Tourism drives luxury market

25 May 2015
MILAN: Tourism is a major driver of the luxury market and recent currency fluctuations have had "an immediate impact on touristic flows and spending patterns" according to a new report.

Consulting firm Bain & Company, whose Worldwide Luxury Markets Monitor 2015 Spring Update was produced in association with Fondazione Altagamma, the Italian luxury goods manufacturers' industry foundation, said that this had especially affected Chinese tourism.

Chinese consumers make up more than 30% of global luxury spending and, Bain reported, are largely responsible for the shift  from local consumption to the touristic spending that now accounts for around half of all luxury spending.

This is affected more than ever by currency fluctuations and as the value of the euro declined so spending in Western Europe was up 12-13% in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the 2-3% growth registered at a constant exchange rate. South Korea and Southeast Asia also performed strongly but the US fell below expectations.

Bain highlighted the experience of Japan, where tourism "completely changed the country's market dynamics, requiring new initiatives to serve customers". Chinese consumer spending there already represents up to 20% of total sales.

But luxury does not preclude having an eye for a bargain. Bina said that price awareness and consciousness among consumers had increased significantly, leading to a rise in the off-price luxury market, which now represents more than 30% of total luxury sales.

"Current market dynamics shine a light on how the industry has changed over the last 15 years," said Claudia D'Arpizio, a Bain partner and lead author of the report.

"Pricing, distribution and customer strategy remain at the top of the agenda for luxury companies, but the old models are being called into question.

"In this new environment, brands must undergo a fundamental paradigm shift if they want to win in the years to come."

One example of this, according to Luxury Daily, is that even if many consumers are spending abroad, they still tend to do their research and make their purchasing decision at home.

Consequently luxury brands need to ensure the right level of digital activity of brands, finding an appropriate balance of content, visibility and utility.


Data sourced from Bain & Company, Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff

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Older viewers turn to SVOD

25 May 2015
LONDON: The use of subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services in the UK is growing as an increasing number of older consumers avail themselves of this platform.

At the same time, younger consumers have turned sharply away from SVOD according to a new report from media research business Decipher.

Its biannual Mediabug study – the most recent is Wave 6 – shows that 30% of UK consumer now use an SVOD service such as Netflix and Amazon Prime at least once a month, a 4% rise over the past six months.

Breaking down the figures, however, reveals that fewer younger consumers are doing so, as the proportion of 16-24 year olds watching content this way dropped from 52% to 40%. For 35-34 year olds the proportion was steady on 45%.

In contrast, older age groups were steadily increasing their use of this platform: the proportion of 35-44 year olds watching via SVOD was up seven percentage points to 38%, while that for the over 55s was up eight points to 15%.

The most dramatic shift came in the 45-54 age range where the proportion using SVOD jumped 15 points to 35%.

The increasing availability of SVOD services on televisions is a major factor in this shift, as Decipher reported a movement away from non-TV devices towards those that enable TV viewing.

Thus it had seen an increase in online VOD share for smart TVs and OTT devices such as Apple TV and Google Chromecast, while PCs in particular were losing share.

"We're seeing a subtle shift in tone when it comes to digital consumption," said Dr. Hamish McPharlin, director of Decipher Media Research.

"With over-35s getting on board with subscription VOD, we can see that it has moved past early adopter behaviour and is gaining mainstream acceptance, and this is driven by SVOD becoming increasingly accessible on the most popular mainstream device: the TV."

Films were found to be the most popular VOD choice, with just over a third of TV VOD viewers accessing films on-demand in the last month.

Data sourced from Decipher; additional content by Warc staff

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Adidas advises 'hashtag hierarchy'

25 May 2015
CHICAGO: Brands seeking to create content for major sporting events should focus on issues like tone of voice, scenario planning and establishing a "hashtag hierarchy", according to a leading executive from adidas.

Thomas van Schaik, the firm's global brand director, discussed this topic at IEG's 2015 Sponsorship conference in Chicago, framing his points around the 2014 World Cup, of which adidas was an official partner.

Among the main matters to consider, he suggested, are formulating a unique proposition and tone of voice – and making sure they fit a brand's wider positioning.

Marketers similarly need to decide what "pillars" ought to support their overall strategy, and not try to cover too much ground.

"You can't do everything and mean everything to everybody. You end up meaning nothing," said van Schaik. (For more, including details of the company's online "brazuca" activation, read Warc's exclusive report: How a tweeting ball won the World Cup for adidas.)

In a related task, it is essential to identify the formats that will be used, both by earmarking specific platforms to leverage and addressing technical concerns such as content size and length.

While no sporting contest is entirely predictable, it is also possible to engage in scenario planning before events like the World Cup – for instance, by working out which teams are likely to play one other as the competition progresses.

"On that basis, you have to build your content calendar, and have to ensure that you have content – premium content – to complement each of these scenarios," continued van Schaik.

"Then you have to make sure that you can actually join the right conversations, or make sure that your conversations and your content are searchable, and people can actually find what it is that you're trying to tell."

In pursuing that goal, it is crucial to delineate a "hashtag hierarchy". During the 2014 World Cup, for example, adidas created an account for its brazuca match ball and gained significant traction with the hashtag "ballin".

This label tied in with the broader "all in" tagline employed by the company, and simultaneously reflected the slang term for living the good life.

"The World Cup is a graveyard of branded hashtags, and it is very, very difficult to get a hashtag that actually means something and is a useable tool to a consumer," said van Schaik.

As a result of all this preparation, brands can ready themselves for real-time marketing because, as van Schaik reminded the IEG delegates, "spontaneity requires a lot of planning".

Data sourced from Warc

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Mobile video is underpriced

25 May 2015
NEW YORK: Mobile video is currently significantly underpriced, according to the head of the Mobile Marketing Association who advises marketers to look at locking into long-term ad buys at today's prices.

Greg Stuart, CEO of the MMA, told Beet.tv that the organisation's new research had shown that, relative to other media, mobile video was priced at about half of what it should be, as supply outweighed demand.

But that situation will not last for ever and he suggested that marketers might want to buy years of future inventory at existing prices.

"I've talked to publishers and media companies who have that inventory and they're very happy to do that deal," he stated.

The research he referred to was the Smart Mobile Cross Marketing Effectiveness (SMoX) study, the results of which argue that mobile should get "a double digit allocation of the entire media mix (not just digital".

Marketers could significantly increase their overall campaign ROI, without increasing budget, by simply adjusting mobile spend upwards, the MMA claimed.

Stuart pointed out that marketers are currently only spending around 3% of their total budgets on mobile advertising although "SMoX tells them very clearly they need to be at 10% to 15% today".

And when they get good at it, "that will move to 15% to 20%. And as smartphone penetration moves up, it's 20% to 30%".

The big brands already know all this, he added, citing names such as Walmart, Coca-Cola, AT&T and MasterCard.

But with that increased spending comes an urgent need for better measurement metrics.

"The big mistake we made for internet was that we let click-through become the defining measure for everything," Stuart said, "and yet anybody who has any intelligence about this knows that click-through means absolutely nothing for anything – it's the worst measure we could have come up with."

Accordingly the MMA is working to understand the appropriate KPIs for different marketing objectives and different sectors.

"We'll figure all that out … so that marketers are really able to measure the value they get," Stuart declared.

Data sourced from Beet.tv; additional content by Warc staff

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YouTube shortens path to purchase

25 May 2015
SAN BRUNO, CA: YouTube, the Google-owned online video platform, is launching a new advertising format which will enable advertisers to buy, almost, from within ads.

TrueView for Shopping links to the technology that powers Google Shopping and allows brands to showcase product details and images within video ads and includes the ability to click to purchase from a brand or retail site.

"One of the things we saw was people going off YouTube and searching on Google.com for that product [seen in an ad on YouTube], and then clicking the product listing. In this case we're just reducing the friction," Lane Shackleton, YouTube's senior product manager, explained to Advertising Age.

Neal Mohan, vice-president of brand advertising at Google added that "consumers go to YouTube to be entertained and to find information – there are lots of searches for products and looking for 'How To' videos".

"They are truly engaged which from a marketer perspective is the perfect time to reach the consumer," he told the Financial Times 

Evidence of the potential effectiveness of the new format came from home goods retailer Wayfair, which ran two campaigns targeting the same audience, one using a standard TrueView ad, the other a new shoppable TrueView ad.

The latter delivered three times more revenue, reported Ben Youngs, Wayfair's media manager of TV and online video. "It feels like a huge win," he said. "Having the opportunity to lay additional information on top of our pre-rolls is huge."

The development complements Google's work on a '50', set to be introduced shortly in a move aimed at recovering traffic lost to Amazon.

Consumers using smartphones will be buy products from a search advert without having to check out through a retailer's site, although retailers will continue to own the orders and shipping arrangements.


Data sourced from YouTube, Advertising Age, Financial Times, Search Engine Watch; additional content by Warc staff

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Agency focus strays to awards

25 May 2015
SINGAPORE: Agencies are in danger of losing sight of delivering growth for clients as they become distracted by awards, a leading industry figure has claimed.

"Advertising should be about facilitating growth, not awards shows," John Merrifield, chief creative officer at Google Asia Pacific, told an audience at the All That Matters conference which took place in Singapore.

"Creativity should be about having an impact for clients and giving them a larger share of the future – not just doing a one-off campaign, but building a brand properly and making it more meaningful and engaging," he added.

A similar criticism was recently levelled at the industry by the Indian Confederation of NGOs, which claimed that campaigns developed by agencies and brands to help disadvantaged people in India tended to end abruptly at the same time as the advertising awards season finished.

For Merrifield, success was not to be measured in industry gongs. "You should be aiming for an episode of a show like The Simpsons," he stated. "That's the success criteria."

With its sharp critique of American culture the cartoon series has frequently featured spoofs of real brands and advertising techniques and Merrifield argued that creatives, rather than talking to themselves or the ad world, "need to be making a genuine impact on popular culture".

And he was saddened by how the industry's premier festival had developed, arguing that the Cannes Lions, the best known global advertising awards show, no longer fulfilled its original remit. "It used to be a get-together for creatives," he said. "Now it's become a business engine in its own right."

But not everyone is so curmudgeonly about the event. Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, enthused about it to Beet.tv.

