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Monday Evening Reading

Published on January 16, 2012

News exec John Paton is out to stop the presses

The new boss told employees they would go “digital first” with a vengeance — tweeting, Facebooking, blogging and video-posting news before contributing a single keystroke toward the next day’s paper.

Expect a lot of mobile mergers and acquisitions in 2012: Coady Diemar

Mobile merger and acquisition activity increased significantly last year and is expected to grow again in 2012 as mobile continues to be a key driver of consumer behavior, according to investment bank Coady Diemar Partners.

Why luxury brands need to have a tablet advertising strategy – Luxury Daily

Tablets are increasingly becoming the No. 1 medium that affluent consumers use to obtain information and entertainment, including magazines.

Get ready for considerably higher mobile marketing budgets in 2012

Mobile marketing budgets will increase considerably in 2012, but so will consumer expectations of the types of experiences they have interacting with their favorite businesses.

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Facebook CPM’s and CTR’s on the Rise. The Reason, Targeting and Engagement

Published on January 16, 2012

Mediapost reported this morning on some very interesting data that Facebook provided at the end of 2011 which has broad implications for digital publishers. At a time when publishers and media hubs are doing everything they can to retain advertising rate, Facebook’s average CPM has increased by 23% over the past year across five of it’s major markets (US, UK, France, Germany and Canada).

In addition the average CTR on Facebook ads has increased 18% during the same time period. The big question publishers need to be asking is how are they able to achieve such fantastic results?

The answer is quite plain and simple, at least for this in the advertising technology space. Firstly advertisers are getting more creative and engaging when it comes to Facebook ad creative. Over the past few years advertisers have been testing different forms of Facebook creative and they finally have found a sweet spot that compels users to engage with the ads instead of ignoring them. Secondly, Facebook has offered a number of highly focused targeting options and advertisers are now beginning to understand these tools and utilize them effectively.

Spreed believe these two strategies are the only ways that publishers and media companies are going to be able to compete with social sites like Facebook and stay relevant in the online advertising space.

At Spreed we work very closely with MoFuse to offer our clients the tools to build rich and engaging advertising units. We see far too many campaigns across the mobile ecosystem that fail from a creative standpoint. The last thing you want to do is link a small banner ad to a flash website on a mobile device; it just won’t work. We encourage publishers and advertisers to create ads that utilize the rich features of the smartphone environment, including location, video, etc in a way that will engage users and provide value to them and the advertiser.

Secondly, Spreed offers a host of targeting options that rival those provided by the Facebook platform. Publishers may not yet have the reach on their mobile sites and apps that Facebook has on the web. However, the tools we provide allow our partners to harness the deep targeting that is made possible by the mobile ecosystem. Spreed’s CleverAds platform allows advertisers to target users by location, behaviour, context and demographic. In order to increase CPM’s like Facebook on a quarter by quarter basis, publishers need to think beyond section sponsorships  and utilize deeper targeting rules. Spreed is well setup to allow publishers to do this.

We see mobile as a mulligan for the industry. This is a chance to get things right where we made mistakes on the web. We can’t afford to drop advertising rates in mobile because we think advertisers won’t pay. We need to think beyond the web and find ways that make mobile even more attractive. Publishers need to pick advertising technology that allows them to offer ads that will increase Click-Throughs and overall CPM rates. Spreed is here to help you navigate this emerging ecosystem, both today and in the future.

For more information on the success of Facebook over the past year, read the media post article below:

Facebook CPMs Rising, Click-Throughs Too

The cost of advertising on Facebook keeps climbing. Average CPM rates increased 8% and cost-per-click (CPC) rates rose 1% in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to the prior quarter, across five major markets (U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Canada). That’s per TBG Digital on Facebook advertising, based on a total of 326 billion Facebook ad impressions in the year’s final quarter.

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The Race for Mobile Market Share Between iOS and Android is Getting Tight

Published on January 11, 2012

The NPD Group reported yesterday on the current state of the mobile device market and although most of the data wasn’t terribly surprising (iOS and Android still in the lead), there were some surprises to be had.

iOS’s U.S. market share leaped from 26% in the third quarter of 2011 to 43% by the end of November.

NPD says Android clung to the lead by a thread with a 47% market share – down dramatically from 60% in the third quarter of 2011.

NPD’s latest insight suggests that iOS and Android will see a more heated than ever battle in the months ahead to determine the superior smartphone operating system in terms of market share.

The most recent comScore data shows that Android and iOS now power a combined 75.6 percent of all smartphones in the United States.

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Chart of the Day: 33pc of tablet and/or smartphone users downloaded news apps (note free vs paid apps)

Published on January 11, 2012

Also, important to take note that advertisers and those aiming to reach smartphone and tablet users on their devices should consider the power of free apps. According to Nielsen’s State of the Media: Consumer Usage Report, 51 percent of consumers say that they are okay with advertising on their devices if it means they can access content for free. Free apps are preferred by mobile consumers, though many opt for a combination of both free and paid apps to include in their collection, which usually averages 33 apps total.

