce a 7" tablet next year to compete with the Kindle Fire, just as Amazon will go "up market" and deliver a 10" tablet.

Google, for its part, has suggested that it will respond to lagging Android tablet sales by bringing its own "higest quality" tablet to market next year. We'll see whether this is with an OEM partner or Google-branded (i.e., Chrome or Nexus tablet). Google is clearly another company -- one of the very few -- that could offer the combination of brand-instilled consumer confidence and subsidized pricing.  

Network xAd Raises $9M, Will Challenge AT&T for Local-Mobile Ad Crown

Local-mobile ad network xAd has announced a new $9 million round of funding. The money comes from Emergence Capital Partners, SoftBank Capital and Palisades Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. Roughly a year ago xAd raised about $4 million from Emergence Capital.

The company supports search, display and pay-per-call advertising. It also owns the Go2 mobile directory properties.

xAd says it's the "largest mobile-local advertising network in the U.S." Recently AT&T has laid claim to that crown saying it serves a billion mobile ad impressions monthly. AT&T offers mobile display ads, while xAd has text-based search ads as well. In May xAd announced that it had served more than 2 billion ads. 

In November, xAd reported 10 billion monthly ad impressions and 90 million monthly local-search requests. 

While ad networks such as Jumptap, Millennial, InMobi and AdMob all offer geotargeted ad inventory (to varying degrees of geo), xAd and AT&T specialize in locally relevant advertising. AT&T contends its ads deliver a much higher CPM than "remnant" ad networks. Previously xAd said that it can deliver a $30 CPM to publishers (not all inventory). 

In addition to xAd and AT&T, there are other local-mobile ad networks (mostly display):

  • LSN Mobile
  • Verve Wireless
  • Marchex (PPCall) 
  • Chitika
  • CityGrid
  • Navteq
  • JiWire

xAd both aggregates third party (e.g., yellow pages) advertiser inventory and sells directly to national and local businesses. In September xAd said that it had 1.2 million advertisers in its network, which represented "about 30% to 40% of [total] local mobile search traffic and reach" in the US.

Is 'The Fattest City in America' Also the Most Mobile Savvy?

The IAB put out a list this week of the "Top Mobile Shopping Savvy U.S. Cities." Here is the list:

  1. Houston
  2. New York
  3. Atlanta
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Dallas/Ft. Worth
  6. Tampa/St. Petersburg
  7. Chicago
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Seattle/Tacoma
  11. San Francisco/Bay Area
  12. Boston
  13. Detroit
  14. Minneapolis/St. Paul
  15. Phoenix

In order to come up with its rankings the IAB considered four criteria:

  • Ownership of a mobile phone
  • Propensity to be influenced by mobile coupons
  • Ownership of a mobile retail app on handset or tablet
  • Ownership of a mobile social media app

Anticipating reactions such as, "How can Houston, the 'Fattest City in America in 2009,' also be the most mobile savvy, while San Francisco is #11?" the IAB said the following about Houston and San Francisco: 

Weighting and aggregating these data and indexing the results against the U.S. national average reveals that Houston was the most mobile-shopping-savvy city in the U.S. Houston scored high across all four metrics included in the IAB index (see Appendix), and in particular had the highest mobile device ownership level of any major U.S. city. However, high rates of mobile device ownership were not sufficient to make a city mobile shopping savvy. The San Francisco Bay Area had high mobile ownership but scored low on the savviness index, while Tampa-St. Pete went the other way.

The IAB said that the mobile devices measured where "primarily" smartphones and tablets. However I guarantee you that the penetration of smartphones in Houston is not greater than in San Francisco. Ownership of feature phones, still the majority (56%) in the US, should have been excluded.

In addition "propensity to be influenced by mobile coupons" is not an indication of savvy necessarily. More likely it's an indication of budget consciousness. And finally the presence of a retail app on one's smartphone or tablet is an indication of loyalty or brand affinity more than savvy. (I have zero retail apps on my smartphone and tablets, but over 140 apps overall). Indeed, overall number of apps or apps used on a regular basis is a greater indication of savvy than the presence of particular retail apps. 

Here are two alternative views of mobile "top cities" using other critera (Houston still ranks): 

Verve Wireless' Top DMAs for Mobile Ad Spending (on its network only): 

  1. St. Louis
  2. Houston
  3. New York 
  4. San Francisco Bay Area
  5. Portland 
  6. Denver
  7. Memphis
  8. Seattle 
  9. Dallas-Ft.Worth
  10. Cleveland

These data were captured in Q1 2011.

xAD's Top Cities for Local-Mobile Search:

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Miami 
  5. San Francisco
  6. Denver
  7. Dallas
  8. Houston 
  9. Atlanta
  10. Jacksonville

Here are the top US DMAs (2010) according to Nielsen:

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Dallas-Ft. Worth
  6. San Francisco-Oak-San Jose
  7. Boston (Manchester)
  8. Atlanta
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Houston 

Most of the lists one might generate around things like smartphone penetration/device ownership or mobile ad spending are going to correspond to population and media spending more generally.

