Mobile is a 'new ecosystem'

4 September 2015
LONDON: Marketers need to stop thinking about mobile as simply another screen and rather as a new ecosystem requiring a radically different approach, a leading industry figure has said.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, the focus of which is mobile creativity, Michael Bertaut, managing director, EMEA strategic accounts at AdRoll, argues that mobile is "a fundamentally new way of working for marketers".

If they are to succeed they need to rethink data, tactics, creativity, metrics, he says, and appreciate how different media and channels work together.

So, for example, most online purchases are completed on desktop or tablets, but smartphones are a crucial part of the research process. At the same time, however, mobile commerce boosts overall ecommerce.

Brands need to be ready with mobile-optimised sites and bespoke apps, according to Bertaut. "If you don't, you'll be out of the running in the evaluation stage – alienating potential customers long before they reach the point of purchase."

It's a given that such sites and apps should be user-friendly but Bertaut emphasised the necessity of going a step further and ensuring that content works for the new context.

He reported that AdRoll had found that consumers browsing retailer sites on their mobiles valued having information on store location and opening hours up front and centre, something that was very much a secondary issue for those using a desktop.

Similarly, creative on mobile has to be rethought – just shrinking ads is "one of the worst approaches mobile advertisers can take".

Bertaut suggests embracing the size constraints imposed by mobile and simplifying creative with punchy taglines, bright colours and a clear call to action. "Or even better, a personalised ad that takes into account the consumer's browsing habits – offering them free shipping, for example."

While mobile presents certain difficulties it has to be thought of not as a separate channel but as a core part of an overall marketing strategy. Thinking this way, Bertaut argues, will help tackle mobile while also boosting marketing methods overall and preparing marketers for whatever comes after mobile.

Data sourced from Admap

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Third of all viewing is on demand

4 September 2015
GLOBAL: Just over one third of all TV and video viewing time now takes place on demand, according to a new study which also highlights consumer dissatisfaction with recommendation features.

The Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report was based on interviews with more than 22,500 people across 20 markets, all of whom had a broadband internet connection at home and watched TV/video at least once a week.

This found that consumers now spend six hours per week watching streamed on-demand TV series, programs, and movies, a figure that has more than doubled from the 2.9 hours of such viewing in 2011.

When recorded and downloaded content is added to the equation, 35% of all TV and video viewing is now spent watching VOD, the report said.

Watching multiple TV episodes in a row has rapidly become a key part of the TV and video experience, with this habit especially noticeable among users of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO: 87% reported binge-viewing at least once a week.

The rise of VOD and binge-viewing appears to be linked to difficulties finding content, so that when people do find something they like they can go back to it whenever they want or watch several episodes at once.

Half of consumers watching linear TV said they couldn't find anything to watch on a daily basis and there was a feeling that current recommendation features were not smart or personal enough.

Another noteworthy finding was the rise in viewing of user-generated content (UGC), with one in three now considering it very important to be able to watch such content on TV at home.

The existence of UGC-rich platforms like YouTube has also resulted in a popularity boost for educational and instructional videos, with consumers watching an average 73 minutes of these videos per week.

Anders Erlandsson, senior advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab, pointed to three factors in the rise of VOD and UGC services: great content, flexibility and a high-quality overall experience.

"Innovative business models that support these three areas are now crucial to creating TV and video offerings that are both relevant and attractive," he said.

Data sourced from Ericsson; additional content by Warc staff

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Hulu tempts ad avoiders

4 September 2015
NEW YORK: Ad buyers appear confident that Hulu's new ad-free subscription option will not detract from the video streaming service's appeal as a premium location for brands to advertise.

Consumers wanting to avoid ads altogether will have to pay $4 above the existing $7.99-a-month premium subscription that requires viewers to watch "limited" commercials. A free, ad-supported service is also available.

"There aren't that many people in the US that are going to shell out $12 a month to avoid ads," said Kris Magel, chief investment officer at media buying firm Initiative. Rival Netflix, for example, offers an ad-free service for $7.99 a month.

"I don't believe this is going to wipe out their [Hulu's] ad business," he told the Wall Street Journal.

Hulu's own view is that people can be divided into two categories: ad avoiders and ad acceptors.

"There are clearly people who just are not going to buy Hulu because there are ads," said chief executive Mike Hopkins. "We think we can bring them back into the fold with new content and this new choice."

"We're not walking away from the ad business," he added. "We're really confident that the ad business is going to continue to grow."

Peter Naylor, svp of ad sales at Hulu, argued that he was "bringing an even more potent audience to the advertiser, because people who have chosen the limited commercial plan, all of a sudden, now they know why they're getting that plan with ads".

The new subscription option puts Hulu in more direct competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime, neither of which carry ads, and one observer suggested it was playing catch-up.

"They look like followers here," said Steve Minichini, chief executive at digital agency AboveNation Media. "I think they are very late to the game. But regardless, it's not going to erode the ad product."

Where it may have a greater effect is on cord-cutting, as an ad-free service has the potential to replace the DVR for many consumers.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Advertising Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Tech can drive retail customer service

4 September 2015
LINCOLNSHIRE, ILL: Two thirds of shoppers worldwide would be willing to purchase more merchandise if they received better customer service and technology can play a role in achieving that, according to a new survey.

Zebra Technologies polled nearly 2,000 shoppers across 12 countries – including the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, England, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, China, Japan and Thailand – on their experiences and attitudes toward the use of in-store technologies to enhance customer satisfaction.

The impact of good customer service can be significant as 24% of respondents indicated they would be prepared to buy up to 10% more merchandise and the same percentage would buy up to 50% more.

A smaller proportion were ready to go even further: 11% said they would buy twice as much, 3% three times as much and 2% five times as much.

More than three-quarters (76%) of shoppers felt positive about shopping in stores and more than half (58%) agreed that store associates equipped with technology such as handheld mobile computers improved the shopping experience.

A significant minority (33%), however, thought they were better connected to real-time information than in-store associates and 35% said they could find information faster on their own smartphones than asking an assistant for help.

Broadly similar proportions preferred to turn to self-help kiosks rather than using their own smartphone (37%) or talking to an assistant (29%).

In terms of in-store technology shoppers were interested in mobile coupons (51%), shopping maps (45%) and location-based associate assistance (41%); wifi hotspots (44%) were also popular.

"As online and mobile shopping become more prevalent and accepted worldwide, the importance of the customer experience remains high," noted Nick D'Alessio, global retail solutions development at Zebra Technologies.

"Mobile technology helps provide real-time visibility of product availability, flexible delivery and payment options – freeing retailers to focus on the shopper experience and delivering personalised service to customers," he added.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff

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Canadian Club wins Aussie Grand Effie

4 September 2015
SYDNEY: A long-term campaign for Canadian Club, a rye whiskey, to win Australians away from beer and onto a premixed drink has won the Grand Effie at the Australian Effie Awards.

At a ceremony in Sydney last night, a total of three Golds, nine Silvers and eleven Bronzes were awarded to 18 agencies. Meat & Livestock Australia took a separate award for the Advertiser of the Year.

Created by The Works, an independent Sydney agency, the winning case study – Keeping Australians 'Over Beer' for 5 years – detailed a campaign by Beam-Suntory, the alcoholic drinks company, to promote Canadian Club mixed with dry ginger as a "sessionable" drink that could rival beer.

Campaign visuals implied the drink was refreshing, and ads were focused on the "path to pub", as Beam-Suntory knew most people decided what to drink on the way. Honing this approach over several years increased sales by over 33% nationally.

Warc subscribers can browse all the winners of the Australian Effie Awards, which were jointly presented by The Communications Council and the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA). A total of 84 finalists, from 36 agencies competed across 19 categories.

Golds also went to Luxottica, the eyewear brand, and SA Health, the public health body for South Australia.

Saatchi & Saatchi devised The most important story you will ever read to your child for OPSM, an Australian opticians chain owned by Luxottica.

With many children not having regular eye tests and many parents unaware of this need, OPSM created a children's story book incorporating vision testing methods to allow parents to screen their children's sight and determine whether they needed an eye test.

This approach was a success as OPSM increased volume sales of children's eye tests and children's eyewear.

For SA Health, Showpony Advertising came up with a campaign that increased immunisation rates amongst Aboriginal children, only 71% of whom were fully immunised at 12 months of age.

Gift packs for new Aboriginal mothers included three grow-suits with printed reminders to get their babies immunised at two, four and six months. The results were staggering, as immunisation rates reached almost 92%, surpassing rates for non-aboriginal children.

Data sourced from Effie Australia; additional content by Warc staff

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Blog: Reality advertising

4 September 2015
Trust in advertising is at an all-time low as people assume brands are lying. One way of addressing this, says Faris Yakob, is to manufacture a real slice of life with a pleasant surprise that creates real emotions, and capture that on film.

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Asians ignore celebrity food backers

4 September 2015
SINGAPORE: Consumers in Asia-Pacific, with the notable exception of China, are largely indifferent to the blandishments of celebrities endorsing food brands or restaurants, research has shown.

PR agency Weber Shandwick polled 3,096 consumers across four countries (Australia, China, Korea and Singapore) and interviewed more than 25 leading food industry experts for its report, Asia Pacific Food Forward Trends Report II.

Among the findings was that almost three quarters (73%) of respondents in China were more likely to buy a food product or visit a restaurant promoted by a celebrity. But that was the case for only 21% in Korea and Singapore and for just 16% in Australia.

In fact, word of mouth was by far the most influential factor when choosing a new food product or service.

In Australia (64%), Singapore (56%), China (47%) and Korea (45%) respondents considered word of mouth to be, on average, three times more influential than any other source of information cited in the survey – such as an industry expert or online research – and seven times more influential than celebrity endorsement.

A related finding was a connection between social media and food. Six in ten consumers in China (62%) posted on social media about their food experiences once a month or more, with 17% doing so once a day.

Four in ten consumers in Singapore (40%) and Korea (42%) posted on a monthly basis, as did three in ten (29%) in Australia.

The report also noted a shift in food shopping habits as many people across the four countries increased their online grocery shopping.