"It's just a great place to check in and see how powerful this new channel [mobile] has become for communicating to consumers from a creative perspective," he said. "I've got the data, but Cannes is where you get really excited about it."


Data sourced from Mumbrella Asia; additional content by Warc staff

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Indian ecommerce gets hyper-local

25 May 2015
NEW DELHI: The competitive world of Indian ecommerce is getting ever more local, as a new breed of start-up partners with neighbourhood stores to deliver products within hours of purchase.

The co-founder of one such business explained that even though more and more Indians were accessing the internet, most of them – almost 90% – had yet to do any online shopping. Possible deterrents include concerns over the quality of products bought this way and worries over aftersales support.

"This is where a hyper-local commerce model comes in and connects local retailers to buyers," Neeraj Jain of Zopper, told the Economic Times. "Consumers know from which nearby shop the product is being delivered from, they can go to same local shop to get their problems resolved and thing are delivered in a few hours," he said.

Zopper is an app that deals in consumer durables and electronics, enabling a consumer looking to search for products and see details of local retailers selling them along with price comparisons. It currently has around 5,000 active retailers in three cities on its platform and is aiming to expand that fivefold, adding another 15 cities during the course of 2015.

Investors are following the trend: Abheek Anand, principal at venture fund Sequoia Capital, described it as one of "disrupt[ing] e-commerce 1.0 by providing consumers with the unprecedented convenience of delivery in minutes, instead of in days".

With such short delivery times the new approach is effectively on-demand, enabled, Anand explained, by "hyper-local logistics technology, a mobile-first consumer experience and local retailer partnerships".

With big money eyeing up this niche sector, the industry giants are also getting involved. Amazon, for example, is trialling Kirana Now, an on-demand delivery service which sources from local mom-and-pop stores and guarantees deliveries within two to four hours.

"We've been leading the way on speed and reach so it was a natural progression to get in to this segment," said Amit Agarwal, Amazon's country head. "The best way was to partner with sellers who were closest to the customers."

Logistics have been a particular issue for leading etailers which have sometimes struggled to fulfil orders and Jain highlighted the "huge" difference in delivery costs involved when an item is supplied locally rather than from a remote warehouse.

Ultimately, Agarwal argued, the "power of execution" would become important and Amazon had advantages that regard.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Judges named for Warc Connection Strategy Prize

22 May 2015
LONDON: Aaron Fetters, director of the Insights and Analytics Solutions Center at the Kellogg Company, is to chair the judges for the Warc Prize for Connection Strategy – and will be joined on the panel by senior client-side executives, plus media research and channel strategy experts.

"Marketers today are presented with seemingly infinite options of how and where to invest their advertising dollars," said Fetters.

"True cross-channel measurement and planning remains the major challenge when choosing how to invest your marketing budget."

The competition, which is free to enter and carries a $10,000 prize fund, will look at the strategy, analytics and measurement powering modern media investment. The focus is on new ways of connecting with consumers, and how those connections are being planned and measured by forward-thinking marketers.

Smart connection strategies could involve innovative cross-platform or cross-device thinking, channel insights that inform new ways to connect with consumers, exercises in communications architecture, and initiatives covering channel attribution and optimisation or paid/owned/earned strategies.

"I will be looking for great examples of thinking that transcend touchpoints such as television or online and demonstrate a true consumer experience," said Fetters.

"What insights informed the development of such an experience and what data and analysis was used to establish the roles various channels would play in bringing the experience to life? And of course, what were the results - not just impressions, engagement, time spent etc, but true business impact."

From the media-side, the judging panel will include Artie Bulgrin, svp/global research and analytics at ESPN, Neil Mortensen, director of audiences at ITV, and David F. Poltrack, chief research officer at CBS Corporation.

From the agency-side, the judges include Jed Meyer, global director/research and analytics at Annalect, part of Omnicom Media Group, and Robert Ray, managing director of PHD's Global Strategy Unit.

Other judges include representatives from Starcom MediaVest, UM, Data2Decisions and New York-based Water Cooler Group, with further additions to be announced in the coming weeks.
 
Details of all the judges named so far, and their biographies, are available on the Prize website, along with the entry kit, entry form and tips on writing a great strategy case study.

Warc will name Gold, Silver and Bronze winners for the highest-scoring cases in four geographic categories, and award a $5,000 Grand Prix to the best paper in the competition.

There will also be five $1,000 Special Awards covering the following areas: commercial impact, POE, attribution, context and low-budget.


Data sourced from Warc

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European online ad market hits €30bn

22 May 2015
BERLIN: The European online advertising market has doubled in five years, according to new figures from IAB Europe which show it grew 11.6% last year to reach a value of €30.7bn

The AdEx Benchmark 2014 report covers 27 European markets and showed that all of these recorded positive growth while 20 achieved double-digit growth.

And without the contribution of online advertising the report said that the overall European advertising market would have declined 1.6% last year.

The strongest growth came in Central and Eastern Europe, which increased 13.8% as it benefitted from improvements in broadband infrastructure and the increase in broadband penetration in these markets, which in turn is brining more addressable audiences online.

But in terms of overall value it is the mature online advertising markets in Western Europe that are generating euros, particularly the big three of the UK, Germany and France which together account for 58.8% of the total.

This, said IAB Europe, was "a direct result of investment in formats and targeting capabilities and developing data strategies in a cross-device environment".

Mobile and video ad spend continued on their strong growth curves and are now a significant proportion of display and search ad spend.

Mobile now accounts for 17.7% of the display market, with a growth rate of 72.5% compared with 2013, while online video advertising also showed strong growth, now representing 15.1% of the display market.

"The rise of mobile and video is a reflection of the investment and innovation of the online advertising industry to meet advertiser needs, not just a reaction to shifts in consumption trends," said Eleni Marouli, a senior analyst at IHS and author of the report.

Display advertising in total outperformed other categories with a growth rate of 15.2% to reach a value of €10.9bn.

Search showed growth slowed to 10.8% but it remains the largest online advertising format in terms of revenue, worth €14.7bn.

The third component, Classifieds and Directories, grew 5.8% to €4.9bn, its slower rate of increase reflecting the challenge from Paid-for-search and Data-driven Display in competition for advertising budgets.

Data sourced from IAB Europe; additional content by Warc staff

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Viewability definition insufficient

22 May 2015
CHICAGO: The advertising industry's definition of an online video "view" does not allow enough time for three quarters of viewers to identify the brand or product being sold, according to a new survey.

STRATA, a supplier of media buying and selling software, polled 654 online video watchers aged over 18 and found that just 25% were able to identify a brand or product in a video ad within the two seconds minimum stipulated by the Media Rating Council.

Fully 75% needed at least three seconds to do so and 44% of all respondents reported it took them at least four seconds to recognise the brand or product at hand.

The survey also looked at the issue of ad skipping as 41% of viewers hit "skip this ad" before they recognised a brand or product.

Time was the main factor, with 40% of respondents saying they skipped video ads because they were in a hurry; other reasons for skipping included an ad being run repeatedly (20%), being too long (15%), or not being targeted (12%).

The effectiveness of targeted advertising was mixed as the survey showed that advertisers were more likely to target women correctly than men, and even then the strike rate was not especially high.

Of those that said they were targeted correctly most of the time, 57% were women compared to 43% of men.

Further, 18% of online video ad watchers actually found targeted ads more invasive than non-targeted ones.

Laying aside these reservations, however, targeted advertising can be a good tool to attract viewer attention. One third of respondents said they would voluntarily watch an ad if it was targeted to their interests, but humour and entertainment were the top two tools.

STRATA also found that most respondents (77%) would not pay a premium to avoid online ads, although 19% were prepared to pay up to $5 per month.

And around half of respondents said TV ads and online video ads were equally "annoying", but 36% said online video ads were more annoying.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff

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Mozilla launches Suggested Tiles

22 May 2015
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Mozilla, the organisation behind the Firefox web browser, has unveiled its latest contribution to the debate around advertising and consumer privacy with its Suggested Tiles product.

These promote specific content on the new tab page, which could be from Mozilla itself, publisher content, or advertising, with the relevance based on the user's interests.

In a blog post the company explained: "We define interest categories as a set of URLs that are related to the category. When one of those URLs appears in the user's list of most frequently visited sites, we show the content."

Interest categories will have a minimum of five URLs and all interest categories will be publicly available. IP addresses will be discarded after seven days and no individual data supplied to advertisers.

Firefox users will be able to exercise control over what appears by editing their browsing history or deleting it altogether; they can also opt out of the program.

Last year Mozilla launched Directory Tiles, selling sponsored positions within its desktop browser, which displays nine tiles on opening. At the time this came as something of a surprise, given the company's stance on blocking the third-party cookies which enable advertisers to track online users' visits to the websites on which they advertise.

"We want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users' privacy and giving them control over their data," said Darren Herman, vp/content services, of the latest innovation.

He told MediaPost that the program would be launched in beta soon with around 30 targeting categories, such as news, games, mobile fans, movies and automotive; there will be no categories around tobacco, alcohol or pharmaceuticals.

Herman indicated that Mozilla was also open to the idea of creating custom categories for clients.

Data sourced from Mozilla, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff

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Australians indifferent to wearables

22 May 2015
SYDNEY: Most Australians and New Zealanders have no intention of buying wearable technology, unlike consumers in China and Malaysia where interest is substantially higher a new survey has shown.

Lightspeed GMI, the market research business, interviewed 2,407 consumers in nine Asia Pacific countries – Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan – and found that existing owners of wearable tech and those most interested in acquiring it were heavily skewed towards 25-44 year old males.

China and Malaysia recorded the highest ownership figures, with almost one third of those surveyed claiming to be existing users. Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore were some way back at an average of 20% while in Australia and New Zealand the figure was just 11%.

And 62% of Australians said they had no intention of purchasing such devices.

Overall usage at 21% was, as one would expect, a lot lower than awareness at 41%; the remaining 38% had no interest at all.

But around one third of those who owned at least one wearable tech product said their usage had declined since they first purchased it, indicating a novelty factor.

The main reason adduced for purchase was convenience (33.5%). Users could, for example, simply glance at their Apple Watch on their wrist instead of having to pull out their iPhone multiple times a day.