Millennial Media: Local Targeting Grows on Percentage Basis

The latest Millennial Media SMART report shows growth of location targeting among retailers and brands. Among other data presented in the October report, Millennial said that retailers and telecom advertisers (e.g., AT&T, Verizon) used store locators on landing pages to drive people into local outlets: 

Store Locator experienced growth of 5% month-over-month, with 23% of the Post-Click Campaign Action Mix in October (Chart C). Retail and Telecom advertisers increased their usage of Store Locator as a Post-Click Campaign Action to drive customers to stores for fall sales or to buy new mobile devices.

Screen shot 2011-12-09 at 6.28.21 AM

The use of the store locator on a mobile landing page will be the primary way that brand and national advertisers "localize" for the foreseeable future. This is in contrast to the use of dynamic creative that inserts locations into the ad copy itself. Google mobile search results will be (and are already) an exception.

According to Millennial, "local market targeting" was the dominant component (66%) of the company's "Targeted Audience Mix" (40% of its overall campaigns). However, very interestingly, the use of targeting on Millennial's network has actually declined from six months ago.

In April 48% of campaigns were targeted (vs. 40% in October). Of those, 56% of impressions served by Millennial were directed toward local markets. 

Screen shot 2011-12-09 at 6.28.56 AM

In absolute terms, then, the amount of locally targeted impressions being served by Millennial in April and October was almost identical. So while there's growth on a percentage basis, which is significant, overall local targeting in real terms remained flat. 

The fact that fewer campaigns on Millennial are targeted overall makes me wonder whether that money, especially locally oriented ad dollars, are fleeing to other networks.

How Soon Will We See Smartphones with 'Special Offers'?

The notion of ad-subsidized smartphones or mobile service has existed for years. Way back in 2006 then Google CEO Eric Schmidt argued that mobile phone service could be entirely subsidized by advertising. A couple years later in the UK Blyk brought the idea to life, providing free service to its youthful audience as an MVNO.

However the company changed its model and is no longer in the MVNO business. One could readily see the pivot as an admission of the limited opportunity associated with providing ad-supported cell service. However in an adjacent market (eReaders/tablets) Amazon has had great success with its ad-supported Kindles.

After the Kindle Fire, which is the top-selling device on Amazon, the bestselling electronics are all Kindles "with special offers" (ads).

Screen shot 2011-12-04 at 7.40.24 AM

Ads on Kindles appear in the form of idle homescreen ads and banners. The idea of idle homescreen advertising on mobile phones has been around for a long time in the halls of mobile marketing. Mobile Posse has implemented it with some evidence of success. However the practice is far from mainstream. 

In a recent article in DM News Bizo CEO Russell Glass, seemingly unaware of prior history, says: "Look for the first completely ad-supported 
cell phone in the next 12 months and dozens to follow in the coming few years." Putting aside Blyk and Mobile Posse's mixed track records the Amazon example may be paving the way for such an opportunity. 

While it's very unlikely that we'll see "completely ad-supported" mobile phones any time soon, we may see Amazon-style ad-subsidized hardware or phone service. The latter is a much more likely scenario given how heavily subsidized the hardware already is. And this is where carriers might get involved in mobile advertising in a bigger way. (I still think that a parallel opportunity exists in the model of the Placecast-AT&T or O2 relationships.)

One can imagine that many people would jump at reduced monthly charges in exchange for ads on their idle/home screens, as Amazon seems to have shown with hardware discounts. And carriers could potentially develop fairly large ad networks in short order. Execution is a major problem for carriers but the concept has now become more interesting and viable. 

Smaato vs. Jumptap and Why Mobile CTR Doesn't Tell Us Much

The click is a "lazy metric." Much has been written by comScore, Nielsen and others about why clicks (or the lack of clicks) are not necessarily predictive of real-world success or conversions. Recently Nielsen issued findings that argue how little clicks correlate with sales, in an online display advertising context:

Advertisers looking to build their brands online will need to look beyond traditional web metrics to determine if their investments are paying off, according to a recent study by Nielsen. In a new report, Beyond Clicks and Impressions: Examining the Relationship Between Online Advertising and Brand Building, there is emerging evidence that brand metrics – which show attitudinal response to online campaigns – can predict offline sales. The research further shows that there’s virtually no relationship between click-through rates and brand opinion or offline sales.

(emphasis added.)

Let's be clear that CTR matters in search because you can't buy anything or find additional information without a click to a landing page. But the click has for too long been the currency of online advertising across the board. It has also been used in mobile to demonstrate "success" or performance in situations where that's clearly dubious.

In January Harris (on behalf of Pontiflex) issued findings based on survey research that said nearly 50% of mobile clicks were unintended: "47% of mobile app users say they click/tap on mobile ads more often by mistake than they do on purpose." This was research with an agenda but it does reveal the uncertainty surrounding the CTR as a mobile success metric. 

While an argument can be made that higher CTR on mobile ads is better than lower CTR, the connection to ultimate sales or success is questionable. We really need to see "secondary actions" in mobile: map lookups, calls, sign-ups, check-ins/visits, etc. to get a true sense of whether campaigns are working.