This was most marked in China, where 76% said they were buying more this way than a year ago. More than half of respondents in Singapore (58%) and Korea (52%) said the same, as did just under half those in Australia (46%).

"Access to information and shared experiences through the continued growth and sheer number of digital and social platforms in the region continues to shift people's relationship with food and the way in which they engage with food brands," said Ian Rumsby, Weber Shandwick chief strategy officer/Asia Pacific.

He advised these "to focus on a targeted marketing communications strategy that watches, listens and engages with its key consumers across all relevant channels – particularly digital".

Data sourced from Weber Shandwick, PR Week; additional content by Warc staff

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App future beckons

3 September 2015
LONDON/NEW YORK: Marketers grappling with the fragmentation of audiences across a multitude of channels could be saved by the emergence within the next five years of an app ecosystem featuring perhaps 50 dominant apps that permit media planning and buying at scale.

Rob Norman, chief digital officer at GroupM, the media investment business, outlines this thesis in the current issue of Admap, arguing that apps will succeed channels and websites as the principal gateway to screen time.

Apps are everywhere, are simple to use, are optimised at the device level and are bandwidth-efficient, he notes: "the presence of apps on limited screen real estate may be the battleground to dominate in the second half of this decade and beyond".

And just as people only use maybe 20 of the 500 TV channels available to them, so they will end up with perhaps 50 apps that will account for around 80% of aggregate screen on connected devices.

Already some apps are near universal – writing from a US perspective, Norman cites Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Maps, LinkedIn, Messenger, Twitter and Amazon – while others are in "massive distribution", including Walmart and Target in retail, Netflix and Hulu in streaming video.

A range of media apps and service apps from banks, retailers, hotels and transport will round out the list of apps that everyone will know and use, he suggests.

"If media space is truly to become shelf space, then these are the shelves to occupy," Norman says.

"Further, as media space becomes shelf space, the very notion of the purchase funnel is disrupted as almost any contact can result in an instant transaction."

That implies a reversal of 30 years of multichannel fragmentation and 15 years of web-driven atomisation.

The development of such an app ecosystem also has major implications for search. "As desktop usage declines, so do brand websites; as trust and familiarity increase, the desire to compare falls … The key now is asset creation".

Data sourced from Admap

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Social engagement rates fall

3 September 2015
NEW YORK: Marketers are posting more on social media but have seen engagement rates drop off in the past year a new report says.

In How Top Brands Are Using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Forrester Research outlined how more than 80% of top global brands actively post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram.

And they are doing so more often than before, with an average of 6.5 posts per brand per week on Facebook, up from 6.3 in 2014. Equivalent figures for Twitter were 18.3, up from 17.5, and for Instagram 4.9 times a week, up from 3.1.

Google+ was up marginally, from 3.5 posts a week to 3.6, Pinterest was unchanged on 9.9 while LinkedIn had dropped from 5.7 to 4.7.

But, Mobile Marketer reported, only Facebook had seen any growth in interaction by brands' social followers, up from 0.07% in 2014 to 0.22% this year, and that was in large part due to more brands paying to promote their Facebook posts to a larger number of users.

Instagram had by far the highest engagement rate, at 2.3%, but this had fallen sharply from 4.2% last year.

Similar proportional declines were evident elsewhere: the interaction rate on Pinterest dropped from 0.1% to 0.04%, on Google+ from 0.07% to 0.04%.

Twitter's already slight interaction rate slipped further, from 0.035% to 0.027%, while that on LinkedIn remained at around 0.05%.

"While B2C marketers are becoming more active on social networks, the vast majority of their followers haven't seemed to notice," said Nate Elliott, vp/principal analyst at Forrester Research and co-author of the report.

"Marketers are doing more work but generating less attention," he concluded.

Commenting on the findings in Forbes, consultant Blake Morgan observed that "most brands are not trying to win with helpfulness and relevance but rather traditional advertising – slapped on to social media".

She suggested that the pressure to make quarterly returns meant that social networking sites were putting revenue demands ahead of the user experience.

Data sourced from Mobile Marketer, Forbes; additional content by Warc staff

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Banks need to reward brand loyalty

3 September 2015
LONDON: Retail banks in the UK are missing out on the opportunity to create powerful advocates and attract repeat business, according to research which says that not being rewarded for loyalty is the biggest frustration for customers.

A global survey for Collinson Group polled 4,437 consumers in the top 10-15% income group across Brazil, China, India, Italy, Singapore, the UAE, US and UK and found that some two thirds (64%) expected greater recognition and reward for their loyalty.

And this lack of appreciation was even more annoying than other bank actions such as offering poor interest rates or charging unnecessary fees.

In the UK fully 83% of these affluent consumers felt their bank did not know or understand them and less than a third (27%) felt they received a high level of personal service.

Less than one third were members of a bank loyalty program, but that was not because of any objection to the concept – this group was more likely to be part of a scheme operated by a supermarket, airline, credit card or retailer than that run by a bank.

Banks are missing out on business as a result. The report said that affluent middle class consumers in the UK who feel loyal to a brand were 73% more likely to purchase a product from them in the future and six in ten would be prepared to recommend a banking brand to their friends and family.

Christopher Evans, a Collinson Group director, noted that the findings had more relevance than ever as people become more active in managing their bank accounts.

Over half of UK respondents were not satisfied with their banks and were considering, or had already, switched provider within the last two years. 

And latest industry figures show that, in July 2015, 1.1m customers switched their bank accounts, a 4% increase on the same period last year. The Financial Conduct Authority is also reported to be pushing the sector to encourage greater awareness of the customer account switch service that makes the process simple. 

"Knowing your customer and ensuring they feel valued are the key tenets of customer loyalty and banks need to act now if they are to retain their most affluent consumers," Evans said.

"Personalised, aspirational and more lifestyle-orientated benefits and rewards, which are more accessible to earn and redeem will enable banking brands to differentiate themselves and attract and retain the most affluent consumers," he added.


Data sourced from Collinson Group, Forbes, Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff

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Digital ads resonate with home improvers

3 September 2015
NEW YORK: US consumers planning home renovations are nearly twice as likely as the general population to be influenced by mobile and desktop ads, research has shown.

A new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), based on a custom analysis of Prosper Insights data – 6,087 respondents surveyed online with a focus on those planning to do a major home improvement or repair in the next 6 months – revealed that 22% of home improvers said digital ads guided their purchases, compared to just 12% of the general population.

In part this is because they are likely to be carrying out online research for ideas and products – 40% cited online search as a source of ideas – with around one third eventually buying items on digital platforms.

The influence of social media advertising was also significant. One in five used social media for home improvement ideas, and three out of four checked social media at least once a week.

What was the case for the general renovator was even more so for the one in ten with a Hispanic background.

The study found they were roughly twice as likely to be influenced by digital media as the typical American home renovator, and three times more likely to be guided by mobile media and ads regarding their home improvement purchases.

Hispanic-American home renovators were typically younger than average (67% aged 18-44 vs. 44% of typical home renovators) and so more likely to do research on mobile devices and to make purchases via them as well.

And while Hispanic-American home renovators are primarily English speakers, three quarters (73%) also consume Spanish language media.

"Home improvement marketers have much to gain by being present in all forms of digital media," said Sherrill Mane, svp/research, analytics and measurement, IAB.

"The findings on Hispanic-Americans make it abundantly clear that home renovation retailers, brands, and many others would be remiss to neglect focusing marketing efforts on mobile and other digital screens in both English and Spanish language media."

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff

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Newton Running aims to win social 'race'

3 September 2015
NEW YORK: Newton Running, a challenger brand in the athletic footwear space, believes winning the social media "race" could help it progress in an extremely crowded and competitive sector.

Mike Nesladek, vp/marketing at Newton Running – which was founded in 2007 – discussed this subject during a webinar held by Direct Marketing News.

"We look at social media as a race. And that's a metaphor: obviously, we're in the running business and racing is in our blood," he said. (For more, including how the brand is moving at speed on this channel, read Warc's exclusive report: Newton Running sprints ahead on social media.)

"But social media really is one of the most competitive forms of media in a very competitive running-shoe environment."

As an illustration of how insurgent players with small budgets can thrive on this channel, Newton has sought to identify – and leverage – new habits and trends before they near the social mainstream.

"We're always seeking to be proactive, not reactive," Nesladek said in summarising Newton's strategy on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

"What can we bring to the forefront? What are we noticing out there in the industry that maybe consumers aren't aware of yet that we can be first to bring to them."

The brand, for example, spotted that a British runner had proposed to his girlfriend using a GPS tracker, which monitored him completing four routes that spelled out "Will you marry me?" when viewed from above.

"We said, 'This is a great idea. It aligns perfectly with our brand voice. How can we bring this to a broader group of people?'" said Nesladek.

By way of answering this question, Newton fed into runners' passion for this pastime by asking them to use GPS to spell out how they felt following their daily workout, and then shared the entries on its social feeds.

And the "Run it, FEEL it, Spell it" campaign, developed in conjunction with public-relations agency Weber Shandwick, ultimately yielded 80m impressions in six weeks.

"We try and take calculated risks to increase our reach. We really understand that social has the ability to create grassroots campaigns, engage with influencers and just stay active within the running industry," Nesladek said.

Data sourced from Warc

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Vietnam's Gen Z prefer a digital life

3 September 2015
HO CHI MINH CITY: Only around one third of Vietnam's Generation Z think the most comfortable method of contact with their friends is face-to-face, with most preferring some form of digital communication, research has shown

Market research company Epinion polled 710 13-21 year olds, most in the two main cities of Ha Noi (44) and Ho Chi Minh City (45%), and found that half (50%) said they felt most comfortable communicating with chat apps or text, while 7% opted for email and 9% phone calls.

This is a generation that has only ever known a world with the internet and is more likely than previous ones to be fully engaged with it. As the report noted: "Gen Z really just enjoy being online, hanging out and cocooning at home."

Digital activities featured prominently in a typical week, with reading the news on Facebook the most popular, being cited by 79% of respondents. Listening to music was a close second, whether streamed (74%) or on MP3/CD (73%).

Chatting on instant messaging apps (71%), watching YouTube videos (68%), checking social media (64%) and playing computer games (62%) were also widespread.

