Sports marketing is more than ads

8 February 2016
LONDON/NEW YORK: The Super Bowl is over and the ads are being assessed, but just advertising at game time is an outdated approach, according to a leading industry figure, who argues that brands need to leverage data to create relevant "game day" content.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Dan Donnelly, EVP, managing director at Starcom MediaVest Group's SPORTS at SMG in New York, points out that seven-in-ten sports fans are most engaged by pre-game content and rituals, including participation in fantasy sports.

Further, social media channels are expanding their sports offerings to tap into the new age and gender demographics that want sports content on their own terms – at any time, any place and on any device,

Sports fans are inherently social, Donnelly suggests. Indeed, 60% of millennials feel that sport is more about that than anything else.

And with athletes themselves engaging directly with fans on social media, sharing personal stories and views as well as sports material, brands have an opportunity to weave themselves into the conversation in an authentic way.

Donnelly holds up the Samsung-LeBron James relationship as an example of how brands can win in the future. When the basketball player "went dark" on social media before the 2014 NBA playoffs, the smartphone maker created an app to aggregate various content James would typically post in order to keep fans connected.

"An engaging conversation doesn't repeat itself, and marketers need to be prepared to sequence the story," Donnelly noted.

The app highlights another of the seven ways to engage sports fans that Donnelly recommends. He says it is "imperative" that marketers have a mobile strategy that goes beyond game updates and traditional exposure-based advertising.

Live viewing creates opportunities for real-time relevancy, something beer brand Heineken achieved to good effect with #ShareTheSofa, a live show for the second screen hosted by famous ex-players that ran during Champions League Football games.

Other areas sports marketers need to consider include the impact of next-generation technology, the development of eSports and the increasing globalisation of major sports.

Data sourced from Admap

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UK commercial radio overtakes BBC

8 February 2016
LONDON: Weekly commercial radio audiences in the UK have overtaken the BBC for the first time in 15 years, according to the latest official listening figures.

Audience measurement body Rajar released its fourth quarter results for the UK radio market, a study of around 310 individual stations, and reported that the combined reach of commercial stations was 35.1m compared to the BBC's 34.9m.

The last time the BBC reported fewer listeners than commercial radio was in Q4 2000, although the BBC maintained its lead in terms of listeners' time during the quarter with market share of 53.5%, Radiocentre reported.

"Commercial radio stations offer an amazing range of choices for listeners and advertisers. It is great to see this reflected in record audiences," said Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre.

"The next few months will see an even greater expansion of content with 18 new national digital stations being launched, providing a genuine alternative to the BBC across all kinds of music and speech and for audiences of all types."

Indeed, the rising popularity of digital radio was another highlight of the Rajar study, suggesting a clear shift in radio listening habits in the UK.

More than 48m listeners aged 15+, or 90% of the adult population, tuned in to their selected radio station each week in Q4 2015, but 56% did so via a digitally enabled receiver – either DAB, TV or online.

The share of all radio listening via a digital platform grew by 3.8 percentage points year-on-year to 41.7% while the share of listening hours attributed to DAB increased by 2.5pp year-on-year to 27.7%.

With 30m UK adults now tuning in to radio via a digitally enabled receiver, average weekly digital listening over the quarter stood at 423m hours, up 10% year-on-year.

DAB radio was the most popular digital device, accounting for 66% of all digital hours and 28% of total hours, while listening via TV represented 12% of digital hours (5% of total hours), and listening online accounted for 16% of digital hours, or 7% of total hours.

And in another development, the report found that 26% of adults said they listen to radio via a mobile phone or tablet at least once a month, representing a rise of 20% year-on-year.

The latest forecast from the AA/Warc Expenditure Report, released this week, expects radio adspend to rise 4.2% this year, following estimated growth of 2.8% in 2015.


Data sourced from Radiocentre, Rajar; additional content by Warc staff

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Facebook highlights mobile woes

8 February 2016
SAN FRANCISCO: Omni-channel shoppers in the US are looking for a better experience across all devices, especially mobile, but 71% believe the transaction process could be improved, according to a new survey for Facebook.

As part of its ongoing analysis about how mobile is changing shopping habits, the social network posted an update based on a poll of 2,400 US consumers by research firm GfK.

The study found that 60% of omni-channel shoppers say they will start making purchases on their mobile devices or do so even more this year, while 64% expect to use their devices to conduct more research. In addition, 61% expect to use their smartphones more while in stores, compared to 2015.

However, on top of the 71% of mobile shoppers who feel the transaction experience could be improved, a similar proportion (70%) say the same about their website/app experience.

This is particularly important because of the flexibility and convenience that mobile shopping offers, as borne out by further survey findings that 56% made a purchase on a mobile device because they were already using it, while 55% pointed to the convenience offered.

Facebook advised brands that want to reach these consumers to break down any barriers holding them back from purchasing.

Brands need to create a seamless experience, the report suggested. Tips for achieving this goal include making it easy to enter payment information, offering multiple shipping options and allowing consumers to complete a transaction without having to download an app.

"54% of omni-channel shoppers say they are more likely to shop with a retailer that makes it easy to buy on several devices," the report noted.

"As integrated online/offline shopping becomes the new normal, brands should ensure shoppers' online experiences are as smooth as their brick-and-mortar experiences and equally as enjoyable."

Data sourced from Facebook; additional content by Warc staff

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How Ford drives consumer research

8 February 2016
ORLANDO, FL: Automaker Ford is mixing traditional and digitally-powered research techniques as it aims to understand how consumers use their heads and hearts when buying a vehicle.

Will Neafsey, manager of Global Consumer Segmentation and Tracking/Global Market Research at Ford, discussed this subject at The Market Research Event (TMRE).

He dug down into how prospective buyers make choices when confronted with an ever-increasing number of competing cars – and a specification list which spans everything from colours and trims to engines.

Reading reviews, asking the opinion of friends and looking for online offers are among the more functional actions that people take in filtering through this deluge of information.

"It's all part of what they're learning," said Neafsey. "It's all part of the stuff we have to catch and understand. Prices are so important, but information is very important." (For more, including further insights into the automaker's consumer understanding, read Warc's exclusive report: Ford research: Grounded in quant, with digital insights.)

But a range of emotional factors also play a central role, as these shoppers consider questions like: "How do I want this thing to make me feel? How does it feel when I'm driving this thing around?"

And the "heart-side" of a decision necessarily moves beyond hard-headed pragmatism. "It's not just about making a rational choice," said Neafsey.

"It's making sure that your friends aren't sitting around talking like, 'That car sucks.' You don't want to be the guy who bought that car."

Mixing traditional research techniques, like focus groups and surveys, with methodologies like analysing spikes in web traffic and text mining on social media, can help brands gain both an aggregate and targeted insight into its audience.

"We need to find a marriage between reliable, standardised research practices and new insights drawn from digital sources, especially when the focus is on younger audience interests," Neafsey said.

"They'll buy from us someday. But the average age of people that buy from us is usually the high 40s or low 50s ... So we need to balance the message we hear from the places like social media and the people that we really should be listening to."

"When we look at big data, when we look at things that are not traditional market research where we can control the sample, we have to think about these kinds of purposes because there's no one size fits all."

Data sourced from Warc

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Video ads are worth the expense

8 February 2016
NEW YORK: Although video ads can be pricey, not just because of production costs but also to make them playable on a publisher's site, they still generate clicks at 17 times the rate of banner ads, according to a recent study.

Digital benchmarking firm L2 analysed the video campaigns of 83 luxury brands for its Digital IQ Index: Fashion 2015 report and stated that many will have to rethink their strategies as video is set to account for half of all internet traffic by 2019.

L2 examined brands' video content, share of organic views and the rate at which videos converted to sales compared to other forms of content.

Brand-building videos emerged as the most viewed and most popular in terms of likes and comments compared with videos that had a greater focus on commercial content.

While finding a direct link between sales and social media campaigns can be difficult to evaluate, the report established that interaction rates on video posts are 60% higher on Facebook than posts without video while those on Instagram are 20% higher.

However, with the share of video posts on Facebook growing to only 8% since 2013 – and 6% on Instagram – the report advised brands to consider increasing their proportion of posts containing video, even if video ads can be more expensive.

"Videos are so much more engaging to a shopper than a static ad. They attract, invite and inspire further consideration. As such they come at a higher price tag," said Elizabeth Elder, research associate at L2.

"However, the investment is worth the effort. Studies have shown that the click-through-rate of a video ad is 17 times higher than a static ad."

Furthermore, with more than 80% of users accessing social platforms on mobile devices, mobile marketing will become increasingly important for brands that wish to remain competitive, L2 said.

"We expect [the mobile ad] market to explode," Elder continued. "Currently, brands are underutilizing it and video is such a dominant medium.

"Attractive, visual ads will definitely have an impact on a mobile shopper trying to figure out if she even likes the brand and if further consideration is even worth it."

Data sourced from L2; additional content by Warc staff

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Blog: Desktop ads hit saturation point

8 February 2016
On current trends, UK desktop adspend is forecast to begin showing annual declines from the second half of this year, suggesting it has now reached saturation point in the UK, explains Warc research analyst James McDonald.

Data sourced from Warc

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Holiday travel intent rises 240%

8 February 2016
SINGAPORE: As Chinese New Year gets underway on Monday, a new report has shown that the festive period has helped to boost regional week-on-week travel intent by 240%.

According to the Asian segment of a global Q4 2015 report from Sojern, a data-based travel marketing platform, consumers in Asia-Pacific are also cutting their search times ahead of making a booking, Digital Market Asia reported.

Almost a fifth (17%) of Asian consumers searched for trips up to seven days in advance of travel, up from 15% in the previous quarter, while the proportion of travellers planning 60+ days in advance fell slightly to 39% from 41%.

October was the busiest month for both search (37%) and bookings (38%) over the last quarter of 2015, a finding which also could be useful for marketers looking to plan ahead for the Lunar New Year in 2017.

Japan, Thailand and China are the top three travel destinations for Asian travellers planning to observe this Chinese New Year, while Tokyo, Bangkok and Osaka are the most popular holiday cities.

"The travel industry is making massive investments to improve processes and experiences for travellers from around the world, but lack real-time knowledge about travel interest and intent amongst consumers in the region," said Stewart Hunter, director for Sojern Asia Pacific.

Writing for Marketing Interactive, he went on to outline five key observations for marketers seeking to make the most from Chinese New Year travellers in Asia-Pacific.

Understanding their intentions is crucial, he said. For example, while Japan may be the preferred destination for travellers across the region, data shows that Singapore is the top destination for travellers from Hong Kong over the holiday period.

Timing and knowing when prospective travellers begin their planning is also key, Hunter added. As seen, October is a busy month for this activity, but Sojern's data reveals that this is particularly so in Taiwan.

On top of knowing the top destinations, marketers should also work on the reasons for travel. For example, many Singaporeans travel to Malaysia immediately after the first day of the New Year to visit extended family.

In addition, many travellers in the region are looking to extend their Chinese New Year trips, so marketers should cater for that intention.

Finally, marketers need to gain insights into why people are using this time of year to travel. Many travel to see their families, but then there are others who simply want to get away for a short break.

Above all, Hunter said, marketers should transform travel intent data "into smart, targeted campaigns where you're always talking to the right travellers, at the right time, with the right message".

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

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Western brands face CNY mockery

8 February 2016
SHANGHAI: Chinese social media users are levelling mockery at luxury brands as they release Chinese New Year products to capitalise on the biggest holiday of the year.

The Chinese New Year holiday traditionally sees a deluge of seasonal new releases from brands across the price spectrum targeted at the lucrative mainland China market.

2016's Year of The Monkey is no different with monkey-themed paraphernalia now available in luxury stores across Asia. But Western brands attempting to co-opt Chinese traditions have drawn some criticism.

Chinese social media users are mocking Western brands for reductive takes on Chinese symbolism and culture that many young people in the country see as passé – while charging a premium too.