Earlier this week Smaato and JumpTap both released CTR metrics as part of larger data releases. The numbers were dutifully and largely unreflectively reported by numerous blogs and media outlets. Screen shot 2011-12-02 at 8.09.58 AM

Beyond the fact that the data disagree (compare iOS on both charts) they don't tell us much of anything. The Smaato data argue by implication that Windows and RIM are better platforms for andvertisers because of higher CTRs/response rates. However yesterday I wrote about InsightExpress findings that argued Windows users were less engaged and sophisticated in many respects than other smartphone users. 

Screen shot 2011-12-01 at 11.51.34 AM

Now compare 2009 data from ad network Chitika showing mobile OS CTRs. What can we infer from this? Android is a better ad platform than iPhone? What about Palm at the time? In fact, we can't infer much of anything, just like the charts above.

Are Windows Phone or Symbian owners better prospects or more engaged vs. owners of Android? What is the real performance of mobile advertising on these various platforms? We really can't answer that question and don't know unless or until we have visbility into "secondary actions." 

So while a CTR number may directionally indicate success or be suggestive that something is working it's not transparent enough to really declare success. Mobile offers analytics capabilities that PCs do not.

While mobile is still young the industry should learn from the mistakes of online and develop a set of alternative metrics that can be used to evaluate the true success or influence of a mobile campaign. 

AdMob Dominant Ad Network on Android Devices

App store Xyologic released some interesting data yesterday about publisher/developer adoption of ad network SDKs for the Android platform. What the charts below reflect are the percentages of the top apps that have installed the identified ad networks to deliver advertising. 

Many of these apps access more than one SDK so there's no way to precisely extrapolate revenue from these figures. However they directionally reflect market share and revenue trends. The column on the right in the second chart below shows the percentage of all downloads in October among the top apps with mobile advertising.

Screen shot 2011-11-18 at 7.41.22 AM

Screen shot 2011-11-18 at 7.35.16 AM

According to Xyologic, the "others" category includes "AdMarvel, Smaato, Burstly, Mopub, Nexage, Fiksu, and mobile ad network Jumptap who each make up less than 3% each of the overall market share." The tiny share of Jumptap is a bit of a surprise.

Once again, iAD doesn't appear in this list because this is about the Android OS and not the iPhone.

Free Webinar Tomorrow: The Convergence of Local & Mobile Advertising

Tomorrow at 1 US Eastern, 10 Pacific is our free webinar: The Convergence of Local and Mobile Marketing. I'll be providing a broad market overview on the following issues:

  • Smartphone and mobile Internet adoption
  • Local-mobile user behavior
  • Tablet adoption
  • Mobile advertising projections
  • SMB demand for mobile marketing  

AT&T Interactive’s Executive Director of Product Management Matthew Goldman will offer their view of the mobile market "on the ground." What are consumers really doing in mobile and what are they looking for? How are they responding to mobile ads? And, beyond surveys, is there truly demand among SMBs for mobile marketing? If so, where is that demand concentrated? 

We'll also take questions from the audience on these and related issues. If you're operating in the local-mobile segment or selling to small business advertisers you won't want to miss it.

To attend you must first register here

Report: Local-Mobile Ads Dramatically Outperform Online

Local mobile ad network xAd has released its first quarterly report on local mobile user behavior and ads. I've done a general write-up at Search Engine Land. The company collected the data from its 10 billion monthly ad impressions and 90 million monthly local-search requests. The data in the report were captured between July and September.

A couple of highlights: 

  • 75% of smartphone owners conduct local searches (other data reflect up to 95%) 
  • 62% of local-mobile users conduct at least two local searches per month, while 32% of users do at least five local lookups per month

 The top local search categories according to xAd data:

  1. Restaurants
  2. Gas stations
  3. Shopping
  4. Auto repair/dealers/rentals
  5. Fast food
  6. Cafes/coffee shops
  7. Travel & lodging
  8. Health & medical
  9. Bars & clubs
  10. Finance & legal

Most interesting to me was the discussion of ad performance and "secondary actions." CTRs on ads in apps were 8% vs. 5% for ads appearing in the browser.


When you consider that average online display ad CTRs are 0.09% you see that this performance is dramatically better. Indeed, InsightExpress and Dynamic Logic have both documented how mobile display outperforms online across all metrics. 

In addition to browser vs. apps differences, xAd documents ad performance variations between iOS and Android. While CTR rates on the iPhone and Android are roughly comparable, "secondary actions" are greater on iOS: calls, map/directions lookups and review drill downs. Interestingly calls are happen more frequently in a browser context. But they're also the most popular "post-search" secondary action (62%) across the board, followed by maps and directions lookups (35%).

Previously xAd reported that its CPMs average $30. Other specialized US-based local-mobile ad networks include CityGrid, AT&Ti, Verve Wireless, Navteq, JiWire, LSN Mobile, Chitika, Marchex and 

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.

Screen shot 2011-11-10 at 9.51.59 AM

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.

Screen shot 2011-11-07 at 8.03.01 AM

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.

Screen shot 2011-11-01 at 8.04.33 AM

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.