Getting out into the real, physical world in the form of hanging out at a café was a relatively minority interest, undertaken by 42% of the survey.

"The line between digital and physical is very blurred to them and most feel their existence is validated by their social media presence," explained Bui Tieu Vy, senior marketing executive at Epinion.

In fact, 51% said they felt noticed when people commented on or liked their posts, while 45% agreed that the number of these was an indication of their popularity.

At the same time, however, only 17% trusted comments or feedback on Facebook, and only 9% trusted friends they met online. This scepticism meant that they were unlikely to fall for online scams, the report suggested.

And, added Bui Tieu Vy, "For brands this means Gen Z is able to read between the lines of marketing ploys and will require much more convincing to connect with a brand than to simply be told it is good".

Data sourced from Digital Market Asia; additional content by Warc staff

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India TV ad growth doubles

3 September 2015
MUMBAI: Indian TV advertising is expected to grow at twice the rate previously forecast following an unexpected surge in spending in the first half of the year.

The Pitch-Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2015 had originally projected a 10% increase in TV expenditure for the year but it noted a 20.6% rise during January to June and said that this growth rate was likely to be repeated in the second half.

"A 21% growth coming on the back of a 14% growth in 2014 and without the elections is quite unprecedented and shows the optimistic outlook of industry in Indian markets and the aggressive stance they are willing to take to protect and grow their market share," Sam Balsara, chairman of the Madison World agency, told Exchange4Media.

"The growth is also significant in the light of growing conversations around digital," he added.

While there was no repetition of the 2014 election season, which saw national elections and five state elections, there was still one state election (Delhi) as well as the ICC Cricket World Cup and the India Premier League.

Other factors behind the uplift in TV adspend included a number of new channel launches and the report also noted that many channels had broadcast more than 12 minutes per hour of advertising, resulting in an increase in ad revenue.

The ecommerce (+70%) and auto (+55%) sectors significantly increased their television spending in the first half, with household durables and the banking, financial services, insurance sectors both upping spend by more than 45%.

FMCG spending, while growing at a more sedate 13%, remains the single biggest contributor to TV expenditure accounting for 51% of total spending of Rs 8200 crore. Despite its spending surge, ecommerce still only makes up 6% of that total.

Forecasts for other media remained unchanged, so that overall advertising growth is now predicted to increase 13.8% for the full year, compared to an earlier figure of 9.6%.

Data sourced from Exchange4Media; additional content by Warc staff

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Brits spend nearly 3 hours a day online

2 September 2015
LONDON: British internet users spend an average of 2 hours and 51 minutes actively going online every day, which equates to about 1 in every 6 of all waking minutes, according to new analysis specifically carried out to help advertisers.

In a bid to provide a definite measurement of the amount of time Britons spend online, the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) joined forces with UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM), the official cross-industry standards body.

Based on the behaviour of 73,000 internet users as well as analysis of thousands of websites and apps, the research broke down the amount of time people spend on different devices and what activities are the most popular across those devices.

Importantly, the research measured only the time that people actively use the internet rather than when users engage in other activities with a web page still open.

Out of the 2 hours 51 minutes Britons spend online each day, 1 hour 16 minutes is spent on PCs/laptops (45%), followed by 1 hour 9 minutes on smartphones (40%) and 26 minutes on tablets (15%), the report said.

The statistics for users of PCs and laptops closely match recent findings from Ofcom, the UK media regulator, although Ofcom reported significantly more time that smartphone users spend online each day (1 hour 54 minutes).

In terms of what activities engage people when they go online, an important finding uncovered by IAB/UKOM is that social media has overtaken entertainment.

If a month's typical internet usage is condensed into an hour, the report calculated that social media accounts for 10 minutes 1 second of internet time, followed by entertainment (7 minutes 28 seconds), games (3 minutes 35 seconds) and instant messaging (2 minutes 33 seconds).

Of particular note to advertisers, the report confirmed that internet users prefer different devices for different activities.

Time spent on mobile devices to access social media, for example, is more than double (21.4%) that of desktops (9.8%) and it's a similar story for games (8.6% versus 2.3%), instant messaging (6.7% vs 0.8%) and news (4.8% vs 2.2%).

By contrast, entertainment accounts for over double the share of desktop internet time (18.5%) than mobile/tablet (8.3%) and email has over six times the share (5% vs 0.8%).

"When trying to reach consumers, advertisers can't afford to think of time online as a homogenous entity," said Scott Fleming, general manager at UKOM.

"The most effective digital ad strategies recognise and take into account how behaviour and mind-set differ dramatically by device," he added.

Data sourced from IAB, UKOM; additional content by Warc staff

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Contactless transactions surge in UK

2 September 2015
LONDON: The limit for a single contactless card transaction in the UK has been raised from £20 to £30 after new official figures revealed a huge rise in the number of people using the payment method in the UK.

According to the UK Cards Association, the industry body, more contactless payments took place during the first half of 2015 (£2.5bn) than for the whole of 2014 (£2.32bn).

There were more than 69m contactless payment cards in circulation in June 2015, up from 59.7m in January, which meant more than 9.3m contactless cards were issued to consumers in just six months.

Over the same period, the value of contactless transactions rose from £287m in January to £567m in June.

The UK Cards Association said the new £30 limit was being introduced in recognition of the popularity of this "tap and go" technology and as the number of cards in circulation rises.

It also should provide a better match for consumers' purchasing choices because the increase will mean that their average supermarket spend of £25 would now be covered.

The average card spend in pubs, cinemas, dry cleaners, pet shops and gift shops will also fall under the new £30 limit, the trade body said.

Commenting on the announcement, Graham Peacop, CEO of the UK Cards Association, said: "Contactless payments are fast, easy and secure.

"With more contactless cards in wallets than ever before and a growing number of retailers accepting contactless payments, we have seen a huge rise in the number of payments being made.

"The growth in contactless payments shows people want to use contactless cards and increasing the limit gives customers even more opportunities to pay in this way."

Despite the evident growing popularity of the new technology, consumer group Which? last month warned about its susceptibility to fraud after researchers acquired enough data to buy items, including a TV worth £3,000.

However, the UK Cards Association said the amount of fraud on contactless cards was "extremely low", at less than one penny for every £100 spent and 10 times lower than total card fraud losses.

Data sourced from UK Cards Association, BBC; additional content by Warc staff

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Connected TV adspend will grow

2 September 2015
NEW YORK: Although advertising budgets allocated to connected TV remain modest in the US, nearly half (48%) of advertisers who do use the medium plan to spend more on it next year, according to a new industry report.

Based on responses from 215 client-side marketers, including 51% at director level and above, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) concluded that spend on connected TV is set to increase.

Its Connected TV Opportunity report was conducted with BrightLine, a company which creates digital ads for connected TV, and it found the budgetary shift to connected TV is likely to come from other TV activity (71%) and digital media (37%).

This industry trend is a response to the growing popularity of connected TV – defined as internet-connected devices that include smart TVs and over-the-top (OTT) devices, such as Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.

More than half of all US households (56%) currently have a connected TV device, the report said, while viewing on OTT streaming devices grew 380% in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year.

Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA, said connected TV offers opportunities for the advertising industry, but a number of barriers are preventing its wider acceptance.

"Connected TV is a great opportunity for the television advertising industry, as it leverages current consumer viewing behaviour and provides digital-like targeting," he said. "But measurement issues need to be addressed to optimise future growth."

Indeed, the lack of reliable measurement metrics and small-scale audience penetration are the two key issues identified in the report as the top barriers preventing advertisers from spending more on connected TV.

Another issue holding back adoption is awareness. Just 43% of respondents said they were very familiar with connected TV while only a fifth (22%) said their company had used connected TV advertising over the past year.

Data sourced from ANA, BrightLine; additional content by Warc staff

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Google Chrome freezes Flash ads

2 September 2015
SAN FRANCISCO: Beginning September 1st 2015, Adobe Flash ads have been frozen on Google's Chrome browser as the internet giant seeks to encourage developers to use HTML5 to improve performance and reduce battery consumption.

The move, which Google Chrome first highlighted in June, means Flash ads will be paused by default so that users will have to click on the link to play them rather than the content playing automatically.

Even though Chrome users who still want Flash content to autoplay as usual will be able to change the default settings, the development raises questions about the future for Flash ads, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"HTML5 is the way forward, and that has become clearer and clearer," said Scott Cunningham, svp of technology and ad operations at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which last month issued guidance for public comment.

The IAB wanted to explore how the industry could make the switch to HTML5 and its promise of "rich, immersive digital advertising creative that is cost effective".

Flash is already blocked on Mozilla's Firefox browser over security concerns and Apple does not support the software for its iPhone, but now Amazon is also taking action.

The ecommerce giant announced that, as a direct result of Google Chrome's update, it too would no longer accept Adobe Flash for rendering display ads on its sites.

"This is driven by recent browser setting updates from Google Chrome, and existing browser settings from Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, that limits Flash display ad capabilities displayed on web pages," Amazon said in a statement.

"This change ensures customers continue to have a positive, consistent experience on Amazon, and that display ads function properly for optimal performance."

Data sourced from Google, Wall Street Journal, IAB, Amazon; additional content by Warc staff

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Thai digital adspend rises 62%

2 September 2015
BANGKOK: Digital adspend in Thailand is expected to grow by 62% this year to 9.8bn baht, a sharp increase on an earlier forecast of 33% to 8.1bn baht, according to the latest data from the Digital Advertising Association Thailand (DAAT)

Prepared in conjunction with research firm TNS Thailand and presented to DAAT's annual conference last week, the findings suggest that spending on Facebook and YouTube will account for the highest share of online adspend.

TNS revised up Facebook's share of digital adspend for 2015 from 16.5% to 21.4%, while also projecting that Google-owned YouTube would account for 16.5%, up from 15.6%, the Bangkok Post reported.

Meanwhile, TNS estimated instant messaging app Line will represent 4.5% of digital advertising, up from the 2.7% it forecast earlier.

The higher-than-expected growth for digital will be driven by the channel's cost efficiency and its growing audience, especially among younger consumers, said DAAT president Siwat Chawareewong.