Widely mocked new products include a monkey pendant necklace by Louis Vuitton, Estee Lauder's limited-edition Monkey Powder Compact and Piaget's aesthetically questionable watch featuring a monkey holding a peach, The Straits Times reported.

Nike, one of China's most popular brands, made perhaps the most high profile cultural faux pas when it released trainers for Year of The Monkey with a traditional Chinese character 發 ("Fa" meaning getting richer) on one shoe, and 福 ("Fu" meaning fortune arrives) on the other.

While both characters are widely used during Chinese New Year, combining them together to make "Fa Fu" means getting fat, an error sparking great entertainment on Chinese social media.

This may be regrettable as Chinese New Year, the peak shopping season of the year, offers an upshot in sales for luxury brands in particular, which are slowing as China's economy weakens.

The Year of The Dragon, the most auspicious animal in the Chinese zodiac, and The Year of The Horse are traditionally the most popular with Chinese shoppers.

Data sourced from Straits Times, Chinaskinny; additional content by Warc staff

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Warc launches 2016 Prize for Social Strategy

5 February 2016
LONDON: Warc is today launching the Warc Prize for Social Strategy 2016, a global competition with a $10,000 prize fund, to find the best examples of social ideas that drive business results.

The Prize, now in its third year, looks for examples of social media marketing that delivers a measurable business impact. It is free to enter, and open to clients and agencies in any discipline.

The competition asks entrants to show why their strategy is 'social by design'. "We've updated the Prize to reflect the fast-changing landscape of social media," said David Tiltman, Head of Content at Warc.

"We are still looking for the best ideas that drive 'earned media' – but at the same time we want to recognise other uses of social media: social-driven content programmes, for example, or social strategies that focus on key moments in a consumer's path to purchase."

Previous winners have come from all over the world, he continued, "underlining the global impact of social media on marketing communications".

The 2015 competition Grand Prix was won by a case study from Campbell Ewald on behalf of the US Navy. The Project Architeuthis initiative recruited cryptologists via an alternate-reality puzzle-solving game on social media, and saw the Navy beat its recruitment targets.

The $10,000 Prize fund will be divided between a $5,000 Grand Prix for the world's best social strategy case study, plus five $1,000 Special Awards to the best examples of a long-term idea, social content, customer journey, use of analytics and use of a low budget.

In addition there will also be Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for the highest-scoring cases.

The deadline for entries is 14 April 2016, and the winner will be announced in the summer. Further details on the Prize, including the entry kit and tips on writing a great strategy case study, can be found on the Prize website, www.warc.com/socialprize.

An analysis of entries to last year's Prize was authored by marketing consultant Peter Field. In Seriously Social 2015, he reported that creativity is strongly linked to social effects and that social strategies are most effective when they take a long-term view.

Data sourced from Warc

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Brands see 6 Nations opportunities

5 February 2016
LONDON: Rugby's 6 Nations tournament kicks off this weekend and, within the UK, advertisers are looking at a range of new opportunities made possible by the division of the broadcasting rights between the BBC and ITV.

Fresh from its coverage of last autumn's Rugby World Cup, commercial broadcaster ITV will show 6 Nations games for the first time, having partnered with the BBC to ensure the competition remains free to air.

The development opens the door for those brands not sponsoring either the tournament or individual teams to get a slice of the action in a sport whose popularity has surged following the Rugby World Cup.

"It is a really good opportunity to get to a premium audience and it is quite a hard audience to get to," according to Steve Martin, chief executive at M&S Saatchi Sport & Entertainment.

Data from RadiumOne confirm that rugby fans are overwhelming in the AB social grade (71%) and predominantly male (80%). But enthusiasm is not restricted to this group: its research shows that 57% of the UK is "interested in" the 6 Nations.

ITV has the rights to half the games and has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with automaker Peugeot, which will air sponsorship bumpers at the start and end of commercial breaks, while online ads and activation will also appear on the broadcaster's online and catch-up platform, The ITV Hub.

Martin cautioned that dividing games between broadcasters could lead to problems. "With split broadcast the audience sometimes find games hard to find and you have seen that with Sky and BT before where they have shared rights," he told Marketing.

"It will be interesting how they [BBC and ITV] dovetail each other. It is important both broadcasters help fuel the continuity and promote the whole thing rather than get into a massive competitive scenario."

England team sponsor O2 will not be advertising on TV, Marketing reported, as it thinks its branding on the team's shirts will give it the necessary TV exposure. Instead, it will focus on digital marketing activity, a media partnership and out-of-home marketing.

North of the border, meanwhile, soft drinks firm AG Barr has just signed up as an official sponsor of Scottish Rugby.

Data sourced from Marketing, RadiumOne, Campaign, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff

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Millennials: the same but different

5 February 2016
NEW YORK: Generations Y and Z display distinct shopping habits and preferences, according to a new survey, but both are often closer to each other than to older age groups.

GfK's FutureBuy 2015 report was based on interviews with 25,000 shoppers globally, including 1,000 in the US. This found that Baby Boomers (aged 51 to 68) in the US have been slow to adopt mobile shopping habits, with just 7% having made a purchase via a smartphone, and even among Generation X (35 to 50) the figure was only 15%.

But Generations Y (25 to 34) and Z (18 to 24) were much more likely to report having done so, with figures of 31% and 34% respectively.

When it came to making purchases with a desktop or laptop computer, however, Gen Y and the Boomers registered similar levels (40% and 43% respectively), while Gen Z came in at just 32%.

The study also showed that Gens Y and Z differ in their reasons for choosing to buy in store versus online.

So, for example, when Gen Z consumers choose to make online purchases, they are more likely to be motivated by saving money than Gen Y (60% vs 46%).

The differences are even more stark when it comes to recommendations by people they trust: 31% of Gen Z cite this as a reason for making an online purchase compared to only 16% of Gen Y.

Gen Y shoppers buying online were more likely to say they did so because they get better information online (35% vs 22% for Gen Z), have better delivery options (26% vs 19%) and can buy other things at the same time (23% vs 17%).

For in-store purchases, Gen Y was more likely to view this as the easy option (42% vs 29%). Gen Z buyers on the other hand were more likely to be motivated by getting better information there (25% vs 18%).

"We are used to seeing younger shoppers lumped together in contrast with their Baby Boomer parents," said Joe Beier, EVP/ Shopper and Retail Strategy at GfK.

"But there are some important differences between the two 'halves' of the Millennial cohort; in certain areas, we see Gen Y tending toward the 'old-school' ways of the Boomers – but in others, they seem equal to their younger brothers and sisters in Gen Z."

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff

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No more dunking in the dark

5 February 2016
NEW YORK: Brands are no longer so anxious to be seen to respond in real-time to unfolding events and most have moved on from having a war-room strategy for major occasions such as the Super Bowl.

It's only three years since Oreo sparked a rush to real-time marketing with its "you can still dunk in the dark" tweet during a power failure at Super Bowl 47, but the approach that produced that line is now seen as dated.

"The concept of the war room is 100% dead," according to Marc Gallucci, founder and CEO Relevant24, a Publicis Groupe-owned agency.

"The idea was, 'let's all pay attention to what people care about right now and then push something quick out' – but that's not a one-day-a-year thing; it's a business practice," he told Digiday.

As Digiday noted, "chasing real-time blips isn't a sound long-term strategy" and can actually distract from the serious business of structuring internal processes to keep up with an ever-changing digital culture.

Brands have also done their sums and concluded war-rooms aren't necessarily worth the money involved, with some of the most effective social media responses being composed by employees at home on their sofas.

"War rooms are really expensive investments and also taxing on employees," said Orli LeWinter, vice president/strategy and social marketing at 360i, a digital agency owned by Dentsu. "Brands need to be very strategic about them.

"If real-time readiness is crucial to the campaign it can be an asset, but it should be used judiciously," she added.

The nature of social media has also changed since 2013, with brands no longer able to rely on organic reach. "It's a paid-media game today and with that, comes a lot more preparation than real-time inspiration," noted Gareth Goodall, partner and chief strategy officer at Anomaly, a creative agency.

So an idea like "dunking in the dark" can still work but brands are now planning for such eventualities. Relevant24 last year created content in advance based around some possible on-field plays which could then be customised in real time on game night.

"I'd say the war room has given way to a campsite," suggested Kevin Del Rosario, associate director of social at Interpublic's Huge, a digital agency. "Real-time marketing needs to be a built-in strategy all year round," he said.

Data sourced from Digiday; additional content by Warc staff

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Smartphones a 'necessity' for Aussies

5 February 2016
SYDNEY: Smartphones are now regarded as a necessity by Australians, although many confess to being overwhelmed by the device's capabilities, something marketers need to bear in mind when considering mobile campaigns.

Digital Australia, a new report from professional services firm EY based on a survey of 1,500 consumers and 160 digital opinion leaders, highlighted the fact that 81% of Australians now use a smartphone, a figure that rises to 96% among 18-34 year olds.

"They are an absolute necessity rather than an indulgence for Australians," Jenny Young, customer leader for EY, told Smart Company.

But mobile devices also come with a down side: four in ten respondents using a smartphone or tablet said they struggled to keep up with the rapid increase in the capabilities of digital devices

Aside from such technical issues, a significant minority of users reported more physical and emotional experiences with their devices. Around one quarter (24%), for example, said their devices prevented them getting enough sleep.

And a similar proportion often felt overwhelmed by the volume of information they had at their fingertips. "Businesses need to be mindful of that in terms of making their experiences intuitive and easy so users don't have to put a lot of effort into interacting with their websites," Young said.

Personal relationships were another area where smartphones and tablets are having a mixed impact for some: 24% said that their social life would be non-existent without their mobile device, while 23% admitted they spent more time on their mobile device than talking to their partner or friends.

For the majority, however, smartphones and tablets engender a positive effect on users' sense of control and the former especially continues to make inroads into all areas of users' digital lives – across functional, communication and entertainment activities.

Thus, for example, gaming (48%) is the most common entertainment activity but the use of smartphones for playing music, podcasts, TV and film has risen sharply in the past year, from 36% of users to 44%.

In the business arena, some 41% of respondents used their smartphone for banking and finance during 2015, up from 37% a year earlier. And there has been a spurt in the proportion using the device for grocery shopping, up from 18% to 25% in the same period.

Young pointed out, however, that businesses still needed to address "quite fundamental things around privacy and security" as regards the digital experience.

Data sourced from EY, Smart Company; additional content by Warc staff

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CSL in 'brand positioning statement'

5 February 2016
BEIJING: The world of elite football is changing as teams in the Chinese Super League (CSL) have spent almost as much on players as the notoriously profligate English Premier League (EPL) during January.

"It's a brand positioning statement," explained Simon Chadwick, professor of sports enterprise at Salford University in the UK.

"It's telling the world 'We're here and this is what we're doing,'" he told CNN. "In terms of China's reputation to be an important nation globally, to be good at football is a large part of that."

It is not only the total spent that is raising eyebrows, but who it is being spent on. That was exemplified by the most recent high-value purchase, when champions Guangzhou Evergrande paid Atletico Madrid €42m to acquire the services of 29 year-old Colombian striker Jackson Martinez.

Many of the players now arriving at Chinese clubs from European leagues and beyond are not at the end of the careers and looking for a quick payday – a trend still common in Major League Soccer in the US – but are younger and can still expect to play at international level.

The spending spree is in part being driven by television money – in October last year, private equity business China Media Capital paid US$1.2bn for the TV rights to the CSL for the next five years, a fivefold increase on what the state broadcaster CCTV had previously paid.

But the traffic is not all one way as Chinese firms are also buying into overseas clubs – in December, for example, CMC took a 13% stake in the business that owns EPL club Manchester City.

And, more controversially, last week Ledman, a Shenzhen-based LED-lighting manufacturer, signed a sponsorship deal with a Portuguese football league which included a requirement, since dropped, that at least one Chinese player appear in each of the league's top ten teams.