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Take Note: 5 Fundamental Flaws In Mobile Marketing Strategies

Published on January 11, 2012

MediaPost has a great article on their website today about the 5 fundamental flaws of mobile marketing strategies. We highly recommend all mobile ad sales representatives and those responsible for choosing your companies ad serving technology give this article a read. Mobile is a very unique ecosystem, with very different opportunities to the web and print. When selling mobile inventory, pay attention to the personalized nature of the device in question.

Equally as important as guiding your clients, is the need to utilize ad serving technology that will enable you to deliver these unique advantages. At Spreed we pride ourselves on our vision of the mobile future. We believe that all publishers need an ad serving platform that not only delivers what advertisers want today, but what they will also want in 2-3 years.

If you are not on a future ready platform now, you will be scrambling later to implement the technology and train your staff when the advertisers are ready. Our ad platform already has the capabilities to do deep location based targeting and avails reporting. We also have the capabilities to target individuals by contextually, behaviourally and demographically relevant patterns.

Give the article a read and make sure to use these guidelines when choosing your ad platform as well as educating and selling to your clients.

5 Fundamental Flaws In Mobile Marketing Strategies

Given that the device is hyper-connected and nearly always within arm’s reach, the smartphone has, in essence, become a natural extension of our human selves. Yet, with the newfound wealth of opportunities available to marketers associated with engaging consumers more personally through these devices, we’re doing it all wrong.

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Will HTML5 Replace Native Apps in the Future?

Published on January 10, 2012

A few posts back we talked about the lack of current mobile web usage when compared to native apps. We also talked about the future of HTML5 and how it will play a part in the mobile ecosystem.

Here at Spreed we believe that HTML5 is important, but believe it will be framed within the native applications ecosystem. Others like Business Insider’s, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, believe that HTML5 is still going to take a while to be a mass market tool and that before it does become a standalone tool it will be frame within a native application (like the recent Facebook apps).

We are still not sure whether Pascal is right and whether HTML5 sites will be able to access the rich features of the phone that native apps can harness or the inherent integration with payment systems. We are also not sold on the web being a better distribution model than native app stores. Currently we believe that native app stores provide a far more curated experience to the web and therefore a better end-user experience.

All that being said, Pascal’s article is one of the best run downs we have seen on the pro’s and con’s of HTML5. Although we may not agree with Pascal that HTML5 apps will be independent of native stores in the future, he still makes a very good argument for the merits of HTML5 and also gives a good explanation for why we won’t see HTML5 implemented in mass for some time to come (3-5 years).

We suggest everyone gives his article a good read. What are your thoughts? Will HTML5 come sooner than expected? Will HTML5 completely replace the native app, or will it work hand-in-hand with native apps, providing a seamless integration for end-users?


HTML5 Will Replace Native Apps–But It Will Take Longer Than You Think

  • Web-based HTML5 will replace the majority of native apps over the next 3 to 5 years.
  • Native apps will stay on the scene for a long time, and will probably always be relevant for some types of apps such as games.
  • HTML5 will allow online software and content to be much more interactive and richer.
  • As a result of HTML5 proliferation, the power of app gatekeepers like Apple will DIMINISH in the future, not grow.
  • All of this will have big impact on the distribution (web instead of app stores) and monetization (primarily, still, advertising-driven) of content.
  • This will also shift the balance of power between content providers and platform providers modestly back towards content providers: Apple and other “store” operators will have such tight control over distribution.
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Will Teresi Reinvigorate the iAds Program?

Published on January 9, 2012

For the past two years we have heard a lot about iAds, Apple’s premium advertising network. IDC reported in December that Apple’s share of the mobile ad market has been in decline, slipping from 19% in 2010 to 15% last year. Meanwhile, Google leads the field with 24% of ad revenue — followed by Millennial Media with 17%, according to IDC estimates of what the market researcher says was a $2.1 billion-dollar mobile ad market in 2011.

The biggest issue with iAds is that the rates for advertisers are quite high in comparison to other competing mobile ad buys. Apple has maintained their high prices due to the belief that their ads are significantly more interactive and engaging than other rich media ads in the mobile ecosystem. The problem is that these ad buys are relegated to iOS devices only, while other competitors like AdMob (Google) and Millennial (who recently filed for an IPO) enable advertisers to buy across platforms thus increasing there overall reach.

From Spreed’s perspective, we have integrated iAds into CleverAds, our mobile ad platform, with varying degrees of success based on the market in question. The CPM from iAds is always higher than other networks, but the fill rate in the US is much lower. That being said we are seeing a fantastic fill rate in the UK. If the US arm of iAds can start exciting advertisers again and increase the fill rate, iAds will be the obvious ad network for all premium publishers.