"In the current economic crisis, brands and digital ad agencies might cut ad budgets for traditional media but not digital media," he told delegates.

Indeed, out of the 17 ad agencies that participated in the research, most reported that they expected their digital adspend to increase 30% in the second half of the year compared with the first half.

"Thailand is truly ready now for ecommerce. The telecommunication infrastructure has been enhanced while online conversation is on the rise," Siwat said in comments reported by The Nation.

"Online payment systems have also been upgraded and are getting well accepted by local buyers, while logistics services are customer-friendly," he added.

Data from Warc's Adspend Database show that digital adspend grew 46.1% to 7.1bn baht in 2014. This translated into US$219m last year, around 0.6% of all digital adspend in the Asia-Pacifc region.

Thailand ranked 9th out of the 13 markets monitored in terms of total online ad expenditure last year.

Data sourced from Bangkok Post, The Nation; additional content by Warc staff

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Hispanic consumers drive WOM

2 September 2015
NEW YORK: Hispanic consumers are more likely to talk about brands than other groups of US shoppers, making them a potentially valuable target for marketers seeking to drive word of mouth.

Ed Keller, chief executive of market-research firm The Keller Fay Group, discussed this topic in a webinar held by the company in conjunction with broadcast network Univision.

And he reported that Americans talk about goods and services fully 2.3 billion times each day, with Hispanic consumers punching above their collective weight on this measure.

"Twenty-one percent of those word-of-mouth brand impressions come from Hispanics," said Keller. (For more, including further insights about this audience, read Warc's exclusive report: How Hispanic consumers drive word of mouth.)

"This is especially impressive when you know that Hispanics only make up about 17% of the population. So they definitely over-index. And it is the demographic group that is most actively engaged in word of mouth."

By way of example, the average Hispanic shopper mentions 83 brands every week, compared with a total of 63 for other demographics.

That figure ticks upwards to 85 for bilingual consumers and 96 for individuals primarily speaking Spanish.

And this trend holds true for millennials, too. More specifically, the Hispanic members of the 18-34-year-old age bracket typically reference 94 products every seven days, beating a norm of 79 for their peers.

Keller Fay's statistics were based on data from 37,000 people gathered in a 12-month period, during which time they had over 370,000 conversations concerning brands.

Drawing on these numbers, Keller suggested that advertising is a particularly influential factor in fuelling word of mouth among Hispanics – as exemplified by brand messages on smartphones.

"Hispanics talk more about ads than non-Hispanics," he said. "Hispanics are highly mobile, so notice that they talk about mobile ads 49% more than non-Hispanics.

"They are also more engaged in word of mouth about TV ads and digital ads, so clearly your paid media has a very significant opportunity to help drive word of mouth."

Data sourced from Warc

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Patriotism aids Indian luxury brands

2 September 2015
NEW DELHI: Even though India's luxury market is booming, driven by a growing middle class and the super-wealthy, India's homegrown luxury brands have found they have to be imaginative to win over domestic consumers.

According to a report by the BBC, India struggles to produce luxury brands capable of matching the appeal of international brands because India's wealthy prefer the status conferred by foreign brands, ranging from Gucci to Burberry.

This also applies to the auto industry where the Jaguar marque appeals because of its British association despite being owned by Tata Group, the Indian conglomerate.

India does have some success in the luxury market, such as the global hotel chains Taj and Oberoi, and Indian firms also dominate the jewellery category, but Indian luxury brands in the main are not flourishing, the report said.

This is despite high levels of disposable income among the country's rich, which has prompted a number of India's luxury brands to work up new strategies.

Appealing to Indian patriotism is one option which has worked for No.3 Clive Road, the boutique tea brand founded by Radhika Chopra.

"Our customer is someone who is proud of a beautifully designed and quality product that is Indian made," Chopra said. "Indians know how to spend money, they just have not been given other options," she added.

Pitching a luxury product at the right price and appealing to Indians' instinct for good value are also key to success, Chopra advised.

"We are much more sensitive to our customers' purchasing power for a local brand, so as we expand we are acknowledging a lower price than comparable companies abroad," she said.

Nikhil Agarwal, chief executive of luxury events firm All Things Nice, agreed that identifying the right price is essential to win over Indian luxury shoppers.

"Even wealthy Indians are conscious about money – nobody throws their money away, it's in the psyche," he said. "Indians like to reduce costs, we're always looking for value for money even when it's luxury."

Data sourced from BBC; additional content by Warc staff

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Digital, mobile are focus of budgets

1 September 2015
LONDON: Global marketing activity is expanding at a steady pace with the focus continuing to be on digital and mobile, according to the latest Global Marketing Index (GMI).

August's headline GMI of 55.1 was little changed from the previous month – a reading of 50 indicates no change and 60+ suggests rapid growth – and with a GMI value of 56.4 points, Europe continued to outpace Asia Pacific, on 54.3, and the Americas, on 54.5.

The last figure, however, disguised the very differing performances of North America and South America: the former's headline GMI of 60.9 showed very strong growth while the latter's GMI of 42.0 highlighted the fact the region is in recession.

Compiled by World Economics, the GMI provides a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry because it tracks current conditions for marketers as well as their expectations for budgets and staffing levels.

Looking at marketing budgets by medium, digital advertising registered a high index value of 73.8 globally, with mobile not far behind on 71.0.

Even South America performed strongly in digital with an index value of 61.3, which compared favourably with the 71.5 registered in North America. The same could not be said of mobile, however, where South America's index value stood at just 45.2.

Traditional media saw further decline in August, with the allocation of marketing budgets assigned to TV scoring an index value of 45.3 on a global measure.

South America hit a low of 29.0 but Europe continued to grow, albeit weakly, returning a figure of 52.4. TV budgets in Asia Pacific were seen to be falling, with an index value of 45.3.

World Economics deduced that, at the current rates of growth, digital and mobile should have the largest share of marketing budgets by 2016, after being close to zero at the Millennium.

"The revolution in media allocation caused by the rapid expansion of new media marketing (digital and mobile) is still pushing traditional media budget share downwards as media budgets change shape," said Ed Jones, World Economics chief executive.

Data sourced from World Economics; additional content bty Warc staff

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Heineken increases sports sponsorship

1 September 2015
AMSTERDAM: Heineken, the brewer, has further emphasised its position as a major sports sponsor as Amstel, one of its brands, is returning to football to sponsor the UEFA Europa League for the next three seasons. 

The new deal positions Heineken, the company, as a key player in European club football, since Heineken, the beer brand, is also the sponsor of the UEFA Champions League. That means the two brands are effectively the "beers of choice for midweek football fans" around the world as games are shown on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Hans Erik, global director of Heineken sponsorship, told Marketing Week that Amstel intended to make its Europa League campaigns "more local and regional".

"The Amstel brand has a lot of history in being European and has strongholds in different markets," he said. And in those where it doesn't have a presence – including Poland and Portugal – Heineken will use local brands to activate the sponsorship.

"As it's positioned locally we will develop sponsorships to target local audiences," he said. "We won't have one campaign – we don't want a one-size-fits-all approach."

Heineken is also a sponsor of this month's Rugby World Cup and Erik explained that "We have different objectives for different sponsorships at Heineken".

Thus rugby offers a more "affluent and younger" audience for the Heineken brand while the Europa League offers a more "national" scale for Amstel.

The football sponsorships are significant – it's claimed that 4.2bn people around the world watch the Champion's League – but the Rugby World Cup will be Heineken's biggest marketing platform of the year, accounting for almost half its budget.

Earlier this year, Tim Ellerton, global sponsorship manager at Heineken, outlined a tournament focus on loyalty rather than brand awareness.

"The challenge today is not how to reach a wide audience, because digital media has made this possible, but how you amplify sponsorship deals to enhance the brand image," he said.

RWC sponsorship will reach fewer markets than that the Champion's League, "but in those markets such as the UK, New Zealand and Australia it will be one of the biggest marketing assets that we work from", he said.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Employee advocacy boosts Reebok

1 September 2015
NEW YORK: Reebok, the sporting-apparel group, has successfully harnessed employee advocacy to spread the word about its refreshed brand positioning on social media.

Ben Blakesley, the firm's senior manager/global social media, discussed this subject on a webinar organised by SocialChorus.

He joined the company in February 2014, the same month that it unveiled a new positioning based around targeting fitness enthusiasts across America, rather than placing a sole emphasis on elite-level athletes.

And he found that his colleagues embodied this commitment to exercise as a way of life, thus making them the ideal ambassadors for Reebok's refreshed purpose.

"Nearly 80% of our workforce is part of our target demographic – the millennial generation that is out there doing the things that we talk about every day," said Blakesley. (For more, including further ways the brand is prompting employee advocacy, read Warc's exclusive report: Reebok employees … just do it.)

Its staff not only enjoy staying in shape, but also share their passion on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. "That's an amazing thing – that they are doing these things anyway," said Blakesley.

"For me, the challenge is less, 'How am I going to get people to share them doing physical activity on social media?', but, 'How do I bring it closer to the brand and tie it into our brand mission?'"

In achieving this goal, Reebok has used employee "takeovers" on Instagram and asked staff to submit material that might potentially be shared on Reebok's official channels.

Both tactics play into a widespread desire to be a "mini-celebrity", as their output will be seen by all of the brand's followers on the relevant social platform.

"Everybody who is sharing on social media loves to see all of those likes show up on their pictures. So that's one of the ways that we incentivise people with a low- or no-cost reward," Blakesley said.

A special hashtag, "#fitasscompany", also allows employees to express their enthusiasm for exercise on their personal posts.

"We always ask people to be very forward about their involvement with the brand and that they're an employee of the brand. I think that's a key component, also. We're not trying to fool anyone," said Blakesley.

Data sourced from Warc

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Publishers fear mobile ad blocking

1 September 2015
NEW YORK: The imminent launch of a new Apple mobile operating system, which is expected to give users access to ad-blocking facilities, is focusing the minds of publishers who fear they will soon be taking a financial hit.

"The ad-blocking problem is real and growing, and ad blocking on iOS is only going to accelerate it," Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a digital publishers' association, told the Wall Street Journal.