The spur for all this activity comes from a Communist Party committee headed by President Xi Jinping, which approved a 50-point plan to build China as a footballing power, including establishing 50,000 soccer schools within ten years and making the game compulsory for some elementary and middle-school students.

But Rowan Simons, author of a book on Chinese football, told AFP the national team would not significantly improve before Xi finished his two terms in office.

"That's how little time this new politically-led football revolution has to run... unless his successor is also a football fan," he said.

Data sourced from CNN, Yibada, AFP; additional content by Warc staff

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Online content faces censor crackdowns

5 February 2016
BANGKOK: Thailand's military junta is allegedly pressing Google, Facebook and chat app LINE for the ability to "scrub" content delivered on its platforms, according to news reports.

Social media is the latest target in a series of content censorship debates raging in South East Asia, where several web-based content platforms are facing pressure from governments to take down or censor content for political reasons.

While Thailand's TV and print channels have been under tight control since a military coup took power in 2014, social media is less controlled. But this is changing. Local prosecutions for lèse majesté, alleged computer crimes and sedition have soared with many arrested for social media posts.

Web firms such as Google must comply with local laws, and routinely block content within a country if presented with a court order. According to leaked documents, reported by Asian Correspondent, the Thai government wants Google to put aside its usual censorship process and remove content flagged as illegal without going through the court order process.

The move marks a worrying escalation in censorship in the last few months across the region, as some governments tighten the screws on online content providers and social media platforms. But there are indications that some platforms are pushing back.

Malaysian authorities recently urged content platform Medium to take down a post alleging the country's scandal-plagued Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was attempting to exit the country as corruption investigations engulf his government. When Medium refused, authorities quickly banned the site in Malaysia, outraging local users.

A statement by Medium on the Malaysian ban read: "We stand by investigative journalists who publish on Medium. Until we receive an order from a court of competent jurisdiction, the post stays up."

Data sourced from Asian Correspondent, Reuters, Fortune; additional content by Warc staff

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Political TV ads make an impact

5 February 2016
NEW YORK: Television ads can move the needle for aspiring presidential candidates, but the impact is largely short term in nature, according to figures from The Economist.

"We found that paid TV airtime did matter, accounting for a modest 13% of the week-to-week changes in polling," the news title revealed in a new report.

To reach this total, the Republican field was split into pairs. Each day both candidates scored over 10% in the polls, The Economist counted how many TV spots – positive and negative – had been aired about the two candidates in the last week in Iowa and New Hampshire.

By measuring the ratio of favourable and unfavourable TV ads – a medium which remains a "the staple on campaign shopping lists" – against polling averages, the study could show if these messages had made a tangible impression.

"If there were any pay-off to media spending, then candidates who appeared in lots of positive ads and few negative ones should have gained ground when compared with their rivals," it argued.

Placing this idea into context, viewers in Iowa saw 866 more positive ads about Marco Rubio than Donald Trump from January 24th to January 30th. The business mogul was also the subject of 220 more negative spots than Rubio.

"After adjusting for their standing in national polls, the front-runner's advantage over the Florida senator duly shrank by 5.1 percentage points," reported The Economist.

"Overall, holding nationwide polls constant, we found that candidates could expect to gain a one-point edge over their rivals in the next week's early-state polling for roughly every 200 net positive ads about them, or every 500 net negative ones about their opponents."

Another key finding, however, was that TV commercials had a short-term effect: the impact of positive ads during the Republican race so far has been 4.4 times greater in the week they aired than over the next seven days.

Such conclusions came with methodological caveats, too. In the first instance, The Economist sought to control for the impact of news events relating to each presidential hopeful by comparing polls in Iowa and New Hampshire with national figures.

But it also warned that factors like rallies, local media coverage and natural "random variation" inevitably influence the scores registered in surveys – as well as remarking that polls themselves are often a "poor proxy" for actual outcomes.

Data sourced from The Economist; additional content by Warc staff​

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Retailers need to step up on mobile

4 February 2016
GLOBAL: Retailers are failing to meet consumer demand for increased convenience while shopping with mobile devices, according to new research from Accenture.

The consulting firm surveyed more than 10,000 consumers across 13 countries for its Adaptive Retail report, while also carrying out a separate benchmarking study that evaluated a global sample of 162 retailers in ten countries across multiple industries.

The consumer survey found that the proportion of consumers shopping "on the go" with mobile devices increased from 36% in 2014 to 40% in 2015.

And the percentage demanding more retail services via mobile, particularly real-time in-store promotions, rose from 40% to 47% in the same period. But only 7% of retailers said they currently have the ability to send real-time promotions.

Retailers appear to have been focused on the basics, with 93% now offering smartphone-optimised websites (89% tablet), and have been slow to respond with the increasingly sophisticated options that shoppers are coming to expect.

For example, 32% of shoppers wanted to be able to scan products in-store using their mobile devices – up from 27% in 2014 – but only 17% of retailers provided scanning capabilities.

At the same time, 42% of shoppers in the survey wanted to receive automatic credit for coupons and discounts via their mobile phones – up from 35% last year – yet only 16% of retailers had the capability to automatically credit coupons.

"Retailers need to understand … that they are actually involved in a race that will likely accelerate as consumers continually seek more value, greater convenience, and better customer experience across all channels," said Patricia Walker, senior managing director in Accenture's Products practice.

That means developing a seamless experience for consumers who expect mobile devices to ease the shopping experience, both online and in-store.

But they also have to chart a path through some contradictory consumer attitudes. The research found that three quarters of shoppers thought it "cool" that a retailer could automatically adjust the price of items for loyalty points and other discounts, while 6% considered it "creepy".

But 41% also said that having sales associates who know the items in their online wish list or shopping basket was "creepy", compared with 29% who viewed it as "cool".

"Despite the desire for the ultimate personalised experience, shoppers still have reservations about some retailer capabilities related to mobile use," Walker said.

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff

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European online ad viewability falls

4 February 2016
LONDON: Online ad viewability levels across many European countries dropped noticeably in the final quarter of 2015, according to a new report.

The Viewability Benchmarks figures from ad verification company Meetrics were based on the definitions produced by the Media Rating Council and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), namely that at least 50% of an online ad appears in the visible area of the browser for at least one second. Impressions triggered by fraudulent activities were excluded from the benchmark.

In the UK, viewability levels for display ads dropped from 52% in Q3 to 50% in Q4 2015. In Germany the decline was slightly larger, from 61% to 58%, while France saw a four percentage point fall, from 69% to 65%, and Austria a five point slide from 70% to 65%.

"After a bit of a rally, things seem to be getting worse again," noted Anant Joshi, Meetrics' Director of International Business.

"Although in the UK, for example, the drop isn't much, it's the direction that's more important," he said.

"Current efforts to address the issue don't seem to be working – either that or the efforts in one area are simply offsetting the inevitable falls generated by more automated buying."

Joshi added that in the final quarter of 2015, some £134m was wasted on unseen banner ads alone.

In terms of particular formats, half-page ads were the most viewable format in the UK (63%), followed by billboards (59%) and MPUs (47%); leaderboards were the least viewable format (43%). The average time viewable ads were in view was 31.4 seconds in the UK.

The report further revealed that, over the last couple of years, the average amount of a web page taken up by advertising was just 8%.

"The ratio between advertising and editorial is much lower than you'd think – particularly with all the talk about online ad clutter," Joshi said.

"On a web-wide level, it's simply a myth."

Data sourced from Meetrics; additional content by Warc staff

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Forbes taps influencers

4 February 2016
NEW YORK: With BrandVoice, Forbes was one of the first publishers to offer a sponsored content program to advertisers, but its thinking in this area has moved on to focus on the role of influencers, one of the company's leading executives has said.

Chief Revenue Officer Mark Howard told Ad Exchanger that BrandVoice had really taken off in 2012 but now, almost four years on, "every major publisher has some form of branded content solution, page views are becoming a commodity".

In a saturated market, he expected that some publishers would fail while others explored new business models, such as moving to a platform-only model – something Forbes itself has avoided – or developing "really robust, immersive [branded content] experiences".

While admiring of the technology and design going into the latter, he was sceptical of its practical application, suggesting such content was difficult to consume on a phone which is where an increasing proportion of media consumption is taking place.

"We are on the cusp of a content bubble," he said. "We can't support all those rich, immersive experiences over and over for every brand and every site on mobile."

He indicated that Forbes was taking a simpler approach that will see it focused on influencers.

"For us, the ability to identify influencers to consume content on behalf of brands and distribute content to those influencers is going to be a big part of how we push forward in 2016," he said.

BrandVoice, Howard added, has grown 70% two years in a row, and he expected "similar growth this year".

Research undertaken for Forbes in 2013 found a "statistically significant lift" when people were exposed to branded content: brand favourability, for example, stood at 37% with the consumer group exposed to branded content, compared to 29% for those who were exposed to control content.

Purchase intent and consideration also showed more pronounced levels, at 31% for the branded content group compared to 22% for the control group, while brand trust went up by 29% for the branded content group compared to 25% for the control group.

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger; additional content by Warc staff

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Marketers must 'make numbers valuable'

4 February 2016
NAPA, CA: Marketers must find ways to make numbers valuable to both enjoy the benefits promised by big data and stave off competition from digitally-empowered rivals, a leading executive from Constellation Research has argued.

R "Ray" Wang – the Principal Analyst, Founder & Chairman at Constellation Research, a Silicon Valley-based consultancy focused on "next-generation" customer service – discussed this subject at the CMO Summit.

More specifically, he suggested the huge range of customer data now available to brands – from their location to cross-channel engagement information – must be turned into tangible, usable insights.

"The thing that's important here is: we have to make all these numbers valuable," he said. (For more, including how Disney has achieved that aim, read Warc's exclusive report: Transformational innovation: the secret to success in 2016.)

"I don't need more data … I need more insights. I need more relevancy," continued Wang. "If 20% of your business isn't coming from these types of insights, you really don't have a digital business."

And the importance of building new operating models, he added, cannot be underestimated as connectivity redefines almost every aspect of daily life.

"Digital starts with a business model shift. We're changing the way we engage. We're changing the way we connect. We're changing the way we bring these new business models to life."

Constellation Research has a client roster including firms like 3M, Citigroup, General Electric, Red Bull, Taco Bell and United Airlines.

And Wang asserted that Amazon – which has moved from simply selling books into fields as diverse as delivering groceries and creating content – is the gold standard when it comes to making data the bedrock of digital business.

"You're witnessing content and networking all converging into the new monopoly. Apple is the same. Microsoft is the same. And so is Google," he continued.

"If you don't realise that you're competing with those four entities in the consumer world, you're dead. Because ultimately, they want all of your revenue."

Data sourced from Warc

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Texting vital for smartphone users

4 February 2016
NEW YORK: US smartphones users are just as likely to be texting friends and family as playing a game or streaming a video, new research has shown.

Research company GfK MRI surveyed more than 5,900 US smartphone owners between September and November 2015 for its Mobile Now report and found that they divided their time equally between entertainment – including games, music, web surfing, and watching streamed content – texting and phone calls.

These activities each took up 22% of users' smartphone time. Social media and email accounted for a further 10% each.

Over two-thirds (68%) of consumers – and more than four-fifths (83%) of Millennials – reported that they text more than they talk on their smartphones. And texting is the phone feature that respondents said they would miss most if it was not available.

When GfK MRI asked consumers which smartphone apps or functions they turn to first thing in the morning, texting was cited most often, by 67% of respondents. Email came in second, mentioned by 63%, followed by Facebook (48%) and the weather (44%).

Hispanics were even more likely to have mentioned texting (73%), with email a relatively distant also-ran (at 64%).

Games came in 7th first thing in the morning, mentioned by 19% of respondents. And streaming music service Pandora (12%) placed above Pinterest, Twitter, and other well-known social media apps.