Being fashionable (10.6%) and being seen as high-tech (11.8%) were also factors. "Not many mentioned the actual functions of wearable tech products as the core appeals," noted Jeff Tsui, senior director at Lightspeed GMI APAC.

Offsetting any possible convenience was the need to carry more devices around. As one respondent observed, most wearables didn't do anything his smartphone couldn't. "I am not entirely sure what additional functions I want, but they need to be something innovative, looks good, and desirable that can give me real practical benefits," he said.

Data sourced from Lightspeed GMI; additional content by Warc staff

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Indian women lack time for internet

22 May 2015
NEW DELHI: A large digital gender gap exists in India, with almost half of the female population having neither the time nor the inclination to access the internet, a new study has found.

According to Google India, one third of the country's current internet population of 243m are women. And when it surveyed 828 women aged 18 to 55 for its Women & Technology report it discovered that 49% of respondents saw no reason to go online while 43% simply said they weren't interested, The Hindu reported.

Google's past research has shown that more and more Indian women are going online to buy goods ranging from baby care items to beauty products, but clearly a significant proportion have yet to make this move.

The speed of technological change was one inhibiting factor cited by those surveyed. And 42% admitted that, quite apart from a lack of interest, they just did not know how to do things on the internet.

Most of those expressing these views were not in paid employment and they also spoke of not having enough time for any internet activity after managing their households – internet use is seen as a leisure activity by this group rather than as an essential or practical part of daily life.

They also had concerns about being judged by their in-laws if they ended up spending too much time online. Privacy was another issue in large households with shared computers.

Despite all these reservations, Google India found that 46% of younger non-users intended to use the internet soon. And it suggested that "smartphones and internet cafes could be a cheaper and more private way" for some women to go online.

"We are working with various partners to help spread awareness about the benefits of being online amongst women," said Sandeep Menon, Country Head (Marketing), Google India. 

One step it has taken is to produce a film aimed at encouraging "young digital natives to bring their mothers online".


Data sourced from The Hindu; additional content by Warc staff

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Emotion, storytelling key to awards wins

21 May 2015
LONDON: Highly-awarded campaigns tend to employ emotion- and storytelling-based creative approaches, and use a higher-than-usual number of media channels and effectiveness metrics, a new analysis of the Warc 100 database has revealed.

The report, Lessons from the World's Best Campaigns, published by Warc today, also found that the best-performing campaigns in effectiveness and strategy competitions overindex in their use of social media and online video.

The Warc 100 is an annual ranking of the world's 100 best marketing campaigns, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions. For the new report, Warc compared the case studies ranked in the Warc 100 over the past two years to all of the other case studies it published in the equivalent time period.

There was a big overperformance on the Warc 100 for campaigns using emotion as a creative approach. In all, 27% of Warc 100 campaigns did so, versus 18% of the rest. For storytelling, these totals were 20% and 11% respectively.

The analysis found that campaigns from the Warc 100 – the best in the world, as judged in effectiveness and strategy competitions – tend to be 'bigger' than the 'average' campaign, employing an average of 7.4 media touchpoints in the latest year (2015) of results, compared to the 6.5 employed by the other case studies.

In all, 76% of Warc 100 campaigns used social media, versus 71% of the norm. For online video, these totals were 61% versus 43%.

Warc 100 case studies reported an average of 1.5 hard business metrics, versus 1.1 for the others. For soft metrics, these averages were 2.4 and 2.2 respectively.

Warc subscribers can read a full version of the report, featuring case study summaries, videos and full datasets.

Data sourced from Warc

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'Push back' on data laws, says Sorrell

21 May 2015
BERLIN: The advertising industry needs to "push back" against international legislators' drive to limit the use of consumer data, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said last night.

Speaking at the Interact 2015 conference in Berlin, he said reforms in data protection legislation being debated by the European Commission and national parliaments were "very fashionable", adding that public concerns about digital security and online fraud were often confused with the legitimate use of anonymised data by communications agencies.

"To some extent, I think we as an industry have brought this down upon ourselves," he said, explaining that by advocating opt-outs as a way of giving consumers control over the use of their data, the ad industry had failed to handle the debate as effectively as it should have done.

Now, however, the kind of regulation being discussed would be detrimental to the industry generally and to WPP specifically, harming their ability to target consumers effectively and efficiently – and their ability to give consumers the kind of advertising and content they're likely to want to engage with.

Sorrell said he expected legislators to seek curbs on the way third-party data can be used. "We want as much flexibility as possible in using it," he said. "The odds are, and I'd be prepared to put money on it, legislators being willing to be more active (on data protection). If we think it's wrong, we have to push back on it in a more active way."

The WPP stable includes Xaxis, which describes its expertise as using data and technology to help advertisers and publishers reach and engage with audiences at scale.

A headline at the time Xaxis launched – "Martin Sorrell knows all about you" – was indicative, he suggested, of the confusion surrounding the public debate. "It wasn't true. It's all got mixed up," he told the Berlin audience. "Anonymised data is valuable in terms of targeting advertising, targeting consumers, giving them what they want when they want it. It's not invasive or pilfered or used for other purposes."

Sorrell said the real issue was addressing security, not privacy. "If you managed to remove concerns about security, like Wikileaks, Julian Assange and the NSA, cybercrime and all of that sort of stuff … if we solve the security issue, which may be impossible, we solve the privacy issue."

Data sourced from Warc

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Three content types key for brands

21 May 2015
HOLLYWOOD, FL: Brands should base their content strategies around three broad types of material – "hero", "hub" and "housecleaning" – to fully meet consumer needs, a leading executive from Google has suggested.

Kim Larson, global director of Google BrandLab – a unit of the firm seeking to help clients "think digital-first" – discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Media Leadership Conference.

In outlining a new framework that could assist marketers in the content space, she referenced a "hero-and-help" model covering three distinct areas.

"Hero" content was the first piece of the equation, and represents the kind of "big tent-pole content" aiming for broad reach and awareness. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: The three secrets of video-based digital marketing.)

"[Marketers] probably are going to do less of hero content, and it does cost a lot more money, but it's really important in a marketing-content mix," said Larson.

Alongside this material comes "hub content", which has a lower budget but is released with greater frequency, and is intended to provide the "insistent drumbeat" of engagement.

"It hits consumer needs and finds a passion point," said Larson.

The third category she cited was "housecleaning content", fulfilling a more functional, if no less important, purpose.

"We call it 'help-or-hygiene content', and it does make the cash register ring," said Larson.

An example may be a parent searching Google or YouTube for information on a new style of diaper, and being presented with a video ready to answer their query.

Google BrandLab has previously partnered with players including adidas and Clean & Clear, the teen-focused dermatological line owned by Johnson & Johnson, and which has recently ramped up its online video output.

Data sourced from Warc

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Ad networks need to step up security

21 May 2015
DALLAS, TX: Online and mobile ads are major threats to IT security, according to a new report which highlights malvertising and adware among the ongoing challenges the industry needs to address.

In Bad Ads and Zero-Days: Reemerging Threats Challenge Trust in Supply Chains and Best Practices, IT security specialist TrendMicro reported that, on the basis of what it had seen in the first quarter of the year, "cybercriminals and threat actors no longer need to create new channels to reach their victims and targets".

Most of the groundwork has already been laid, it said. Malvertisements – where criminals use ads to drop malware on the computers of unsuspecting visitors to ad-hosting sites – are not a new phenomenon and many users are prepared to deal with them. But "nothing can prepare them for malvertisements laced with zero-day exploits", the report stated.

This combination undermines two security best practices available to users – only visiting trusted sites and keeping applications updated with the latest patches (zero-day exploits such as Trojans and viruses take advantage of computer security holes for which no solution is currently available).

In a recent instance of this, a zero-day Adobe Flash exploit distributed via malvertisements spread BEDEP malware: users who downloaded the BEDEP malware were put at risk of becoming unwilling participants in attackers' botnet operations, as well as becoming fraud victims and downloading other malware, the report explained.

Mobile users are also increasingly exposed through adware, a form of malware where unwanted ads are shown to users. TrendMicro noted that after Google had removed three apps from its store that were found to be adware in disguise, more than 2,000 other apps were found displaying similar behaviour.

Overall, it had recorded more than 5m Android threats so far and predicted a total of 8m by the end of the year.

"Ad networks definitely need to step up their security," it said.

An alternative "best practice" for consumers is to use ad-blocking software. One of the leaders in this field, Adblock Plus, has just launched an ad-blocking browser for Android devices.

Co-founder Tilla Faida said that advertisers had "destroyed the user experience" on mobile with thoughtlessly designed ads as well as "mobile ad networks that are riddled with security holes".

Data sourced from TrendMicro, Adblock Plus; additional content by Warc staff

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Aussie businesses lag in social

21 May 2015
SYDNEY: One third of Australians on social media follow brands and businesses but only one third of businesses actually have a presence there and many of those are failing to engage consumers with tangible benefits.

Marketing services company Sensis, polled 800 consumers and 1,100 businesses for its Social Media Report exploring their engagement with social channels and found that 68% of internet users had a social media profile which they mainly used to keep up with friends and family.

And a significant minority (32%) also followed brands and businesses. Further, 20% accessed offers and promotions while 19% conducted research about products and services they wanted to buy.

The report noted that half of those using social media to research products and services had gone on to make a purchase and two thirds of them had made that purchase online.

"It remains paramount for businesses and marketers to establish a connection by engaging with them in a meaningful way," it said.

But only 33% of Australian businesses had a social media presence and most of them were using it to solicit comments and feedback.

"This appeals to consumers to some degree but they tend to be seeking tangible incentives like discounts or coupons," said Sensis and only 25% of SMEs and 30% of large businesses were offering these – "which could be a missed opportunity".

Around one quarter of businesses had used paid advertising – mostly on Facebook – and 69% thought it was effective.

That didn't quite tally with the consumer viewpoint. When it came to advertising and sponsored posts, 32% said they liked seeing sponsored posts from businesses they follow, while 38% didn't mind seeing ads and 42% occasionally clicked on ads to find out more.

"This suggests paid advertising or sponsorship is reasonably effective for targeting consumers of interest although it's likely to be ignored by many," the report said.

Data sourced from Sensis; additional content by Warc staff

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Auto industry increases digital spend

21 May 2015
NEW YORK: The automotive industry in the US is set to spend $7.3bn on digital advertising this year, with the greater part of that allocated to direct response according to a new report.