And Sean Blanchfield, chief executive of PageFair, a provider of ad-block solutions to publishers, concurred. "Apple is going to create a massive consumer appetite for blocking ads," he stated.

A joint report from Pagefair and Adobe recently described ad blocking as a "viral phenomenon" that posed an existential threat to the future of free content on the web.

It said that 198m people were using adblockers in June 2015 and suggested that ad blocking globally would lead to lost revenues of $21.8bn in 2015, rising to $41.4bn in 2016.

That figure could be an underestimate if millions of iPhone and iPad users take advantage of iOS 9 and install apps that prevent ads from appearing in its Safari browser.

Crucially, Apple will not be allowing ad blocking within apps, because ads inside apps do not affect mobile performance in the same way they do on in a browser. The developer of one iOS 9 ad-blocking app reported that it could reduce browser page load times by 70% or more.

When commentator John Naughton visited the popular Mail Online site he reported finding a total of 31 third-party trackers and cited separate research showing that actual content on a page of one well-known tech site amounted to 8kB while surrounding ads ran to 6MB.

"There's no doubt online advertising is ruining the web experience for many users," he said.

Dean Murphy, developer of the Crystal ad-blocking app, said his creation was exactly the kind of app Apple wanted when it went looking for Safari extensions. "I can't think of any other use for it other than blocking adverts, JavaScript and cookies," he told AdExchanger.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Apple already has a business serving ads inside apps and that the new operating system would include an Apple News app hosting articles from major news publishers. Apple is likely to get a share of any revenue from ads accompanying those articles.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Ad Exchanger, The Observer; additional content by Warc staff

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Vietnam leads SE Asian smartphone rush

1 September 2015
SINGAPORE: Vietnam is the fastest growing smartphone market in South East Asia, where sales topped $8bn in the first half of the year according to new figures.

Data from market researcher GfK indicated that, overall, some 39.8m smartphones were sold in the region, up from 36.6m in the corresponding period of 2104.

Sales volumes in Vietnam rose 27% in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier to reach to total of 6m, making it the third largest smartphone market in the region, Inside Retail Asia reported.

Thailand was the second-fastest growing market, up 13% to a total of 6.6m, a figure which also put in second place in terms of market size. The Philippines was the third fastest-growing market, up 10%.

Indonesia, however, remains the largest market in terms of volume, with 14.9m units shifted in six months.

Sales growth was sluggish in the mature markets of Singapore and in Malaysia, where consumers have cut back on their spending since the introduction of a general sales tax.

GfK has also started tracking the mobile handset market in Myanmar and reported that 3m units had been sold in the first half, with most of these being smartphones (89%).

"The availability of a wide range of lower price options nowadays have made it possible and much more affordable for price-sensitive consumers in these developing markets to switch over and own their first smartphone," said Gerard Tan, GfK account director for technology.

He pointed out that in the first half of 2013 just 15% of smartphones sold in the region had cost under $100, a proportion that has now climbed to 35%.

Indonesia, he added, was the country with the most number of entry level smartphone brands and consumers in the region.

This transformation is being almost entirely driven by Chinese brands, which now account for around 25% of the region's market compared to 4% in 2013.

"The perception of Chinese brands has been elevated considerably as a result of their heightened marketing campaigns and the opening up of dedicated showrooms and retail counters," Tan said.

Data sourced from Inside Retail Asia; additional content by Warc staff

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Snapdeal critical of app-only approach

1 September 2015
MUMBAI: As India's ecommerce businesses gear up for the all-important festive retail season, the head of Snapdeal has described Myntra's shift to an app-only platform as "the dumbest and most consumer-unfriendly idea ever".

Speaking to the Economic Times, Biswarup Gupta said that the notion merited a conversation a few years down the line when PCs were contributing less than now. "Even then, it is a conversation still – it's not a yes or no situation," he added.

This conviction arose out of his assertion that Snapdeal's fashion business had been helped by online fashion retailer Myntra's decision earlier this year to close down its desktop website as well as its mobile one.

A survey of Snapdeal customers at that time had found that while only 20-30% used the desktop site, 80% wanted it to remain. "We're not going to go against consumers' wishes," said Gupta.

He pointed out that "25% of all discovery for orders that are eventually placed on mobile come from the PC – people start browsing on the PC and start buying on the mobile".

If you want to get 300 million ecommerce buyers on your platform, he added, "You have to offer all choices – all choices in terms of all screens and all payment methods".

The sector's trade association agrees: Nasir Jamal, secretary general of the eCommerce Association of India, recently said: "We think app is the way to go but it shouldn't be the only medium."

With Myntra's owner Flipkart following the same app-only path, Gupta was confident that Snapdeal would become India's largest ecommerce firm this financial year, in terms of gross merchandise value.

"Whatever number they [Flipkart] are saying they will be at, I can guarantee that we will be ahead of them," he declared.

Gupta also revealed that the company had spent nine months planning for Diwali following last year's problems with order fulfilment, including investing in a partnership with a logistics company.

He expected that demand this year would be higher than in 2014, "but we've set our bar even higher … This Diwali our plans are mega".

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Have brands been conning consumers?

31 August 2015
LONDON: The rise of discount supermarkets and the success of own-label raises many questions for brands, not least how they can cope with what appears to be a shift in the psyche of UK consumers.

Own-label accounted for 51.3% of UK grocery shopping in 2014, its highest share in a decade according to Kantar data published in Marketing.

And, with fast-growing German discounters Aldi and Lidl selling few recognised brands but often producing close replicas, the pressure on mainstream brands is growing.

"Everyone should be scared of Aldi and Lidl," according to Vhari Russell, founder of the Food Marketing Expert. "They have reduced SKUs so as a shopper you don't have to choose between five tubes of tomato paste. And their branding is very clever and similar [to brands]."

The last point is particularly important, argued retail consultant Kate Jones. "Consumers want brands and getting something that looks very much like the brand at an acceptable quality for a much better price is a no brainer for so many consumers," she stated.

"If Lidl and Aldi can make an almost indistinguishable product, have brands been conning us for years?" she asked.

It's a message that Aldi first started pushing four years ago when it launched a campaign with the strapline "Like brands, only cheaper. That effectively kick-started its rise in the sector where it now (August 2015) claims a 5.6% share.

Rival retailer Lidl has also been ramping up its advertising expenditure to highlight the quality and taste of its own products. Marketing recently reported that its TV spend had risen 408% in the first half of the year and was now greater than any of its rivals, and more than double that of market leader Tesco.

In this atmosphere, brands will have to work harder, with Jones maintaining that those with "honesty, meaning and a story" will fare best.

"The retail market is fast moving," she added, "and although own label may feel like it is getting the upper hand today, brands will and can fight back because no one is more expert at making a brand than the brand owner."

Data sourced from Marketing; additional content by Warc staff

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Newspapers join forces for ad campaign

31 August 2015
LONDON: The UK's six leading national newspaper groups are combining forces to launch an advertising campaign across their 18 titles which aims to remind people of the unique role newspapers play for advertisers, readers and society.

The eight-week campaign, which launches on September 2, will appear on digital platforms as well as in the papers, and a series of six ads will highlight the level of attention and influence that newspaper brands still command.

For example, one ad shows a picture of two news presenters resting their hands on some newspapers beneath the headline: "The front page news on TV every night? Ours."

And a 40-second film, Media Butterflies, develops the idea that it is hard to find any audience today that gives you its undivided attention as they are all "surfing, scrolling and skipping". By contrast newspaper readers are: "receptive, engaged and absorbed".

The campaign also emphasises the spending power of newspaper readers and makes the point that more 18-24 year olds turn to news brands, not the TV, for their news.

"Technology and the arrival of tech organisations has transformed the way all of us find information, which means the important role newspaper brands play can sometimes be overlooked," said Rufus Olins, chief executive of Newsworks, the marketing body for national newspapers and the organisation behind the campaign.

"We felt it was time to remind people about the job they do and extraordinary influence they have over people's opinions and decision-making," he added.

Alfredo Marcantonio, a partner at HHM which created the campaign, claimed that national newspapers are now "more widely read than they were in Fleet Street's heyday".

"Not only this, but people are faithful regardless of format," he said. "They'd no more change their newspaper than their football team."

Digital revenues and audiences continue to grow for publishers, but the newspapers themselves remain the biggest source of ad revenue. Advertisers spent £1.37bn in national news brands last year, according to the latest AA/Warc figures, including £214m on digital platforms.

Data sourced from Newsworks; additional content by Warc staff

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Brands could tap mobile PPV

31 August 2015
NEW YORK: The development of mobile pay-per-view (PPV) could open up new global avenues for marketers while at the same time bringing incremental revenues to the content providers involved.

"Mobile PPV is a complete newborn and we're waiting for it to start kicking and screaming," Mazen Alawar, director of marketing at live streaming specialist Hang w/, told Mobile Marketer. "I think this allows [pay-per-view providers] to go direct to consumer the way nothing else does."

Sporting events are an obvious candidate for mobile PPV, as some of these are already made available on PPV basis via cable. And with more consumers shunning cable bundles of programming there are opportunities for cable networks to claw back viewers.

The NBA has already taken steps to offer consumers single-game options on mobile devices, rather than requiring the less-committed fan to buy a package for all games. Consequently it is getting access to and profiting from viewers it would otherwise have missed.

"Mobile pay per view gives providers an opportunity to dramatically improve footprint, not just because of ubiquity of mobile devices but because of their omnipresence," said Sastry Rachakonda, CEO of iQuanti, New York.

"People do not have to be at home in front of their televisions to get pay-per-view, which dramatically increases the opportunity."

The other major opportunity he saw came from the ability to go global instantly. "For example, Chinese soccer fans would be able to view the English Premier League on their mobiles, on a pay-per-view mode, at $0.95 per match," he suggested.

"Given the global popularity of LeBron James, we can see that as a huge opportunity for the NBA," he added.

Earlier this year the NBA signed a deal with Chinese internet giant Tencent to show live games – NBA games attract an estimated 100m fans in the country – on its various platforms.

Alawar further pointed out that brands could bypass media houses; they could also, he suggested, "facilitate consumer content by offering free access to loyal customers".