The study also identified five different types of smartphone user. Mobile Embracers made up around one quarter (24%), integrating their smartphones into every aspect of their lives.

Entertainment Seekers (15%) were defined as young singles drawn to mobile gaming and watching streaming video.

Casual Gamers (18%) are likely to be white women with children, while Info Seekers (18%) are frequently white, educated, married men interested in news and/or sports.

There also exists a large group of users – Mobile Fundamentals (25%) – who need help just downloading a new app.

Data sourced from GfK MRI; additional content by Warc staff

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Aussies open to ads-for-data swap

4 February 2016
SYDNEY: More than one third of Australian smartphone users are open to the idea of receiving ads when they unlock their devices in return for some sort of gain.

According to research company Roy Morgan, 37% of smartphone users over the age of 14 – that's around 5.5m people – would be prepared to trade their attention for cheaper bills or extra data usage.

Lebara Mobile, a Vodafone 3G network reseller, already offers such a deal, having teamed up last October with Unlockd, an app developed by a Melbourne start-up.

Unlockd collects data from a user's device, including device ID, location, time and other contextual factors, in order to personalise the type of ads it shows and when.

Users downloading the app are shown a targeted ad or special offer roughly every third time they unlock their phone. In exchange they can get 2GB of free data or a discount on their phone bill.

Roy Morgan's research, reported by B&T, found that interest was greatest among Dodo smartphone customers, almost half (47%) of whom would like to explore this idea.

But Michele Levine, Roy Morgan CEO, observed that advertisers were unlikely to be attracted by the small reach this offered. She suggested the opportunities were rather greater at some of the larger networks, where interest was also high – at 44% of Vodafone customers, for example, and 40% of those at Optus.

"There are around 1.1m smartphone customers at Vodafone and 1.3m at Optus who could be interested in an ad-supported plan—that's the sort of reach attained by the weeknight news on commercial television networks," she pointed out.

"The future challenge for advertisers and their media agencies using this new, broad-reaching channel will be to achieve accurate and cost-effective targeting—and the only way to do that is to understand the people holding each device," Levine added.

Data sourced from B&T, Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by Warc staff

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Asian chat apps generate most revenue

4 February 2016
TOKYO: Facebook-owned chat app Whatsapp broke the one billion user threshold this week, making it the most-used chat app in the world, but in the revenue stakes Asian chat apps remain on top.

They also provide clues as to how Whatsapp may monetise its service in coming years, as the region's major chat apps forge ahead with e-commerce functionality.

Recent revenue data reported by Tech in Asia shows that chat app LINE – which has just 212m users, mostly in Japan and Thailand – reported more than US$1bn in revenue last year, compared to just US$10m for Whatsapp.

Whatsapp holds an enormous market-share in Asia's crowded chat landscape – an estimated 35% of all internet users in the region, and growing. It is the most downloaded app in India and hugely popular in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

But the platform has yet to capitalise on this popularity to create revenue, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may look towards Chinese chat app WeChat for inspiration.

WeChat has built functionality that weaves it into almost every part of daily life, including bookings, payments, e-commerce and more. It now boasts more than 600m users in China alone.

There is no reported data for how much WeChat is earning from brand accounts or ads, but WeChat-linked mobile gaming alone generated RMB 4.5bn (US$701.4m) in revenue in the second quarter of 2015, up 11% on the previous year.

LINE's revenue is drawn from selling popular digital stickers, merchandise, virtual goods and services, and advertising to brands. Users can also shop online through the app, thanks to partnerships with Japanese e-commerce outlet Rakuten.

Recent comments by Zuckerberg indicate that Whatsapp is set to launch a B2C product, which will allow businesses and service providers such as banks to connect with users directly.

However, across much of South East Asia, many small businesses already allow customers to communicate with them via Whatsapp's existing free platform.

Data sourced from Tech in Asia; additional content by Warc staff

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India's phone market 'in transition'

4 February 2016
NEW DELHI: India is now the second largest smartphone market in the world and going through a period of transition for both consumers and industry, according to new reports.

A study from Counterpoint Research said the number of active smartphone users in India has now passed that in the US and stands at 220m; only China has more.

During 2015, Indian smartphone shipments grew 23% year-on-year to cross the 100m mark, although the total phone market declined 3% to 243m as fewer people bought feature phones, the Economic Times reported.

A separate study from CMR made a similar point as it reported annual smartphone shipments up 18% while feature phones were down 27.1%.

Counterpoint's research also revealed a rapid shift to 4G, with more than half of smartphones shipped during the fourth quarter being LTE devices.

And many phones are now being produced in India rather than imported: more than 20 mobile phone brands are assembling their phones locally while almost half of phones sold in the fourth quarter merited the "Made in India" tag.

"We are witnessing a transition period for the industry," declared Faisal Kawoosa, lead telecoms analyst at CMR. "Transition from mass to niche, feature phones to smartphones, 2G and 3G to 4G, 'offline only' to hybrid, and 'imports only' to domestic manufacturing with imports."

That, he suggested, inevitably meant a decline in overall volumes, but "once this transition is over and vendors adopt the right mix of sourcing and marketing, and develop competencies to address the emerging/niche segments rather than the mass market, we should see the market rebound".

The top end of the market may be hampered by the falling value of the rupee, however, which is expected to push up the price of imported consumer electronics such as the premium smartphones supplied by brands like Apple and Samsung.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Young flock to online video

3 February 2016
LONDON: Around three quarters of UK adults have viewed an on-demand or online (ODO) service in the past 12 months, but use is "almost universal" among the youngest age group according to a new study.

For its On-demand and online research: consumption and demand report, Ofcom, the UK regulator, conducted a face-to-face survey among 2,121 adults aged 16+, including 1,453 on-demand and online users.

The study found a strong correlation between usage levels and age. Use was almost universal among 16-24 year olds (96%), whereas only one in three adults aged 65+ (35%) used these services.

Overall, adult use has increased from 71% to 74% over the past year with males, ABC1 socio-economic groups and parents all significantly more likely than other sub-groups to have viewed on-demand and online content.

Ofcom split ODO services into long-form and short-form, with TV catch-up services dominating the former, being viewed by 57% of respondents. Free VOD content from a TV subscription service – such as Virgin Media or Sky Go – was in second place (31%), just ahead of online rentals from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime (28%).

More than one quarter (27%) had viewed paid content from online stores (eg Google Play, iTunes) while one in five (21%) had seen paid content format from a TV subscription service.

For short-form content, around half watched material posted on social networking sites other than YouTube (51%) while YouTube itself garnered 45% of respondents viewing content from friends, family and other users.

Around one in three had watched video content on the official YouTube channel of a brand or organisation (32%) and a similar proportion had viewed a video on a news website (34%).

TV catch-up services attracted greater numbers of people, but content posted on social networking sites and YouTube were viewed with greater levels of frequency, Ofcom reported.

One in three (30%) ODO users said they watched content posted on social networking sites every day, with six in ten (57%) reporting they did so at least once a week. In comparison, just 10% used a TV catch-up service daily, but 52% did at least once a week.

Data sourced from Ofcom; additional content by Warc staff

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Attribution a work in progress

3 February 2016
LONDON: Digital and data ought to make more accurate attribution possible across the entire marketing mix, but many marketers struggle to cope with a complex environment and revert to measuring the ROI of individual channels.

Warc's Toolkit 2016 suggests that "connections planning" – where analytics, insights, marketing, media and creative teams work together from the outset – may be a way forward. (Non-subscribers can download a sample of this Toolkit chapter here.)

Major advertisers, such as Mondelez International, are moving toward this approach. As one executive pointed out, a market researcher tasked with delivering ROI needs to understand the reasons a particular media plan is put together.

That also means that researchers need to schedule their marketing-mix analysis so the results arrive at the most impactful moment – just before media-buying choices for the next year are made.

Another option involves a two-tier approach to modelling, with high-level "upstream" marketing mix modelling complemented with individual-level attribution that can help marketers adapt work once it's launched.

In the UK, Vodafone uses econometrics-based high-level modelling, while experimenting with different combinations of media for discrete groups of consumers.

By testing the different media weightings while the campaign is in-market, the mobile operator can get rapid feedback that helps its marketers optimise its campaigns.

Whatever approach one takes, marketers need to understand that "attribution is about more than measuring channel effectiveness", according to Lucy Campion, manager at Deloitte Digital.

"The real value is in its ability to drive a unified customer experience by providing a more transparent view of how customers engage with the brand," she said.

And that requires investment – Campion suggested that between 3% and 5% of marketing spend ought to go on attribution and understanding the drivers of customer behavioural change.

Data sourced from Warc

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comScore chief challenges clickthroughs

3 February 2016
NEW YORK: An over-reliance on clickthrough rates and cookies are among the issues which marketers must address to maximise their returns from digital marketing, according to a leading executive from comScore.

Gian Fulgoni – Chairman/Co-founder of the analytics company – discussed these topics during a recent Warc Webinar entitled Lessons learned in maximising the impact of digital advertising.

And he cited results from a comScore survey which asked ad networks, agencies, brands and publishers whether they used clicks to gauge the success of digital display ads.

"To my utter astonishment," Fulgoni said, "approximately – on average – 40% of each sector said 'almost always'." (For more, including further tips for brands, read Warc's exclusive report: Five digital marketing lessons from comScore.)

Such "astonishment" was partly based on the fact clickthrough rates in the US – expressed per thousand impressions – stand at 0.10%. But this metric also neglects the wider impact of digital display that has been shown by research.

"What's amiss is that these click rates aren't reflecting the effectiveness of the ads," said Fulgoni. "What we found is that there's no relationship between the click rates and the impact of the campaign."

A similar disjunction is often found between the promise of digital targeting and actual outcomes, with comScore data showing that – on average across categories – only 44% of ads reach members of the intended demographic.

"The reality is that it's not 100% accurate," Fulgoni stated. And cookies – the tracking tools placed on desktop devices – are a particular source of difficulty in this area.

Around 30% of consumers regularly delete cookies, with attendant problems including inaccurate estimates for unique visitors, reach and frequency – as well as an inability to distinguish between multiple users of a given device.

"Don't take the cookie-based number as truth," Fulgoni advised. "It's very important to know your agencies are aware of that and incorporating that reality into their media planning."

The other opportunities for progress discussed by Fulgoni spanned balancing search and display ads, issues relating to viewability and ad fraud, the challenge of understanding mobile and how to improve cross-platform measurement.

"Like anything in life, I think new technologies come with positives and negatives. And, as we've found in digital marketing, not everything that is claimed turns out to be 'as sold', if you will," he said.

Data sourced from Warc

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Digital media use doubles in a decade

3 February 2016
STAMFORD, CT: US digital media usage continues to grow steadily and the average weekly time spent will soon amount to the equivalent of a whole day, according to a new report.

Figures taken from the Global Consumer Media Usage & Exposure Forecast 2015-19 report, produced by researcher PQ Media, show that digital media use in the US increased by 7.1% in 2015 to 18.0 hours weekly, accounting for 27.7% of overall US media consumption.

It projected a 7.3% CAGR over the 2014-19 period, at the end of which it expected that digital media use would stand at an average of 23.9 hours, more than double the average time spent with digital media in 2009.

Within this, the fastest-growing digital media channel was mobile audio, with consumer usage surging 33.5% in 2015, fuelled by the growing use of music subscription services such as Spotify.

Mobile video usage jumped 26.9%, as telecommunications providers like Verizon began offering promotional plans on tablets and smartphones to offset declining data plan prices among its competitors.

"Increasingly, online and mobile media usage is being driven by the digital brand extensions of traditional media, driving up overall media usage as more content is repurposed for digital devices, such as internet and mobile video streaming of TV programs and movies; online radio stations; web-based multiplayer editions of console videogames; and mobile newspaper and magazine apps," said Patrick Quinn, President & COO at PQ Media.