Insights provider eMarketer said that only the retail sector would spend more on digital during the course of 2015, as it forecast auto industry spending would increase 17.3% this year.

Overall, retail will account for 22% of total digital spending of $58.61bn in 2015, compared to 12.5% for auto which has edged ahead of financial services on 12.3%.

For its report series "Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry" eMarketer analysed hundreds of data sources as well as carrying out in-depth interviews with executives at agencies and brands.

Projecting out to 2019, eMarketer expected that spending by the auto sector would increase faster than average – it posits a compound annual growth rate of 14.2% between 2014 and 2019 – and that its share of digital advertising would increase to 13.2%, when its value would amount to $12.08bn.

Currently 60% of that spending is on direct-response efforts rather than branding, roughly level with sectors such as retail (65%) and financial services (62%). But these three lag behind travel where 72% of digital spending is devoted to direct response.

"The next frontier is convincing marketers that digital is suitable for branding," said Richard Flynn, vice president, category sales director, autos, at AOL.

Digital ad expenditure continues to grow across all industries, but "it is not one-size-fits-all", noted Victoria Petrock, principal analyst at eMarketer.

"Nuances among sectors reflect a variety of trends in the ways each industry approaches its market, targets consumers and closes sales," she said.

"For 2015, mobile, digital video and programmatic buying are the brightest stars in the digital advertising lineup," she added.

Warc's latest International Ad Forecast expects US digital adspend of $56.3bn this year, a 13.6% rise from 2014.


Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff

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Young Indians prefer movies to music

21 May 2015
NEW DELHI: Young Indians spend little time buying music or partying, instead preferring movies, malls and eating out.

These findings emerged as part of the research undertaken by the Brand Equity team at the Economic Times for its Most Exciting Brands 2015 report, which surveyed more than 1,200 15-26 year olds belonging to SEC A households across seven cities.

"A whopping 71% have never bought music," the Economic Times reported. And books looked to be heading the same way: 39% had never bought a book, while 27% bought one only every six months or less.

Partying, in the form of going out to pubs and discos, held little appeal for many. Fully 62% said they never indulged in these activities.

Eating out was the top activity for this age group, with 86% snacking and drinking in restaurants and coffee shops at least once a month and 59% doing so at least once a week.

Cinema, too, was an attractive option, with two thirds (68%) going between once a week and once a month. "Bollywood, Tollywood or Kollywood, cinema continues to be the national glue," the Economic Times remarked.

A similar proportion (64%) visited malls on a weekly or monthly basis.

But when looking at how they spent their money rather than their time, a different picture appeared.

Shopping for clothes and accessories attracted the greatest average monthly spend (Rs 1613), followed by partying at pubs and discotheques (Rs 1086) which was just ahead of mall spending (Rs 1067).

Spending on movies (Rs 554) was broadly on a par with books (Rs 516) and music (Rs 526). Eating out came in at Rs 762 and personal grooming at Rs 581.

Of the seven cities covered by the research Pune distinguished itself in several regards, with young people there spending significantly more than the average on eating out (Rs 1315), at malls (Rs 1981), on music (Rs 1354) and on personal grooming (Rs 930).

That is at least in part due to the far higher levels of pocket money respondents in that city received.

But whatever the absolute levels of money involved, 20% of this on average was not spent or was saved in a bank account.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Asda shifts marketing tack

20 May 2015
LONDON: The chief customer officer at Asda, one of the UK's "big four" supermarkets, has backed a change in its marketing approach to reverse a decline in like-for-like sales in the first quarter.

Barry Williams suggested that the supermarket sector as a whole had lost sight of the customer.

"Our marketing will have a noticeable, if not radical, shift, as I firmly believe a lot of retailers, including Asda, have spent too long talking to one another, [as] opposed to communicating with the customer," he told Marketing Week.

"Price will remain a focus in our marketing," he added, "but we want to communicate that our value stretches beyond price and into quality, technology and the in-store experience as well."

His comments echoed those of Andrew Higginson, head of rival chain Morrisons, who earlier this year told the Advertising Association's LEAD conference that, too often, supermarkets were guilty of not listening to their customers.

The "big four" spent their time comparing prices and claiming to be cheaper than each other. But, Higginson said, consumers know none of them are the cheapest, and that was why many shoppers had moved to discounters.

Andy Clarke, Asda's chief executive, outlined some of the steps being taken to reconnect with customers, including a £21m investment in improving store hours and a near doubling of the number of "click and collect" sites.

He also announced the opening of the UK's first intelligent "click and collect" pod in St Helen's next month.

There was also new research indicating how the economic downturn that began in 2008 continues to affect consumers, with 83% saving discretionary income rather than spending it.

The worst of the downturn may be helping lots of people – Asda's income tracker showed the average family is now £16 a week better off than at this time last year – but, for many, it doesn't seem that way. Indeed, some 43% of shoppers feel they have less money now than before the 2008 recession.

Data sourced from Asda, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Gen Z is new focus for marketers

20 May 2015
NEW YORK: Millennials have received a lot of attention from marketers in recent years but their focus is shifting as "centennials", the younger brothers and sisters of Gen Y, are reaching adulthood.

A new report from JWT Intelligence described Generation Z, the 12-19 year old cohort "the ambitious, engaged, sensible child" who wants to "create, connect and change".

But its research threw up a number of contradictory attitudes, with, for example, 86% using their smartphone multiple times a day even though 79% agreed that people their age spent too much time connected to digital devices.

And while 68% were as happy shopping online as offline, 67% said they preferred to shop in stores.

TV is still a powerful medium for this age group as 69% watch more than two hours a day, but at the same time 70% said they watched more than two hours of YouTube content daily.

Among the key takeaways JWT Intelligence had for brands was the need to move beyond the mainstream. "Embrace and celebrate niche trends," it advised. "They might be tomorrow's big thing."

Some are already doing this, with fast food chain Taco Bell, for example, already experimenting with Periscope, the live video-streaming app recently purchased by Twitter. It launched a new product, a biscuit taco, via a "newscast" announcing a giveaway for every customer in America on Cinco de Mayo.

"We're always in beta and trying things out," said Melissa Friebe, vp/Taco Bell Insights Lab.

"[Our consumers] are used to living in this world where people are constantly trying something, seeing if it works and making changes," she told Advertising Age.

Her team has spent the past year exploring the differences between Gen Y and Gen Z. "It took some digging," she revealed. "We found that similar themes are manifesting themselves in different ways – they've become even more empowered, entrepreneurial and just creative."

Long-term planning, she added, has become almost impossible. "Five years is just too far ahead because of how quickly culture is changing and how fast this generation is moving."

Marketers targeting this age group will need to become increasingly agile, reacting quickly to cultural shifts, constantly experimenting and making small bets.

Data sourced from JWT Intelligence, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff

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Premier Foods claims marketing result

20 May 2015
LONDON: Increasing investment in its brands has brought some "fabulous" results for Premier Foods, the ambient grocery supplier, its chief executive has claimed.

He was referring specifically to Mr Kipling, its cake brand, which had seen the introduction of new product ranges in the past year and a return to TV advertising after a gap of several years.

Speaking after the company announced its annual financial results, Gavin Darby said this investment had helped reverse category decline and reported 19% volume growth and 8% sales growth for Mr Kipling itself.

"We have a perfect set of KPIs," he declared: "Volume growth, revenue growth, share growth, penetration growth and frequency of purchase growth.

"This is the result of investing, bringing in innovations, the advertising relaunch, [and] seasonal products at Easter," he added.

These figures backed his assertion that the company's strategy is working. Over the whole year, sales of its power brands were down 4.5%, but the rate of decline had slowed from -6.4% in the second financial quarter to -3.5% in the final one.

This followed Darby's earlier announcement that marketing investment would almost double in winter 2014/15 compared to the previous year, with more being spent in Q1 2015 than in Q4 2014.

"There is a strong correlation between where we're investing and the return on the brands and categories in which we're doing it," he said.

"Over the last twelve months, six of our major brands have benefited from TV advertising and we have launched a number of new products to market, with more to come this year."

Another two of its major brands will be appearing on TV, bringing the total to eight, while the company also intends to almost double its rate of innovation from 11.3% in 2014 to 20%.

Data sourced from Premier Foods, The Drum, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Pinterest offers new ad solutions

20 May 2015
SAN FRANCISCO: Cinematic Pins and buying inventory on a cost-per-engagement basis are among the new options being offered to advertisers on Pinterest, the fast-growing visual sharing network.

Tim Kendall, Pinterest's general manager of monetization, described the new ad solution set – which also includes targeting features and inventory buying on a cost-per-action basis – as "comprehensive".

"These solutions map to any marketing objective," he declared.

The Cinematic Pin is essentially an animated version of the existing Promoted Pin which only moves when the user is scrolling or has tapped on it. Several launch partners have already been signed up, including Banana Republic, Gap, L'Oreal, Nestle and Target.

"We have tested this extensively with users," Kendall told TechCrunch. "What we heard was, 'auto-play ads are interruptive, and this is so much better because it keeps me in control'."

"We didn't even bother testing auto-play [based on the response from our users with this product]," he added.

At the same time a new pricing model will allow marketers to only pay for Promoted Pins based on engagement, such as re-pins, clicks and close-up views of Promoted Pins.

They will also be able to pay for Promoted Pins only if users act on them, by downloading an app for example.

While all these options will be made available on a self-service basis, Pinterest is developing its in-house creative ads team to build Promoted Pins as well as providing insight and analytics for brands.

This all marks a significant step forward from the start of the year when Nate Elliott, principal analyst at market research firm Forrester, thought the platform had only limited application as a marketing tool, although he also suggested the data it held had "the potential to drive more sales than Facebook's data".

That's because they are posting content about things they may be interested in purchasing, whereas on other sites users tend to post about what they have already purchased.

"Our users use Pinterest to plan their future," stated Kendall. "We get access to a unique set of information that other services don't have."

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

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SE Asia consumer confidence high

20 May 2015
SINGAPORE: Consumer confidence continues to grow in Southeast Asia, hitting a seven-year high in the first quarter, according to the latest data from Nielsen.

The research company's Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions showed that the region – which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – remains among the most optimistic in the world, returning an index of 114 in the first three months of 2015, some 17 points above the global average.