Data sourced from Mobile Marketer; additional content by Warc staff

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Black Monday fears recede

31 August 2015
HONG KONG: One week on from "Black Monday", Chinese markets are showing signs of recovery and many analysts are positive about the economy, as consumers haven't stopped spending.

The Shanghai Composite Index was up 4.82% on Friday, following a 5.34% increase the previous day. And Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, dismissed the overreaction of investors, Xinhua reported.

"The collapse of the equity bubble tells us next to nothing about the state of China's economy," Williams said, adding that relatively few Chinese people had invested in stocks.

It was a view shared by Nicholas Lardy, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who observed that a focus on weaknesses in China's industrial sector missed the bigger picture of China's overall economic performance.

He pointed out that the service sector has been the biggest driver of China's economic growth for the last three years as households spent on entertainment, travel, health and education.

Consumer confidence may be shaken, however, and brands may need to reconsider their positioning as the devaluation of the yuan has made foreign products more expensive.

"People are still spending but they are more careful about how they spend, with more focus on features and functions, after-sales support and how products fit in their life," according to Ben Cavender, an analyst at China Market Research Group in Shanghai.

The Financial Times cited Samsonite as a case in point: after several years in the doldrums, the suitcase maker shifted its emphasis away from luxury items to more affordable products and posted an annualised 28% increase in sales in the first half of 2015.

"Most consumer companies see that consumers in China are becoming smarter, they want to buy goods with better value," said Ramesh Tainwala, Samsonite's chief executive. "That trend was already starting over the last two years and will only continue."

Businesses will be monitoring their sales carefully in the next few months for any possible consequences of the stock market crash.

"We know that the Chinese consumer changes very quickly," Colin Currie, head of Adidas China, told the Wall Street Journal. "As a brand and a business, we have to watch these changes."

Data sourced from Xinhua, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff

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Brazil household consumption falls

31 August 2015
SAO PAULO: On top of the news that consumer confidence in Brazil has fallen to its lowest level ever, a new study says that household consumption declined 7.5% in the first half of the year.

Last week the country's main consumer confidence index, produced by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), stood at 80.6 points, down from 82 points in July – this on a 1-to-200-point range, with 100 considered an indicator of neutral sentiment.

This was the lowest reading since FGV started compiling the index in 2005 and the organisation's economists said it reflected Brazilians' fears about the economic situation, including inflationary pressures, interest rate increases and job security.

Inflation has reached 9.6% on some counts and, as a study from Kantar Worldpanel demonstrated, is affecting consumer shopping behaviour.

The research firm reported a 7.5% fall in Brazilian household consumption in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier and said the average price of shopping basket items had risen 8.5%.

But where previously consumers had coped by shopping less often and buying more on each trip, now they are not only shopping less often but buying less per trip.

"We see clearly that Brazilian families can no longer maintain their buying patterns," said Christine Pereira, commercial director at Kantar Worldpanel, noting "an intense rationalisation in purchasing decisions".

In keeping with these trends, the one sales channel to show first half growth – of 18% – was the atacarejo, a self-service wholesale-retail hybrid.

Interestingly, Kantar Worldpanel's study also found that some added-value product categories – such as salad dressing and frozen potato – were showing double-digit growth.

Pereira put forward two reasons for this development. One was convenience and practicality "given a lifestyle that provides less time for household activities".

The other was a greater domestic focus. "With the crisis, fewer families are eating out and are bringing occasions and special meals back home, " she said.

Data sourced from PR Newswire, Nasdaq; additional content by Warc staff

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NYPD builds trust via social media

31 August 2015
NEW YORK: The New York Police Department (NYPD) is ramping up its use of social media to rebuild trust with the communities it serves and become more responsive to citizens' everyday concerns.

Zachary Tumin, the NYPD's deputy commissioner/strategic initiatives, discussed this topic on a webcast held by Direct Marketing News.

More specifically, he stated that the organisation has dramatically expanded its presence on Twitter. One illustration of this involved establishing accounts, led by individual commanders, for all of its 123 precincts.

The department has also, via a partnership with crowdsourcing platform IdeaScale, set about creating online communities for each of these areas so residents can raise, and vote on, issues facing their neighbourhood.

"We know that social operates in the moment, and the New York Police Department prides itself on turning on a dime in the moment," said Tumin. (For more, including further examples of how this strategy is being implemented, read Warc's exclusive report: How the NYPD captures attention on social media.)

"You combine those two – citizen in-the-moment insight and the NYPD's ability to turn on a dime – and you get a very powerful combination."

Elaborating on this theme, he suggested that "re-empowering" commanders to connect directly with New Yorkers through social media can help the NYPD improve its standing among sceptical citizens.

"Social breaks down the barriers. The New York Police Department has had many, many issues over the past several years. We're keenly aware of them," said Tumin.

"Our job here is to help build trust and restore confidence in police and policing."

A related benefit of leveraging platforms such as IdeaScale and Twitter lies in tackling the everyday "quality of life" concerns – like graffiti or speeding traffic – which are of interest in "hyper-local" geographies.

"We think when we take action, we need to let people know, 'You've spoken; we've heard; we've taken action,'" Tumin said.

"This is the ability to show citizens that if they invest their good effort in working with us on these platforms it will pay back in highly-responsive policing."

Data sourced from Warc

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Boost for marketers to rural India

31 August 2015
MUMBAI: Rural India is set to gain a place on the media radar with the launch of a new service that aims to not only track television channel availability and claimed viewership in non-urban areas but also details of consumer durable preferences and ownership.

Chrome Rural Track, a monthly report from media advisory and consultancy firm Chrome DM, will eventually cover 105,000 villages.

These are categorised into four strata based on population density, including reaching down to villages with fewer than 5,000 people.

IndianTelevision.com reported that this task would involve a "massive infrastructure of field staff and tele-callers, with knowledge of 22 languages", but Pankaj Krishna, Chrome DM CEO and founder, said this was necessary given the size and "social-cultural complexity" of India's rural landscape.

"Consumption patterns, consumer preferences and purchasing power of rural areas are significantly different from that of the cities," he said. "If we further dissect the data, there are radical differences in consumer behaviour within individual villages."

Early data released by Chrome Rural Track shows some significant differences between states as regards how people receive television.

Thus, 99.6% of rural households in Punjab & Haryana and 99.1% in Kerala get television through cable, while high figures were also reported for those in Gujurat (85.4%) and Maharashtra (70.3%).

Direct-to-home was a much more popular option in Himachal Pradesh (82.2%), Madhya Pradesh (66.2%) and Uttar Pradesh & Bihar (62.4%).

"With television being the main tool to communicate with consumers, it is critical that the brands have a refined knowledge [of] television viewing," stated Monica Tata, a member of Chrome DM's advisory board.

While television is undoubtedly important, marketers cannot afford to neglect the rise of the second screen, according to Gurpreet Wasi of IMRB.

Penetration of mobile phones is around 80% and this has driven connectivity and awareness of mainstream trends and brands, making rural consumers more aspirational than before.

"Regional servicing of markets is critical in the context of product design, distribution and communications," she advised.

Data sourced from IndianTelevision.com; additional content by Warc staff

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CMOs focus on customer journey

28 August 2015
NEW YORK: Chief marketing officers are shifting their budgets away from individual channels and placing greater emphasis on the entire customer journey, a new study has found.

The CMO Club, in partnership with IBM, conducted research among 100 of the world's top marketers – with budgets of $1bn or more – for its report Marketing is a (Buyer) Journey, Not a Destination and stated that marketing was becoming less about the funnel and more about the journey as budgets were increasingly spread over the whole cycle.

At the same time, customer retention and advocacy were increasing in importance as the marketing focus moved away from simple customer acquisition.

"CMOs can no longer afford to dedicate a majority of their budget to customer acquisition and allocate market spend by channel," the study said. "Marketing focused solely on awareness and/or the purchase funnel is obsolete."

They are instead investing across the entire customer journey and doing so more or less evenly at every stage: "discover" took 20% of budgets in the study, with "learn" on 16% ,"try" on 16%, "buy" on 21%, "use" on 13% and "advocate" on 14%.

Social and online channels were described as "multi-tasker mediums" across all stages. And while there is a clear momentum towards digital, traditional channels remain important: spending across buying stages was roughly evenly divided between them (52% traditional, 38% digital).

The top budgeted areas were content (13%), followed by advertising (12%), digital online, events and digital websites (all on 11%).

Some 57% CMOs surveyed expected their marketing budgets to increase over the next two to three years and planned to increase spending across every stage of the buyer journey by an average 50%.

Pete Krainik, CEO and founder of The CMO Club, professed himself excited by these findings. "Marketing dollars are in a seismic shift from channel to journey with feedback metrics that allow for rapid experimentation across campaigns and tactics," he said.

Data sourced from CMO Club, MarketWatch; additional content by Warc staff

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Dell champions 'global-friendly' ethos

28 August 2015
NEW YORK: Brands seeking to translate content into other languages might benefit from training their marketers to be more "global-friendly", a leading executive from Dell has argued.

Wayne Bourland, the technology company's director/global localization, discussed this topic on a webinar organised by Brand2Global.

His department works with 100 teams around the world, ensuring that Dell's marketing and ecommerce content is effectively translated into 28 different languages.

Some of the common challenges, he revealed, include capturing the essence of a US brand positioning in nations where it is not a good cultural fit, as well as dealing with copy which references American rules and regulations.

"We spend a little bit of time working with our upstream teams on how to be global-friendly," he said. (For more, including budget tips, read Warc's exclusive report: Making marketing work overseas: translation tips from Dell.)

"But, to be absolutely honest with you, I think we do a pretty bad job of doing that, primarily because we're supporting a hundred different teams that are creating marketing content all over the world [and] a lot of different ad agencies.

"We don't really have the ability to get into those teams as much as we would like, and in front of those teams as much as we would like, to influence the creative process … It needs to happen."

The problem, he suggested, partly results from the fact that members of in-house or agency teams often don't "have a good understanding" of other countries.

"Think about: you're a 25-year-old coming out of college, you've got your marketing degree and now you're writing this content for this large enterprise," said Bourland.