Traditional media usage, meanwhile, was down 2.4% in 2015 to 46.8 hours weekly. And between 2014 and 2019, PQ Media expects a CAGR of -2.1%, equivalent to a drop of more than ten hours a week since 2009.

Television currently remains the leading combined traditional and digital media silo of choice in the US, the report said, with the average consumer viewing 32.4 hours per week, or 50.2%, of all media consumption.

But by 2017, total TV usage will fall below 50%, as younger demographics watch less television and the increased availability of other media content, such as user-generated content, eats into the medium's share of time.

Data sourced from PQ Media; additional content by Warc staff

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Cruz uses data to good effect

3 February 2016
DES MOINES: The phoney war is over, and the results of the first Republican caucus, won by Ted Cruz, suggest that data and analytics could be a key source of advantage in the 2016 US presidential election.

Fast Company reported that the Cruz campaign spent $7.2m in fees for data and analytics in the fourth quarter, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, while the Trump campaign paid out $738,517 over the same period. Trump spent more on hats than data, the report stated.

At least two other candidates were similarly underpowered in digital, with Jeb Bush spending $800,000 and Marco Rubio $450,000.

Last week the Wall Street Journal noted that one fifth of the Cruz campaign's media spending has gone on digital ads, with half of that devoted to video.

Chris Wilson, director of research and analytics for the Cruz campaign, explained that video ads were focused on TrueView ads on YouTube as these were the nearest thing to TV ads available but with much better targeting.

He added that he preferred these to autoplay Facebook ads since, while they can be skipped after five seconds, they are usually watched with the sound on.

Further, the campaign is using custom messages to target key constituencies: he revealed that the Cruz team has developed no fewer than 178 different consumer data segments to use when determining which ads to show to specific web users.

While targeted digital may be attracting a growing share of political ad dollars, the power of television is not being ignored.

Advertising Age reported that four political advertisers, including the Marcio Rubio campaign and three super PACs linked to Rubio, Bush and Cruz, have bought Super Bowl spots in the New Hampshire and South Carolina markets – the locations of the next two primaries.

Brent McGoldrick, CEO of data and analytics firm Deep Root Analytics, pointed out that spending on these spots could prove as effective as buying multiple spots on local TV over the course of a week. In any case, there was no guarantee that local inventory would be available.

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

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Ad fraud climbs agenda in Asia

3 February 2016
SINGAPORE: As digital advertising expenditure grows across Asia, marketers ought to be concerned about ad fraud and the waste that entails, but too many are looking at the wrong metrics, industry figures have said.

"In this region, brands still focus predominantly on clicks as metrics, which greatly contributes to fraud," according to Grace Liau, general manager/Asia-Pacific at Vivaki, the ad tech business.

And until clients start to understand this, she told Campaign Asia-Pacific, "combating the problem will be a downhill [sic] battle because the desire and demand for clicks over conversion or other success factors is creating an environment in which this sort of fraud can thrive".

She claimed that in some markets, like Thailand and India, actual click-through rates were only one tenth of those reported.

Henry Stokes, Asia-Pacific vice president of client development at Xaxis, concurred that clients were at fault but added that media vendors also had a role to play, as many were quite aware of what was happening but choosing to turn a blind eye to meet client wishes.

"Even when clients are advised otherwise, they still stick to pricing, buying metrics and KPIs that actively encourage media vendors towards fraudulent activity," he explained.

"Until clients start demanding for third-party ad serving and heeding the advice to set KPIs beyond click metrics or response campaigns … fraud is just too easy and advertisers will continue to pay for it," he stated.

The problem is compounded by up to half of media budgets being placed incorrectly, according to George Patten, managing director and global lead for media management at consulting firm Accenture.

"Unless this is reported – and it often is not – then all pricing related to digital, such as CPC and CPT, could be … 50% more expensive than the client believes it to be," he said.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff

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Aussie radio audience at record high

3 February 2016
SYDNEY: Radio is continuing to strengthen in Australia, as increased breakfast and drive-time ratings provide a great value proposition for advertisers.

Findings from Australia's recently released annual radio survey, run by GfK, show that the cumulative number of commercial radio listeners in Australia's five metro markets has increased steadily in the past five years, as stations invest in high profile talent to lead their offerings.

Data from the survey, reported in B&T, shows that commercial radio now reaches 79% of all Australians aged 10+ each week, 87% of those aged 10-17 and 78% of those aged 18-24.

Audiences across both radio and digital radio channels increased 1.8% from 2014, and 6.2% over two years. Over the past five years, an estimated 900,000 new listeners have tuned in to commercial radio, which now has more than 10.3m listeners.

Breakfast shows lead with an average of 7.9m listeners, up from 7.8m in the 2014/2015 survey period. Later in the day, drive-time listenership has shown a similar increase, rising from 6.8m to 6.9m.

More than 3m Australians also listen to the radio online and digitisation of radio has been critical to engaging younger audiences, with live streaming, podcasts, mobile apps and smart use of social media drawing in a new generation of listeners.

Listeners between 18-24 years old are actually one of radio's fastest growing demographics in Australia, with an estimated 30,000 new fans tuning in last year.

Media companies are also integrating their radio and TV offerings, cross-promoting top level talent across platforms. Hamish and Andy – one of Australia's top media brands – now host Melbourne's most popular drive-time radio show, are bona fide TV stars and have an extensive library of on-demand podcast material.

Data sourced from B&T, Sydney Morning Herald, Commercial Radio Australia; additional content by Warc staff

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IPL 9 set to be biggest yet

3 February 2016
NEW DELHI: IPL 9 is still two months away but 70% of the official broadcaster's advertising inventory has already been sold as it aims to pull in a record Rs 1,200 crore in ad revenue.

Despite the controversies that have dogged the cricket tournament – two teams have been suspended and officials banned for life for their involvement in a betting scam – Sony Pictures Network is expecting this year's India Premier League to be the biggest yet, generating a 20% increase in adspend compared to last year.

"Despite the Twenty20 World Cup preceding it and a host of other cricketing events, there has been a huge interest around this year's edition," said Rohit Gupta, president, Sony Pictures Network.

That much is clear when one considers that at this stage last year the broadcaster had sold only around 40% of its inventory.

"IPL is now seen as a risk-free investment for advertisers as both ratings and reach have been growing consistently year-on-year," Gupta told the Economic Times.

Media agencies agreed with that assessment. "Advertisers like the IPL because it offers a high return-on-investment," said Anand Chakravarthy, managing partner, West head, Maxus India.

"In April and May, schools will remain shut and a lot of summer brands will get active," he noted, while "new mobile phone brands looking to make a mark find the IPL incredibly attractive".

Indeed, one Chinese phone brand, Vivo, has replaced Pepsi as the tournament sponsor while another, OPPO, has joined mobile telecoms provider Vodafone and e-commerce platform Amazon as a presenting sponsor.

Along with increased ratings and reach come increased advertising rates – around 10-15% higher than in 2015, according to an executive at Coca-Cola.

Now that Pepsi is out of the picture, the soft drinks giant is also on board as a sponsor this year and the executive observed that with the brand's new global campaign being rolled out, "the IPL will provide the perfect vehicle".

Data sourced from Economic Times;p additional content by Warc staff

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Why brands work with startups

3 February 2016
NEW YORK: Brands most frequently turn to startups for help in areas such as social media, content marketing, analytics and mobile advertising, a study from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has shown.

The ANA and the Consumer Technology Association polled 171 client-side marketers, as well as conducting in-depth interviews with 12 senior executives.

Among the approximately one-third of brand owners which had previously allied with startups, a 53% majority did so in the social media space. Content management and development came next on 49%.

Research and analytics scored 45% here, ahead of the 43% registered by mobile advertising, and marketing automation on 39%.

The main objectives behind these programs, the analysis revealed, typically involved buying solutions to solve clearly-defined business problems, rather than acquiring technologies outright.

And the primary benefits of partnering for brands included the ability to leverage up-and-coming tools, stay ahead of emerging trends, drive innovation and secure competitive advantages at a "reasonable cost".

The fact that startups are passionate, nimble and client-centric were among the broader characteristics that proved particularly attractive for marketers.

Fully 88% of brands funded these endeavours through existing marketing budgets, the research added. Another 53% called on agencies to help foster such tie-ups.

A major obstacle to working with startups, the study continued, was a failure to articulate their product offering in a "meaningful and relevant" way.

Further hurdles incorporated security risks, especially if sensitive data is involved, plus potential legal and compliance issues.

Some marketers also expressed a concern that their fledgling partners may not be able to deliver on their promises – or might even go out of business before projects are completed.

Data sourced from ANA; additional content by Warc staff

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RWC delivers record UK Q3 adspend

2 February 2016
LONDON: The Rugby World Cup was a major factor in the UK reporting record third-quarter advertising expenditure last year according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report.

The July to September quarter outperformed expectations by 0.6 percentage points, growing 6.8% year-on-year to reach a total of £4,646m.

Allied with positive trends in consumer expenditure, the full year 2015 adspend estimate has been revised upwards by 0.3pp to 6.1% growth, while the 2016 forecast has been revised upwards 0.2pp.

"This is the 9th successive quarter in which advertising growth ahead of GDP has helped to fuel the wider economy," noted Tim Lefroy, chief executive at the Advertising Association. "With growth of 5.6% expected this year [2016] our adspend forecasts remain strong," he added.

In fact, adspend is set to break the £20bn annual spend mark for the first time in 2016.

The Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report is the definitive measure of advertising activity in the UK, being the only source that uses advertising expenditure gathered from across the entire media landscape, rather than relying solely on estimated or modelled data. It is widely used by advertisers, agencies, media owners and analysts.

The latest figures show that television spot advertising rose 10.8% to exceed £1bn for the first time in a third quarter, in part driven by the Rugby World Cup. Internet spend was up 13.2% and mobile's rapid rise continued, increasing 40.2% for the quarter; mobile spend accounted for 29% of the internet total, up from 23.5% in Q3 2014.

Cinema spend leapt ahead by 21.7% in the third quarter, and with the release of new James Bond and Star Wars films in Q4, estimates for 2015 adspend growth have been revised up to 9.4%.

Radio and out-of-home advanced steadily, the former up more than twice the rate forecast at 3.6% in the quarter, with OOH increasing 5.1% in the same period.

For national newsbrands, print advertising was down 11.3%, with digital spending up 3.6%; at regional newsbrands, print adspend had fallen 10.6% but digital spending was more robust, climbing 17.9%. The rate of overall decline among newsbrands is expected to slow during 2016.

For magazine brands both print and digital spending fell in the third quarter, by 9.4% and 0.7% respectively.

Direct mail, the third-largest ad medium in the UK, saw spend dip 0.8%, however its 2015 growth estimate stood at 2.1%.


Data sourced from AA, Warc

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Click and collect is top tech

2 February 2016
LONDON: Click and collect is changing the way people shop, more so than even mobile, according to a new study.

The State of Retail 2016 report from retail marketing agency Live & Breathe, based on a survey of 1,009 UK consumers, found that almost one in five respondents (18.9%) believed that they had altered their usual supermarket shopping patterns over the past year because of click-and-collect options.

That was more than the proportion who felt that mobile devices were having the greatest impact – just 11.8% cited smartphones and tablets.

"Click and collect appears to be a key factor in the future of retailing, both in and out of the grocery sector," said Viv Craske, head of innovation at Live & Breathe.

"It's something that has taken some retailers a while to get right and hasn't always run smoothly, but is fast becoming an integral element of the supply chain and offering to shoppers," he added.

Around one in three (28%) said that click and collect made online retailing a better choice for them, although Marketing noted that could change as retailers start to charge for low-value click-and-collect orders.

Craske observed that consumer expectations of retailers were higher than ever and that people were becoming "quite black and white" about what they wanted.

"Retailers have tried to address the in-store experience by bringing technology on to the shop floor to try and marry the digital and offline experience, but it feels like this still isn't enough for shoppers," he said.