There is certainly hope on the horizon for change within the iAds program. Apple just hired Todd Teresi, who was formerly the VP of Adobe’s Media Solutions Group to head up the iAds program.  This will be an interesting year to watch iAds and see whether it can get back some of the market share it has lost over the past couple of years. Bloomberg wrote the below article on this recent shake up and it is certainly worth a read.

Apple Is Said to Hire Adobe Executive Todd Teresi to Run IAd

Teresi, who was vice president of Adobe’s media solutions group, has already started at Apple as vice president of iAd, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the move hasn’t been announced. Teresi is reporting to Eddy Cue, a senior vice president who also oversees Apple’s iTunes and the App Store.

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More Proof from Flurry that the App Economy is Heating Up

Published on January 9, 2012

Last summer, Flurry published a report detailing how the average smartphone user, for the first time ever, began spending more time in their mobile applications than they do browsing the web. Updating the analysis, Flurry finds the usage gap continues to widen. Let’s look at the updated numbers.


The chart compares how daily interactive consumption has changed over the last 18 months between the web (both desktop and mobile web) and mobile native apps.  For the web, shown in green, we built a model using publicly available data from comScore and Alexa.  For mobile application usage, shown in blue, we used Flurry Analytics data, which tracks anonymous sessions across more than 140,000 applications.  We estimate this accounts for approximately one third of all mobile application activity, which we scaled-up accordingly for this analysis.

Since conducting our first analysis in June 2011, time spent in mobile applications has grown. Smartphone and tablet users now spend over an hour and half of their day using applications. Meanwhile, average time spent on the web has shrunk, from 74 minutes to 72 minutes. Users seem to be substituting websites for applications, which may be more convenient to access throughout the day.

Our analysis shows that people are now spending less time on the traditional web than they did during the summer 2011. This drop appears to be driven largely by a decrease in time spent on Facebook from the traditional web.  In June 2011, the average Facebook user spent over 33 minutes on average per day on the website.  Now, that number is below 24 minutes. Time spent on the web without Facebook has grown at a modest rate of 2% between June 2011 and December 2011.

The analysis also shows that people are spending ever more time in applications. In fact, time spent in apps and the web, combined, has grown as users lead a more connected life. This growth though has been driven entirely by applications. The growth in time spent in mobile applications is slowing – from above 23% between December 2010 and June 2011 this year to a little over 15% from June 2011 to December 2011. The growth is predominately being driven by an increase in the number of sessions, as opposed to longer session lengths. Consumers are using their apps more frequently.

Read more here

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The Mobile Device Landscape Won’t Change Much in 2012

Published on January 9, 2012

Good morning everyone. I hope you all had a restful and relaxing weekend.

This morning MediaPost published two articles about the mobile device landscape in 2012. At the end of 2011 there was a lot of excitement for the new Microsoft/Nokia partnership. At the start of 2012 we heard  that they would collectively be pumping $200M into marketing their joint devices.

It is important for us at Spreed to pay attention to which devices are becoming most popular. Although our mobile web solutions are accessible via any smartphone with a browser, we don’t support native apps for platforms unless we think they are viable from an advertising perspective.

The last thing you want to do as a publisher is have to worry about managing yet another platform when the slice of your audience segment using the respective devices does not provide a return on your time or money invested.

Based on the research below it looks like 2012 will not be the year for the Microsoft mobile platform. It also indicates that the iPhone is still the most desired phone in market. Both of these posts are worthwhile reading:

Study: Windows Phone Won’t Gain Traction In 2012

A new Yankee Group report doesn’t hold much hope for Microsoft and Nokia’s combined effort to get back in the smartphone race this year. The study concluded that any smartphone platform with less than 20% market share of today’s installed base of handsets can expect that percentage to shrink even more.

iPhone Still Most Wanted Phone In 2012

Demand for the iPhone remains strong at the start of 2012, according to a new ChangeWave study. Asked in December which smartphone manufacturer or type of smartphone they planned to buy in the next 90 days, more than half (54%) of the 4,000 North American consumers surveyed named the Apple handset.


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From 1 Billion Downloads in 9 Months to 1 Billion Downloads in 7 Days

Published on January 4, 2012

It is of no surprise that the app market is on fire right now. Almost every brand and publishers has some form of mobile presence, some with more than just one app in each of the respective app stores.

I can still remember April 23rd, 2009 when iTunes had just hit it’s 1 Billionth application download.

The iTunes App Store debuted on July 11, 2008.  From that point on, it took Apple about 6 months to reach 500 Million app downloads.  The next 500 Million downloads took only 3 months.

Today we have new information from mobile analytics company Flurry that over 1 Billion apps were downloaded in the seven days between Christmas and New Years Eve … yes seven.

It took nearly 3 years before the Billionth song was downloaded from iTunes. I know this number isn’t really a valid comparison as it is counting both iOS and Android, but the fact that over 1 Billion virtual goods can be sold in 7 days is astonishing and speaks volumes to the increasing predominance of native applications and the importance of the mobile channel.

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© Dave Coleman 2012