"The typical consumer in Southeast Asia is demonstrating a level of confidence that far outstrips their global counterparts," said Kaushal Upadhyay, Nielsen's executive director of client service in Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific, in remarks reported by Mumbrella.

"This sentiment is underpinned by a positive outlook for job prospects, which have shown an improving trend in every market except Thailand," he added.

"Consumers are also feeling positive about their personal finances, and by extension disposable income, which is helping to drive overall sentiment and highlights potential increases in consumer spending."

Individually, Indonesia was the region's most optimistic country, with a Q1 index of 123, up three points on the previous quarter. In second place was the Philippines, with an index of 115, although this was a five point drop on Q4 2014; it was also the only country in the region to see a decline in confidence.

At the other end of the spectrum, Malaysia reported a sharp five-point increase in confidence, although its index of 94 still left it below the baseline score of 100.

Singapore remained steady on 100, while Thailand rose two points to 114 and Vietnam four points to 112.

Very few people in the region indicated that they had no spare cash and, being financially prudent, most planned to put some money into savings, which intention emerged as by far the most significant, ahead of other areas such as holidays and new clothes.

There was a mixed picture for the two major countries in the wider Asia Pacific region: India's index score advanced one point to 130, marking the sixth consecutive quarter confidence has risen; China slipped one point to 106, following a four point decline in Q4 2014.


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

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Blog: Youth will always shop in store

20 May 2015
Today's youth may be at ease shopping online but, GfK researchers argue, these digital natives also love the environment of the store and value the interaction it offers. And they show no signs of changing their viewpoint.

Warc

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Online video builds Clean & Clear brand

20 May 2015
HOLLYWOOD, FL: Clean & Clear has benefitted from taking a long-term "platform" approach to online video rather than using it as a short-term campaign tool, according to a leading executive from Johnson & Johnson.

Amy E. Pascal, the company's senior director, digital marketing/North America, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Media Leadership Conference.

More specifically, she reported that Clean & Clear - the organisation's dermatological line primarily aimed at teenage girls - has dramatically ramped up its online video output on YouTube since early 2014. (For more, including results of this video push, read Warc's exclusive report: J&J drives Clean & Clear video messaging from 0 to 120.)

Instead of engaging consumers in an ad hoc fashion, this content has almost exclusively been based on its "See the Real Me" messaging, which seeks to build self-confidence among the target audience.

And, Pascal ventured, consistently providing such content represents a type of customer relationship management, as it is focused on fostering long-term connections.

"If you approach content less as a campaign and more as a platform, you really are investing in that longer term," she continued.

By contrast, campaign-orientated strategies place undue emphasis on short-term performance. That often means having a bigger budget, but simultaneously inflates the importance of immediate returns over building brands.

"If you spend a lot of money on a piece of content, you expect it to perform well," Pascal said in describing this mindset.

Clean & Clear's platform-led strategy is delivering against core metrics, and has greater in-built flexibility as the brand realises its videos can exert a cumulative effect over time.

"We still push them out there. We see what resonates with our audience. And, then, the ones that do well, we reinvest in. And so that's more of a platform approach that we're taking to content," Pascal asserted.

Adopting such a model might require a shift in thinking among marketers, but could help them deepen bonds with shoppers.

"[Consumers] have an insatiable appetite for content. Ultimately, if we're doing right by the consumer, and trusting this new medium, it will pay dividends back to the brand," said Pascal.

Data sourced from Warc

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India retail faces challenges

20 May 2015
NEW DELHI: India's retail sector is set to boom according to recent reports but evidence is emerging of problems that bricks-and-mortar stores and online retailers will need to overcome if the predictions are to be made real.

A new report from property consultant JLL India highlighted the fact that many of the country's shopping malls are performing poorly. Altogether there are 255 operational malls in the top seven cities, with the Delhi-National Capital Region accounting for more than one third of the total.

Pankaj Renjhen, managing director/retail services at JLL India, described Delhi-NCR as "the default mall capital of India". But of the 95 operational malls identified he reported that just 12 were successful.

Mumbai had a better strike rate, with between 10 and 15 of its total of 45 malls performing well.

JLL pointed to a range of factors at work, including location, design and layout, a mall's brand positioning and how well they cater to the needs of their target segments.

"Also, whether or not they have been able to evolve into family destinations rather than just remaining shopping centres plays a big role," Renjhen added.

Online retailing, meanwhile, is taking off as internet penetration grows, but the sector has yet to fully crack the logistics side of the business.

The Economic Times reported that a number of online furniture and grocery retailers are building their own delivery networks to meet the particular needs imposed by these categories – in terms of size for the former and speed for the latter.

And the last mile is also emerging as a challenge, as finding suitable personnel to deliver to customers becomes increasingly difficult.

"Whether it's someone like Grofers or Flipkart, the delivery component is the business – the delivery person is now representing the brand behind it," said Vir Kashyap, COO of blue-collar jobs platform Babajob. "If you don't get that right, it would ruin the whole business."

Nor is it just a case of finding the right person, it may soon become a case of finding anyone at all. "I don't think there are enough delivery boys," said Bhavesh Manglani, cofounder and chief operating officer at ecommerce logistics startup Delhivery.

"At the rate at which we are growing, we will be running out in the next year-and-a-half."

Data sourced from Financial Express, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Teens say YouTube is 'coolest'

19 May 2015
LONDON: YouTube is the 'coolest' social platform for teenagers aged 16 to 19, who rate Facebook far lower than the average of all internet users, according to a new study into the latest trends in social networking.

A fifth (20%) of teenagers choose the video-sharing site as their favourite platform, followed by Instagram (16%), Facebook (14%), Tumblr (13%) and Snapchat (12%).

This is one of the key findings from a quarterly social media report produced by GlobalWebIndex (GWI), the social analytics firm, which tested the views of nearly 16,000 UK and US internet users aged 16 to 64.

At 37%, Facebook stands out as by far the most popular, or 'coolest', social network for all users, but perhaps because it is viewed as such by older generations teenagers are switching to other sites.

Facebook also remains the world's largest online community, according to GWI's analysis from its larger global study, with the most members and active users. 

However, YouTube is the most popular network with 81% of all internet users saying they visited the site over the last month compared to 73% who visited Facebook.

Also of note, GWI found that Line was the fastest growing messaging app over the last year.

The Japanese networking app attracted a 57% increase in active users over the course of 2014, followed by Facebook Messenger (53%), Snapchat (45%), Instagram (43%), Pinterest (40%), WhatsApp (37%), WeChat (37%) and YouTube (35%).

The report said Snapchat remains "a key app to watch" because, again, it is so popular with teenagers.

Teens are about 3.5x as likely to use Snapchat as the average internet user, the report said, and more than 40% of them are using the platform in the UK and Canada. Furthermore, it is more popular among US teenagers than either Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

Data sourced from GlobalWebIndex; additional content by Warc staff

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Coca-Cola is world's top FMCG brand

19 May 2015
LONDON: Coca-Cola has retained its position as the world's most popular FMCG brand, although the beverage faces a growing challenge from some household goods, according to new global rankings from Kantar Worldpanel.

The research firm's latest Brand Footprint study of the 50 most chosen global FMCG brands said Coca-Cola remained the number one brand for the third year running.

It achieved the report's highest number of Consumer Reach Points (CRPs), a metric that measures brand penetration and buying frequency, based on 250bn shopping decisions made by consumers in 35 countries.

However, second-placed Colgate was the only brand bought by over half (64.6%) of global households, after gaining 19m new shoppers last year, and its market penetration far outmatched that of Coca-Cola (43.3%).

Indian shoppers accounted for at least half of the toothpaste's new buyers, with the brand entering 86% of households in the country.

Another winner identified in the report was Dove, Unilever's personal care brand, which entered the top ten for the first time to take ninth place after growing its CRPs by 6% and adding 14m new shoppers around the world.

P&G's fabric softener brand Downy (ranked 14th) was the top riser for the second consecutive year, after increasing its CRPs by 23%, while the other top five fastest-growing brands included Vim, Sunsilk, Doritos and Yakult.

Kantar also pointed out a number of "brands to watch", which were ranked outside its top 50 but had been increasing their CRPs at a rapid rate.

These included cleaning product Dettol, which increased its CRPs by 11%, dental brand Oral-B (CRPs up 9%) and snack brand Pringles (up 7%).

Commenting on the findings to CNBC, Kantar Worldpanel director Alison Martin said brands could improve their reach by spreading their availability around the world and by using effective communications.

"You have to make sure you're mentally in somebody's mind through communication, through digital strategies and make sure that you're physically available on the shelves," she said.

Interestingly, while the global top 10 rankings included a diverse range of FMCG brands, only food and drink brands featured in the top 10 in the UK.

What's more, British consumers revealed a strong preference for home-grown brands, with only Coca-Cola making it into the UK top ten (at ninth) from the global top 10.

Four of the top five brands in the UK were British and, as last year, Warburtons remained the nation's favourite, followed by Heinz, McVitie's, Hovis and Kingsmill.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel; additional content by Warc staff

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Luxury brands sue Alibaba

19 May 2015
BEIJING/NEW YORK: Alibaba is being sued by the parent company of Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other luxury brands amid allegations the Chinese ecommerce giant profited from the sale of counterfeit goods on its platform.

The Paris-based Kering group served a lawsuit in a Manhattan court on Friday, alleging that Alibaba has been complicit in the sale of fake handbags, watches and other luxury goods, Reuters reported.

Kering accused Alibaba of providing marketplace advertising and other essential services necessary for counterfeiters and that it profits from selling goods that infringe trademark laws.

This is the second time in a year that Alibaba has faced a lawsuit from Kering, which withdrew its previous complaint last summer after Alibaba agreed to co-operate over counterfeiting.

However, Alibaba issued a statement, insisting that it continues "to work with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property" and said it believed this latest complaint "has no basis" and it will be fought "vigorously".

Alibaba has been dogged for years by suspicions about the prevalence of counterfeit goods on its Tmall and Taobao sites and it has faced official criticism in the past that it has not done enough to police who sells there.

Just last month, the Chinese authorities announced a series of measures to crack down on counterfeit and substandard goods sold online in the country and the initiative was widely regarded as heaping further pressure on Alibaba.