In reality, most shoppers want what they've always wanted – better quality products at cheaper prices were the top two areas they felt retailers should be focusing on in 2016.

And if they can get them online and delivered quickly, so much the better. Some 43% of respondents said they would shop more online if delivery within one hour was available, while 13% expressed interest in delivery by drone.

That way they could avoid some of the things they most disliked about shopping on the high street, including parking (45%), it being too busy (30%) and too expensive (29%).

Data sourced from Marketing, Retail Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Nike activates 'Just Do It'

2 February 2016
NAPA, CA: Nike, the sporting goods group, is using digital innovation to continue transforming its iconic "Just Do It" tagline into a slate of tools and services that can help consumers achieve this goal in practice.

Stefan Olander, president/GM of Nike+, discussed this subject at the CMO Summit – an event held by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council – in Napa, California.

"It used to be a formula that built the brand: have an amazing athlete, design an amazing piece of footwear for them and then just do a kickass ad," he said in describing the brand's prior strategy. (For more, including insights into the brand's changing model, read Warc's exclusive report: How Nike leverages connectivity to build relationships beyond shoes.)

"It became an incredibly inspiring rallying cry for people to just do it. People felt it."

But as consumers increasingly embrace a diverse range of digital offerings – and related data streams – Nike is seeking to provide them with an appropriate suite of new-media solutions.

"Now people say, 'I'm going to do it, but your job, Nike, is not to just say "Just Do It", but enable me to do just do it,'" Olander said.

And with the advent of businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, consumers also expect to receive tailored, top-tier service from the tools developed by brands.

"Our expectations everyday are elevated," said Olander. "If I open up my Nike app it better learn that I like to run fast on Saturdays and slow on Mondays.

"At the end of the day, that connection – the ability to be in the palm of someone's hand and leveraging the power of that connectivity to establish a direct connection to every athlete in the world – is the single most powerful marketing tool and brand tool that's out there."

By adopting the mentality of a service provider, the shoe manufacturer can positively activate its mission to "bring innovation and inspiration to every athlete in the world," Olander reported.

"Throughout our existence, we have been focused and maniacal about being the best product company we can be and we are going to continue being that," he added.

"But it gets really interesting when we think of ourselves as a service company that just happens to make these amazing products to help people get better at what they do."

Data sourced from Warc

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Super Bowl adspend hits $377m

2 February 2016
NEW YORK: At around $160,000 per second, the cost of an advertising spot in next Sunday's Super Bowl 50 is 120 times higher than the first and total spending is set to hit a record $377m.

The average price for a 30-second commercial this year is $4.8m, some 7% more than last year; total spending in 2016 will be more than the combined spending on all Super Bowl ads in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, according to the Advertising Age Datacenter.

As to what viewers can expect, Ken Wheaton, editor of Advertising Age, highlighted humour and star power.

"The last couple of years, it felt that marketers were getting a little heavy – whether they were being sentimental or preachy," he said. "We expect things will swing back to the lighter side this year with more comedy and celebrities."

One thing that won't change will be the appearance of several brands in Super Bowl for the first time. And while smaller brands have often sought to use the game's huge audience as a means of achieving reach, this year will also see a number of larger, well-known – and well-funded – names making their debut.

These include Amazon, the online retailing giant, which is serving up a celebrity double in an ad featuring actor Alex Baldwin and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, while Colgate toothpaste is promoting an ongoing campaign to conserve water by not leaving the tap running when brushing one's teeth.

Wheaton thought that "sadly … we might not get as many puppies or horses as in years past", although he will no doubt be pleased that Honda's newly unveiled offering has sheep lip-syncing to a Queen song.

"We also just might see more marketers keep their ads under wraps until the game," Wheaton added, as many people tune in to the game for the ads rather than the sporting action.

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

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Beer ads respond to millennials

2 February 2016
NEW YORK: Millennials are the reason that beer advertising is moving away from low-brow imagery and the objectification of women to a more sophisticated approach that can appeal to the demographic that accounts for a quarter of the volume of the market.

"The thought of being fully inclusive to women, when you speak to millennials, they're like, 'Yeah, duh'," said David Kroll, chief marketing officer at MillerCoors, the brewer.

"In some respects, beer is just catching up to the millennial mind-set," he told the New York Times.

His remarks came after the launch of a new campaign for Coors Light that focuses on empowerment rather than frat-boy humour. Climb On features images of people atop mountains and women climbing and white-water rafting and is intended to tap into the thinking of a generation more sensitive than its predecessors to chauvinistic marketing.

"It was fine to show a frat party making fun of girls five or eight years ago," according to Allen Adamson, former chairman of brand consulting firm Landor Associates. "But it's ineffective and potentially damaging to do today."

In fact, a more women-friendly approach to advertising could increase US beer sales over the next few years by between 5m and 9m barrels, suggested Britt Dougherty, senior director of marketing insights at MillerCoors.

"It takes time to undo that baggage," she said of past advertising. "We've represented a version of masculinity that wasn't appealing to women."

Heineken has also picked up on that idea with its "moderate drinkers wanted" campaign, which suggests that women are looking for men who drink less. The idea came out of research among 5,000 people across five countries that found millennials were focused on responsible drinking.

"Responsibility is becoming an active – and attractive – choice for a motivated generation who want to stay in control," said Nuno Teles, Heineken's chief marketing officer, when that campaign launched.

Not everyone is convinced by this shift away from what has always been regarded at the target market of young males.

"If you alienate your core, your credibility and relevance tumbles," pointed out brand consultant Dean Crutchfield.

"It's about your brand, your heritage, your past and your future," he said. "It's been all wrapped around the males – to suddenly unwrap that, it does carry risk."

Data sourced from New York Times, Fortune; additional content by Warc staff

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Blog: Should advertisers invest in 'moment marketing'?

2 February 2016
Contextual factors are often more important than personality in determining behaviour, notes Richard Shotton. But, for marketers, finding the right context is far from simple.

warc

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Aussies turn off commercial TV

2 February 2016
SYDNEY: The proportion of Australians who say they do not watch commercial television on a normal weekday has more than doubled over the past seven years, according to new data.

Research company Roy Morgan said that in 2008 just 6.9% of Australians over the age of 14 made such a claim, but by 2015 that figure had risen to 14.9%.

The trend is visible across all age groups, but the gap is most obviously widening among younger viewers between the ages of 14 and 34.

And within this group, it is the 25-34 year olds who are most likely to be turning away from commercial TV: one in five (20.7%) don't watch it on a weekday (up from 7.6% in 2008) , while the figure for 14-24 year olds is only slightly lower (18.8%, up from 7.0% in 2008).

Older ages groups are also shifting away from commercial TV, but at a slower rate. Some 14.1% of 35-49 year-olds and 11.0% of the over-50s reported watching no commercial TV on a normal weekday in 2015 (up from 6.5% and 6.9% respectively in 2008).

The trend is set to continue, according to Tim Martin, general manager of media at Roy Morgan. He suggested that in another seven years as many as one third of 14-34 year olds would not be reached by commercial TV.

"Already the very idea of 'seeing what's on TV' at a particular time is beginning to seem a little archaic next to the massive libraries of niche, personally appealing content ready – by definition – on demand," he said.

"Most viewers aren't desperate to avoid any advertising whatsoever," he added. "It's just that there are more easy ways to circumvent it, so why not record a show and skip through ads, download it, legally or illegally, subscribe to SVOD, or simply switch attention to the tablet or phone the second an ad break arrives."

The rise of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix, which only launched in Australia last year, is a major factor, as people taking these watched an average of 30 minutes less commercial TV on a weekday during 2015.

That said, commercial TV continues to have the biggest reach of any medium, but it cannot assume that will always be the case.

"Without some self-reflection and innovation, commercial TV could perhaps find itself as a medium only for people taking a quick channel-surfing break from the burden of choosing between all the range and quality available elsewhere," Martin said.

Data sourced from Roy Morgan; additional content by Warc staff

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Indonesia, India lead Asia in mobile web

2 February 2016
SINGAPORE: Asia's emerging economies are embracing the mobile web revolution, according to new data.

We Are Social's last Digital Trends Report, released mid-January, reveals Indonesia and India – two of the region's most populous markets – are ranked among the top five countries globally for mobile web penetration.

The data is generated by measuring the percentage of all web traffic served to mobile devices.

Indonesia comes in at number 3 with 75% of all webpages served to mobile phones, while India is at number 4, with two thirds of all internet traffic going to mobile. As internet penetration soars in the two countries, new users are skipping computers entirely and connecting for the first time on their phone. For brands, a mobile-friendly online experience is now imperative to market growth in these two markets.

Wifi hotspots are driving growth with free connectivity options in many cafes, stores and train stations encouraging users to connect while on the move. Users in many developing Asian countries struggle with unreliable telecom infrastructure, and so are reliant on free wifi services to stay connected. Social media is also a major motivator, particularly in Indonesia which is one of Facebook's largest markets.

For many Indonesians, scrolling Facebook on their mobile is their only experience of the internet, and their main social and brand experience platform. An estimated 11% of Indonesians who said they used Facebook on their mobiles also said they did not use the internet at all otherwise.

In India, the thriving mobile ad market is growing at least 60% year on year, reflecting increased mobile connectivity and is estimated to reach 20% of all ad spend by 2020. However, according to We Are Social, just 10% of Indians currently use social media, significantly below the global average of 31%.

Data sourced form Campaign Asia-Pacific, Quartz; additional content by Warc staff

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India sports leagues claim success

2 February 2016
MUMBAI: As the Pro Kabbadi League (PKL) prepares to start its third season, and to rake in as much as Rs 50 crore in advertising revenues, the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) has claimed its inaugural season was the second most-watched non-cricket tournament in India.

The two-week long PWL took place in December and got a viewership rating of 0.85 in the six major metros, just behind the 0.90 registered by the second season of the PKL, and well ahead of other sports leagues such as the ISL – football's India Super League – which recorded 0.32 according to figures from BARC India.

Across the country as a whole, the average PWL viewership rating was 0.64, although comparable figures for other sports are not available as it is only recently that BARC has expanded its measurement into rural India

"The tournament got a very positive response from the Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh region," according to Vishal Gurnani, director of ProSportify which promotes the league.

"The sport has a massive appeal there and has significant on-ground presence," he told the Business Standard. "While these states contributed to almost 90% ratings on Sony Max, the on-ground response was also very encouraging with most of the matches held up north getting above 90% occupancy."

Prosportify expects to add more teams and sponsors for this year's tournament.

The PKL, meanwhile, has proved such a success that the organisers have made it a twice-a year event, with major brands such as Bajaj, Flipkart and State Bank of India already on board as associate sponsors.

The move has been welcomed by team franchises. "It gives an added advantage of building the connect, both with brands and the audience," said Supratik Sen, CEO of U Mumba, the current champions.

"This year we are eyeing a 140% growth in our sponsorship revenues" he told IndianTelevision.com.

"Global player Adidas has associated with us as apparel partner," he added. "This only goes to show that the tournament is garnering global attention."

A senior executive at broadcaster Star India also revealed that more brands would be soon be named as tournament sponsors. "The brand interaction this year has been very good and we are expecting good numbers," he said.

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

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Brands respond to obesity concerns

1 February 2016
LONDON: In the lead up to the publication of the UK government's childhood obesity strategy, there has been fierce debate about the role of food and drinks brands, but some of them are keen to highlight the positive steps they have taken.

Pressure is mounting, especially after MPs on the influential Health Select Committee recently backed a 20% "sugar tax", which even the prime minister has not ruled out and which was endorsed by the World Health Organisation last week.

What's more, a free sugar-tracking app aimed at parents and launched by Public Health England at just the beginning of the year, is reported to have since clocked up at least one million downloads, including 800,000 in its first ten days.

With such clear evidence of consumers' desire for more information, leading executives from Coca-Cola, Britvic and Innocent smoothies spoke to Marketing Week about what they are doing to address public concerns.