"You may not know really anything about the world outside the United States."

More broadly, he asserted that many brand custodians do not understand what is required to translate content so it matches the original engagement effect.

"You've got all of that time and dollars invested in creating that source English, and then you dump it all through the translation process," he said.

"And you think that two or three days later, you're going to get it back in 28 languages … and it's going to look just as brilliant as the stuff that came out of the ad agency. That's the wrong expectation."

Data sourced from Warc

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Consumers want free online news

28 August 2015
LONDON: UK consumers want their online news to be free at the point of consumption, a survey finding reinforced by data which highlights the fact that the slowest growing newsbrands are those operating paywalls.

A poll of 1,055 adults for The News Hub, an open journalism platform, found near-unanimous support for online news to be free: 96% of respondents agreed there should be no charges to access news websites.

At the same time, new data from NRS PADD (National Readership Survey Print And Digital Data) showed that over the 12 months from July 2014 to July 2015 the fastest growing readerships among UK news brands were at those which did not charge for access.

The Daily Mirror's monthly readership figures doubled (+101%) over the period with much of this coming via mobile, while the Guardian was not far behind, with a 98.5% increase, followed by the Telegraph on +92.6%.

The Times, in contrast, registered a +5.5% increase, while sister paper the Sun managed +6.9%. Both of these titles owned by Rupert Murdoch's News UK operate paywalls.

More generally, reported Newsworks, the data showed that newsbrands reached nearly 20m people across the UK every day (38%), 34m people (66%) each week and just under 40m people (76%) each month across print and PC.

Adding in estimates for mobile lifted the monthly figure to 46m, or around nine in ten (89%) of the potential newsreading population.

Another indication of how the news industry is changing came in the finding that 35.3m people (68%) are still reading newspapers on a monthly basis, but newsbrands reach 36.3m people (70%) across digital platforms alone every month.

Newsbrands remain an excellent medium for reaching a high-income audience, Newsorks noted, with 94% of ABC1s reading a newsbrand each month and 97% of chief income earners with over £70,000 of net annual income. Newsbrands also reach 32m main shoppers (89%) every month.

Young people were the biggest consumers of newsbrands across all platforms with 96% of 15-24 year olds accessing newsbrands each month.

Advertising spend on digital newsbrands reached a record-high £387m last year, according to the AA/Warc Expenditure Report. Digital ad revenues for newsbrands are expected to top half a billion pounds next year.


Data sourced from BusinessWire, Newsworks; additional content by Warc staff

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Android preferred for mobile email

28 August 2015
LONDON: Email open and click rates across Europe are growing significantly faster on Android devices than iOS ones, new research has shown.

SendGrid, an email delivery platform, collected data on ten billion emails sent across its database of 200,000 companies during two ten-day periods in 2014 and 2015 and found that email open rates on Android devices were growing almost nine times faster than those on iOS devices.

Email opens on an Android device rose by an average of 68% across the EU, compared to 8% growth for iPhone.

In the UK, Android open and click rates grew year-on-year by 23%, while the growth was much more significant in Bulgaria (+364%), Poland (+309%) and Luxembourg (+178%).

Overall, 22 of the 28 EU member states saw an increase in Android email usage, significantly overtaking Apple devices for user engagements in year-on-year growth.

In the UK, the iPhone accounted for almost a quarter (24%) of email opens and clicks, but this was an 8% decrease on 2014. Bigger declines were seen in Slovakia (-38%), Luxembourg (-21%) and the Netherlands (-14%).

The iPad saw a more significant decline of 15% year-on-year across Europe. The greatest declines came in the Czech Republic where open rates fell by 52% year on year, closely followed by Latvia and Greece (both falling by 49%). The UK was one of the few exceptions – open rates on the Apple tablet increased by 5%.

Overall, iPhone and iPad email use in Europe was relatively stagnant, with an average growth of only 1% between 2014 and 2015.

Aaron Beach, SendGrid's senior data scientist, noted that it was 33 years since the first corporate email had been sent and it remained the 'de facto' business communications tool of the modern era, even in the mobile era.

Smartphones had now become the dominant platform for sending and receiving corporate email, he said. "Our data indicates that tablet usage just hasn't taken off in the same meaningful way," he added.

Data sourced from SendGrid; additional content by Warc staff

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Vertical video swells completion rates

28 August 2015
NEW YORK: Mobile video ad campaigns shot vertically can deliver a significant increase in completion rates according to adtech firm Celtra.

One such campaign for Audi, designed around the car marque's involvement in the Le Mans race, achieved a 36% completion rate, which Celtra reported was 80% higher than its automotive benchmark.

"We believe that this is the form that will eventually get the most traction on mobile devices because of the way that consumption of content works on mobile and the way users are using and interacting with content," Mihael Mikek, CEO and co-founder of Celtra, told Mobile Marketer.

"Snapchat proved this with their success," he added. "Right now, a number of other companies are trying to develop and catch up."

Earlier this year, Snapchat, the photo-sharing app, reported that vertical ads were viewed to the end nine times more frequently than horizontal ones and advised content producers to simply turn their cameras on their side to frame shots as they will appear on phones.

More recently, it teamed up with WPP Group, the advertising holding company, and the Daily Mail, the news title, to create Truffle Pig, a content agency that will test new marketing formats – especially vertical video.

The advent of video streaming apps such as Meerkat and Periscope have reinforced the need for marketers to have a vertical perspective for mobile devices.

The Audi campaign, however, was actually taken from a TV ad and cropped to fit in portrait mode while also being shortened from 30 to eight seconds.

Mikek reported that Celtra currently has 20 brands lined up to run vertical video ads using its technology and expects the trend to be embraced across the industry.

"Going forward, vertical video will be one of the main focuses," Mikek said. "In the next few months, we'll see many more brands doing it."

And the use of vertical video is not restricted to mobile. 

In a Warc Trends Snapshot on vertical video, Sergio Claudio, vp/digital innovation and strategy at RockOrange, explained that such material usually displays well on Facebook, and can be employed in skyscraper and 300 x 600 ad units on desktop, providing the "same amount of real estate" as on mobile.


Data sourced from Mobile Marketer; additional content by Warc staff

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Aussie marketers tackle adtech issues

28 August 2015
SYDNEY: Australia's advertising and marketing industry is increasingly concerned with issues around digital advertising technology according to a new report which also highlights several areas where further education is required.

In The State of the Market: Marketing and Advertising Technology study, for which IAB Australia surveyed 200 respondents, brand safety, ad fraud detection and viewability emerged as areas of particular interest, B&T reported.

But while 76% of respondents were already using ad viewability tracking technology, only half of agencies (48%) had invested in brand safety technology, while a similar proportion of publishers (52%) were not using ad fraud detection.

The study further found that agencies, clients and publishers were all looking to taking advantage of a broad range of tools and technologies in the areas of analytics and measurement.

Relatively few were yet using attribution modelling, data visualisation and content personalisation technologies, although many indicated an intention to start doing so within the next six months.

Up to 15% of clients or marketers, for example, signalled their intent to use mobile analytics or marketing tools, while 10% of clients, marketers and agencies planned to use video analytics. Attribution modelling was a priority for 29% of publishers.

One potential obstacle the survey discovered, however, is that the self-declared understanding of these various technologies was not great.

Clients listed attribution modelling, platforms and data visualisation as their priority areas for education and information. Agencies covered added ad fraud detection to this list while publishers were focused on mobile analytics, ad viewability tracking and ad fraud detection.

"As more and more consumers are using mobile and engaging with online video, marketers and advertisers are acknowledging they need to better analyse and use a range of tools to understand and serve their customers," said Alice Manners, CEO of IAB Australia.

"The industry has expressed a clear hunger for greater accountability and a growing sophistication in their needs so we will continue to work towards supporting their needs," she added.

Data sourced from B&T; additional content by Warc staff

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Clarity ahead for India's TV ratings

28 August 2015
MUMBAI: The long-running debate around India's TV ratings has taken a new, and decisive, turn as the two main protagonists have pooled their resources in a new company to gather all relevant data.

BARC India, the television rating company formed by broadcasters, agencies and advertisers, and TAM India, the television audience measurement company owned by Nielsen and Kantar, are forming a separate meter company which will manage all 34,000 television meters which the two organisations currently operate.

The new business – in which BARC has a 51% stake, TAM 49% – will carry out field work and supply raw data to BARC which will analyse the findings and supply a television rating which will be the sole trading currency for the industry.

This development means an end to the TAM television ratings, the accuracy of which had been disputed by broadcasters, although TAM India will continue to provide non-TV ratings services.

"This partnership is a big step forward and in this era of cooperation, we welcome this move forward as a joint industry body," said Punit Goenka, chairman of BARC India.

"The technology and methodological prowess of BARC, combined with the extra meters and the field force will definitely help the industry progress," he added.

Six months ago, the two sides were at loggerheads as LV Krishnan, CEO of TAM Media Research, condemned the "shameful" behaviour of industry bodies which had advised members to end their arrangements with TAM and subscribe instead to BARC.

The tone now, however, is very different, with Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, stating: "We are happy to cooperate with BARC India to be able to provide clarity and a large single sample for the industry and to keep India as a key market for us."

And Steve Hasker, global president, Nielsen, said the new venture "draws strengths from both BARC India and TAM India" and would offer "great coverage and representation".

The Indian TV advertising market was worth US$2.2bn last year and is expected to grow at an average rate of 8.1% this year and next, according to the latest data from Warc's International Ad Forecast.

Further, Warc's Media Inflation Forecast, which draws consensus from three major ad agencies on the price of marketing via different media, finds that the cost of a 30 second TV spot in India is likely to rise 10% this year.


Data sourced from IndianTelevision.com, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Warc launches 2016 Innovation Prize

27 August 2015
LONDON: Warc is today launching the Warc Prize for Innovation 2016, a global search for effective innovation in marketing with a $10,000 cash prize fund.

Now in its fourth year, the competition is free to enter and open to all forms of marketing and communications. Entrants must submit a case study of marketing innovation that delivered meaningful results for a brand.

The work should have been in-market at any time between January 1 2014 and November 30 2015. Full entry details are available at the Prize website.