But the company insists it takes the issue seriously and has announced that it has teamed up with Israeli startup Visualead to introduce a new dotless code that is able to confirm the authenticity of a product.

It will work with major luxury brands, such as L'Oréal, to add the codes directly to their products, which can be scanned with Alibaba's Taobao app to verify if they are real or not.

Data sourced from Reuters, Wired; additional content by Warc staff

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India retail to hit $1.2tr by 2020

19 May 2015
NEW DELHI: India's retail sector is expected to be worth US$1.2 trillion by 2020, rising to $2.1 trillion by 2025, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has forecast.

That would represent huge growth on current retail sales of $550bn and the expansion will be helped by rapid growth of ecommerce, which the industry body expects to grow from $2.9bn in 2013 to over $100bn by 2020.

According to its Indian Retail Medley report, released jointly with Wazir Advisors, the management consultancy, a number of factors will fuel the growth but the internet will be the most important.

It is estimated there will be 550m internet users in India by 2018, including 210m in rural areas, and the country also has a huge, youthful and tech-savvy population of 500m aged below 25 years-old.

Other factors include rising incomes and demand levels, urbanisation as well as attitudinal shifts, the report said, adding that the "phenomenal" and continuous rise in internet penetration is thanks, in part, to the government's commitment to digitalisation.

"India is expected to become the world's fastest growing ecommerce market on the back of robust investment activity in the sector and the rapid increase in internet users," the report stated.

But retailers will need to innovate their business model to take advantage developments and the country still faces some hurdles, warned Adesh Gupta, the chairman of CII Retail 2015 and promoter of Liberty Group.

He said India could become one of most dynamic retail markets in the world, but there remains "dire need to strengthen our supply chain management, identification of consumers' needs, trained and skilled manpower and streamlining of our taxation system".

The report chimes with a recent study from investment bank Goldman Sachs, which predicted that ecommerce in India will grow 15-fold over the next 15 years. It estimated Indian ecommerce will be worth $300bn in 2030.

Data sourced from the Confederation of Indian Industry; additional content by Warc staff

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Oculus Rift seeks mass market appeal

19 May 2015
NEW YORK: Oculus, the manufacturer of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset, believes this technology can become a mass market phenomenon, rather than simply being a product for gamers and early adopters.

Nate Mitchell, Oculus's co-founder and vp/product, discussed this subject at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2015 conference.

"We want to reach a state where we have hundreds of millions - if not billions - of people in VR," he said. (For more, including why retail should play a key role in the Rift's launch, read Warc's exclusive report: Oculus Rift aims to become a mass market reality.)

"We do see VR, ultimately, as a mass market product - and we want to get there," he said.

Business Insider forecasts that 26.5m VR units will be sold in 2020, with the category posting a compound annual growth rate of 99% between now and that date. Oculus, HTC and Sony are among the main competitors.

Oculus will begin taking pre-orders for the Rift later this year before the product ships in the first quarter of 2016.

The Gear VR, a mobile-powered headset made in conjunction with electronics giant Samsung, should be available this year - and launching these offerings would represent short-term success for Oculus.

"But for us," Mitchell continued, "our focus is really not only that but the long term and, again, getting VR out to the mass market and delivering an awesome consumer VR product.

"So, right now, the focus is - again - on nailing the user experience for the broadest market, and that's what the Rift is all about: consumer VR that we've been waiting for."

Expectations for the Rift have certainly been set high, with Oculus raising over $2m in donations on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, and later being acquired by Facebook for $2bn.

"Ultimately, if we can deliver a great product that people are excited about and that they're using every day, then we've definitely had success," Mitchell said.

Data sourced from Warc

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Shoppers still want physical stores

19 May 2015
BOSTON: There is no doubt that consumers have taken to mobile shopping, but a new report has found the majority still prefer to buy in bricks and mortar stores, suggesting "retail convergence" is a growing trend.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 US consumers by TimeTrade, a customer experience firm, only 13% use their mobile device to purchase when shopping.

It seems the pull of the in-store, personalised experience lies behind this decision as a full 65% say that if a product is available online or in a nearby store, then they would prefer to visit the physical store.

This is so they can actually touch and feel an item, according to Betanews, which said American shoppers are using mobile devices mainly for research.

This is borne out by the survey's finding that mobile is used by 50% to research products and compare prices and by 46% to find the nearest physical store.

Among millennials, or those aged 18 to 34, 92% say they intend to shop in-store in 2015 as often or more than they did in 2014.

The same proportion (92%) of this age group say they know exactly what they want when they go into a store following their research online.

Crucially, 87% of millennials will buy more than they intended when in a physical store. Also, the importance of knowledgeable sales staff should not be underestimated because 90% of all consumers say that aspect of the shopping experience would make them more likely to buy.

Based on this evidence, TimeTrade urged retailers to adopt a cross-channel strategy to bridge the worlds of digital and physical retailing, so that initial online inquiries are converted into a high value, in-store experience.

"The bottom line is customers value the personal experience of the physical store," said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. "We found that shoppers have done their shopping or discovery online, then go into the store to get help with their final purchase decision."

Data sourced from TimeTrade, betanews; additional content by Warc staff

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Beacons find parking use

19 May 2015
TORONTO: Bricks-and-mortar retailers could increase footfall and improve the shopping experience for consumers by combining beacon technology and parking apps.

HotSpot, a Canadian mobile parking payment solution and proximity marketing company, partnered with beacon provider Kontakt.io to contact shoppers in parking lots and then track behaviour at nearby retail locations.

They found that 30% of those people using a HotSpot parking app entered a HotSpot-enabled store and then stayed up to 13% longer than average.

This was made possible by the perks that retailers can offer HotSpot users, including free parking, extra validation, and protection from getting tickets, all of which makes for a more relaxed shopper and greater opportunities for local businesses to close sales and gain new customers.

A HotSpot white paper claimed that this approach could balance the needs of cities, retailers and consumers.

"By looking at parking as more than just an end-point for revenue generation and more as something that can be used to start a conversion process of discovery and delight, HotSpot parking has ended up creating a startlingly effective channel for driving foot traffic into stores and businesses," said Kontakt.

In fact, it suggested that 85% of shoppers were more likely to shop somewhere that offers exclusive in-store promotions, something that this combination of app and beacon appears well-placed to offer North American shoppers who typically drive to malls.

But not every mall charges drivers to park and most drivers are in any case more likely to be searching for a parking space in the first instance than worrying about paying for that parking.

A more immediately convincing case for using beacons and apps came from Carrefour. The multinational retailer recently trialled adding proximity and context to its app with beacons in one store, with new features including purchase suggestions and coupons, and saw the application's engagement rocket.

Over a seven month period, Carrefour reported that the number of app users leapt 600% while the time spent on using the app increased 400%.

The proximity data generated also gave Carrefour valuable information on how customers were navigating the store, enabling it to improve the store offer and further build customer loyalty.

Data sourced from Kontakt; additional content by Warc staff

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Blocking software threatens mobile ads

18 May 2015
LONDON: The rapid growth of mobile advertising could be significantly slowed by new software being installed by mobile operators which will allow subscribers to block advertising.

Shine, an Israeli start-up, has developed software that prevents advertising from loading in web pages and in apps, although it does not affect news feed-type ads in social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

"Tens of millions of mobile subscribers around the world will be opting in to ad blocking by the end of the year," said Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer of Shine.

"If this scales, it could have a devastating impact on the online advertising industry."

The Financial Times reported that at least one European wireless carrier has already installed the blocking software in its data centres and plans to turn it on sometime this year.

An executive at the unnamed carrier explained that customers would be able to opt in to an advertising-free service. There are several benefits to them, including faster loading of web pages, a reduced risk of malware being introduced and greater privacy as user data is not collected.

But he added that a more drastic approach could see the operator automatically block advertising to all subscribers. The executive suggested that by blocking ads on Google's sites, for example, maybe for an hour or two a day, it could force the internet giant into negotiations about giving up some of its revenues.

The FT noted the frustration felt by mobile operators that digital media companies have been able to profit from new high-speed networks without having to invest in the necessary infrastructure. Google's response was that many of the services people used were funded by ads.

Not surprisingly, Shine's McCarthy had a different take. "Online advertising is out of control and it's polluting the user experience," he said, arguing that eliminating intrusive adverts is a "consumer right".

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Smartphone sales growth slows

18 May 2015
GLOBAL: Global smartphones sales grew at 7% in the first quarter of 2015, significantly slower than a year earlier as demand slumped in China and Developed Asia.

New data from GfK reveal that unit demand in China was down 14% in Q1 2015 while in Developed Asia sales had fallen 5%.

Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK, attributed the weakness in China to a slowdown in 3G demand, which had not been offset by 4G growth. But he expected China would return to growth in the second half of the year, "driven by a continued 4G ramp-up".

And 4G is proving to be an important factor, as 4G units now account for more than 50% of the global market; GfK predicted their share will hit 59% by the fourth quarter.

Some large markets are lagging well behind in this respect: 4G share in India stood at 4% in Q1 but is expected to grow to 7% this year, while in Indonesia it is forecast to rise from 7% to 10% over the same period.

Emerging Asian countries and the Middle East & Africa were the fastest growing regions in Q1, with unit sales of smartphones jumping 30% in each, followed by Latin America, where growth hit 22%.

And while unit sales increased in Western Europe and Central & Eastern Europe, the value of sales in both these regions declined, the former "dragged down" by Spain and France, the latter hit by the macroeconomic situation in Russia.

GfK also noted the trend to larger screens, reporting that smartphones with screens of five inches or more now constituted 47% of the global market, up from 32% a year ago.

In some markets their share was rather higher – 70% in North America, home of the iPhone 6. In China larger screens have almost doubled their share in 12 months, leaping from 32% to 57% as cheaper models have flooeded the market

For 2015 GfK forecast global smartphone unit demand to grow 10% year on year, less than half the 23% of 214. "Emerging Asia is forecast to be the fastest growing region, driven by India and Indonesia, where low smartphone penetration leaves plenty of room for growth," said Walsh.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff

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Bad ads cost publishers

18 May 2015
NEW YORK: Annoying digital ads can cost more money than they earn for publishers, according to research which puts a price on their effect.