Britvic, the maker of Robinsons cordial and R. White's Lemonade, claims that 60% of its current innovations are low in sugar, or sugar-free, and it launched a campaign in the New Year to encourage people to drink more water – albeit with low-sugar Britvic products.

"People often say water tastes a bit dull, which is why we're trying to encourage the nation to drink more water with Robinsons," said Matt Barwell, Britvic's CMO.

"We did this campaign on a smaller scale in Great Britain and Ireland last year and the results were phenomenal. We've learnt from that and built on it to drive it more fully this year."

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola plans to launch a new version of Coke Life in April that contains a blend of sugar and a high proportion of stevia, a natural sweetener.

A 330ml can will have just 76 calories and 19 grams of sugar, the company claims, and the product will be promoted as part of Coca-Cola's "Taste the Feeling" campaign.

Indeed, Coca-Cola's new marketing strategy of focusing on its low calories products last week won the support of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who addressed the Advertising Association's LEAD event to encourage brands to promote healthy options as "cool".

Bobby Brittain, Coca-Cola GB's marketing director, said "the more than can be done on the national level, the better", although he cautioned that no single "contributor" should be singled out in legislation.

Finally, Helen Pomphrey, the UK head of marketing at Innocent, explained that the smoothie brand has launched a new range of healthy vegetable juices, partly in response to a change in consumer tastes.

"Consumers have been used to a sweet smoothie taste and they are becoming more accepting of something more savoury, but that's something which will develop further over time," she said.

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

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Europe leads global marketing growth

1 February 2016
LONDON: Marketing activity in January increased across all three regions covered by the latest Global Marketing Index (GMI), but Europe stood out for growth in marketing budgets and staffing levels.

While the headline GMI for January declined slightly by 0.2 points to 54.8 since December, the figure remained in positive territory when set against a benchmark of 50.0 that indicates no change.

Europe started the year strongly with an overall index score of 58.0 in January while the index value for the region's marketing budget registered 57.3 and its staffing index – a reflection of the number of staff taken on compared to the same period last year – came in at 57.8.

And in a further sign of the positive outlook in Europe, the region emerged as the only one where resources devoted to TV increased during January, rising to a value of 56.2.

By contrast, the index for marketing spend on TV in Asia-Pacific and the Americas stood at 46.8 and 42.7 respectively, in a sign of reducing spend on the medium.

However, strong growth in digital and mobile advertising helped both these regions to register positive overall valuations. The headline GMI for Asia-Pacific was 53.2 while the Americas scored 52.9.

Asia-Pacific's marketing budget index value was 50.7 in January, taking the region close to the 50.0 benchmark level, but marketing budgets continued to decrease in the Americas to register a value of 48.8.

Despite these falls, the outlook for staffing levels in both regions was more positive with the staffing level index reaching 54.0 in Asia-Pacific and 53.9 in the Americas.

All regions witnessed very strong growth for digital and mobile, which recorded global values of 74.4 and 71.5 respectively, but budgets for traditional media continued to fall – OOH (46.9), radio (43.0) and press (34.2) were all below the neutral 50.0 level.

"The headline Global Marketing Index reading for January indicates that marketing budgets are growing strongly in Europe, weakly in the Asia-Pacific region and are continuing to decline in the Americas," said Ed Jones, chief executive at World Economics.

"The allocation of budgets to traditional media continues to come under pressure from the growth of spending on mobile and digital media," he added.

Data sourced from World Economics; additional content by Warc staff

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Integration key to mobile ROI

1 February 2016
CAMBRIDGE, MA: Marketers should fully integrate mobile into their marketing strategies this year if they want to measure return on investment (ROI) more effectively, according to a report from Forrester Research.

Thomas Husson, the research firm's vp and principal analyst of marketing and strategy, posted an update to Forrester's predictions for mobile in 2016.

He revealed that in 2015 only a fifth (20%) of marketers reported back that they had the necessary budget dedicated to mobile while a third (33%) said they understood how to measure mobile ROI, Mobile Marketer reported.

This minority of "leading marketers" will increase in 2016, he said, as they see opportunities to differentiate their brands and increase their investments in mobile initiatives.

Integrating mobile into marketing strategies will be a key differentiator this year, Husson said, but real success will come only to those who "go the extra mile" to serve their mobile customers by "transforming the entire customer experience".

He added that leading practitioners will measure the impact of mobile on offline channels and allocate up to 20% of their marketing budgets to mobile.

He went on to say that consumers are increasingly using fewer apps – the average smartphone user spends more than 88% of their app time on just five apps – and messaging apps are gaining in popularity to the extent that they are emerging into standalone platforms.

With the line between apps and the mobile Web beginning to fade, brands would be advised to use messaging apps as a channel for offering customer service and building engagement.

Forrester also predicts that new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the Internet of Things, will offer opportunities for brand innovation.

Therefore, brands should ensure they keep an eye on technological developments this year, maybe by establishing dedicated teams or projects focused on innovation. However, the key observation for 2016 is to concentrate on effective metrics.

"The main takeaway is that marketers who measure the impact of mobile across channels will be able to demonstrate a ROI," Husson said. "They should really think big and align mobile success metrics with business outcomes."

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

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Apple steps up virtual reality focus

1 February 2016
SAN FRANCISCO: Tech giant Apple has reportedly built a specialist research unit that is concentrating on augmented and virtual reality projects as the company seeks to make future revenue less dependent on iPhone sales.

According to sources who spoke to the Financial Times, the "secret" research unit numbers hundreds of experts inherited from a series of acquisitions.

Additional staff poached from Microsoft and other high-tech companies that have been developing next-generation headsets are also working on Apple prototypes, it is reported.

Rivals such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook are already actively engaged in developing augmented and virtual reality products, such as Facebook's Oculus Rift VR headset, and news of Apple's discreet research wing suggests it plans to ramp up its challenge.

Virtual reality immerses users into experiences via their headsets or headphones while augmented reality displays digital objects on to users' view of the physical world, either via a headset or a mobile device.

While Apple would not comment on the initiative, it did confirm that it had recently acquired Flyby Media, a New York-based augmented reality start-up which developed technology allowing mobile devices to "see" the world around them.

Significantly, Flyby was the vision software partner chosen by Google to help it develop its Project Tango 3D image-recognition technology.

Long recognised for its innovation, Apple has experimented with virtual reality headsets in the past, but it appears with its growing research unit and selective acquisitions that it is taking the technology more seriously.

As Apple chief executive Tim Cook said last week, "I don't think it's a niche. It is really cool and has some interesting applications."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff

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India mobile adspend set to soar

1 February 2016
MUMBAI: Mobile is set to take a significantly increased share of advertising expenditure in India over the next five years and could account for a fifth of the total by 2020, according to a new report.

Currently, this channel's share is only between 2% and 4%, but the latest Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) report from consulting firm Deloitte India, suggests this will rise to between 15% and 20% as more consumers go online via mobile, Business Standard reported.

With the number of smartphone users set to grow almost fivefold between 2014 and 2019, advertisers will follow them. Deloitte noted that mobile advertising was already growing at 60% to 70% a year.

Further, many of the new wave of smartphone owners are joining social networking sites.

"Mobile advertising and social media are going hand-in-hand," according to Ashesh Jani, a partner at Deloitte India.

"There are media planners working overtime for their clients to get the mobile ads in place, also ensuring that their presence is there on social media platforms," he added.

Jani cited the fact that there have been 9bn app downloads in India and that among consumers researching a product online around half had seen it at least once on Facebook or another social media site.

Consequently, the report expected that brands would push for larger in-app budgets in future, with spending here exceeding that on mobile videos and mobile ads.

PN Sudarshan, senior director, Deloitte India, observed that the launch of 4G and high-speed wi-fi services would also boost online and social media usage.

"More and more consumers in India are accepting the idea of buying products online through social media," he noted.

"Accordingly, e-marketers will have to devise their strategies factoring in the digital surge."

In keeping with that trend, the report also anticipated growth in "digital-first brands" that can only be bought online, particularly in those categories where India possesses strong design and manufacturing capabilities, such as budget fashion, furniture and jewellery.

Data sourced from Business Standard, Deloitte India; additional content by Warc staff

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M-commerce, marketing boost Alibaba

1 February 2016
BEIJING: A slowing Chinese economy failed to hold back Alibaba as its total revenue grew 32% in the final quarter of 2015, which the internet giant attributed to a growing number of mobile users and its ability to monetise their activities.

Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yong Zhang told a quarterly earnings call that the business had added 47m monthly active users on mobile in the quarter ending December 31 – bringing the total to 407m – and that they were using shopping apps to buy goods and services on the Tmall and Taobao marketplaces.

"On our platforms, marketing activities contribute relevant content that enriches the consumer experience," he said. "Brands invest on our platform to build relationships with customers that deliver lifetime value in the form of repeat purchase and brand loyalty."

Nor was that lifetime value creation restricted to online channels: "Investments in online marketing on our platform influence and shape consumer behaviour offline," Zhang claimed, as he observed brands starting to integrate online-to-offline strategies.

He went on to explain that where online advertising is generally split into brand ads and direct response ads, "within [the] Alibaba ecosystem, with our retail platforms and our media platforms we are building up, we can do a very unique combined effect".

More and more brands were realising the value of this type of ad, he said. "They can not only catch the eyeballs of the audience, but also drive them back to their retail platforms to make interactions".

Zhang expected that this would create opportunities for both customer acquisition and repeat purchases.

But, he added, it was vital to measure these effects, "and that's the job we are doing right now … build[ing] a new set of measurements together with our partners for the brand – for the advertisements and the partners".

And he linked that back to the slowing economy. "When people are cautious, people care more about the effectiveness of the marketing dollar usage," he said.

"They continue to spend more dollar on our platform because that's one of the few platforms they can find to get the close-looped consumer track and the consumer interaction."

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff

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Dannon tackles 'millennial challenge'

1 February 2016
ORLANDO, FL: Dannon is tackling the "millennial challenge" – a trend that has seen the consumption of dairy products remain unduly skewed towards older shoppers – by tapping the insights from a multifaceted research initiative.

Olesya Govorun, Director/Strategy & Insights at The Dannon Company, discussed this topic at The Market Research Event (TMRE) 2015, a conference convened by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

"Millennials account for only 18% of yoghurt volume. And 18–to-24-year-olds account for just 5% of yoghurt consumption, which is significantly less than their fair share," she reported. (For more, including further insights about this audience, read Warc's exclusive report: Dannon tackles the "millennial challenge".)

"It's quite a significant issue for the category. And it's not a Dannon issue – it is a category issue. Every single manufacturer in the industry is facing the same 'millennial challenge.'"

To address this problem – and, ideally, help Dannon become "millennial-agnostic" in its decision-making – Govorun's team has spearheaded a wide-ranging research effort.

More specifically, it has drawn on a broad slate of sources including syndicated data, away-from-home consumption research, behavioural data, an online community and in-person ideation groups with members of the target audience.

While learning that millennials are actually similar to older cohorts in areas such as their attitudes to health and the main purchase drivers for food, Dannon uncovered several signals which will be actionable over the longer term.

"Pretty much every single millennial told us that it was very important for them to own the consumption experience," Govorun said, in describing one learning.

For Dannon, a potential application of this idea will be offering interesting flavour add-ons. "I think the way to provide customisation … is through creative mixes rather than plain old stuff that we gravitate towards," she said.

Younger shoppers were, equally, more "open-minded" about new product formats like shelf-stable and drinkable yoghurt, as well as novel packaging options including pouches.

"Millennials embraced it: they thought it actually fit their lifestyle and they were truly excited about where yoghurt can go," said Govorun.

Data sourced from Warc

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Nearly half the world is online

29 January 2016
LONDON: Almost one-third (31%) of the world's population now uses social media while the number of internet users has grown by 10% over the past year to 3.42bn, representing 46% global penetration, according to a new global study.