Innovation can be hard to define, beyond a sense that it marks a break from what went before, and entrants are asked to explain why their strategies should merit being described as innovative.

Nigel Jones, global chief strategy Officer at FCB, judged the 2014 Prize and noted that the industry's definition of innovation was broadening.

"When I first came into the industry, innovation was about new insights and new compositions, and new ways of talking to the audience. Increasingly, that's not true. Innovation is now about utility and what you're going to do with the product or use the product for.”

The competition will name Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners. The Grand Prix, for the best overall paper, will win $5,000.

In addition there are five $1,000 Special Awards, which will be awarded to the best examples of specific types of innovation: product or service innovation, channel innovation, category innovation, co-created innovation and innovation in a not-profit-campaign.

All winning entries will be published and promoted in the Warc Innovation Casebook 2016, Warc's annual report on the world's freshest communication ideas.

The last iteration of the Innovation Prize was won by Clever Buoy, a shark detector campaign for Australian mobile provider Optus. This case study plus useful tips about how to impress the judges, is available on the Prize website, while further information about previous winning cases and their common themes can be found in previous editions of the Innovation Casebook.

A jury of senior marketers for some of the world's biggest brands, plus agency-side experts from around the world, will be announced in the coming months.

Data sourced from Warc

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Brands should build experiences

27 August 2015
LONDON: Marketers seeking to build brand experiences and consumer engagement are being offered a way to bridge the digital and physical environments by the creators of an augmented reality app.

The Traces app sends content to a location rather than a device; the recipient has to be in the right location at the right time to unlock the content – which can be anything from a photo to a video or audio clip – via a digital marker left by the sender and which is revealed in the smartphone's camera view

This twist to location-based marketing has already been used by GoPro, the action camera brand: at SXSW earlier this year it created mobile scavenger hunts around Austin, offering GoPro products and exclusive access to SXSW events to the winners.

And Oxfam, the aid and development charity, recently launched a campaign which employs Traces to deliver messages to people passing its shops and to solicit donations.

Neuroscientist Beau Lotto, founder of Traces, told Marketing that "A lot of my research is on perception, how the brain makes sense of other people – it has to physically engage with the world and the people it cares about."

"What I'm arguing for is the space between," he said, "to have content not on your phone but in the world itself."

So rather than simply clicking on a mobile device, "Traces requires the brain to embark on a journey of discovery, generating dopamine and fostering empathy between connections".

Brands, Lotto suggested, could use this to create experiences and reward people for being in a certain location: "the effort to get a Trace boosts its value".

The brain loves experiences, he explained. "People will spend more money for experiences than objects, and their significance lasts longer."

Lotto further argued that for brands to succeed in digital they had to learn to give.

"We have brands that are close to us, like musicians, and we'll go further for those than for anything else," he said. "And in going further, we feel closer to the brand by having made that effort."

Data sourced from Marketing, Third Sector, Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff

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Mobile gap persists for publishers

27 August 2015
NEW YORK: US publishers report that more than half of visits to their digital properties are coming from mobile devices but that these are contributing less than one fifth of digital ad revenues.

That's the case at the The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and a similar gap is evident at the New York Times Co. "[Mobile revenues] are definitely lagging audience. No question," Meredith Kopit Levien, the latter's chief revenue officer, told the Wall Street Journal.

Where mobile accounts for perhaps 20% of digital ad revenue at the Wall Street Journal sites, that figure is around 15% at those of the New York Times.

Targeting is a major issue, since the tracking infrastructure that has been developed over many years is set up for desktops and doesn't work at all well on mobile.

Andy Blau, Time Inc.'s group general manager, highlighted the difficulties: "We need to be able to help advertisers differentiate between people interested in buying mid-priced cars or expensive cars," he explained.

Unfortunately for publishers anxious to recoup print advertising losses, Facebook and Google are rather more adept at making such distinctions and are soaking up the greater part of mobile advertising dollars.

While some publishers have chosen to jump on the Facebook bandwagon, using its Instant Articles program to publish stories directly to the site, others are exploring alternative approaches.

The New York Times, for example, is to trial a new ad product that divides a day into seven parts and enables marketers to target messages to users in these particular "moments".

The mobile gap was also remarked on by Travis Johnson, global mobile head at IPG Mediabrands. "Consumers are so much more in this space than the advertisers are," he told Beet.tv.

"We've got clients … seeing upwards of 50% of their site traffic come through from mobile devices, and they're dedicating 1% of their spend towards driving people there," he said.

"They're not optimising their assets and making the most of that," he added.

He suggested the gap arose since mobile was still a new space for IT, marketing and sales teams.

"It's almost a new piece of infrastructure to get all your assets aligned," he said. "It's taking a lot of clients quite some time."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Beet.tv; additional content by Warc staff

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Vloggers are a missed opportunity

27 August 2015
NEW YORK: Vloggers are significantly more likely than TV or movie stars to influence millennial purchase intent but brands have yet to fully exploit the opportunities they offer a report has said.

Think tank L2 highlighted the relative influences of these sources in its latest Intelligence Report, on the subject of video. YouTube vloggers had a 62%-63% influence on young adults and teens compared to the 46%-49% exercised by TV and movie stars.

It pointed out that an average popular beauty vlogger video achieved some 438,770 video views and contrasted this with the monthly circulation of some leading magazine titles aimed at a similar demographic.

Thus, for example, Cosmopolitan sells 289,044 copies, while Marie Claire shifts 202,127 and Vogue 200,032.

Overall, beauty vloggers registered more than 700m video views every month, with popular channels attracting 15 times more views and 108 times more subscribers than those belonging to beauty and hair care brands.

But even those brands attempting to leverage partnerships with vloggers often "underutilised this advantage", the report said.

Some 17% of beauty and hair care brands posted content featuring vloggers on their social properties during the final quarter of 2014, but half of these same brands then failed to take advantage of the vloggers' huge audiences on their own YouTube channels.

L2 cited Clean & Clear as an example: the teen skincare brand had featured two popular YouTube vloggers – MayBaby and MamaMiaMakeup – on its brand channel, where video views could reach maybe 17,000, during this period.

But neither vlogger had mentioned the brand in their own videos which typically attract 1.5m views in the case of MayBaby and 371,000 in the case of MamaMiaMakeup.

Sponsoring product placement in videos by popular vloggers could be a better strategy L2 suggested.

This is an area where brands need to tread carefully and ensure transparency. In the UK, vloggers have recently been issued with new guidelines stressing the need to clearly identify when they are promoting a product.

Data sourced from L2; additional content by Warc staff

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SE Asia leads in mobile marketing

27 August 2015
SINGAPORE: The Asia Pacific region is leading the way in the shift to mobile-first business, with marketers in South East Asia particularly focused on mobile as an effective form of customer engagement.

That's the conclusion of a new study by Adobe Digital Index – Best of the Best Benchmark 2015 – which compared the overall average versus the top 20% websites as rated on six key performance indicators across eight regions: South East Asia (including Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia), Australia and New Zealand, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan and the US.

The indicators included smartphone and tablet traffic; stick rate (defined as the percentage of visits that last more than one page); visits-per-visitor; time spent; conversion rate; and click-through-rate.

South East Asia saw double-digit increases year-over-year in their share of smartphone visits, with an 18% increase for best of the best websites and 11% increase for average websites.

Loyal return visitors were more prominent in the region than the US, both from average websites and best of the best websites, which, Adobe Digital Index pointed out, equates to higher loyalty and reduced acquisition costs.

Time spent on websites is the best metric for site engagement and the best of the best websites were 22% higher than the average; all countries in Asia Pacific fared better than the US.

"The best digital marketers in South East Asia are delivering strong results in some key performance areas,” said Tamara Gaffney, Director, Adobe Digital Index.

"Not only did we see the gaps increase for smartphone visits between the best of the best websites and the average websites, we congruently saw the "best of the best” are also moving away from the average in terms of stick rate, indicating the direct correlation between mobile capability and consumer engagement.”

But click-through rates were weak in South East Asia, showing a lack of alignment between consumer intent and advertising execution. Similarly some of the weakest conversion rates were also in the region.

"The data is telling us that delivering seamless experiences across devices is the key to acquisition and engagement,” Gaffney concluded.

Data sourced from Adobe Digital Index; additional content by Warc staff

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Brands refine mela tactics

27 August 2015
NEW DELHI: With the world's largest religious gathering happening over the next three weeks, brands have an opportunity to reach millions of Indian consumers in a very different context from usual.

The Kumbh Mela starting in Nasik on Saturday is only the biggest of many melas taking place over the next few months where brands can explore new and inventive ways of getting their message across to rural consumers.

"There is always a prestige attached to participating in big melas," according to Deepak Oberoi, CEO of experiential marketing business RC&M.

"The local media do stories on the best stalls and it gives a brand so much added publicity without spending a thing," he told the Economic Times.

At the last Kumbh Mela, for example, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) set up 50 handwashing stations to promote its Lifebuoy soap. But what was really newsworthy was the tactic of imprinting the message "Did you wash your hands with Lifebuoy?" on fresh roti breads served by 100 local restaurants.

HUL also brought a novel strategy for its 3 Roses tea brand to the recent Maha Pushkaram in Andhra Pradesh. Some 250 tea stalls were given 3,000 special cups on which a brand logo and message appeared when it was filled with hot liquid.

"The cup transforms a mundane moment into a magical one," explained Shiva Krishnamurthy, general manager & category head/tea. 

"There was a unanimous 'wow' around the 'magic' effect – many even wanted to take the cup home with them," he added.

While novelty and inventiveness may grab people's attention, basic utility is also welcome at such gatherings.

"At the Maha Kumbh 2013, people were camping out," said George Angelo, executive director of sales at FMCG business Dabur. "Odomos is the only protection against mosquitos that works both outdoors and indoors – we distributed it extensively in sachets."

But according to Dalveer Singh, head of experiential marketing, APAC, Dialogue Factory, "The people who have used melas in the best way are local brands".

He drew attention to the "ganji baniyan guys" who "use a call to attention with small rhymes in local language and make an appeal to the entire family". Major brands, he suggested could usefully treat local vendors as a source of insights.


Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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