In The Economic and Cognitive Costs of Annoying Display Advertisements, a paper published in the Journal of Marketing Research, participants were paid for classifying emails with a variety of good and bad ads shown simultaneously on screen as well as no ads.

The authors found that a participant in the bad-ad condition would have to be paid an additional 0.153 cents per impression to do as much work as a participant in the no-ad condition. Or in terms more instantly recognisable to marketers, the cost of bad ads was $1.53 per thousand impressions (CPM).

And, quoting 2013 data from the Turn cloud marketing platform that found 53% of all display ad impressions paid between 10 cents and 80 cents CPM, the authors argued that bad ads could actually cost publishers more money than they bring in.

"Chasing page-views and impressions at scale has diminishing returns and makes a sites more vulnerable to bad ads," warned Jason King, ceo of Digital Content Next.

In attempting to maximize the sell-thru rate of inventory, he said, publishers were "chasing short-term revenue rabbits without understanding where that rabbit hole leads."

But users' tolerance for annoying ads will depend on a number of factors. If a website provides a unique service, for example, then tolerance will likely be higher than on those sites where switching costs are low, such as new stories from mass-market newswires.

At the same time, the researchers discovered that annoying ads had a negative impact on cognitive tasks. Users were more likely to notice this type of ad and to complain about them while also being more likely to abandon those sites where they were found.

In a different context, Millward Brown has shown that users do not get annoyed at seeing the same ad multiple times if the creative is good enough.

Data sourced from Journal of Marketing Research, DCN; additional content by Warc staff

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Aussie content marketers turn to video

18 May 2015
SYDNEY: Most marketers in Australia and New Zealand plan on maintaining or increasing their content marketing in 2015, with almost two thirds making use of video, a new survey has revealed.

Castleford, a content marketing agency, canvassed the experiences and opinions of marketing professionals and decision makers at 152 organisations based in Australia or New Zealand, via phone and email interviews.

It reported a "significant shift" in their mindsets, as content marketing moved away from being regarded as an add-on to become a central driver of organic search traffic, social engagement, brand building and lead generation.

Fully 97% said they planned to maintain or increase the time and resources they commit to content marketing in 2015, and 64% said they would be spending more, up from 47% in 2014.

While social media (81%) and press releases (64%) remain the most popular online marketing tactics, 61% were making use of video in 2015, up 13 percentage points on the previous year.

Video production is also moving in-house, with 21% reporting they now have this capability, up from 13% in 2014. More generally, 58% used in-house resources to deliver content marketing campaigns while just 28% used a content marketing agency, proportions that had moved little from the previous year.

Video was also among the top future priorities, cited by just under half (49%) of marketers surveyed, marginally behind blogging (51%).

The study reported widespread buy-in for content marketing from the top level, with 76% of respondents saying their superiors were either very or quite positive about it.

And the KPIs they were using to judge its effectiveness included traffic (62%), leads (62%) and sales (59%).

Despite the increased attention and resources being lavished on content marketing, this has yet to filter into work designations. Only 16% of those surveyed had someone with a dedicated "content marketing" job title in their organisation.

"Aussie and Kiwi marketers still wear a lot of different hats," observed Rob Cleeve, Castleford's business development director.

Data sourced from Castleford; additional content by Warc staff

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Publishers split on Instant Articles

18 May 2015
NEW YORK: Opinion is divided on Facebook's new Instant Articles program, with four US publisher participants opting to handle ad sales themselves and one suggesting they could hand sales over to Facebook at some point.

The arrangement allows publishers to keep 100% of the revenue generated from advertising placed alongside Instant Articles, which are publisher content hosted and served within Facebook, if they sell and serve the ads themselves.

Alternatively, the publishers can leave that job to Facebook, which will then take 30% of revenues for selling the ads through its Audience Network product. 

So far, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic and NBC News have said they are opting for the first route and keeping all ad revenues, Advertising Age reported. "To have a third party sell [our ads] is not part of the strategy," said Greg Coleman, BuzzFeed's president. The Atlantic is keeping an open mind.

But in the Wall Street Journal, reporter Jack Marshall argued that "70 cents on the dollar could be better than a whole dollar" because Facebook would be better at selling these ads than publishers.

Marketers are likely to be more confident buying ads from Facebook, he suggested, thanks to the social media platform's impressive targeting and tracking capabilities. "The rest of the online ad market is playing catch-up," he added.

Ultimately, therefore, publishers face a decision on whether to retain control over their data and accept less revenue or to potentially earn more but become more reliant on Facebook.

Advertising Age also raised the possibility that publishers could choose to use the Instant Articles inventory to distribute content they have created for brands, so effectively sidestepping the "volume and content controls for promotional posts" the social network introduced late last year.

Buzzfeed has already started doing so, while The Atlantic said it was thinking about doing so. Facebook would only say that it was "talking to publishers to learn about their business models and explore how we can make them work in Instant Articles".


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

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PNC partners for success

18 May 2015
CHICAGO: PNC, the financial services provider, has demonstrated the power of finding the right partnership to boost corporate philanthropy, allying with Sesame Workshop to enhance early-child education.

Sally McCrady, president of the PNC Foundation and director/community affairs at PNC Bank, discussed this topic at the Brand Activation Association's (BAA) 2015 Brand Activation Annual Showcase (BAASH).

The two organisations began working together on "Grow Up Great", an initiative which has expanded into a $350m, bilingual program based on early education over 11 years.

This effort has served over 2.3m children and been extended to include a "very robust web presence", alongside downloadable content and outreach kits for PNC customers.

"We knew from the very beginning [that] if this programme was to be credible, we needed to have really strong partners," McCrady said. (For more, including more details about how this programme was activated, read Warc's exclusive report: PNC ties community affairs to Sesame Workshop.)

"Who better than Sesame Street, widely regarded as the gold standard in early childhood programming, as well as content development?"

"Grow Up Great" has helped the company engage both consumers and PNC's employees, who all receive 40 hours a year to volunteer.

Beyond that, focusing its attention has let the firm drill down into determining the results of its philanthropic activities.

Prior to starting "Grow Up Great", McCrady reported, "Our CEO asked us to talk to him about the impact our philanthropy was having in the communities we served.

"We realised that we were in a place that you never want to be with your CEO: we did not have a good answer."

In response, "Grow Up Great" represented a more unified idea than its previous endeavours in this space.

"Because our guidelines were so broad and our efforts were so diffuse, it was almost impossible for us to talk about the impact of our philanthropy, even though we were giving away millions of dollars in our communities," McCrady said.

"So we decided, for the first time, that we would launch a corporate-wide philanthropic effort – not taking away from what we were already doing in our communities, but adding to it."

Data sourced from Warc

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Thai consumers seek discounts

18 May 2015
BANGKOK: High household debt and low consumer confidence have subdued retail spending in Thailand, with marketers having to place emphasis on discounts and promotions.

Reuters reported an unexpected spike in bad loans at Thailand's banks in the first quarter, and described this development as "the latest symptom of a household debt malaise that also threatens consumer spending".

That household debt now stands at 85.9% of the country's GDP as consumers struggle to repay loans taken out on cars, homes and electronics between 2010 and 2013 when credit was easy.

Consumer confidence, meanwhile, has fallen for four straight months, as the index produced by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce fell to 76.6 in April, its lowest level for ten months.

Thanavath Phonvichai, an economics professor at the university, said consumer confidence needed to be lifted if consumption was not to remain stalled and urged a cut in interest rates.

A survey from Intage Thailand pointed to discounts and impactful promotional campaigns as the most effective marketing tools for stimulating purchases at a time of economic stagnation.

Chief operating officer Dangjaithawin Anantachai cited as an example the "green tea war" between makers Oishi Group and Ichitan Group. The promotions these two are undertaking lead some Thais to drink bottled green tea just for the caps and a chance to win a luxury car.

As well as having promotions function as a communication tool, she added that placement should be convenient.

Mom-and-pop stores play a role nationwide but convenience stores dominate, especially after dark when mom-and-pop shops and street stalls are closed.

Intage Thailand reported that Thai people spend roughly 120 baht a day in convenience stores, averaging two visits at 60 baht each.

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

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Native advertising 'not scalable'

15 May 2015
LONDON: True native advertising is particular to a media brand and as such is not scalable, according to a leading industry figure who suggests that attempting to scale it shifts it into a different area altogether.

Tim Cain, managing director of the Association of Online Publishers, told Carat that context is a key element in native advertising, requiring an ad to be created in a style similar to the media brand in which it is appearing so the user experiences it as part of their normal experience.

"One of the challenges with native advertising is in its very purest sense it's something being created in a distinct way for one media brand," he said.

But when brands then tried to use that messaging on a wider scale, "it then stops being native advertising and it becomes branded content," Cain asserted. "For me when people talk about native scalability, I'm not sure it is scalable."

For him, "pure native is a one-to-one creation", requiring an ongoing relationship with a chosen media brand and the use of publisher content teams.

"That doesn't necessarily mean that the journalists are writing native advertising," he added, "but people in the publishing business who are au fait with the style of the publication … It's better to take advantage of the people at the media brand understanding their audience."

He cited recent AOP research to show how effective native advertising could be, with a "significant" average uplift to brand trust from native adverts compared to traditional adverts.

A third of readers were more likely to trust native advertising than traditional advertising, while three in five (59%) said native ads were "interesting".

Combining native and traditional, however, produced the best results, with a boost of 38 percentage points across key brand metrics when compared to native ads used in isolation.

Cain highlighted five vital elements in making native advertising work effectively: attraction – it must motivate a user to action; the brand should introduce itself early; the content itself needs to be interesting; brands should demonstrate their expertise on the topic area; it should be about discovery of the brand and not a hard sales message.

Data sourced from Carat; additional content by Warc staff

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IoT threat to brands and marketers

15 May 2015
LONDON: The Internet of Things is likely to pose major challenges to brands and marketers in ways they may not have fully appreciated according to several industry figures speaking at Digital Shoreditch.

At the week-long London event which showcases the UK's creative digital talent, Daniel Harvey, experience design director at Sapient Nitro, explained to The Drum how brands were at risk of losing affinity with consumers.

He cited the example of Nest, the wifi-enabled programmable thermostat, whose creators claim to "take the unloved products in your home and make simple, beautiful, thoughtful things".