Social agency We Are Social released these headline findings in its "Digital in 2016" report, which took a comprehensive look at digital, social and mobile trends around the world.

In addition to nearly half of the world's population who now access the internet, We Are Social calculated that there are currently 2.31bn social media users globally.

There are also 1.97bn mobile social media users and 3.79bn unique mobile users, equating to 27% and 51% global penetration respectively.

Asia-Pacific registered the largest absolute growth in internet user numbers, up nearly 200m, which represents 12% year-on-year growth. At that pace, APAC saw half a million people use the internet for the first time every single day in the past twelve months – or six new users every second.

In terms of individual country rankings for internet usage, Iceland is top with 98% penetration, closely followed by Bermuda (97%) and Norway (96%).

North Korea, not surprisingly, was found to have the lowest internet penetration worldwide, with barely 7,000 people reported to be able to access the internet.

Among what the report describes as the "Key 30" economies, the United Arab Emirates is top at 96%, followed by the UK (92%) and Canada (91%).

India and Indonesia sit at the lower end of the scale with 28% and 34% internet penetration respectively, but they are the only two countries in the Key 30 that fall below the global average of 46%.

Brazilians and Filipinos spend the most time using the internet, clocking in an average of 5.2 hours per day. Also, Brazilians – along with Thais – spend the most time using the mobile internet (3.9 hours a day).

Meanwhile, Japanese and South Koreans consumers spend the least amount of time on the internet each day compared to the rest of the Key 30, at just 2.9 and 3.1 hours respectively.

Looking at social media in more detail, the report found that Facebook continues to dominate with more than 1.5bn active accounts, while its mobile-messaging app, WhatsApp, grew at what the report called a "staggering" 50% in the past year.

North America has the highest level of social media penetration at 59%, but when it comes to individual countries, Taiwan is seen as the "most social" with 77% of its people using Facebook in the past 30 days.

The report also highlighted three key conclusions for brands seeking to survive in this rapidly changing digital world.

First, they should optimise their entire organisations for a mobile-centric world because "mobile is dramatically changing everything".

Secondly, with connectivity becoming the norm, "brands need to explore how connectivity can improve every element of their business, not just their advertising".

Finally, social is once again about conversations, so marketers should work to create "truly social brands, and not just brands that interrupt people where they're socialising with each other".

Data sourced from We Are Social; additional content by Warc staff

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Facebook revamps its 'like' feature

29 January 2016
SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook users who have hesitated about using the social network's "like" button for certain posts will soon be able to use five new icons that better express their emotions.

Following successful trials in Spain and five other countries, Facebook's 1.5bn users will have the option of using five new emoji images as an alternative to the "like" button, which will still remain as a feature in posts.

Chris Cox, Facebook's chief operating officer, revealed to Bloomberg that the five new icons – Angry, Sad, Wow, Haha and Love – will be launched in the coming weeks. A sixth emoji, "Yay", will not be deployed because the tests revealed it was not universally understood.

Users will be able to access the new "Reactions" images by holding down the "like" button and then scroll through to find the one most appropriate for a post.

While the development is likely to improve the experience for users, it is also expected to be very useful for advertisers who will gain access to more tailored and targeted data.

Associate Professor David Glance, director of the Centre for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia, said the "Like" button can be problematic for advertisers because it does not cover the subtleties of emotions that users wish to convey.

"The degree of reaction is now captured and that's an important feature. It enables advertisers to be incredibly sophisticated about how they post their ads, refining them constantly," he said in comments to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"The buttons, combined with your profile, demographic, your read habits and other information all now goes into the mix," he added.

The news came as Facebook announced that its ad revenue rose 57% in Q4 2015 to $5.6bn with mobile advertising accounting for 80% of total advertising revenue.

Data sourced from Bloomberg, Sydney Morning Herald, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff

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UK consumers are 'resiliently bullish'

29 January 2016
LONDON: Despite stock markets taking a hit around the world amid concerns about growth prospects in China, consumer sentiment in the UK remains noticeably upbeat, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index from GfK.

The research firm reported that its overall UK index increased two points to +4 in January, with four of its five measures recording increases this month.

Only one measure, consumers' personal financial situation over the next 12 months, remained unchanged since December, but even this remained in positive territory at +9 points, or four points higher than in January 2015.

British consumers continue to have concerns about the general economic situation, which remains negative on both measures covering this topic, but sentiment has improved since last month.

The index covering the general economic situation over the last 12 months increased +2 to -3 points in January while that covering the next 12 months rose by +1 to -5 points.

However, in what will be seen as good news for retailers and brands, the index covering major purchase intent increased a full nine points to +16 since December, or 11 points higher than this time last year.

Despite lingering concerns about the general economic situation, Joe Staton, GfK's head of market dynamics, said UK consumers clearly believe that now is a good time to buy.

"UK consumers remain resiliently bullish this month with no sign of the January Blues denting their view on the state of their personal finances for both the past year and also for the rest of 2016," he said.

"And with post-Christmas bargain-hungry consumers evidently snapping up bumper discounts across the country, the Index was further boosted with shoppers agreeing that now was a good time to buy (+9 points)," he added.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff

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Cross-channel is key for marketers

29 January 2016
PALM DESERT, CA: Cross-device audience recognition will be a key area of focus for marketers and publishers in 2016, according to a survey of 120 companies for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Conducted in conjunction with the Winterberry Group, "The Outlook for Data: 2016 Snapshot" report also revealed that 58% of respondents expect cross-channel measurement and attribution to command "significant time and attention" this year.

The findings, which were released at the IAB's Annual Leadership Meeting, showed the industry now ranks cross-channel measurement capability as a higher priority for the coming year than programmatic, although programmatic still remains of high importance.

More than half (53%) of respondents said they will focus on programmatic media buying for emerging formats, including mobile and addressable television, this year.

Meanwhile, 43% said that time, attention and resources will be dedicated to programmatic buying for already-established formats.

Demand from customers (60%) will be the most important factor for influencing data-driven marketing and media initiatives this year, the survey revealed, followed by measurability (48%) and the availability of first-party data (47%).

The survey also explored what obstacles are holding back greater adoption of data-driven advertising and uncovered two main issues.

Approaching half (45%) of respondents pointed to insufficient technological availability or capability to support specific functions while around a third (35%) cited lack of experience within organisations.

"While there are still technological challenges and a need for further workforce education, data-driven advertising is clearly front-of-mind for the industry," said Patrick Dolan, the IAB's executive vice president and COO.

"At IAB, between the establishment of our Data Center of Excellence and the recent launch of our Digital Data Solutions Certification program, we are addressing these issues head on."

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff

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World's doors open to Chinese tourists

29 January 2016
HONG KONG: As higher incomes enable more Chinese to go abroad for their holidays, a number of countries have revealed how they are gaining from the trend with some relaxing their visa requirements.

Of all the visitors expected to visit Thailand during the Chinese New Year in early to mid-February, at least half are expected to be Chinese, The Nation reported.

Srisuda Wanapinyosak, the deputy head of international marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said 1.01 million foreigners are expected to visit the country over the festive season with Chinese numbers up 19% to 476,000 since last year.

"Despite China's [economic] instability, the TAT remains optimistic that the country will contribute the largest arrival source with more than six million tourists expected this full year," she said.

According to TAT, the key factors helping to attract more Chinese are the availability of multiple-visit visas and visas on arrival, more scheduled and charter flights, as well as successful marketing by travel agencies overseas.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has announced that Chinese tourists will not require a visa if they visit for less than 15 days any time between March 1 and December 31 this year.

Malaysia is also reported to be aiming to attract eight million tourists from China each year over the next five years in a bid to garner their Rm 22.1bn spending power.

Elsewhere, South Korea said that, for the first time, it would make 10-year multiple entry visas available to Chinese tourists, although the benefit will be limited to degree-level professionals, China Daily reported.

According to official data, 6.11 million Chinese tourists visited South Korea in 2015 where they spent $2,200, or twice the average of all foreign tourists.

Enthusiasm for attracting the Chinese tourist dollar also extends beyond China's immediate neighbours, as shown by new figures from VisitBritain, the UK's tourism body.

VisitBritain revealed that the number of Chinese tourists who visited the UK in the first nine months of 2015 jumped 37% to 214,000 from the same period in 2014.

Commenting on the news, UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, said: "We are making it easier for Chinese tourists to come and enjoy the best of Britain and our recently launched two-year visa scheme will encourage even more to visit."

Data sourced from The Nation, New Straits Times, China Daily, BBC; additional content by Warc staff

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Blog: The value of moment marketing

29 January 2016
“Moment marketing” is an important trend as the rise in consumer data and digital targeting means it's easier than ever to identify and then reach consumers at the ideal moment, argues Richard Shotton, head of insight at ZenithOptimedia.

Data sourced from Warc

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Gilt serves multiple needs on Instagram

29 January 2016
NEW YORK: Gilt Groupe, the flash-sales platform for luxury apparel, is using photo-sharing service Instagram as both a brand-building tool and a channel for encouraging consumers to buy its latest products.

Alexandra Press Maguire, Gilt's Digital Marketing Director, discussed this subject at Advertising Week 2015 in New York City.

More specifically, she suggested that Instagram was a vital channel for the firm to connect with its target clientele of "busy", "sophisticated" and "savvy" women who are "always on the go".

On the one hand, Gilt is using the social-media tool as a branding medium by delivering "beautiful work" that can compete with the ravishing photography employed by countless apparel manufacturers and retailers.

"It's such a premium space and we're showing up against some of the most gorgeous fashion photography out there. So, for us, it's really important that we're extremely elevated in everything that we post," Press Maguire said. (For more, including further insights into Gilt's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Gilt Groupe builds it brand – and sales – with Instagram.)

"If you think about that for us, it's a really big deal to make sure that we're seen in that space just in terms of putting our differentiated images out there."

Alongside these high-level aims, Gilt also wants to draw attention to a selection of the thousands of products that are added to its site and mobile app every day.

One guiding principle informing its approach involves providing utility to consumers by helping them solve everyday fashion problems.

"We're definitely thinking about the consumer's inspiration needs on Instagram, because that's where people are going to figure out not only what I'm going to wear tomorrow, but maybe, 'What should I be buying for an event that I have coming up?'" said Press Maguire.

"So we really think about the inspiration aspect of things for this canvas specifically, and definitely in a different way than we do our other, more traditional, advertising – whether it's banners or off of social.

"And we also have some pretty vigorous testing in place, because we know that there's still a lot to learn and it's early days for us on Instagram."

Data sourced from Warc

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Republic Day boosts India e-commerce

29 January 2016
MUMBAI: There was tremendous consumer response to India's Republic Day sales event that ran from January 21-23, according to the country's leading e-commerce players.

Snapdeal reported that demand for mobile phones, accessories and other electronic gadgets soared since it started its sale with a tagline "Republic of Savings" on January 21 for six days, with offers of up to 70% off, BGR India reported.

Flipkart said it saw 30% growth in traffic with home appliances and large appliances among the top searched categories.

"Samsung Galaxy On5 and On7 sold close to a lakh units with 10 times spike in air fryers. Memory cards were the top-selling item with 300% growth in this segment," Flipkart said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Amazon reported that its "Great Indian Republic Day Sale" from January 21-23 recorded three times higher turnover than last year, with mobile devices emerging as the top selling category followed by apparel.

It said it turned out to be the biggest sales event ever, compared with the previous Great Indian Festive Sale, during Diwali last year.

Amazon added that all the categories under its fashion sale showed more than 200% growth compared to last year's January sale. The highest growth was observed in luggage, watches, apparel and handbags as compared to last January sale.

"With this 72-hours marathon deals, our customers had a delightful time shopping in the New Year across a wide selection of products at best possible price-points," said Samir Kumar, vice president of Amazon India.

Data sourced from BGR India, Financial Express; additional content by Warc staff

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