It certainly "isn't the dumb, white plastic box that you hide in a broom closet," Harvey said. "But that's still become something that you ignore nine times out of ten."

For him this was an instance of the likely "disruption in how much affinity we have for brands – because they are just going to get meshed together in the framework that drives the internet of things".

Daniel Fogg, founder and strategist at product strategy consultancy Graftt, went a step further, arguing that product manufacturers would become less important than the service layers those products enabled.

So something like a connected fridge might better be developed by a supermarket chain such as Tesco or Sainsbury's rather than white goods manufacturers like Samsung or LG.

"You are going to see these new products creating new service categories and new layers of service in order to deliver things to people in the way that they want them," Fogg stated.

Designer Ross Atkins, director of Ross Atkins Associates, added that the manufacturers faced a choice as to whether to get on board with this development.

"It's much harder to grow a physical product off the back of a digital service than it is to grow a digital service off the back of a physical product," he suggested, noting that Apple was already moving down this road with HomeKit, a framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user's home.

"Apple are going to potentially do to the whole of the consumer electronics industry what they've just done to music," he said.

But brand marketers would still have to tell compelling stories about all this, Atkins concluded, and that wouldn't be straightforward as connected products are often complicated and difficult to explain.

Data sourced from The Drum; Additional content by Warc staff

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Social 'a graveyard of likes'

15 May 2015
SYDNEY: Social no longer works as a content marketing channel, according to a leading industry figure who described it as "a red-hot mess" of brand communications.

Damien Cummings, CMO of Philips, the lighting and consumer electronics business, didn't spare his own company from that assessment.

"If you look at Philips on social right now the first post is about lighting, the next could be about new X-Ray machine, then something corporate about a new office opening," he told AdNews.

And that can only be confusing for customers: "if you start to push thousands of bits of content through there it's going to become a red-hot mess," he said.

Consequently, there is little incentive for people to return in search of content. "You're dealing with a graveyard of likes from people who have entered a competition and never gone back," Cummings declared.

Few brands have properly thought about the value proposition of their Facebook page, he argued, although in some categories this was now about customer service or sales.

He estimated that for technology brands, 40-50% of what was on social was customer service, rising to 75% for telcos and between 80% and 100% in the case of banks.

"We realise digital is the future, and content marketing is the way forward but we realised that we wanted to own those conversations," he explained as he outlined the company's new approach.

Working with PR firm FleishmanHillard, it set up the Philips Asia Digital Command Centre last year, aiming to use real-time data to help it get the right content in front of people in a timely manner.

And he reported that the centre has helped drive efficiencies in its marketing, achieving a 20% saving on costs while also encouraging its agencies work together more effectively.

PR Week noted a fashion for agencies in Asia to establish such newsroom-style services, bringing together not just writers and editors but also designers, programmers and video producers to analyse media trends and create content in response to news and crises.

"The key mindset is being integrated," said Lynne Anne Davis, president and senior partner at FleishmanHillard. "Storytelling is not only brought to life through words, but also through images, infographics and videos."

Data sourced from Ad News, PR Week; additional content by Warc staff

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eSports sponsorship tops $100m

15 May 2015
NEW YORK: Corporate sponsorship of eSports in the US is set to top $100m this year, a total reaching $143m when adding in merchandising and ticket sales.

According to SuperData Research, the digital measurement company, total revenues from eSports – video game competitions in which players compete in front of live audiences – will reach $612m, with Asia-Pacific accounting for 61% of the total. North America will take another 23%, with Europe on 12%.

It further reported that the total global audience for these events is 134m strong and growing, prompting interest from major platforms like Amazon and YouTube.

Currently, almost half of eSports viewers in the US use Twitch.tv, the world's largest live-streaming site for games content. Amazon snapped it up for almost $1bn last year, and YouTube is now reported to be working on its own such service.

"Gaming and eSports, in particular, are going to be a big driving force for the new-look YouTube Live," a source told The Daily Dot.

"There'll be huge opportunities for established streamers and organisations soon and I would say that the record numbers of eSports viewers are only going to grow when Google starts promoting and partnering with these events."

That, in turn, will likely attract more brands as they seek to tap the opportunity to reach the youthful gaming audience. Brands in categories from CPG to automotive, including Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Nissan and Volkswagen, have already latched onto the trend.

Competitive gaming is a marketing strategy, not a revenue driver, SuperData stressed. The $111m corporate sponsorship in the US goes towards teams, leagues and publishers in return for displaying logos, products and naming rights.

Earlier this year, Scott Nowers, co-founder/ceo at media agency Waypoint Media, told Warc that eSports had "reached a tipping point in terms of audience size and acceptance into the mainstream".

He expected this area would become more "culturally significant" over the next three years. "Now is the time for brands to move on this opportunity: the cost of media will only be climbing from here," he advised.

He also suggested that it has "become viable to start moving dollars from TV ad-budgets to gaming-related marketing investments".

Data sourced from SuperData Research, The Daily Dot; additional content by Warc staff

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CRM gamification surges

15 May 2015
BOSTON, MA: Nine in ten US retailers are planning to use gamification tactics over the next five years as they seek to leverage their CRM programs to engage and motivate their customers.

According to the 2015 CRM/Unified Commerce Survey, produced by consulting firm Boston Retail Partners on the basis of an online survey of more than 500 top North American retailers, last year just 6% had utilised gamification within their loyalty or frequent shopper programs, rising to 31% this year.

Within the next two years a further 31% expected to implement such tactics as rewarding users with points or badges in exchange for store visits, purchases or watching product videos, while 25% had a longer 3-5 year timetable.

Other popular routes to engagement included personalised selling and social media.

Ultimately, said Boston Retail Partners, a successful CRM program is built on a "closed-loop system" that identifies customers, engages them, analyses behaviours in real-time, and retains them with superior service and loyalty programs.

"The key to influencing a customer's purchase and offering a personalised experience is to identify the customer early, as soon as they enter the store," Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners, told Mobile Commerce Daily.

"However, in many cases, customer identification is happening at the point of checkout, which is too late to influence a current purchase decision."

And that is another significant development the research established, as within five years more than 50% of retailers plan to identify customers when they walk into the store.

Once identified, "sales associates should be supported with real-time customer information and analytics that enable them to tailor the experience to each customer's personal preferences and recent purchases and online browsing history," said Morris.

"Once customers opt-in or tune-in to your brand, retailers can create a level of intimacy never before possible."

Data sourced from Boston Retail Partners, Mobile Commerce Daily; additional content by Warc staff

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Blog: Don't be seduced by the myth of 'granular' data

15 May 2015
Does more data mean better data? Les Binet and Sarah Carter think not: "The more granular the data, the harder it is to see the wood for the trees".

Warc

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Target focuses sponsorship spend

15 May 2015
CHICAGO: Target, the retailer, is using a consistent formula to inform its sponsorship expenditure – allocating 35% of its outlay to a property, another 55% to activation and 10% to measurement.

Dan Griffis, the company's vp/experiential marketing and alliances, discussed this subject while speaking at IEG's Sponsorship 2015 event in Chicago.

"We've created a policy at Target now where for every dollar we spend on a property or in sports or entertainment, I'm going to spend 35 cents of that on the property itself," he said. (For more, including why "warm" and "cool" content is crucial for the brand, read Warc's exclusive report: Target's rules for successful sponsorship .)

Building on that, he continued, "I'm spending 55 cents on the activation of that property and ten cents on measuring whether I was successful or not.

"And we're not going to deviate from that plan. And we've seen success with that so far, and that's what we're going to do going forward."

The measurement piece, in particular, is a focus for Target as it aims to prove the return on investment from its sponsorship efforts.

"For years and years, impressions have been the backbone of this entire industry. And the reality is: impressions are passive by definition and they only tell me the raw size of my audience. That's it," said Griffis.

"They don't tell me anything about engagement. And that's where we need to evolve and get past that. So that's what we're doing. And measurement also comes down to being disciplined in how you spend your money."

An essential component of measurement is determining the gauges of success before a program begins, according to Griffis.

"If you're doing anything and you're not thinking about outcomes before you start, it's a waste of time. You have to be rigorous in terms of your approach and how you're going to measure success," he asserted.

But expertise in this area requires an equal mix of "art and science" – that is, a "happy medium" between hard figures and more intangible factors.

"I'm a firm believer that what you measure improves and what you don't degrades. I'm also a firm believer if all you do is measure numbers, you rarely create breakthroughs: you just create better numbers," said Griffis.

Data sourced from Warc

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Pakistan views Indian TV content

15 May 2015
MUMBAI: Whatever the geopolitical differences between India and Pakistan, television is something the two countries have in common, as Pakistani networks are the biggest buyers of Indian content.

"The thumb rule is – almost everything that works in India, works in Pakistan," Jerjees Seja, CEO, of Pakistan's ARY Digital Network, told the Times of India.

That is reflected in the that fact that Pakistan buyers account for almost one quarter of the Rs 170-180 crore syndication revenue generated by the mix of reality shows and soaps that India sells around the world.

Pakistan TV currently spends around Rs 40 crore across seven or eight channels and that amount is reported to be growing at 10% a year.

Indian content has obvious advantages for Pakistani viewers in that it does not need to be translated, dubbed or subtitled. But Pakistan's networks range far and wide in their search for suitable material.

At entertainment channel Geo Kahani, for example, Indian content forms 15-20% of its output while the rest is either local or from Turkey and Egypt. "We are also exploring Japanese and Korean content lately," according to Asif Raza Mir, COO at the parent network Geo TV.

Both Mir and Seja source content from the leading Indian general entertainment channels, including Zee, Colors, Sony and Star Plus, each spending upwards of $2m.

But Mir noted some important differences around production values and subject matter.

Where Indian producers tend to base themselves in studios, for example, their Pakistani counterparts prefer to shoot on location.

"Our content is more issue-based rather than politics in the family," Mir added, "so we pick up subjects like CID [crime drama], Bhoot Aaya [drama-doc about the paranormal], though there are some love stories that stand out as well".

What works in entertainment has little bearing on other matters however. Plans to revive the sporting rivalry between the two nations, with the first Indian-Pakistan cricket series in eight years, have run into problems over broadcast rights as well as political opposition.



Data sourced from Times of India, Khaleej Times; additional content by Warc staff

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